College offers courses that create lifelong learners

Green River Community College’s Prime Time program for mature learners 55 years old and older will be offering a great opportunity to learn about the current chemistry of the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court.

Approximately six students participated in Green River Community College’s Prime Time tour of the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island Friday. The day included a 2 1/2-hour guided tour of the reserve as well as lunch and a tour of a nearby winery and wine tasting.

Green River Community College’s Prime Time program for mature learners 55 years old and older will be offering a great opportunity to learn about the current chemistry of the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court.

The course, “Judging the Supreme Court,” will be taught by Richard Elfers, popular Prime Time instructor, retired Sumner School District teacher and Enumclaw City Council member. Elfers will answer questions such as: What is the new replacement for Supreme Court Justice Souter going to be like and can President Obama get whoever ends up being his nominee through a very contentious Senate? Participants will get to think about what kind of person they would choose if they had the power and what would they like the make-up of the court to be? Participants will explore these questions and others relating to one of the most important domestic decisions any president can make.

“The classes I teach are highly interactive,” Elfers said. “The students are highly educated and many are well traveled. Several students have brought me articles from different sources and shared them with the class.”

Elfers said, as an introduction, he’s done brainstorming to find out what students know about the discussion topic and he is often surprised at the depth of their understanding of the issues. He enjoys the question and answer interaction and has been pleased with the comfort level created between he and his students.

“I’m not threatened by differing ways of looking at an issue,” he said. “My goal is to encourage thought and discussion, not just provide answers, because the topics we deal with in the classes are very complex and multifaceted.”

He’s also not afraid to offer students a different point of view.

“I look at the issue from several perspectives to make students aware that there are many facets to the topic,” he said. “This often creates comments and questions.”

Elfers said for his courses he tries to find topics that are making headlines and that he himself has questions about and can research. He also quizzes students to see what interests them and then confers with Sherrie Earl with GRCC’s Continuing Education, who also works with Prime Time members, to go over student survey responses.

“I teach these Prime Time classes for the pure joy of human interaction,” Elfers said. “I’m not doing it for the money because the amount of time I spend preparing far outweighs the stipend I’m paid. It’s just plain fun for me to dig to understand the real motives and the underlying back story and then to share my research and reflections with my students.”

Elfers’ course on the Supreme Court will be offered at the GRCC Enumclaw Campus, 1414 Griffin Ave., from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 25 and Aug. 27. The cost is $29 for Prime Time members and $45 for non-members.

Another unique course Elfers has developed is 21st Century Pirates. Students will learn about the recent attempted hijackings of ships near Somalia, Nigeria and other areas that have been making headline news. The course will explain the reasons for the new phenomenon where the stakes are high and the profits are immense. Participants will learn about these hijackings and why pirates are trying to board and rob ocean liners and freighters, and how the United States and other seafaring nations of the world are dealing with it.

This course will be offered from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 10, Aug. 12, Aug. 17 and Aug. 19 at the Auburn Station, 110 2nd St., S.W. The cost is $39 for Prime Time members and $65 for non-members.

The Prime Time program offers short, noncredit classes and tours based on Prime Time members’ input and interests. Other Prime Time opportunities offered this summer are a tour to Mount Rainier’s Paradise Aug. 6 and an Introduction to Comparative Religion from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. beginning Thursday at GRCC’s Auburn campus.

Prime Time’s annual membership fees are $75 for individuals and $125 for couples and entitle members to approximately 40 to 50 percent discount on all Prime Time classes as well as other benefits such as membership socials and free GRCC library access.

For more information about registering for a class or Prime Time membership, contact Continuing Education at 253-833-9111 ext. 2535 or register and pay online at www.greenriver.edu/ce.

To comment on this story, view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

More in Life

Library’s art and writing contest returns to Pierce County | Pierce County Library System

Pierce County teens are encouraged to express themselves through writing, painting, drawing and more for the annual Our Own Expressions competition, hosted by the Pierce County Library System.

‘School of Awake’ offers advice to adolescent girls

Twinkle, twinkle. For as long as you can remember, you’ve known how… Continue reading

Mental health first aid training in Enumclaw | The Summit

Friday, January 19 at 7 p.m., Dr. Michelle Bengtson will kick off the mental health-themed weekend by speaking on Hope for Depression: The World’s Greatest Epidemic. Dr. Bengtson is the author of the award winning “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression.”

Print 3-D creations at Pierce County Library System

Bring a ready-to-print file and watch the magic of 3-D printing bring the file to life at Pierce County Library System’s 3-D Print Shop. The free print shop sessions are offered January through March at Pierce County Libraries, giving people the opportunity to use the 3-D printers to create items, get quick design lessons, and learn the 3-D printing process.

The past is the past, a review of ‘Robicheaux’

You don’t want to talk about it. You’ve been through rough times,… Continue reading

What would MLK do? A review on ‘Dear Martin’

What if your entire future was mapped out for you? All you’d… Continue reading

Santa Patrol ready to roll in Enumclaw, Buckley

With the holiday season in full swing, fire departments are preparing for their annual Santa Patrols that spread cheer throughout Enumclaw and Buckley.

Blaine Larsen returns home for Dec. 2 concert

Blaine Larsen doesn’t perform much these days, instead spending his waking hours pursuing a higher calling.

Get your fill of winter activities on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier’s landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation in winter.

Enumclaw, Buckley busy during the holidays

What’s going on during the holiday season on the Plateau? Here’s a list of activities you and your family may enjoy!

Bonney Lake, Sumner gear up for holiday festivities

Plateau holiday festivities are right around the corner.

Giving Trees help kids with Christmas

Nexus Youth And Families Enumclaw is asking local residents to help a child in need this Christmas by participating in the organization’s Giving Tree program.