MSCN Newsletter
July 2010
NEW MSCN HEADER (With border)
Welcome to your July newsletter!

We are so pleased with the positive comments about the MSCN Newsletter.  Senior college members from around the state are enjoying learning about what other senior colleges are up to.  Articles, photos, and poems have been pouring in. Please keep sending in those articles, photos and poems from your senior college for the newsletter!
This month Gold LEAF sent in an article about a recent book discussion on Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace, a novel set within the Resistance in Northern Italy during World War II and the plight of Jewish refugees escaping persecution throughout Europe.  The Poet's Corner offers two poems from featured poets Etta Abrahams from Sunrise Senior College and Ted Bookey from Augusta Senior College.  Acadia and Penobscot Valley Senior Colleges recently had end of the year celebrations.  LA Senior College was featured in an article in the Twin City Times.  Sunrise Senior College sent in an article featuring a popular instructor, Beth Schwenk, who makes math fun.

Some submissions have been converted into pdfs to save space. These articles are high quality and well worth reading. Please download Adobe Reader if you are having trouble opening our attachments.

Kali Lightfoot
Executive Director  

Acadia Senior College  Celebrates Another Year

Acadia Senior College members enjoyed a potluck dinner, followed by entertainment by the Dog Mountain Bluegrass Band, as part of the Annual General Meeting and election of officers on June 10th. Anne Cardale, Maine Senior College Director of Operations and Communication, joined Acadia for the evening. About 85 members attended the event.
Bill Dohmen, retiring ASC President, shows delight with the gift of an Acadia Senior College fleece jacket.
Acadia Bill Dohmenen
Dog Mountain Bluegrass Band plays a foot stomping number.
Acadia Jazz Band

Poets Corner/Contest

True Confessions

"I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I'd be out looking for the next job...Go where the money is...and go there often."
William "Willie" Sutton (1901-1980)

When Willie Sutton went to jail in 1952, I prayed
for how-long-I-don't-know,
he'd get good books, and especially
A Color TV: RCA--
what my friend Nancy Freigang had
that I did not.

I used to steal loose change
off Daddy's highboy,
unsnap the little purse in Mommy's
handbag, later lifted
Tangee lipstick from Kresge's.
Never got caught.

Even now, knowing
he robbed from the rich,
kept it for himself,
never said he hit banks
"Because that's where the money is,"
I love him.

Some days I want to crank down my
car window, toss Hershey wrappers
to the wind, hold up the IGA,
make off with the day's
receipts, wear disguises.
Keep on going.

By Etta Abrahams, Sunrise Senior College


You won some, lost some-
Lost some winsomeness
Down the drain with
Sum of teeth & hair,
The look of young.

Your time to use or lose it lost
Lost your way along the way
Thrown for a loss, you lost
All sense of what you lost
Found you had

Became a see-er & unseen
You got lost in thought
Lost train & track of
Everything you think
You thought & think

No time left for you to lose
And tried to find, but knew
How again you'd only gain
One more thing for you
To lose anew.

You're completely at a loss for words
If your loss wasn't screwed on tight
I bet you'd lose that too
You'd be at a total...

By Ted Bookey, Augusta Senior College

 ~~Looking for our Poet Laureate! ~~

This contest is open to all members of the Maine Senior College Network.  For more information, please select the link below.

MSCN Poet Laureate Competition Submission (pdf)

Don't forget the prize for the crowned Poet Laureate is a Kindle! Not sure what a Kindle is? Please take a look at the following links:

Amazon Kindle
A Math Educator's Educator
The Sunrise Senior College newsletter team recently caught up with Beth Schwenk, a retired advanced mathematics teacher and frequent Sunrise Senior College instructor. Beth currently teaches "Math for Poets and Lovers," and was recently chosen by People to People, an international organization dedicated to bridging "cultural and political borders through education and exchange," to teach high school math teachers in India. She'll be accompanying a group of 11 other math educators to rural India as part of People to People's Ambassadors Program.

The plan is to spend two weeks working with secondary math instructors in rural India on a one-to-one basis to "involve them in some of the ways modern math classes are held in the United States," explained Beth. The tendency in areas outside India's urban centers is to prohibit students from working on independent projects, a teaching style Beth describes as "more rigid" than the newer teaching models commonly used in the U.S.

Beth Schwenk teaches her first senior college course
Beth Schwenk

"I've always kept myself informed on new ways of teaching high school math," asserts Beth, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday. A Machias resident since 1997, she moved to Maine with her now deceased husband, George, from Kent, Connecticut, where she was teaching Calculus to 12th grade advanced placement students at the Kent School, a private academy. Prior to the Kent School, Beth taught higher mathematics at several colleges and universities, including Bucknell and Rutgers. However, teaching prospective high school math teachers has "always been a favorite" occupation of hers, which is why she presented papers at the International Conference on Mathematics Education in Seville, Spain, and again in Montreal, Canada. The two weeks in India will again provide Beth with an opportunity to get back into math education, which has "always been much in my mind," she says.

Also on her mind these days is the intimidatingly lengthy list of vaccines she'll need to travel to rural India - although the exact location for the trip scheduled for November of 2010 hasn't yet been determined. Beth's sister Ruth, who has traveled extensively and lived in Asia, gave her this sage advice: "Bring lots of hand sanitizer!" On the plus side, Beth, who's a vegan, will have no trouble acclimating to Indian cuisine during her two-week stay, as "Indian food is mostly vegan, anyway," she notes happily.

While very enthusiastic about her role as an educator in the Ambassador program, her participation, accommodations and travel expenses are not paid for by People to People. She'll need to raise the nearly $7,000 herself, a figure nearly as intimidating as the list of vaccines.

Submitted by Christine Laurel, Sunrise Senior College

Discovering A Thread of Grace

Book discussions are favorites at Gold LEAF and members enjoy sharing responses to books. Recently, though, Gold LEAF president Eileen Kreutz and member Susan Wahlstrom offered a book which led to some extraordinary exchanges.

The book was Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace, a novel set within the Resistance in Northern Italy during World War II and the plight of Jewish refugees escaping Nazi persecution throughout Europe. During the Nazi occupation following Italy's surrender, many Italians offered refugees places of relative safety on their farms and in their towns. In fact, much of the narrative is based on accounts of survivors from the period.

Moved by the book's content, Kreutz and Wahlstrom entitled the discussion "Responses to Evil," an inspired naming, for the 20 participants delved deeply into guilt and responsibility, courage and fear, and what it means to be human in a sometimes terrible, and terrifying, world.

The discussion was all the more meaningful because several contributed personal memories. One had been a child in Switzerland during the War and several recalled family tales relating to the Holocaust and its stunning toll of lives. But more, given the average age of the group (edging close to 70), World War II - and the story of Jewish experiences during that time - seemed closer than they might have been for a younger group.

Wisdom, one likes to think, arrives with age. Perhaps it does, but compassion and understanding are its companions and the discussion of Russell's book was marked by the group's struggle to understand how such events could happen and to embrace the compassionate and courageous responses some made to them at the time. Most remarkable, the group refused to see the story as a mere exercise in historical fiction. They saw it instead as relevant for our time, a cautionary tale reminding us that our humanity hangs on a thread, and that whatever grace we may achieve in our lives might well depend on what responses we make to a world still capable of horrible cruelties.

Submitted by Richard Matthews, Gold LEAF

LA Senior College Featured in Twin City Times

LA Senior College was recently featured in an article in the Twin City Times.  Rachel Morin, Out and About Weekly Columnist and Photographer for Twin City Times, wrote about LA Senior College's diverse curriculum, special trips and events and membership.  She included many photos of LA Senior college members and activities. To read the article and enjoy the photos click here:

Out and About with Rachel Morin

Rachel serves on the Board of Directors at LA Senior College, acts as Co-Chairman Liasion to Maine Senior College Network and is a member of the Press Releases and Newsletter committees.

Here's a photo from the article:

June Spear's LA Senior College class on "Mark Twain: The Man and His Work" observed the last class with cake and punch.  Left to right are Liette Morin, June Spear, Maureen Tibbetts and Barbara Randall.  Claire Knox and John Sutherland taught the Mark Twain course at OLLI and organized a two day trip to the home of Mark Twain in Hartford, CT for 53 members of OLLI, LA Senior College and Midcoast Senior College.  Also included in the trip were the Harriet Beecher Stowe House and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. (Photo by Rachel Morin)
PVSC Closes Successful Year

The Penobscot Valley Senior College is nearing the end of another successful year.  The year was not without some major changes as the College had to develop some different methods as the long-time Executive Director retired to pursue other activities.  Stan Marshall who had been a major part of the college's operation since the inception accepted a position with AARP in their tax-aid program and did not have time for both positions.

The College ended the year with approximately 380 members, the highest membership it has ever had. The Curriculum Committee, chaired by Christina Diebold, developed an outstanding set of Fall and Spring courses that were well received by the membership with several courses having more applicants than could be reasonably accepted. As PVSC offers courses at both the University of Maine and at University College in Bangor, PVSC will be increasing the length of the break between morning and afternoon classes to 90 minutes for the benefit of those that wish to take a morning course at one location and an afternoon course at the other. In the past, the travel time has made it difficult to take courses at both locations during the same semester.

The "One-day Events" program, under the guidance of Diane Cutler, increased the number of events this year. Although many of these programs are open to guests, some were restricted to "Members Only" because of the expected interest. This year the "One-day Events" ranged from a visit to the College of the Atlantic to a tour of Eastern Maine Community College with lunch prepared by the Culinary Arts Department to a tour of the newly opened Maine Court House in Bangor.

Elsa Sanborn and Dee Virtue work the PVSC booth
senior expo

The College closed out the year by having a booth at both the Eastern Area Agency on Aging "Senior Connections Expo" and the University of Maine Retirees Homecoming Fair. At the Senior Connections Expo, the PVSC Booth was among approximately 70 exhibitors with the Expo attracting attendees from a very large geographical area.  At the University of Maine event, the PVSC Booth was selected by the attendees as the "best booth" at the event. At both of these events, a great amount of interest was expressed in the programs being offered by PVSC and these resulted in several new "first-time" members.

As the final activity in the year, the Membership Campaign is now under way. The expectation is to continue the growth pattern that has existed since our formation.

Submitted by Dick Eustis, Penobscot Valley Senior College
Historical Society Offers Summer Events

Marilyn Speckmann, a Coastal Senior College member and President of Jefferson Historical Society wants to share upcoming summer events happening at the Jefferson Historical Society.  To see more information on the events click here:

Jefferson Historical Society Summer Events

All are welcome!!

In This Issue
Acadia Senior College Celebrates Another Year
Poets Corner/Contest
A Math Educator's Educator
Discovering A Thread of Grace
LA Senior College Featured in Twin City Times
PVSC Closes Successful Year
Historical Society Offers Summer Events
Maine Senior College Network
Maine Senior College Links
Featured Links
Maine Senior College Network Display Boards
About Us
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Don't forget to go to the Maine Senior College Network 
web site to find out what is happening around the state!
Maine Senior College Network
Featured Links
The Maine Senior College  Network Display Boards
are available to any senior college that would like to borrow them.   For more information, check out the link below.
About Us
Maine Senior College Network
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, Maine 04104-9300
(207)780-4317 (fax)

Kali Lightfoot
Executive Director
Anne Cardale
Director of Operations & Communications
Director of Conferences
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