2018-01-25 / Senior Savvy

Circle of Scholars Comes Around Again

By Florence Archambault


Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 87 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history. Florence Archambault, of Newport, is 87 years young and well-known for her community volunteerism and teaching and writing family history. School winter vacations are over and students are back in classes. Winter vacation is also over for the Newport Circle of Scholars, and what is calling some seniors back to the classroom is the recently released catalog of seminars being offered by the organization housed at the Edward King House Senior Center.

The group has been operating out of the King House for more than three years now, and if you are a member of the Senior Center then you are automatically a member of the Circle of Scholars and eligible to avail yourself of the many and varied opportunities they offer to help you enrich your life.

The Newport Circle of Scholars is a nonprofit volunteer organization that was created to provide lifelong learning programs for citizens 50 years of age and older. Its programs are focused on both scholarly and general interest. They offer such subjects as history, science, international events, health, and the arts. Its programs and instructor recruitment efforts are facilitated and coordinated by a Curriculum Committee and the external relations and policies are guided by a Board of Directors.

Sessions run from one week to as long as eight weeks. The instructors are knowledgeable and experienced in the fields that they teach. Subjects run from “Where Do We Go When We Die?” to the ever popular “Current International Affairs in Review.” If you are interested in literature, then Dr. Eileen Warburton’s “Classic Lit Redux” is for you. This session the focus is on George Orwell’s “1984.” Previous books have included “The Great Gatsby” and “The Age of Innocence.” Last semester, it was “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which turned out to be very thought provoking. This is one class I always take. It’s not only Interesting and informative but leads the reader to a better understanding of the book and its author.

“Current International Affairs in Review” runs for eight weeks. The majority of the courses run six weeks. You can research your family tree, learn breathing techniques that can help with any anxieties, fears or stress you may be experiencing. If you want to solve some of the mysteries surrounding the workings of your computer, then sign up for “Computer Demystification,” which runs for two sessions.

Those interested in photography may want to join Jan Armor, a local photographer, who is offering a three-session course entitled,

“Great Photographers You Need To Know.” Six-week courses include “Stephen King – The Many Sides of Genius” and one that analyzes Billy Joel’s song, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and its 118 rapid-fire allusions to the major images, events, and personalities of the years from 1949 to 1989, the year the song was released.

Another course invites the participants into the world of writer and director M.Knight Shyamaian, who has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock. Six of his films will be shown (one each week) and then discussed following their viewing. Another film course, “Science Fiction Film Journey”, will also offer six science fiction films and then explore how science fiction might help us deal with the challenges we may face in the future. Who knows, maybe someday we will have contact with aliens?

Music courses include “Bel Canto – Rossini’s ‘Semiramide,’” which will explore the characteristics of “bel canto” singing and the differences and similarities between its composers, Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti. “Welcome to Heartbreak Hotel – An Elvis Fantasy!” sounds very interesting. Attendees are invited to a party with an impressive guest list, hosted by Elvis Presley, giving them an opportunity to meet the royalty of Rock and Roll and listen to their music.

The Newport Circle of Scholars has certainly come up with an impressive array of offerings that truly exemplify that old cliché, “something for everyone.” They are to be commended for curating such a diverse curriculum.

If you don’t have a copy of the catalog, you can access one by going to www.edwardkinghouse.org/ the-newport-circle-of-scholars. If you are a member of the Center, you should have received one in the mail, or you can pick up one at the King House. Registration is in progress. Don’t delay in signing up, as classes fill rapidly and there are class size limits.

Numerous studies have proven that seniors who exercise their minds have a better chance at maintaining their well-being as they age. Here is a chance to prove those studies right. We’re never too old to learn something new, and the Newport Circle of Scholars offers us this opportunity.

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