Extended learning has something for every interest

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

My first contact with extended learning, or, community education, as it is sometimes known, was in the art center in Sewickley, Pa., not far from where I was working in Ohio. The subject was the carving of a hunting decoy, in this case a Canada goose, and I had, I believe, 11 students in the class.

The project was quite lengthy. At the conclusion, each person had completed a wood sculpture that was not simply a decorative decoy but the “real thing.”

In that part of the world, waterfowl and waterfowling are much more common. I learned in my classes that the students who produced the best work tended to be women who were creating a gift of love for some male in their lives — a husband, a father, a brother or son — and took the requisite time to do an excellent job. Of course, most of those gifts were never to be hunted over — who would risk that?

Since then I have frequently participated in community education instruction. I spoke with Geralyn Million, Extended Learning Special Programs coordinator at Eastern New Mexico University, about the variety of courses that will be offered this summer. Summer term begins, by the way, on June 5 and runs through July 28.

One of the most ambitious and successful pieces is Kids’ College, which runs for all eight weeks, though children may sign up for any portion of that time. The cost is $60 per week, for an 8-5 day, including swimming, art, computer, physical recreation and, of course, lunch. Kids are grouped in three-year increments, from ages 5 to 13.

Several fitness courses will be offered, including Pilates (taught by Joseph Sanders) and yoga (led by Lisa Moyer.) These courses are in the evening, and offered back to back, with just enough time between for a “refueling stop.” I would not recommend fast food, however, with such a healthy plan for the evening.

Hey, you could even prepare your own healthy dinner between classes — provided, of course, you took one or more of the cooking classes Extended Learning is offering this summer. The one that caught my attention most had nothing to do with dinner, but involved appetizers. Adam Baca is offering a class on appetizers, where one can make smoked salmon crepes, spicy shrimp tapas and stir-fried green beans in tortilla wraps. Adam is also teaching two other gourmet cooking classes.

Where might one sit while preparing these kitchen creations? Well, you probably won’t have it finished in time for the cooking class, but you can make your own chair from white pine, in the chairmaking class taught by this columnist. This is a simple farm kitchen chair that will fit any decor. Other creative courses being offered in Geralyn’s program are landscape design and decorative painting.

In a totally different vein, you can improve your business skills by learning Microsoft Outlook, or take “Real Estate Weekend.” In the past, and probably again in the future, business professionals could work on their bilingual skills by enrolling in “Conversational Spanish,” though that course breaks for the summer.

Only have an evening free? Take a one-night class in the art of napkin folding. Increase your understanding of the basics of Buddhism, the latter course taught by Rhomylly Forbes.

Why extended learning? Because there is something for everyone. Because it is fun and creative. Because nobody is giving you a grade. Because, in the favorite words of Mrs. Million, “Live to learn and you will learn to live.”

A contact number for registration is 562-2165.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: