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November/December 2023 Newsletter

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Please enjoy this issue and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you. This is the November/December 2023 edition of The Inside Scoop.

Fall 2023 Semester Highlights

The Fall Semester will wrap up on December 17. Our members have enjoyed a variety of classes in all sorts of subjects. We appreciate that the instructors offer such a variety of formats. For example, Dr. Janet Auten teaches a virtual class with significant student participation. Marty Suydam takes our learners for walks in South Arlington. Dr. Iska Alter offers stimulating insights and engages students. Dr. Tyler Anbinder shared his deep knowledge of immigrant history both in-person and virtually as one of our hybrid classes. We know there is class format that is for you, watch for the Spring 2024 online catalog in early January.

Photo of Walks with Charley class, led by Marty Suydam

Dr. Stephen Ruth’s course – Artificial Intelligence: Blessing or Curse? has generated a lot of interest with our members.

There are equal number of students in the classroom as participating from home with Dr. Tyler Anbinder’s course – Immigrants Who Made America, 1845 – 1865.

Dr. Janet Auten encouraged discussion in her course American Women Writing Short Fiction –which she referred to as her Thursday morning reading circle.

Give the gift of learning this holiday season

The best thing about Encore Learning is our members! Give a friend an Encore Learning “gift membership” this holiday season. That would be a warm, Encore Learning welcome for the coming year. 

Checkout our webpage for details:


In addition to giving a membership you can gift a class to an Encore Learning member. Contact the office to pre-purchase a credit to their account and that will be applied to their course registration.

Alternatively, if you know someone now who seems interested in joining or know someone recently retiring, take a moment to explain to them what you find rewarding about Encore Learning. Then, let them know how to join. Joining is easy; all they have to do is visit our website and click on “join.” If they have questions about the process, they can email the staff at info@encorelearning.net.

Special Events

Arlington’s Public Art

Encore Learning Presents brought Angela Adams to you on October 30 to share about Arlington’s Public Art over the past forty years. If you missed the presentation you can find it on our youtube channel. Several participants expressed interest in walking tours of public art. You can find tour maps of Arlington public art here. Click here for a map of the Permanent Collection.

If you are interested in organizing a self-guided tour of the public art, please reach out to the Special Events Committee by sending an email to info@encorelearning.net.

Holiday Tour at Tudor Place in Georgetown

The Special Events Committee is pleased to offer a holiday tour at Tudor Place in Georgetown on December 19. Last year this holiday tour was in great demand with our members. Space is limited and there is a fee of $10. Please add your name to the waitlist if the tour is full – there are always some cancellations.

Visit our Events page on our website to see what other exciting events we have planned. We look forward to seeing you online or in person soon!

Club News

Please email the Encore Learning office if you are interested in joining any of our clubs or would like more information. You can also visit our Clubs page on our website.

Travel Club

In the Travel Club meeting of November 17, 2023, Marty Suydam presented some recent travel experiences that framed a discussion about Medical Problems and Travel. Participants were encouraged to share some of their relevant experiences and knowledge. A lively discussion ensued for the rest of the meeting. It was felt that a few meetings each year might include similar discussions on topics of importance and interest by members, perhaps one meeting per quarter. In order to poll member interest and suggested topics, we will be sending out a survey in December to gather input and formulate a schedule.


The next Travel Club meeting will be on January 19, 2024 at 3:30 PM. The topic will be a trip to Tanzania by Charlie Hallahan.


The Travel Club is looking for volunteers to serve as back-up Zoom co-hosts in the event Charlie Hallahan or Marty Suydam are not available. The club is also seeking presenters for 2024 meetings. Please contact Charlie through the office if you’d like more information or to volunteer.

-Charlie Hallahan and Marty Suydam

Nonfiction Book Club

The Encore Learning Nonfiction Book Club will meet on January 8 in the Arlington Central Library at 1:30 PM to discuss Lessons from the Edge, written by the former Ambassador to Ukraine (and Global Hot Spots speaker in Spring 2023), Marie Yovanovitch. Come join us to discuss this “brilliant, engaging, and inspiring memoir from one of America’s wisest and most courageous diplomats—essential reading for current policymakers, aspiring public servants, and anyone who cares about America’s role in the world.” (Madeleine Albright). -Ed Rader

Chamber Music Club

Got the new year blahs?

Chase those blues away by heading out for mid-day chamber music concerts at St. George’s Church, 915 North Oakland Street, adjacent to the Virginia Square Metro.

On Friday, January 5, the program will include works by Spohr, Borodin and Debussy; on Friday, January 12, works by Beethoven, Heggie, Barber, Ginastera and Piazzola. Concerts start at noon.

These FREE, one-hour chamber music concerts, sponsored by the Friday Morning Music Club (https://fmmc.org/) feature concert level musicians.

Whether you’re a chamber music aficionado or new to the genre, join us for these delightful performances. We welcome newcomers. To join the club, meaning you will receive one email with the programs for the coming month and a reminder the day before the concerts, email info@encorelearning.net.

-Rhoda Ritzenberg

Kayak Club

Sadly the kayak season is now over and our club members will have to wait until 2024 to get back on the water. We had a very successful season, which ran from April to October this year. We were very fortunate to have good (though hot) weather on most days, and since it’s always cooler on the water the heat didn’t prevent us from getting out on the water. We saw some wonderful wildlife – great blue herons, cormorants, Canada Geese, Mallard’s, turtles and even eagles. Two of our members even rescued a duck from netting that was wrapped around him/her!!  Several times from spring into summer we watched a female common merganser duck and her brood on the water as they grew from babies to larger juveniles. What fun.

Each week we had a good number of people joining us, and some of us went out for lunch afterwards, so we had an opportunity to get to know each other better. As always the staff at Fletcher’s Boathouse are great about helping us in and out of the kayaks.


Looking forward to next season – only 5 months away!! – Janice Yeadon

New Board Member Profile: Jane Nagy

We are pleased to welcome Encore Learning member Jane Nagy to our Board of Directors as Chair of the Volunteer Committee. Jane kindly shared a biography piece to help us get to know her a little better.

As a fairly new member of the Arlington community, I joined Encore Learning almost two years ago so I could meet like-minded people. As I’ve moved many, many times, I know that getting involved is the best way to make friends, so I volunteered to be a class aide. In fact, I volunteered to assist in several classes, which was such fun! I was invited to join the Encore Learning board in a new capacity, as Volunteer Coordinator, which I am greatly looking forward to, both as a way to continue to meet people, and as a way to give back to such a great organization.

I have always been an active learner. From growing up in West Texas, I moved to DC after marriage, graduating from Georgetown University while working full-time as a graphic artist for a DC lobby group. Then, as a foreign service spouse, I was a librarian and a music teacher in various international schools, and an administrative assistant in other embassy settings, and led many international spouses’ organizations, all of which involved interacting with people who speak languages other than English. At one posting, I led a very large group, which involved speaking in English, then in French, and watching other members then translate that into Spanish, Arabic, and other languages. I was fascinated with this process, which actually led to completing my M.A. degree from Texas Tech University, in Second Language Acquisition. In the process, I also took classes there to formalize the street French I had picked up all over West Africa.

In my current spare time, I’ve enjoyed completing the Smithsonian’s World Art History Certificate, as I love art but am not an artist. I am also working on Hungarian with Duolingo (almost 300 consecutive days, so far!), as my Hungarian-born husband and I visit Budapest every year. I enjoy visiting all the museums this area has to offer, and just continuing to learn, every way I can. It is a great time for traveling and seeing new countries. I love cooking and eating and trying new cuisines; my favorite food is usually my next meal!

I suppose my CV would also confirm that I am a professional volunteer, always looking for solutions to challenges, while also looking for ways to help others find a way to contribute their talents – and we all do have talents.

Having moved almost 30 times over the past 50 years, I suppose I am an expert at that activity, too, although it isn’t one of my favorites. I’m delighted to be in Arlington, have NO plans to move from here, and look forward to meeting each of you. See you in class! -Jane Nagy

Were You a Peace Corps Volunteer?

Encore Learning is creating a course about the Peace Corps for our Spring term of 2024. 

We plan to tell the story of the Peace Corps through the experiences of volunteers and staff. We hope to include a sampling of the 143 countries where volunteers have served and the varieties of their volunteer work over the past 61 years.

If you, a family member, or a person or group you know of, would be a good presenter for this course, please contact the office at info@encorelearning.net.

Tell the committee what makes you or this person‘s Peace Corps experience interesting. A member of the Peace Corps Committee will contact you and/or your recommendation.

Our committee members are Robin Gordon, Janice Jorgensen, Margaret Neuse, Steve Spangler, and Steve Telkins.

Make a Gift That Matters and Save on Your Taxes

With the year-end approaching, some of you may be doing some tax planning and there are three ways to support Encore Learning and your other favorite charities while lowering your tax liability.

  1. Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA makes your donation 100% tax deductible even if you don’t itemize.
  2. Appreciated securities (eg. stocks) will avoid paying capital gains tax and also increase your itemizable deductions
  3. A grant from your donor-advised fund which has been funded from appreciated assets.

For more details, please visit this page for helpful info about end-of-year giving. You can bookmark it for later too!

Notice of Bylaws Change

This serves as official notice that the Encore Learning Bylaws are being revised and subject to approval of the Board of Directors at its January 17, 2024 meeting. The Bylaws changes are highlighted in yellow in the linked document below for easy review.

The Bylaws with revisions highlighted may be found here.

The current Bylaws may be found here.

Members may notify the Board of Directors if they reject these changes.

Joan Carter


Staff Corner

We find ourselves in the time of gratitude as we are between holidays and winding down the semester. We are also so excited for the Spring 2024 Semester. Watch for the catalog online and a flier in your mailbox in early January.

We enjoyed meeting several new members at our November New Member Coffee. If you missed this one, we will have another one in April.

You probably received hundreds of emails around Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We try to keep our messages timely and relevant without cluttering your inbox. That does not mean we have not been thinking about you!

Thank you for being an integral part of the Encore Learning. We wish you an enjoyable holiday and fabulous new year.

Lora Pollari-Welbes

Executive Director

Important Date Reminders

  • The office is closed December 18-January 1 for holiday break.
  • The Spring 2024 Course Preview is February 1 at 9:30 AM.
  • The Spring 2024 Registration date is February 5 at 10:00 AM.
  • The Spring 2024 Semester begins March 4.

Welcome To Our New Members

During October and November 2023, we welcomed the following new members: Nicholas Fagnoni, Mary Harris, Anne Ramsey, David Sellers, and Mary Warneka.

Thank you to Cynthia Fagnoni and Ann Kaupp for referring friends who became members of Encore Learning! Spread the word and please refer friends and family to Encore Learning. If you’d like to bring Encore Learning into your community (residential building or neighborhood) to share information about membership, let us know.

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 to support our sustainability or to the Arthur W. Gosling Youth Scholarship Fund. If you wish to designate a charitable gift in someone’s honor or memory, please email us indicating how the gift should be recognized. If you would like to discuss tax benefits of charitable giving and charitable remainder trusts, please view our Donate page or contact the office.

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 us at info@encorelearning.net.

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