May 26, 2018
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Go back to school with Senior College classes

Senior Beat
by Carol Higgins Taylor
Eastern Area Agency on Aging

Boy, summer went by fast. The kids are back to school. I see them every morning on my way to work, sporting shiny new backpacks waiting for the bus. School can be fun but full of stress, what with tests, homework and peer pressure.

Taking a course at the Penobscot Valley Senior College gives you all the joy of learning without that added stress because PVSC is all about personal growth and fulfillment. In fact, their motto is “Learning for the fun of it.”

There are no entrance exams and no academic requirements, and no test at the end of the course. The only actual requirement is that you are 50 or older.

Affiliated with the University of Maine Center on Aging and the Maine Senior College Network, PVSC is one of more than a dozen senior colleges scattered throughout the state.

The annual membership fee is $25 per individual and $40 for two people living at the same address. Membership affords many benefits, such as advanced notice of courses, invitations to free one-day programs, a free annual meeting luncheon with a guest speaker and the ability to enroll in other senior colleges’ classes. Sticker shock is inevitable when looking at taking a class these days but PVSC courses are about $30 each. Bargains like that are rare.

For the first time, the fall semester offers classes on several different days and times beginning Sept. 24 and ending Nov. 1 at a variety of locations with most classes running about two hours.

So just what will your $30 per course tuition get you? The brochure can answer that question fully, but here is a sampling of some of the options:

• Bacteria, Viruses, Flu and the Immune System with Dee Virtue. Summer was great albeit short lived. And now we get ready because winter’s cold and flu season will be upon us all too soon. Why do we get sick sometimes while other times we don’t? How do vaccines protect us? Are all bacteria and viruses troublemakers? And what does the “Happy Birthday” song have to do with any of this? You’ll find the answers to these and other questions in this class, which also will address how we can help our immune system protect us.

• Earth, Moon, Mars and Beyond with Jennifer Therrien. Join the staff at Challenger Learning Center of Maine for an exciting six-week exploration through space. You’ll be introduced to the way astronauts live and work in space, highlighting the work of Maine’s astronaut, Chris Cassidy, ISS Expedition 35/36 March to September 2013. The course will be held in Challenger’s unique Maine facility, which features simulators of mission control, a spacecraft and an orbiting space lab.

• Home Gardening with Charles L. Boothby. I am so proud every time I look at my flowering bushes. And so sad when I see my frail little raspberry bushes, which produced in total, one raspberry. This class sounds like the one for me. It will cover the basics of soils, soil amendments, times to plant, equipment, mulching, organic vs. conventional gardening, admissible organic pesticides and trouble-shooting, with guest speakers at some of the classes.

• King Arthur with Paul Bauschatz. Stories about King Arthur are some of the most popular sources for Western literature. This class will focus on Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur,” the first comprehensive retelling of these stories in English. In addition to reading the text, the class will focus on related versions of the stories, both earlier and later into our own time.

This is brief sampling of the offerings from PVSC but there are so many more of interest. For more information on senior college and the classes offered, go to or To leave a message by phone, call 992-0180.

And don’t forget your backpack.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, or go to

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