By Lucy Kline
Written for Senior Life, September, 2006
When we started school back around 5 years old, most of our generation
figured to have completed our education in 13 years. College wasn’t
necessarily something most considered an important thing (unless you
were headed for a profession) back in the 40s. Many dropped out before
High School was completed, some having to support families. For those
who did go on to college, okay another 4 years or more depending on
the field – but then formal education usually came to an end.
Times have changed. Now almost everyone considers some manner of continuing
education after High School. Some go for formal education, others take
various courses in technical fields, many learn from specialized groups
studying a subject, etc. I think it’s safe to say that most of
today’s seniors have kept their minds active with some sort of
Our community has a lot to offer along those lines. There are those
consummate learners who never stop learning. I must point out a very
special individual I have met; a man in his 80’s who is not only
still attending formal classes at the college level, but also teaching.
Ever since graduating from wherever he attended as a young man, he has
continued to take courses, often auditing them through the Brevard campus
of UCF and his fields of interest are so wide spread that there seems
to be no end to the courses he signs up for. While doing this, he is
also teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to about 8 different
students in private lessons.
So what is the impetus that keeps men and women like this gentleman,
constantly attending classes? Certainly he has enough knowledge to last
a life time. What does he gain? In speaking with him I get the impression
it is done for the joy of learning and the side benefits are keeping
him young, keeping his mind active, keeping him constantly dealing with
all kinds of people and he just doesn’t contemplate stopping.
Those seniors, who want to stay mentally young and active, have many
opportunities. If finance is no problem, the various campuses of Brevard
Community College offer courses in many different fields of endeavor.
However you don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn. Both
the Brevard campus of University of Central Florida and Florida Institute
of Technology allow seniors to “audit” courses. That means
that you don’t pay tuition and you don’t get credits. If
you are attending just for interest, you don’t need credits. There
are classes given in different subjects at local libraries, some no
cost, some low cost.
The Shepherd’s Center is another organization that offers continuous
classes in many subjects, each course running once a week for about
8 weeks. My special favorite, with which I’ve been involved for
many years, is Brevard ElderLearning co-sponsored by Brevard Community
College and Elderhostel. For those who know about Elderhostel let me
say I refer to this as “the poor man’s Elderhostel.”
You don’t go away, you attend day programs in the County at various
locations and the programs you choose to attend are usually low cost
($6). The new Fall Semester starts in October and programs this year
include Alternative Energy for Autos; Big Band Era; How Local Governments
Work; India-History/Culture/Music & More; and an out of town trip.
For a current brochure, call 636-3484. So keep your mind alert, stay
young mentally and consider continuing your education in some manner.