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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,
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.
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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