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.

Next week! Fall 2019 Course Preview 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Doors open at 8:45 A.M.
Program begins at 9:15 A.M.
and ends at 12:30 P.M.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) in Ballston

Encore Learning instructors give brief presentations about their academic courses.

Open to current and prospective members. Bring friends, relatives and neighbors and your catalog!

Registration opens at 10:00 A.M. sharp on Monday, September 9.

Get to Know your Board of Directors

This month we feature Jere Cummins, our new Co-chair of the Class Aide Committee. All photos courtesy of Jere, except as noted.

1. How long have you been an Encore Learning member?
I think I started attending around 2002.
2. What made you decide to join the Board?
Ed Rader, the nominating committee chair and a friend of mine, asked me to consider being a Co-chair of the Class Aide Committee, knowing that it was about time I did something in return for Encore Learning besides being a Class Aide. Also I knew Eileen Janas, the extant Co-chair of that committee, and have enjoyed working with her.

Jere asks a question at the 2018 Community Advisory Council meeting, as Council Member Theo Stamos looks on.  Photo by Joe Furgal.
3. What is your favorite thing about Encore Learning, so far?
The opportunity to sit in the class with first rate instructors in many and diverse fields of inquiry. Also I found that most of the students in class were well informed and made class discussion interesting.
4. Where did you grow up?
Until the 11th grade I lived in Kansas City, Missouri. Then my folks moved to Denver, Colorado, where I finished high school. Then I went to college in New York City.
5. What else do you do in your spare time, when you are not volunteering for Encore Learning?
I have been active in a local Unitarian Universalist church, where I run a humanist discussion group and I also am active in an Israeli/Palestine peace and justice study/action group at that church. I am active in a play reading group that meets once a month. Of course, I do a lot of reading and attend plays.
6. What's your favorite food?
I like practically any type of food. After my first wife died and I had kids to raise, I learned to cook. Later after I remarried, I did the cooking for both of us and enjoyed it. We traveled abroad and experimented with different cuisines. I guess French cooking is my favorite and I am partial to seafood.
7. Share a favorite book, poem, or piece of music.
Although I am not a theist and books on science, history, math, and philosophy crowd my bookshelves, I have always enjoyed the King James version of the Bible from a literary point of view. (Interestingly two renowned "New Atheists" - Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens -have expressed the same like.)

8. Who is your hero?
Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein are tied for first place because they bucked the establishment in their fields.
9. Where is your favorite place in the world to be?
The Washington, D.C. area is where I have lived after law school and post-grad work in New York City. I have always liked this area because it is where the action is. For recreation and relaxing it would be Silver Lakes Trout Club high up in in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. That is where I generally spent summers as a child and youth. Also, I just returned from visiting Grand Cayman Island (see picture) with several of my children and grandchildren. This is where much of my first wife's family was from and where many of her relatives still live. It is a beautiful place with one of the best beaches in the world (Seven-mile Beach).

10. What is one thing you'd like our members to know about you?
I somehow outlived two wonderful wives and have been further blessed with six children and step-children, a dozen grandchildren and step- grandchildren, and five great grandchildren and step great grandchildren.

You can learn about Jere's work history on our Board of Directors webpage.

News and Photos

Member/Volunteer Michelle Trahan coordinated a tour of the Animals in Japanese Art exhibit on August 8, 2019. Michelle writes, " 20 plus members joined National Gallery of Art Educator, Nathalie Ryan, who led us on a fascinating tour of the role animals play in Japanese art. There were 300+ works of art in the exhibit- some never having been to the US."

Thanks to Michelle Trahan for coordinating the tour and sharing her photos. Thanks also to member Clarita Mrena for sharing her photos.

Photo by Michelle Trahan.

Photo by Michelle Trahan.

Photo by Clarita Mrena.

Photo by Clarita Mrena.

As part of our ongoing "Encore Learning Presents" series, on August 12, 2019 we had a special sneak preview of Ken Burns series Country Music. Community Advisory Council Chair Chris Milliken was on hand, as was Council Member Olivia Wong, Director, Public Relations, WETA. Kris McLaughlin, our Special Events Committee Chair, was there as well, wearing two hats - Kris is also our Encore Learning liaison for WETA.

Left to right: Kris McLaughlin, Olivia Wong, Chris Milliken.
Photo courtesy Chris Milliken.

On August 13, 2019 Michelle Trahan coordinated a tour of the NSA's  National Cryptologic Museum. She shared the photo below of some of members getting a close up look at the German Enigma machine.

Check out our news story: Celebrating Women's Equality Day and the 19th Amendment More photos from the event were posted by our friends at Arlington Public Library on Twitter: 

How Do We Keep Our Prices So Low?

Members frequently comment that Encore Learning is "a bargain", especially compared to other lifelong learning programs. We work hard to keep our prices affordable while bringing quality courses, clubs and special events to our community. Here's how:

- generous donations of time and talents by our instructors

- generous donations of time and talents by our volunteers

efficient and skilled professional staffing (currently four part-time employees)

- partnerships with George Mason University, Arlington Public Schools and Arlington County resulting in no cost classroom space and affordable office office

We're committed to our low-cost, inclusive approach. Your commitment to volunteering with us makes all the difference. THANK YOU and keep up the good work, volunteers!

Staff Corner

Staffing update: New Position with a Familiar Face

I've been working with our executive team on workload re-balancing. With the support of our Board of Directors, we have created an additional part-time staff position, Academic Course Coordinator. The Course Coordinator will be responsible for scheduling and coordinating the courses each semester, working primarily with instructors, and our Academic Programs and Class Aide Committees. This will enable me to focus on organizational management, membership development and sustainability.

We're thrilled to announce that our former administrator, Donna Banks, has accepted this position, and started working with us again on August 26, 2019. Donna brings her extensive experience with Encore Learning to this new role that will dedicate resources to our primary mission. She is away for the Course Preview but is very much looking forward to working here again in this new capacity.

Members should continue to direct all questions to our current administrator, Patty Rowland.

Staff from left to right: Patty Rowland, Donna Banks, Lora Pollari-Welbes, Beth Dowd. Thanks to our photographer, Tom Adams.

Regular office hours return next week, beginning Tuesday, September 3, 2019. The office is open Monday through Friday  from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., except holidays. Details are listed 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 send an email to

-- Lora Pollari-Welbes, 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 lectures and films are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us. Details can always be found in our list of upcoming  Special Events.

Share on social media. 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 July  2019, the following new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome.

Roseann Bindner
Judith Collins
Judith Dickie
Tracy Hopkins
Margo Horner
Eileen Jinks
Susan Rieth
Pamela Silberstein
Lisa Sokol
Sandra Sterne
Gina Trapp
Valerie White

And a huge THANK YOU to the following members for referring friends and family:

Lisa Cosgrove-Davies
Sandy Heistad
Carol Mullen
Julie Rosenberg
Lynne Smaldone
Paul White

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.

Don't Want to Wait for the Next Edition of The Inside Scoop?


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: .

Teach, Learn, Share, Grow, Explore with Others 50+