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This article was prepared for the August 15, 2001 edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Maybe the U.S. 1 office is an oddity, but around here

most of us have no idea where, or even if, our colleagues went to

college. The subject rarely comes up at our job interviews and in

our fast-changing industry, what you learned last week is usually

more important than what you learned last year.

Given the plethora of educational opportunities for working adults,

listed in this issue beginning on page 8, U.S. 1 may not be an oddity

at all. We did an informal survey of our group and found that almost

everyone had a night school tie.

Survival Guide editor Kathy Spring, who edited the listings, had the

most compelling night school success story. Spring took a four-month

paralegal certificate course some 20 years ago when she needed to

boost her parochial school teacher’s salary. The course, at the

Institute for Paralegal Training in Philadelphia, was intense, but the

four-month commitment resulted in a three-fold boost in her salary

within one year.

Barbara Fox, senior editor, went back to school to learn a craft.

A decade or so after graduating from college (Duke, we know, from

her volunteer work interviewing high school applicants), she decided

she wanted to be a journalist. Rather than enrolling in a school,

she acquired skills through writing workshops, meetings, and seminars.

Arts editor Nicole Plett reports that, years ago, after being accepted

for a clerical job in an architect’s office, she went to the library,

checked out instructional records, and made herself into a passable

typist in a week. Later her firm was audited by the IRS, which

insisted that someone on staff learn basic accounting. Plett took the

courses, which, she says, helped her conquer her lifelong math phobia.

Community news editor Lynn Miller took an introduction to computers

class way back in 1982 that turned her into a self-described


addict." A much later course in HTML now allows her to post Web

pages for the community theater clubs and cat clubs in which she is


Brenda Fallon, accounts manager, took courses in human resources,

collections, and management throughout her years with Citibank in

New York, Africa, and Australia. "I needed them to do the job,

and I needed them to get promotions," she says of the in-house

courses. She also took a course in speed reading. It helped in getting

through business documents, she says, but isn’t something she would

want to use for the novels she reads for her book club.

Vaughan Burton, production assistant, is a fine arts graduate who

wanted to get into commercial art. He turned to an advertising


course. Charlotte Dey, also a production assistant, took a course

in PageMaker at MCCC. Out of school for several decades, she was


with "a young girl with a spiked necklace." The two of them

got along fine, Dey says.

And editor Richard K. Rein used to have a life, thanks in part to

continuing education. In 1970, just out of college and working for

Time magazine in Chicago, Rein took a night course in film criticism,

taught by a writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert. Rein


that Ebert was as engaging in the classroom as he is now in front

of the national television audience. For the kid in all of us,


can still be heroes.

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