Kaitlyn Coogan

Equinox Staff


As students made their way around campus on Friday, so did 220 elderly of the Monadnock Region. Cheshire Academy of Lifelong Learning (CALL) program opened their fall semester classes on Friday.

Before the CALL program, there was a similar program at Keene State College called Elderhostel. It started in five different colleges in 1975 and KSC was one of them. The program ran during the summer when people, ages 55 and above, could take classes and stay on campus in the dorms. After a couple of years, the organization members realized that the program was growing more popular and many participants did not enjoy staying in the dorms because they were used to better living situations. That is when CALL was initiated, a program where people 55 and above could take classes on campus during the regular school year as well as live in the comfort of their homes. Many of the colleges that hosted the Elderhostel program now have a form of the CALL program at their school.

Students of the CALL program can take a range of courses from American Art, Common Bridge Conventions, Yoga for the Young at Heart, Town Histories of the Monadnock Region, China’s Relationship with the U.S, Middle East Studies, Energy Policy, Baseball II, Cancer Cell Biology, and much more. Classes are no credit, which means no homework, no tests, and no grades. Classes are also 80 minutes long and are only on Fridays. This semester began Sept. 16 and will continue until Nov. 4. Registration costs the students $65 with a $40 mandatory annual membership fee. This membership fee provides the students with benefits beyond the classroom lectures. Members receive a picture ID card that gives them access to the library, discounts on Arts Center events and KSC merchandise, pool time, the ability to purchase aerobics and walking track gym memberships, as well as $6.50 dining meals in the Dining Center.

“For me, as I’m getting older, it’s nice to see people staying active, both physically and mentally,” Heather Jasmin, program coordinator, said. Jasmin has been running this event for five to six years and says it is always a big turnout. She explained that all the classes are very popular. The most popular are Common Bridge Conventions, Town Histories of the Monadnock Region, China’s Relationship with the U.S, and Middle East Studies. These classes usually have around 100 students in them and there are 60 enrolled so far. “I think it will go well. It’s off to a good start. We have a lot of classes filled up so I think it will go great,” she said.

Participant Harold White started class on Friday taking Energy Policy, Political Economy of Corporate Governance, and Understanding the Natural World; he found them intriguing and interesting. “This is probably my fifth or sixth year and I look forward to it with great anticipation; I’m sad when it’s over,” he said.

Robert Baker, continuing education, worked with Jasmin to get the program together. “It’s grown quite a bit since Heather has taken over and there is a wide variety of courses we offer,” he said. This program is a model for Institutes for Learning and Retirement and it is self-sustaining. “I just hope that it continues to provide a lively and intellectual society for senior citizens, creating a community of learners which strengthens the social economic community,” he said. Most of the participants are college graduates and want to continue their learning while the other few did not get a chance to go to college and can now fulfill that part of their lives. Most of the teachers are retired and volunteered to come back and teach with the CALL program. Teachers such as Margaret Kasschau cannot get enough of school, “I love teaching; I do it for the fun of it.” Kasschau teaches the Cancer Cell Biology course and continues to be amazed daily with new things she finds out about cancer cells even though she has been teaching for 35 years. Don Gillif teaches the course Civil War of a New Hampshire Private, which is based off a book from one private. The book details his struggles and triumphs in the Civil War. “It’s a slightly different class and I mostly want to see if it works as teaching of the class and to see if it’s a good way to see the Civil War,” he said. Both Kasschau and Gillif taught with the CALL program before.


Kaitlyn Coogan can be contacted at kcoogan@ksc.mailcruiser.com.



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