By Nan and David Robinson

The following was taken from “QUEST: A History and Celebration,” a publication prepared in honor of QUEST’s 10th Anniversary. The QUEST program is affiliated with the Center for Worker Education in New York City. The article is reprinted here with permission.

During QUEST’s first ten years, 385 courses have been given. Although some course titles remained the same (e.g., Artists and Their Work), very few lectures have been repeated. A total of 143 members acted as coordinators, and many of them gave more than fifteen courses during the decade. A rather arbitrary classification reveals that in this period there have been:

• 89 courses involving class performance, including Collage, Life Drawing, Foreign Language Conversation, Memoir Writing, Poet’s Workshop and Singing Out;

• 75 courses in the arts, including Broadway Musicals, Current Films, Shakespeare, Opera, and Artists and their Work;

• 71 courses involving the social sciences and current events, including The Supreme Court, Foreign Policy, Point of View, Business and Society, and Cultural Anthropology;

• 64 courses in literature, including the Aeneid, Ulysses, King Lear, and Greek Drama;

• 51 courses in history, including Biography, Joan of Arc, The 1920s, The 1950s, The American West, and Tudor England;

• 17 courses in the sciences, including Linguistics, Mathematical Recreation, and The Electronics World;

• 13 courses in the humanities, including Plato, Aristotle, and Ethical Dilemmas; and

• 5 multi-disciplinary courses, including QUEST Showcase and Variety Pack.

Since its founding, QUEST bylaws have provided for the rotation of officers and Council members. In addition to the officers, a hardy band of more than 10 members have given substantial time to manning the office, making copies of schedules, answering telephone inquiries, and preparing mailings to members. QUEST has also benefited over these 10 years by having a staff member assigned by the Center for Worker Education to man the front desk.

During the last five years, QUEST has averaged about 115 members, despite the loss of some devoted original members. The Membership and Publicity Committees have worked hard to inform potential new members about QUEST, and to make them feel welcome if they come to visit. Since early in its founding, QUEST has happily sponsored QNews (which keeps members up to date) and the QReview, an annual publication of stories, poems, and artwork by our members.

Of course, the heart of QUEST is its curriculum. The Curriculum Committee develops and approves courses, working hard to ensure that there are a variety of courses and coordinators. Outside lecturers have shared outstanding insights and histories on B Week Wednesdays.

While regular courses are not offered during June and July, QUEST members get a summer “reprise” of the year’s greatest hits. While we still rely on members who have offered courses ever since our fist year, we have added many new members to our coordinator list. For the last several years, lucky members with Email addresses have gotten a list of the next week’s courses, topics and lecturers.

Every QUEST member – whether a Council member, Committee member, Coordinator, lecturer, or simply a class participant – has contributed to the success of our first decade. WE have kept our minds active, taught and learned. We have enjoyed and benefited from each other’s company. Let us collectively celebrate our next decade: 2006 – 2016!!!




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