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Program Adds To Seniors’ Wisdom But Low Turnout May Doom Scc’s Daylong Educational Conference


About 200 senior citizens showed up Monday for a daylong educational conference at Spokane Community College, but the turnout may be too small to keep the program going next year.

Organizers of the second annual spring conference had hoped to get 350 seniors enrolled at a cost of $12 each.

Those who attended took part in a series of workshops and lectures intended to help seniors live more interesting and healthy lives.

Musical performances and information booths created a fairlike atmosphere in the college’s student center, the Lair.

The event is held during spring break.

Pat Freeman, manager of the senior education program for Spokane’s community colleges, said the low turnout could force the colleges to drop the conference next year.

Money from the event was supposed to go into scholarships for seniors, but that won’t happen this year, she said.

Last year, about 300 seniors attended.

Those who came took a variety of classes, ranging from travel to fitness. Locally known authors were on hand to talk about their topics.

Paul Weis, a geologist from the region, gave a slide show and lecture on the massive ice age floods that scoured the landscape around Spokane.

“I am a perpetual student,” said LaRee Rasmussen, a retired school teacher from Spokane who holds a master’s degree she earned during her career. “I love to learn.”

Rasmussen and her husband were among about two dozen seniors at a workshop on computers.

High technology is something seniors can benefit from whether they want to browse the worldwide network or just produce a newsletter, said instructor Sharon Ferrell.

She said more and more senior citizens are taking computer classes through the colleges. “Why shouldn’t seniors be into this magic box,” she said.

Monday’s conference was an extension of the year-around schedule of low-cost classes designed by the community colleges especially for seniors.

Spokane County has about 60,000 seniors, but only about 1,000 of them take college classes, Freeman said. Those who take advantage of the offerings can learn skills and hobbies to enrich their lives, she said.

, DataTimes


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