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Adult Learning: Still Booming

This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on January 6, 1999.

Beginning with 20 classes in 1939, the Princeton Adult

School has been nourishing this community’s thirst for knowledge for

some 60 years. As the spring term gets underway, an eclectic mix of

more than 100 classes has brought the school’s annual enrollment over

the 3,500 mark — its largest ever. Adult School classes will fill

all the classrooms at Princeton High School, and at some additional

community locations, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, beginning Tuesday,

February 2.

Offerings this year range from ancient art and classical music to

old-time radio drama, the return of the 12-week Second Chance movie

series, selected and introduced by Bill Lockwood, to courses on financial

planning. Registration by mail is already in progress and in-person

registration is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, from 7 to 9 p.m.

at the Princeton High School cafeteria. Mail registration forms are

found in the back of the school catalog, with extra copies available

at public libraries.

Among the Adult School’s secrets for success are courses that change

with the times — influenced by changing technology, fashion, and

the gestalt — and the generous participation of its teachers,

all professionals in their respective fields, many of whom are nationally

noted authorities. Drawing on faculty from both Princeton and Rutgers

universities, the Adult School has boasted such luminaries as Neil

Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, novelist Joyce Carol Oates,

and historian James McPherson.

Spring semester highlights include concert pianist Robert Taub, who

presents another of his popular lectures from the keyboard, and five

eminent Princeton University scientists addressing major transitions

in biology, cutting-edge information tailored for a lay audience.

A group of notable historians are featured in this year’s seven-week

Anne B. Shepherd Lecture Series. Titled "Revolution!", the

course examines the political and social contexts of seven revolutions,

from Cromwell in England and America’s revolution of 1776, to the

Russian, Cuban, and Iranian revolutions of this century. There are

two new courses designed to help those making career changes, and

some returning favorites include an introduction to computing, Hatha

yoga, ballroom dancing, and automotive repair.

"Every year we aim for the proverbial `something for everybody,’"

says Nancy Beck, president of the adult school, "and I think we’re

closer than ever. We have 21 new courses. We’re really excited about

the nine-week series offered at the Rare Books and Special Collections

Department of Firestone Library in which students can see and touch

such treasures as a Shakespeare folio, and our course on the ancient

Egyptians that includes a trip to the Brooklyn Museum. `The Practical

Gardener’ comes right on time for people thinking about spring planting.

And, of course, we continue to offer our very popular foreign language

programs, and our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL),

as well as our studio arts classes, and five different financial planning


The diverse course listing for the upcoming semester includes 27 language

courses, 14 lecture courses, 16 studio arts workshops, 16 recreation

and fitness activities, and 14 courses addressing business and professional

needs. Subjects range from professional-level classes, such as Case

Studies from the Harvard Business School, to courses tailored to individual

needs like T’ai Chi and beginning piano for adults.

"We are especially pleased with the public’s response to the adult

school," says Beck. "Enrollment has recently been so strong

that there are always several courses that are filled before in-person

registration night by those who register by mail. We always have to

turn people away from popular classes with space limitations —

courses like wine appreciation, some of the studio courses, and ballroom


"Register early" is the school motto that never changes.

Princeton Adult School, Princeton High School Cafeteria,

accessible from Walnut Street, 609-683-1101. In person registration

for all spring classes, including English as a Second Language for

which in-person registration is required. Tuesday, January 12,

7 to 9 p.m.

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