The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to  The Inside Scoop , our electronic  newsletter for  members only.
Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share your feedback  by email. We always look forward to hearing from you.

Get to Know Your Board of Directors

We asked Kris McLaughlin, our Special Events Committee Chair, to tell us a little about herself and her work on our behalf. Kris writes:

Kris's Long and Winding Road to Encore Learning
In 2010, I retired after a 35-year career in corporate communications with companies such as General Dynamics, General Electric and IBM. I did strategic communications for internal and external audiences (planning, implementing, evaluating), change management, and executive coaching.
The talks at the library, advertised in the  Sun Gazette, caught my attention. A friend Merle Decker, who retired a month earlier than I did, joined me at lecture after lecture. At some point I noticed a course catalog and decided to learn more about the organization.

Kris McLaughlin (left) with librarians Genelle Schuler  and Sarah Campany works on her "Maker" project during our jointly sponsored program "The Maker Movement Explained: Hands-on Demonstration of 21st Century Arts" in November 2017. Photo provided by Barbara Spangler.

I joined and took Karl van Newkirk's course: The History of Arlington. Joan Bertrand was the primary class aide, and I was secondary. She told me about committees and other internal workings in the organization.
Then, I spoke with Marjorie Varner. We met coincidentally at a George Mason event, and I asked about becoming involved (in addition to being a class aide). She introduced me via email to  Earle Young , who ran special events.  Helen Esserian coached me, offering much-needed guidance when I was a newbie.
After Earle stepped down, I agreed to chair the committee. Current members -  Andrea Vojtko, Bill Peters, Dave Tate, George Hobart, Helen Esserian, Joanne Jones, Louise Kenny, Michelle Trahan,  and  Priscilla Becker  - offer you about three or four special events each month. We coordinate with Barbara Spangler , who leads the Academic Programs Committee that offers your fall and spring courses.
We welcome tour venue/exhibition and library program suggestions. Your ideas help make special events happen. Please share them by emailing the office.
In addition to serving as the Special Events Committee Chair for Encore Learning, I volunteer for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including serving as Social Justice Media Relations advisor for Arlington's Unitarian Church; Community Relations liaison for Bowen McCauley Dance; and past president of Arlington Gay & Lesbian Alliance. I am a member of WETA's Community Advisory Council.
I co-chair the Arlington County Democratic Committee's kitchen crew (mission: help elect Democratic nominees to represent Arlingtonians by providing food for candidate and committee fundraisers). I have worked on campaigns for a dozen Democratic candidates in Arlington.
I continue my volunteer work with Encore Learning because it's fun to see people learning at library lectures and socializing on fascinating tours in our area. And our Special Events Committee members have fun while volunteering time for other members. You are welcome to join by contacting the Encore Learning office.

News and Photos

Looking forward to her Encore Learning Presents lecture on January 14, 2019, author Elise Bean donated  her book,  Financial Exposure: Carl Levin's Senate Investigations into Finance and Tax Abuse to Arlington County Public Library. You might want to get on the hold list now.

Librarian Michelle Fernandez (L) gratefully accepts Author  Elise   Bean 's donation of her book at Arlington's Central Library. Photo courtesy Michelle Fernandez.

Exploring Earth and Space on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Tour

Encore Learning members touring NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in November. Photo courtesy of volunteer event coordinator David Tate.

Instructor Celebrates Milestone Birthday by Teaching Course

Instructor John Barclay Burns 
  teaching his Jesus to God course 
on the occasion of his 75th birthday
Photo by Marilyn Marton.

Membership Committee Holiday Party

The Membership Committee gathered for their annual holiday party at Co-Chair Carol Cochran's home. Also included were President Art Gosling, former President John Sprott and Executive Director Marjorie Varner. Art offered his sincere thanks to the committee for all their work this year. Huzzah!

Anne Werner Pat Chatten Priscilla Becker
Anne Werner joins Pat Chatten and Priscilla Becker in admiring the holiday decor. 
Photo by Marjorie Varner.

Kathy LaPier Carol Cochran Ron Wise John Sprott
Co-Chair and Host Carol Cochran taking beverage orders as Co-Chair  Kathy LaPier waits her turn and  Ron Wise chats with John Sprott. Photo by Marjorie Varner.

John Sprott Priscilla Becker Ed Rader
John Sprott and Priscilla Becker listen as Ed Rader delivers the punch line. 
Photo by Marjorie Varner.

Committee members not pictured:  Ann Wolfe Margie Teed,  Marjorie Hobart,  Paula Kaufman ,  and   Ron Wise .

Staff Corner

If you missed the news, we have a video on our website which addresses options for hearing better in class by using your personal smart phone. You may wish to test out one of them over the holidays before classes begin again in March. Thanks again to Marty Suydam, our IT co-Chair and video whiz!

Inclement weather reminder: Now that winter is upon us, don't forget to check for potential closings in bad weather. We have all the inclement weather contact information in one handy place for you on our website. Also, you can now sign up as a guest to receive text message emergency alerts from Mason at

We staff the office Monday-Friday from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M, excluding posted holidays which can be found on our calendar . Please contact us ahead of time if you require a face to face meeting.  To reach us, call 703-228-2144 or  email.

The office will be closed from December 24 through January 4. We will reopen on Monday, January 7, 2019.

Happy New Year!

2019 Happy New Year  2019 Photo by NordWood Themes Fireworks Photo by Jim Strasma on Unsplash
2019 photo by NordWood Themes, fireworks photo by Jim Strasma:  both on Unsplash

-- Marjorie Varner, Executive Director

Connecting Friends with Encore Learning

We're often referred to as the "best kept secret in Arlington." New members join mostly because they hear about Encore Learning from a friend.  When joining online, new members may enter a "Referred by" name. We look forward to thanking you here in the newsletter - see below.

Bring friends to our  "Encore Learning Presents" series at Arlington Central Library. These events are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us.

Anyone can do it! When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts and events to your social network, it's a huge help.

Like us on Facebook

  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email us.
  • Check our calendar for Special Events, Club meetings, and office holiday closures.
Welcome New Members

In November 2018, the following new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome.

Joan Blake
Jane Comings
Anne Depenbrock
John Depenbrock
Mary Doherty
Paula Ruszkiewicz
Allan Willey
Sadi Yarti

And Thank You to the following members for referring friends and family:

Vera Libeau
Susan Monteverde

Please email the office with any corrections.

Photos, Photos, Photos...

We all love looking at them and it seems we can never get enough here in the office. Please share your photos of Encore Learning activities with us. The higher the resolution of the photo, the better (1 MB or higher). Shots taken on your mobile phone are great! Just email them to us and if we use your photos, we will make sure to acknowledge you as the photographer. We can't use thumbnails, though, so please check your photo size settings prior to emailing.

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Donations are Always Welcome

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our  General Fund  or to our  Arlington Youth Scholarship .

We hope you enjoyed this edition of  The Inside Scoop . If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email Beth Dowd: .
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