Issue No. 59
April 2015
The MSCN Newsletter

    Welcome to Your April Newsletter!

The snow is finally starting to thaw, and the rusty brown grass is beginning to emerge. Not that snow slowed down the members of the Maine Senior College Network. I recently sent out a survey to the MSCN board chairs and presidents and as a result I can safely report that the Maine Senior College Network now has over 6,500 members! 

This month's newsletter is packed with articles about the Senior Colleges. In fact, to fit all the articles into the newsletter I have opted to employ downloadable PDFs in order to be able to add everything. All the submissions are well worth reading in full so fire up your PDF Readers to access these additional pieces!

Don't miss the article "Sustaining the Spirit of Midcoast Senior College" by David McKeith. He wrote this piece about Midcoast but it applies to every Senior College across the network. David does an excellent job of summing up the liveliness of his Senior College and in the process identifies the secret of success for all of the Senior Colleges. That secret is that without volunteers there would be no Maine Senior College Network.

Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting the board of the Lewiston-Auburn Senior College and witnessed first hand the MSCN secret of success at work! The LASC Board Members, under the excellent leadership of Board Chair Pat Vampatella, were truly focused; hard working, creative and insightful. I know that across the state, MSCN boards mirror Lewiston-Auburn and Midcoast in "Sustaining the Spirit" of their Senior Colleges.

Sustaining the Spirit of Midcoast Senior College by David McKeith 
Socrates with students and Diotimo by Franc Kavcic (1810)

In Spring of 2000, Midcoast Senior College presented its first semester to inquiring seniors. The College founders, as well as those who sought the values of our curriculum, were clearly in the spirit of Socrates who is said to have declared: "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. "

Unlike emphasis on guidance in a child's schooling, seniors are internally motivated and have a sense of what they wish to know. Being mature in lives of rich and varied experiences, our cooperative learning is affected by what each one contributes to inquiry, observation, and discussion. Our rich curriculum in the Liberal Arts and Sciences invites reflection and contemplation so that each of us in our own way may be liberated from not knowing and from pre-judgments, our horizons broadened, and new interests cultivated.

The spirit of Senior College is more than the flowering of weekly classrooms. We convene for stimulating winter and spring lectures; we assemble to be moved by quartet music; we gather for weekly discussions of national and international import; we engage in summer's cultural excursions.

Portrait of Alexander Benua by Lev Bakst (1898)

In different ways, a number of students continue on with their learning that began on campus. Many request an additional reading list to further explore the subject of a course. Students of art are known to continue developing newly acquired skills and further ripen their artistic taste. 

Juno Showering Gifts on Venetia (detail) by Paolo Veronese.
The vital role of volunteers
One may ask: What is the propellant that drives this lively program that serves our seniors? From whence comes the fire and passion? The answer lies in the gifts of talent, skills, and time given by a large number of volunteers who willingly demonstrate their dedication to the idea and ideal of lifelong learning. With the exception of a paid part-time office administrator 

every effort that moves Midcoast Senior College forward is volunteered as a gift of the self: from board members, committee chairs and committee members (see the MSC roster), to our able faculty, webmaster, and all the other vital workers who have come forth to fill needs. 

Our commitment is to sustain and perpetuate what I have sought to describe as the spirit of Senior College. Growth in numbers will come naturally. Presently we find ourselves in the agreeable position of aspiring to support what we have found to work well for our community of lifelong learners. 

The author of this article David McKeith initiated the Midcoast Inquirer 10 years ago and served as its' first editor for eight years. He was also a member of the faculty and taught courses on western frontier women and environmentalism. He continues to provide editorial guidance and a helpful long term view of MSC.

Submitted by  -- Joyce Bessen, Midcoast Senior College

Penobscot Seniors Examine Current Supreme Court Term

64 Penobscot Valley Senior College members have enrolled in the "Current Supreme Court Term" course offered by Sol Goldman. Questions to be dissected in this course include: 

Sol Goldman has a law degree from George Washington University and has been a lawyer in Maine since 1980. Since 1989 he taught a variety of law courses at the University of Maine, Husson University and Beal College.


Submitted by - Helen Genco, Penobscot Valley Senior College

Introducing Lance Beloungie, SAGE Chess Instructor and 2014 Maine Chess Player of the Year

"Two kings and two queens"

Lance Beloungie has played chess since age 4, having been taught by his father and then honing his skills teaching kids in the neighborhood to play. He played competitive Bridge in college when he found no chess players there, but in the 1970s be picked up the game again and started playing competitively in Maine. 

Beginning in Fall 2013 Lance has taught beginning and advanced Chess classes at SAGE at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He also directs the university chess club there. Lance has coached the Caribou High School chess team for 15 years and is the director of the Aroostook ChessLeague there. 

For twenty years Lance has coordinated the Human Chess Game at the Fort Fairfield Potato Blossom Festival and just recently did the same for SAGE members at the March Kick Off event. (See photos below.) He got non-players and players alike to have a great time moving around the giant floor chessboard, yelling BOOOOOOOOOOOO and YEAH as critical moves were made to beat the opponent. Laughter could be heard throughout the Campus Center as Rooks knocked off Pawns and Castles chased Queens around the board! 

Download a PDF to read more about Lance Beloungie and the SAGE chess class. 

USM's Lewiston-Auburn Senior College's Food for Thought Lecture features:
The acclaimed Maine author Jean Flahive
Jean Flahive of South Portland, acclaimed Maine author, will be the featured speaker at USM's Lewiston-Auburn Senior College's Food for Thought luncheon at 11:30 on Friday, April 10, at 51 Westminster St., Lewiston. The public is cordially invited. 

Jean, who has a lifelong interest in the Civil War and Maine history, will be speaking about her most recent novel, "Railroad to the Moon, Elijah's Story." Set in post-Civil War Maine and using historical realities, her novel weaves a tale around Oren Cheney, founder and first president of Bates College, who helps runaway slave Elijah fulfill his dream. 

While Cheney's public life is most visibly associated with the founding of Bates College, Jean will focus her remarks on Cheney's life-long commitment to the abolition of slavery and his remarkable role, as highlighted in the novel, in securing access to education for emancipated slaves in Maine and beyond. 

The author will share her personal experience as a writer of historical fiction and how her research led her to Oren Cheney, who she describes as one of Maine's forgotten heroes. 

Jean is a former Dean of students at Central Maine Community College, a former trustee of the University of Maine System, and has worked as a grant writer for numerous municipalities and non-profits. 

She's the author of "Billy Boy, the Sunday Soldier of the 17th Maine" and a co-author of "Remember Me, Tomah Joseph's Gift to Franklin Roosevelt," which won the Moonbeam Gold Award for Best Multi-Cultural Children's Picture Book in 2009, and also a co-author of "The Galloping Horses of Willowbrook," which was a finalist in the 2012 Maine Literary Awards

Details: Food for Thought Luncheon at LASC 
Friday, April 10 at 11:30pm. 
Location: The Function Room - 170 
USM LAC Campus, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston. 

The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with advance reservation or $8 at the door. 

Reservations must be made by noon on Wednesday, March 11, by calling 753-6510. Any late callers will be considered "at the door."

Submitted by - Rachel Morin, Lewiston-Auburn Senior College
Gold LEAF Running Classes in Concert with Local Hospital

Eileen, working on a prayer shawl at Gold LEAF Senior CollegeGold LEAF member. (Photo by Myrna Vallette)

As part of its spring term, Gold LEAF Senior College Class is offering some classes that bring energy and resources to the local hospital Franklin Memorial Hospital. The first of these offerings is called "Comfort Shawls to Make and Give" and the second series is entitled "End of Life Care: Family and Physician Conversations." Both of these listings have had an excellent response from members, and the hospital conference that starts out the second class has filled over 100 seats at this point.

The "comfort shawls" class was taught by long-time GLI Board member Myrna Vallette and another member Rev. Doug Dunlap. The workshop provided information about the history of "comfort" or "prayer" shawls, how they have been used locally, and where shawls might be donated. It is hoped that participants will continue creating the shawls and then donate them to Franklin Memorial or other facilities in the region. The shawls, throws and lap robes are free. The individuals who make them donate the yarn and their time.

As to the second program mentioned above, an April 8 state-wide educational event will be held at the hospital focusing on End of Life Care. Doug Dunlap is again the presenter, this time along with Natasha Lekes from University of Maine Farmington. It will be followed by a group discussion being held specifically for Gold LEAF members one week later.

Gold LEAF values this type of class with its "learning and service" combination, with benefits for our members and beyond.

Submitted by - Eileen Kreutz, MSCN Liaison, Gold LEAF Institute

Sunrise Senior College Donates Patriotic Quilt  

Last fall Sunrise Senior College offered a quilting class with two primary goals. The first was to teach class participants the quilting technique of paper piecing. The second was to work together to create a patriotic quilt to be donated to a veteran from our community. The class only met four times but the ten members created an incredibly beautiful quilt top. The class included both experienced and inexperienced quilters. The instructors were Pauline Wood and Nancy Skala, both of whom are quilters with an interest in honoring veterans who have served in our armed forces. Ramune Dailide from Orland donated her time and supplies to finish the quilt. Ramune is a long-arm quilter and her custom quilting included stitching the words "Heroism", "Freedom", "Honor", "Patriot", "Valor", and "Pride" across the quilt. 

This class was loosely modeled on the national Quilts of Valor program, a non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is "to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor." Originally, Nancy and Pauline intended to make the quilt as part of the Quilts of Valor program, but there were logistical and time constraints which made this unfeasible. Instead, the instructors decided to have the class members jointly select the recipient of the quilt. The first idea was to donate the quilt to a resident of the Maine Veterans' Home in Machias; however, when the group learned about the new activity room at the home, it was decided, in consultation with the veterans' home, that the quilt would be hung on a wall in the activity room or in a similar spot, where it would be enjoyed by all the residents and their visitors. 

The quilt was presented to the Maine Veterans' Home on Tuesday, February 24. The home hosted a tea for the residents, the quilting instructors, and the members of the class on the day of the presentation. 

Many thanks to Nancy Skala, Pauline Wood, Ramune Dailide and all the members of the class for their fine work and generosity. X


Submitted by - Jackie Lowe, Sunrise Senior College
MSCN Promotion Spot

The Maine Senior College Network has been asked to help spread the word for the bird spotters amongst you who might like to know about the Deer Isle Birding Festival coming up in May. 

Deer Isle Birding Festival Poster (available as a PDF)
Also available as a download is the
2015 Wings, Waves & Woods Schedule

And for those with more musical leanings I have information about the AcouSticks Recorder Consort. A number of Senior Colleges run recorder classes and they will certainly be interested in these three musicians who specialize in performing early music literature written expressly for, or arranged for, the recorder.

AcouSticks Recorder Consort Consort members Laurie Meyers, Jennifer Weaver and Anne Hess have played together for about eight years 

Although of varied backgrounds and professions, the members of AcouSticks Recorder Consort share a deep love of early music and the unique, sweet sounds of the recorder. They have performed in a wide range of settings which include museums, retirement facilities, libraries, weddings, period re-enactments and were minstrels for the local chapter of Society of Creative Anachronism. 

Their early music repertoire spans from the simple harmonies of medieval religious and period dance music, to the complex contrapuntal styles of Bach and his baroque contemporaries, touches on modern pieces that includes Mozart, and Faure, and occasionally includes popular or folk tunes for special events. 

Recorders are the precursors to the modern transverse flute seen today.The instruments range in pitch from very high (similar to a piccolo or fife) to very low (comparable to a bassoon) with a warm, mellow tone that can be very emotional and expressive but can also be bright and joyous. Recorders historically are made of various woods but are now also found in high quality plastic versions. Their tone blends nicely in small chamber groups but can also be showcased as excellent solo instruments.

For additional information, visit the AcouSticks website and Facebook page, or contact them by email.

Newsletter Submissions Deadline Date: 
The 20th of each month!

Please submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at


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Portrait of Alexander Benua by Lev Bakst (1898) - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Juno Showering Gifts on Venetia (detail) by Paolo Veronese. painting dated between 1554 and 1556 - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the  
In This Issue
Don't forget to go to the Maine Senior College Network website to find out what is happening around the state!

Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute

South Coast Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College at Belfast

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
MSCN Promotional Videos

Maine Senior Guide is a comprehensive web resource about all things senior that provides "one stop shopping" for Maine's seniors at the link below: 

Contact Information
Maine Senior College Network 
P.O. Box 9300 
Portland, Maine 04104-9300 
(207) 228-4128


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