Healthy Weekend Debates...

Published on: February 10, 2009

Popular Course for Senior Adults Offers Insight, Guidance, Discussion on Timely Issues
 
The Lone Star College-Montgomery Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) program is again offering its popular Third Saturday Seminar this semester, beginning Saturday, Feb. 21st, at 9:30 a.m. in room B102.
 
Participants are “empowered” by learning more about authority and local entities, and are encouraged to engage in “healthy debate” about current events and matters close to the “heart” and “checkbook,” said Curt Gibby, volunteer ALL instructor and facilitator.
 
“I haven’t changed the opening line to this course since the day I began teaching it,” said Gibby, “I start each semester with, ‘We live in interesting times,’ which we always do.”
 
Gibby, a Naval Academy Graduate, ex-Navy Seal and current technical consultant to the marine industry, said the course covers quite a gamut, and even though last semester’s hot topic--the election--is over with, that doesn’t reduce the number of interesting topics.
 
“Basically our goal is the empowerment of the individual. I’ve always felt that very few people in ‘normal life’ have an appreciation of what we really know. I think we are far too enamored with authority and far too willing to let our life be controlled by that. Our discussions center around these issues, as well as how this segment of our community can open their eyes to what is around them.”
Third Saturday is just one of several offerings from the college’s ALL, a program that provides courses, lectures and more informal activities for active, older adults, said Donna Smith-Burns, program director for ALL.

For only $35 per academic year, ALL members receive significant discounts on courses and opportunities for free courses, as well. Members have an opportunity to attend over 100 lectures, courses and seminars at no charge. For a small additional fee, members have an opportunity to take art lessons and computer classes paced for the adult student.
“There are no educational pre-requisites, only a desire to enjoy learning and continue intellectual and personal growth,” said Smith-Burns. The curriculum ranges from literature to bridge, computers to bird watching, depending on the interest of the membership.

And speaking of, there has been a great deal of interest in Gibby’s Third Saturday Seminar year after year, drawing more than 50 students each session. The course evolved from an adult religion discussion program that he started at his church in 2000 and moved to LSC-Montgomery’s ALL program a year-and-a-half later, adding a variety of topics in the process.

Gibby said he lures participants with coffee, donuts and guest speakers, but students have said the engaging discussion he offers is why they enroll in the course again and again.

“For me, it's being involved with a group of people who have varied experiences, opinions and beliefs to share with others,” said Georgann Hinton, ALL member and Third Saturday Seminar student. “It opens your eyes to ‘the other side’ of a question in many cases. It's great to sit among people who are so knowledgeable about current events and politics. We've had many great speakers over the years. I've learned something at every Third Saturday meeting...now if I could just remember it all.”
                                                    
In addition to the Third Saturday Seminars, members have an opportunity to partake of the political and community affairs lectures held during the week which include vast array of local topics such as Municipal Utility Districts and residential and homeowner association governance.

For registration information for the Academy for Lifelong Learning and the Third Saturday Seminar, call (936) 273-7259 or e-mail mcall@LoneStar.edu.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit Montgomery.LoneStar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. With more than 51,000 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. For more information, visit www.LoneStar.edu.