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June 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 June 2023 edition of The Inside Scoop.

Meet Our New Board President:

Marilyn Marton

While many of you may know our new Board President Marilyn Marton from classes, clubs or Special Events, there’s so much more to Marilyn and her relationship with Encore Learning that we thought you should know! We asked her a few questions, enjoy her responses.

What attracted you to getting involved with Encore Learning? “A catalog of Encore Learning’s course offerings caught my attention and I’m glad I explored what was available. Classes on an array of subjects, taught by experts in their field, no papers, no tests- signed right up!”

How has Encore Learning enriched your life? “How can Global Hot Spots not enrich knowledge of what is going on in the world! Also, back in the day of in-person classes with enrollment limits, I had to develop better computer skills to ‘sign on to sign up!’ A better solution: become a Class Aide-which is fun (really!).”

What impact do you hope to make during your tenure as President?

“My major goal is to ensure that Encore Learning will continue to be a quality organization, during my tenure and beyond. I also hope we can grow members and encourage volunteers.”

Tell us more about YOU! “My volunteer work keeps me pretty busy, but in between the Sensory Garden at the Walter Reed Community Center and Arlington County’s 55+ Program, I take tap dance classes, (no Broadway, just exercise). We even put on what I call a “recital” once a year.  It’s turnaround: the kids are in the audience and their elders are tapping away…”

Marilyn begins her term as Encore Learning President on July 1, 2023. Thank you, Marilyn!

Consider Being a Class Aide!

On June 7, our dedicated Class Aides met for coffee and a semester debrief. Encore Learning relies on our amazing volunteers to make our organization the quality organization that it is!

If you’re looking to make new friends and give back to your community, being a Class Aide is a wonderful way to do just that! Email info@encorelearning.net to find out more.

Spring Semester Wrap-Up

Why do lifelong learners choose Encore Learning to learn, connect and remain engaged?

The comments from our members about the spring semester demonstrates the high quality of our courses and instructors. Here are a just a few of the rave reviews we received from the spring semester survey:

Encore Learning has been essential in keeping me going since my retirement. I learn new things, have increased purpose, and have made friends”.

“I want to keep my brain active. I truly believe that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Encore Learning provides engaging mental stimulation and offers a chance to socialize and interact with others”.

“Key to my well being…. can’t imagine retirement without it!”

“It is one way of keeping my mind keen and personally engaged, challenging me to introduce myself to new subjects”.

“Learning sustains life”.

Thank you to all the members that completed class evaluations and took the time to give us feedback on the classes, instructors and our organization.

Looking Forward to the Fall Semester

Want a sneak peak at what the Fall Semester courses have to offer? Mark your calendars for the Fall 2023 Course Preview on Thursday, September 7 at 9:30 AM. Watch your emails for details and check our website and Facebook page frequently for updates. The online catalog will be available in early August. We have 36 courses lined up with a wonderful mix of in-person and virtual classes Zoom.

Registration for the Fall 2023 semester begins on Monday, September 11 at 10:00 AM. Classes start on October 2.

Club News

Kayak Club

The Kayak Club has been out on the water since mid-April. Our paddles out of Fletcher’s enable us not only to paddle, but to enjoy nature. 

We have seen Canada Geese with their young, following in a straight line; also Merganser moms with their little parade of ducklings following, and I believe we have also seen two beautiful wood ducks. That’s in addition to the numerous cormorants and great blue herons that we have been seeing.


Not only do we paddle, but two of our members became duck rescuers when they were able to disentangle a mallard who had gotten a fishing line wrapped around his neck!!

Co-chairs are Janice Yeadon and Diana Warmann. If you would like to be placed on the email list for the Kayak Club, send an email to info@encorelearning.net

Tech Hobbyist Club

The Tech Hobbyist Club has been discussing the new developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is perfect timing, as Encore Learning is offering a new course in the fall on AI!

As an experiment, Club Coordinator Steve Shapiro asked ChatGPT to describe Encore Learning. ChatGPT is a new generative AI app that uses a large language model (LLM) to generate a text response to a prompt. It was created by OpenAI which is now partially owned by Microsoft. In less than a month, over 200 million people signed up for the free app which was released in December 2022. The same technology enables Microsoft’s “New Bing” and a similar technology is used by Google’s Bard.

Here is the response Steve received from ChatGPT:

“Encore Learning as a Continuing Education Program: Encore Learning is the name of a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Virginia, that provides lifelong learning opportunities for older adults. The organization offers a variety of classes, lectures, and other educational programs taught by volunteers who are experts in their fields. These programs cover a wide range of subjects, including history, science, arts, literature, current events, and more. Encore Learning aims to promote intellectual stimulation, personal growth, and social engagement for individuals in their retirement years.”

Travel Club

Judy Ballard presented her trip to Israel at the June Travel Club meeting, including her experience at Beit She’an (translates to House of Tranquility), one of the oldest cities in the region. Beit She’an played an important role in history because of it’s strategic location at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley. There have been many historical excavations there, with artifacts found from the Chalcolithic period and the Late Bronze Age.

The next meeting is July 21. Charlie and Claire Hallahan will present their trip to Tasmania, known for it’s unique animal life (Tasmanian Devil), penal colonies and scenery.

Travel Club meetings are on Zoom. Contact info@encorelearning.net to join the club and be notified of future meetings.

Mindfulness Club

The Encore Learning Mindfulness Club continues to meet weekly at 12:00 PM on Wednesdays by Zoom for meditation and discussion. In May, the Club had its first supper out since the pandemic, and plans to invite Club participants to future suppers. 

Because of travel plans, we have had Zoom participation from California, Florida, Tennessee, Delaware and Italy; our Zoom approach has been working well. 

For more information about this club, email info@encorelearning.net.

Our Members Out and About

sheri stroud Wins a Telly!

Our very own sheri stroud recently was awarded a bronze Telly Award in the non-broadcast documentary category for her short film about Encore Learning, which she created for our 20th anniversary.

The 44th Annual Telly Awards’ official theme was “Break Through the Static,” and this year’s entries did just that. With a record breaking number of entries it is a huge honor for sheri’s work to be recognized in this way. Participants hailed from across the globe, with submissions flowing in from the Middle East, UK and Canada among top winners.

Congratulations sheri, seen pictured left holding both the Accolade Award and the Telly Award trophies! If you have not yet seen her documentary, you can view it here

Special Events

On June 9 about thirty Encore Learning members gathered at Arlington’s Black Heritage Museum. They learned about several biracial sit-ins in Arlington in June 1960 in the Cherrydale neighborhood. Local historian Greg Embree showed his video detailing the events and answered questions. According to Mr. Embree, these and other sit-ins were key to raising President Kennedy’s awareness of the need to significantly address segregation and racial equality. If you missed this Special Event, you can watch the video prepared by Greg Embree presented by the Arlington Historical Society here.

2023 Arthur W. Gosling Scholarship Recipient

Since 2009, Encore Learning has funded a scholarship for an Arlington Public High School student seeking to attend either George Mason University or Marymount University. In 2020, the scholarship was renamed the Arthur W. Gosling Scholarship in honor of our late President. Our scholarship money is managed, along with other scholarship funds, under an agreement with the Arlington Community Foundation (ACF). 

The 2023 recipient of the Arthur W. Gosling Scholarship is Faris Megahed, a June graduate of Wakefield High School. Faris and his family came to the United States two years ago from Alexandria, Egypt, where Faris attended a school that focused on STEM subjects taught in English. Faris will attend George Mason University starting in August and plans to major in mechanical engineering.

Faris said his favorite classes at Wakefield were physics and math. He wants to be a mechanical engineer, because he likes constructing things and he admires how mechanical engineers plan and execute large projects. In his free time, Faris likes to watch engineering videos on YouTube, play soccer and video games, and hang out with his friends. He speaks both Arabic and English.

Encore Learning is pleased to join the many other scholarship donors in supporting Arlington’s public high school students. Mildred Patterson was pleased to participate in the annual Arlington Community Foundation scholarship reception on June 6 and meet Faris along with other donors and recipients. We encourage contributions from Encore Learning’s members to the Arthur Gosling Fund so that we can continue to help these inspiring young people. To donate to this fund, you may go to our Donate page.

Staff Corner

Summer is here and we are too. Staff is busy supporting Special Events and Clubs, planning the Fall Semester and bringing in new board members. Our regular hours are more limited with us working Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, but know we are very engaged in day-to-day activities throughout the year.

We want to thank the outgoing board members for their contributions during their service. These members provided countless hours of volunteer time to Encore Learning and each offered improvements to strengthen our organization.

  • Mildred Lawson – 7 years as co-Chair of the Publications Committee
  • Christine Milliken – 6 years as Chair of the Community Advisory Council
  • Kate Mattos – 2 years as Membership Committee Chair and co-Chair and 1 year as Vice President.
  • Noreen Quill – 1 year as co-Chair of Class Aides Committee
  • Anne Werner – 1 year as Chair of Volunteer Committee

We applaud you for stepping up and making us better. Each year the Nominations Committee convenes in January to identify open positions on the board of directors and seeks new candidates. Terms are from July 1 to June 30. Think about how you can contribute.

Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday and stay safe.

Lora Pollari-Welbes

Executive Director

Welcome To Our New Members

During May 2023, we welcomed new member Bobbi Smith and look forward to having her become an active participant in Encore Learning. Please introduce yourself to her if you meet her in a class, club or event.

Please remember to 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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Lifelong Learning For Those Over 50