Mary Thoits At The Lifetime Learning Center

Mary Thoits has been teaching at the Lifetime Learning Center since 1978. At age 96, she still teaches the World and Current Events class.

Spring classes have been announced for the Senior Studies Program at the Lifetime Learning Center located at Long Beach City College.

"Our programs provide opportunities for older adults to expand their horizons and connect with others in a fun, no-pressure environment," Theresa Brunella, program director, said. "It's an opportunity to learn something new and meet other people with similar interests."

The Lifetime Learning Center made its debut in 1978 with the help of former Mayor Beverly O'Neill. At the time, she was the LBCC president and recruited educator Mary Thoits to manage the program.

Thoits managed the program until 2018, Brunella said, and at 96 years old still teaches the World Affairs and Current Events class. That class starts on Wednesday, Jan. 29, and runs until May 6.

Other classes will include Tai Chi, Drawing and Watercolor, "That's Entertainment!" from Broadway to Hollywood, Writing Your Memoirs and Horticulture. The classes will run for the entirety of the LBCC spring semester, with some classes ending in May and others in March, depending on the curriculum. 

Additionally, class structure is perfect for students who may not be interested in exams or homework, Brunella said.

"The students are not assigned homework or issued exams," she said. "Instead, the class focus emphasizes socialization and participation in the learning process."

The Learning Center is a nonprofit organization that operates as part the Long Beach City College Foundation. The program depends on donations, as well as on tuition to keep the curriculum afloat.

The cost for each class ranges from $30 to $59. To inquire about classes or signing up, email Theresa Brunella directly at tbrunella@lbcc.edu or call 562-938-3047.

Classes take place at the Lifetime Learning Center, on the Pacific Coast campus (1305 E. Pacific Coat Hwy). Parking is in parking lot 10 and parking passes are available for purchase for $5 (free with handicap placard), due with tuition.  

The learning program also is know for its day trips. This year's destinations include an Orange County museum tour, a trip to the Valley Relics Museum, Carlsbad flower fields and a comfort food tour through Los Angeles. Tour costs range from $69 to $104. Additionally, Brunella will be hosting free presentations on issues surrounding aging from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Monday until the end of the semester.

Registration will be open in room QQ-122 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and on Wednesday, Jan. 22. 

For more information, go to lbcc.edu/lifetime-learning-center.

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at sstutzman@gazettes.com.

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