Partnerships between Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy, Pierian Spring Academy and Adult & Community Enrichment or ACE helps students find classes.
For many adults interested in enrichment education, a lot of time has passed since they’ve navigated a course catalog.
Students can be overwhelmed with the registration process for various adult-education programs in the community.
To remove obstacles for adults who want to enroll in classes and sample the curricula before committing to registration, the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy, Pierian Spring Academy and Adult and Community Enrichment (ACE) — each of which offers not-for-credit courses — have formed the SunCoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning.
Through the partnership, the organizations have built a central website, suncoastlifelonglearning.org, and database to make registration easier for students.
“This is really an easy way to find opportunities for students,” said Galina Jordan, ACE volunteer coordinator. “Now, we have to make more partnerships to increase our database and offerings for students.”
On Friday, more than 100 students enjoyed a sampling of classes offered by all three groups during the second Lifelong Learning Showcase at Suncoast Technical College.
Sample classes ranged from traditional computer classes to Zentangle — a meditative process in which students put pencil to paper to draw patterns offered through ACE.
Robert de Warren, an international ballet director and instructor at Ringling Lifelong Learning Academy, discussed his experience with the Iranian Ballet, and Miles Williams, who teaches at the Pierian Spring Academy, gave a lecture on “The European Union and the Refugee Crisis.”
Prospective student Bill Wolfe got a taste of a cooking course offered by ACE instructor Robin Rosen. Three months ago, when Wolfe and his wife relocated to Sarasota, they had adult education in mind.
“In addition to the beautiful beaches and weather, I wanted the arts and adult education,” Wolfe said. “They have a wide range of classes here, and this is a taste of what they’re offering.”
While Rosen whipped up a butternut squash apple soup with a salad, Wolfe took notes.
Wolfe was surprised by how much he enjoyed the salad of kale and Brussels sprouts with a maple poppy seed dressing. Along with cooking, Wolfe sampled classes on topics like history, arts and even magic tricks.
“Because of the taste that I got, I’m going to sign up for things I’ve never done before,” Wolfe said.