Classes that can change your life

Michelle Stuckey
August 27, 2010 at 9:09 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The belly dancing class is one of the most popular, and highly-rated classes each year.
Ann Taylor
The belly dancing class is one of the most popular, and highly-rated classes each year.
For more than 30 years, St. Charles Parish Schools has offered community education classes to further teaching and learning after high school and beyond.

But what started out as a modest one-page list of classes now has more than 200 classes each semester and thousands of participants.

“A lot of people don’t realize it, but it fits so nicely into the School Board’s mission statement,” said Patrick O’Malley, administrator of ancillary services for the schools. “If we want to instill in our students to become productive citizens and lifelong learners, community education speaks volumes to that.”

This year, there are plenty of new classes but community favorites also return.

Edible Enterprises is offering some new and exciting cooking classes for the first time.

The company helps entrepreneurs get their businesses going, and now one of their success stories will teach the community cooking class.

Dana DeLatte, founder of, started her career cooking with Edible Enterprises.

“She started out here making cakes, then she started her new company, so we try to promote her,” said Gaye Sandoz, the marketing and production director of Edible Enterprises. “We try to help out small businesses and we wanted to get our center more involved with the community, so we thought giving culinary classes would be a great way to do that.”

DeLatte will be teaching classes on tamale rolling, Cajun meat pies and desserts at the center.

“Instead of going to an ethnic restaurant, you can learn how to cook great ethnic food at home,” Sandoz said.

Another new class to the line-up this year discusses Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Debbie Bourgeois became a certified AD/HD parent-to-parent teacher after she learned that she and her son both have the disorder. After going through extensive training and skill-building, she has helped her son get through 10 years of school on the honor roll without any need for medication.

“I wanted to share the successes I’ve had with my son with other parents and encourage them from the perspective of someone who truly understands,” Bourgeois said.

She said that many people may have AD/HD or have a child with the disorder and not even know it. The class will help parents and teachers discover warning signs and how to deal with a diagnosis.

Each meeting will include professional guest speakers and will cover a different area of the disorder, from assessment and interventions to educational rights and teen challenges.
Another new class that could help people is “Alive at 25,” a defensive driving course for those ages 15-25.

“That could certainly save a life or it could save several lives,” O’Malley said. “It’s presented by the National Safety Council and they issue you a certificate that may equate to a discount on insurance, so sometimes these classes can be an investment.”

Back this year are crowd favorites: belly dancing, fitness boot camp, party panting and job planning.

O’Malley said that belly dancing is always one of the most popular and highly-rated classes each year.

A lot of parishioners also sign up for fitness classes because they are offered at a wide variety of locations.
And with the tough economy, O’Malley said that job planning classes, such as “Resumes that work” and “Developing an effective job search campaign,” are more important than ever.

The deadline to sign up for community education classes is Tuesday, August 31. Registration forms can be found in the fall community education brochure online at or at the St. Charles Parish Schools office, 13855 River Road in Luling. Senior citizens and public school employees are given a 10 percent discount on class prices. No class registrations will be accepted after the deadline.

Besides signing up to take classes, O’Malley said that the schools are always looking for more community education instructors.

“A lot of times people who are doing what they love find that they could make money at it by teaching others,” he said.

He said he encourages people from the community to suggest new classes that cater to their interests each year and apply to be a teacher.

Those interested in teaching can call (985)785-7268 or look for the application form on page 59 of this fall’s community education brochure.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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