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Learning for a Lifetime at Kent State Geauga
On the Wednesday after finals week and commencement, you would think all would be quieting down at Kent State University’s Geauga Campus. That was not the case; in fact, the campus in partnership with the Department on Aging, hosted a special event for senior citizens in Geauga County.
The program, named Learning for a Lifetime made its debut in 2008 and has been a popular yearly event that gives seniors the chance to go back to college, where they enjoy being students for a day.
Geauga County Senior Centers offer many activities and events throughout the year. Last year, for various reasons, the planning deadline was missed and the program was not offered. According to this year’s event coordinator Natalie Dolezal with Department on Aging, many seniors asked for the program to return, and that was evident in the record setting number of 130 registrations.
Seniors enjoyed a continental breakfast and were also served lunch. They had six class choices in three sessions offered at 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. –a total of 18 different courses. The selection of classes covered a wide spectrum of interests from history, technology, theatre, and self-interest classes. All presenters were volunteers from Geauga County and the surrounding area.
Two of Kent’s most regarded faculty members, Dr. Molly Sergi and Dr. Judy Paternite, not only presented a class in each session but have played a role in the planning committee for many years.
Dr. Sergi’s history classes were record breaking and had to be scheduled in the large Clark Commons area to accommodate everyone. “It's great to talk with many of the returning seniors. So many people are willing to share their own personal stories. Quite a few told me they had relatives (uncles and grandfathers) who fought in WWI.” Sergi stated. “I can’t wait to do this again.”
Dr. Paternite taught classes on cell phone capabilities and digital cameras. “People are always interested in learning and enjoy sharing their own experiences. I’m already planning next year’s adventure.” Paternite stated.
Sandy McLeod, who supervises all of the sites for the Geauga Department on Aging said, “Keeping your mind and body active is critical to getting the most out of life at any age. As people age, however, this connection becomes even more important. This event continues to grow, and the feedback from this year’s event was wonderful. Pursuing education isn’t just for young people. In fact, continuing to learn has its benefits for the senior community as well: it keeps minds more stimulated, bodies more active, and spirits more fulfilled.”