The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to our eleventh edition of 
The Inside Scoop , our electronic 
newsletter  f or members only. 
Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share 
your  f eedback by emailing 

Get to know your Board of Directors

We're fortunate to have so many dedicated members serving on our  Board of Directors. This month, we asked the Co-Chairs of our Class Aide  Committee, Eileen Janas and Gail Massot, to tell us a little about themselves.

From Eileen:

Encore Learning became part of my life in 2011. A friend who retired a few years ahead of me had been constantly enticing me with tales of lifelong learning classes, so I couldn't wait to join. We have such a great variety of courses. I can peruse long term interests, and discover new interests by dabbling in unfamiliar topics.
For a few years I got all of the benefits without doing any of the work - until at last I got the final qualification needed to be a class aide - internet access at home. And when I finally started being a class aide, I learned how much our organization depends on volunteers - and how nicely it treats us with those great Mason parking vouchers! I helped compile class aide folders a couple of times, and agreed to recruit class aides, and all of a sudden I was a Co-Chair and a Board Member. I really like the Class Aide Committee. Gail Massot and I share the responsibilities and can each do the parts we like best. There are two big activity spikes--a busy period in September and a busy period in February when we recruit and train class aides--and then the rest of the year has very moderate time commitments.
I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and went to college at Marquette University in Milwaukee. My dad got transferred to Atlanta when I was a freshman, and I still remember my first trip to my new home at Thanksgiving - leaving behind a foot of snow and enjoying 70° in the sunny south. The trip made me realize there really were places where winter was mostly confined to January, which led to a couple years in Atlanta, a library science degree at Emory University, and a reference librarian job with the government in Washington, DC. Cherry blossoms and blue-crabs were unique attractions and Arlington became home - and a perfect location for family and friends to visit on the DC tour circuit.
Someone told me that my number one responsibility as a retiree is to stay healthy, and I feel very fortunate that the area has so many ways to do that. I live in walking distance of Thomas Jefferson Community Center and go to a M, W, F senior exercise class that combines stretching, strength training, and aerobics. One of my class mates just turned 100 so it seems to work! A half a dozen times a year I am a back-up substitute teacher for one of the senior classes. I'm a fair weather swimmer so enjoy Upton Hill pool during the summer. Thirty minutes of laps and a book in the shade are a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
My first volunteer activity as a retiree was in the Energy Masters Program, sponsored by Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE.) We changed lightbulbs to energy efficient models, caulked leaky windows and doors, vacuumed refrigerator coils, changed shower heads to water saving models, and taught people about phantom power drains from electronic devices. It got me interested in energy conservation in my own home, which lead to insulation improvements, which lead to solar panels. Thanks to the ACE Solar Co-op I have a 1.75 kW grid-tied system that produces about 2000 kWh of electricity per year, which just gave me my first net zero year. I pay more attention to the weather than I used to--and I'm always glad when Encore Learning offers an energy-related course.
One of the things I love most about retirement is that I get to use my best energy for things I really want to do. Whether it's taking a long walk, or reading a book, or lunching with friends, or attending a Carnegie lecture on dinosaurs, I can enjoy the activity knowing that there is still time for the "must do's" of life. I'm so grateful for the mental stimulation and social connections that Encore Learning provides and glad to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

From Gail:
Photo courtesy Gail Massot.

In The King and I, Anna sings "As a teacher, I've been learning...", so it was only natural that, shortly after retiring from a career in education, I would join this wonderful group of life-long learners that is Encore Learning. What is truly astounding is that this group of over 950 members runs almost entirely on volunteer power, with three outstanding paid part-time administrative staff. Every semester we have 30 to 35 courses taught by volunteer instructors, each supported by two class aides to smooth the way for them as well as for the class members. If this sounds like a pitch for you to step up and volunteer this fall, it certainly is! We will need 60 to 70 volunteer class aides to come to training and help out with these interesting classes. Eileen and I are looking forward to meeting and working with you.

So let me introduce myself. I was born a long time ago yesterday in the exotic land of the Bronx. At that time, it was home to many immigrant and first generation groups. Oak barrels filled with pickles, olives and sauerkraut lined the Jerome Avenue sidewalk in front of the deli, and in the sultry summer those pungent odors permeated the thick air and invited you inside for Russian delights, smoked carp and sturgeon, borscht and halvah. Passing by the Chinese laundry, you could catch the whiff of warm starch fresh off the hot pressing table; and, in the park where old men played checkers and chess, you could hear the lively conversations in accents of Yiddish, Irish, Italian, Chinese and Polish. Our "cell phone" then was hollering out the window to catch friends passing by for a game of stickball on the side street, or skelly on the corner.

Later on, we moved to New Rochelle with little farms and 'fresh air.' Whether it was the history of the founding of that city or quizzing my older brother on French vocabulary for school, I became enamored of French. So it was not surprising that it became my major at the University of Wisconsin.

And then... I moved to France where I no longer had the career I had envisioned as a French teacher. But life is funny that way. Sometimes, you wind up doing something you never imagined. When I was a child, my art teacher always walked by my desk and looked the other way, but then, as an adult, with a large dose of encouragement from a friend, I began to explore crafts and the arts, and worked at it every day. I lived in southwest France, near the Pyrenees and Spain, in Pau, the town where Henri IV was born, cradled in a tortoise shell and rubbed down with garlic to keep him healthy. Music was in the streets and the bistros, shops were full of artisanal pottery, paintings and sculptures.

Photo courtesy Gail Massot.

Six years later, I moved up north to the Fontainebleau Forest with my family and opened my own little gallery in Moret-sur-Loing, a charming town where Alfred Sisley and Pisarro painted, not far from Barbizon and the outdoor realist painters. I was doing water colors and silk painting then, panels and scarves, and later branched out to the fashion trade shows in Paris. It sounds romantic, but it was also lots of hard work and lots of fun.

When later on I returned to the States, to Washington and then Arlington, my initial calling re-emerged. I was privileged to teach French at Georgetown Day School for thirty years, and along the way to continue learning and traveling with the help of a number of National Endowment of the Humanities grants, Fulbright Summer Seminars for Teachers and other grant opportunities. If you have young relatives in the teaching profession, encourage them to apply for these grants. They will not only enrich their own cultural understanding and broaden their perspectives, but also give greater depth and spark to their teaching.

So, "as a teacher, I've been learning..." And thanks to Encore Learning, that is what I continue to do, while I also volunteer tutor and pick up my pencils to draw, as well. Now, I'm looking forward to "getting to know you" at our volunteer class aide training session this fall!!

Name Badges - Wear them with Pride!

Name badges are being sent out over the next week via USPS. Once you receive it, we ask that you wear it to all Encore Learning activities. Why name badges, you ask? We are bringing back this practice at the request of many of our members.  Here are a few of the main reasons:
  • A name badge personalizes you and invites conversation. It fosters the kind of friendly interaction that many appreciate about Encore Learning.
  • It is easy to forget names. Name badges provide a quick at-a-glance name recall for the next time you meet.
  • Name badges easily identify Encore Learning members in classroom venues, at special events, or when trying to locate your fellow members at a new location.
Special thanks to our dedicated volunteers who pulled everything together - no small feat for 975 members!

Sharon Bisdee  
Kathie Burch
Joan Carter
Pat Chatten
Nancy DeMarco
Pat Dubois
Millie Duffy
Doug First
Holly Hunsberger
Carolyn Lathey
Ellen Marcus
Barbara Sakamoto
Steve Spangler
Flo Tanabe

Here are some photos of the badge crew, taken during a break in the action:

Barbara Sakamoto, Joan Carter,  Millie Duffy and Flo Tanabe

Ellen Marcus, Doug First, Kathie Burch, Carolyn Lathey, Pat Chatten, Holly Hunsberger, Nancy Demarco, Pat Dubois 

More News and Photos

Ambassador Thomas Pickering speaks to our
Global Hot Spots class on April 5, 2018.

Staff Corner

We are sad to announce that Molly Geary is leaving her position as Administrator of Encore Learning effective April 20. For three years, her voice was a cheery sound on the other end of the line for members. We know you will want to wish her well at her new job but please allow her to complete some vital transition tasks before she leaves us! Cards are always welcome. 

We're in yet another new space on the third floor of the Syphax Center. The ongoing construction makes things a little chaotic at times so always call ahead for an appointment. All of our  contact information remains unchanged.

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  "Meet the Speaker" 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
  • Check the calendar on our website for our office hours.
Welcome New Members

In March 2018, 15  new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome. 

Laura Barbano
Peggy Burke
Douglas MacMillan
Bonnie Mangan
Marjorie Messiter
Raymond Omphroy
Eulene Orr
Deborah Perkins-Gough
Ken Perkins-Gough
Max Scruggs
Sharon Swinburne
Lynn Veronneau
Helen Wu
Jae Shin Yang
David Zalkind

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

Ken Avis
Kay Brown
Michele Downey
Adrienne Eng
Grace Holden
Nancy Neuman
Dwight Rodgers
Kathryn Scruggs

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: .
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