Set to begin March 18, the Community Education Program will offer more than 100 classes to choose from for those learning to expand their knowledge or learn a new skill.
Registration for the spring session of the St. Charles Parish Public Schools-led program runs through March 1. Program coordinator Jayne Tate, who has seen the program evolve and grow over the 20 years she’s been a part of it, said there will be more classes held at the Lafon Performing Arts Center than for the fall session, and that the relatively new venue represented a prime opportunity for the addition of new classes, including several art courses including watercolor and acrylic painting, as well as new musical offerings like piano.
“It’s just a wonderful place to have these classes because you have educational wings and additional space to work with,” Tate said. “I get excited about it because this is near and dear to me. We have classes for ages three and up … we’ve had some 97 year olds taking the classes. You’re never too young or too old to learn.”
The idea behind the program is to ensure lifelong learning opportunities for people of all ages, including community members and those living outside of it.
Among the courses offered are guitar, ceramics, wreath making, musical theatre and fitness, line dance, East and West Coast Swing, photography classes and creative writing for adults. Someone can begin learning to speak French in one room, while learning to cook Cajun cuisine or Italian cookies in another. There are exercise classes as well as those dealing with finances.
Those with pets might enjoy puppy and dog obedience classes. Musical theatre is a popular course Tate counts among the program’s unique offerings, while another is beekeeping.
Though the program is based in St. Charles Parish, it is in no way limited to only its residents.
“We get asked all the time if it’s only for St. Charles, and it’s absolutely not,” Tate said. “It’s a service to our community but also to everyone who may want to take the classes. And we’ve seen a big increase in registration, so we’re very excited.”
The teachers for the courses also come from all over.
“We have them coming from Belle Chasse, Lockport … it’s amazing. You do get paid for teaching the classes, so if anyone has a hobby they want to share, we love to bring in newcomers to our team,” she said.
To register for classes, one may visit https://www.stcharles.k12.la.us/communityed and fill out a registration form, which can be e-mailed, faxed, mailed or delivered in person to the School Board office. For more information call the Community Education office at 985-785-7268.