First Posted: 5/22/2014
As I am writing this on a May afternoon, the apple trees have (profusely) bloomed and now the petals are drifting through the air along with the rain in this major downpour of the month. An azalea I received on a Mother’s Day 20 years ago burst into bloom overnight, and lilacs still in the bud yesterday are full plumes of fragrance and color today.
And just like that, before you realize it, another semester of the Abington Area Community Classroom has come and gone. And, of course, it’s time to start planning for the fall.
The AACC committee met two weeks ago to discuss the past year and generate ideas for next fall and spring. Classes were in general smaller in the spring, but only a few were canceled due to low enrollment.
Our instructors are a very understanding group, and often teach even when the numbers are not what we hoped they would be. What a wonderful bunch of individuals. Only with them have we been able to form this community-based continuing education program. We can’t say enough good things about them.
Several instructors have come back time and time again. Beth Koehler, basket maker, is one. She has quite a following and we can predict her classes will be full and small. Eight to a class makes for a great learning experience with plenty of individual instruction.
Pia Mazzarella has been our instructor in both Spanish and Italian from the very beginning. Her classes have been a bulwark of our program, as have the ballroom dances Jill and Gehred Wetzel teach during a five-week series each semester. Their continued loyalty warms our hearts, and helps us to maintain a level of excellence in our programming that is hard to beat.
Our cooking classes enroll only 10. Sarah Trauger from State Street Grill, who has taught several semesters, “loves to teach here,” she said. This spring, she presented appetizers as diverse as ahi tuna sashimi rolls, steamed shrimp dumplings and avocado deviled eggs.
MaryAnn Nichols, former owner of Atlantic Fish and Fabulous Foods, seeks out local chefs to share their expertise with the community. The classes are always fun; it’s dinner out, plus you go home with the recipes and the know-how to recreate the tasty recipes in your own kitchen.
We would like to acknowledge all our instructors for what they do to keep us going; some encourage us by being there and coming back; having new ideas for us, suggesting other instructors. The same goes for our students. A “thanks” and a “wonderful thing you are doing” goes a long way to keep us going in this venture. Scheduling and running classes is a lot of work for many hands, but it is rewarding to see people come out and enjoy each other and what they are learning. And that’s why we do what we do.
Setting the curriculum each semester poses some challenges, of course. We want to present a variety of learning experiences; we want people to get excited by what we offer. To this end, we encourage the community to provide us with feedback both with our evaluations at the end of class, but also through our website, or by mail or phone calls. We want to know what you are thinking. We can continue to be successful only if we are responding to the community’ needs and wants.
Let us hear from you!
Emily Rancier AACC