College Classics goes old school

Emphasis on gray-haired students is the direction of Midland College’s College Classics program. According to Associate Director Brenda Cordero, the program offers classes to people over the age of 50 to create a more diverse student population.

A few of the College Classics instructors are volunteers from the community however, the majority of College Classics instructors are MC professors that enjoy volunteering their time.

Because there is not any money in the budget for the program, MC relies on their volunteers to keep the program alive.
“Without the volunteer instructors, we probably wouldn’t be able to keep this program going,” Cordero said.

Due to the fact that the instructors are all volunteers, citizens over 50 only have to pay a $25 fee to enroll in College Classics courses. According to Cordero, as many classes as a senior’s heart desires can be taken— the fee is not charged per course, and there is no limit as to how many courses can be taken in a single session.

Most of the College Classic courses are offered in the afternoon to make it more convenient for those who have a hard time driving after dark, according to Cordero. The upcoming session of College Classic courses began the week of Jan. 26 and will run until the week of Feb. 18. There is no enrollment deadline for the College Classics courses, prospective students can join any time during the session after the $25 fee has been paid.

The relatively inexpensive fee and a desire to learn are what draws people to take these courses, according to Cordero. The courses being offered this session are World’s Greatest Churches taught by community volunteer Bill Bucy, Clogging taught by volunteer Tori Baca, Hinges of History taught by Dr. Will Morris, Microsoft Word taught by Heather Sanders and More “Lights, Camera, and Action!” taught by John Deats.

Instructor Terry Gilmour also teaches a Political Geology course at Manor Park for those who want to participate in the College Classics program but cannot make it out to MC. For more information on the courses go online to

Professor Dr. Morris had been with the College Classics program since its beginning in 1989 and has not missed a session. According to Morris, he talks with his students before sessions start to see what they want to learn in that particular session.
According to Morris, he currently has around 30 people in his class and over 20 of those students have taken his College Classics courses before. Every session, Morris goes over various aspects of history and changes out the books he uses often.

When the program first started, Morris offered a history class but did not expect a large turnout. He was surprised by the fact that 17 people had signed up and at the end of the session people wanted to come back to learn more.

Throughout the years that he has taught a College Classics course, Morris has covered world history, U.S. history, Islam, Christianity and has even taught a course over the United States Presidents that lasted for almost two years.

According to Morris, the class is like a social hour for those who take it. “We take a break during the middle and have refreshments and chat and then we come back and continue the lecture,” he said.

Morris says that teaching a College Classics course is different than teaching a regular class for credit because, often times, students who are taking a class just to earn a credit only show up because they have to whereas the people who take his College Classics course attend class because they enjoy going.

Musicians entertain MC

benjamin and quartet 1

Benjamin Zander and Cassat Quartet rest between sets.

Grammy nominated Benjamin Zander gave visual representations of “The Art of Possibility” on stage at Midland College in early February.

Zander, who is the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, came to MC with the Cassatt Quartet and provided an evening of insight and entertainment.

Zander was interactive with the audience; before he started, he insisted that the first row of seats in the auditorium were filled. Zander requested that people sitting in the back row moved closer.

“People sit in the back because they’re afraid and want to hide,” Zander said.

Zander’s lecture, titled “The Art of Possibility” is based on the collaborative book written by him and Rosamund Stone Zander. At the beginning of the lecture Zander had set up two easels on the stage; each of the easels had a large pad of paper on them. On one he drew his representation of “the downward spiral,” and on the other he drew a visual representation of “possibility” or positive outlook.

According to Zander, there is never just one way to go about something— there are always multiple options. Zander refers to the exploration of these options as “The Art of Possibility.”

Throughout the evening, Zander joked around and interacted with the audience. At one point of the show he asked if anyone had a birthday coming up; a man whose birthday was the following day raised his hand and Zander brought him to the front. Zander then instructed the audience to sing him Happy Birthday. The auditorium was filled with the sound of one of the most well-known songs in the world.

Zander encourages the entire audience to sing happy birthday to a member of the audience.

Zander encourages the entire audience to sing happy birthday to a member of the audience.

“That was great but we could do it even better,” Zander said. He then instructed the audience to put emphasis on different words and add in various hand movements while singing. “Now, after tonight, you’ll never be able to sing Happy Birthday the same,” Zander joked. “You’ll think back to this night and make a decision about how you will sing.”

Zander then took the stage and sat down at the piano. He demonstrated the way that a child learning to play the piano plays throughout the years. He started off enthusiastically, putting an emphasis on every other note, then played less and less enthusiastically until the child quit piano lessons at age eleven.

This demonstration was to give the audience a humorous example of the various ways that a single song could be played on the piano. He then played a few other pieces and put impulses on various keys while playing to elaborate on the various ways a single song can be played.

Benjamin Zander plays  the piano.

Benjamin Zander plays the piano.

According to Zander, “It’s one of the characteristics of a leader that he not doubt for one moment the capacity of the people he’s leading to realize whatever he’s dreaming.” Zander asked the audience to imagine if Martin Luther King had said “I have a dream. Of course, I’m not sure they’ll be up to it.”

The Cassatt Quartet took the stage and performed towards the end of the evening. First the quartet performed a piece on their own and then Zander joined to instruct them on how they could play their piece differently.

Zander then gave them insight on what notes to put emphasis on and when to stand while playing. And although the quartet was playing the same song as before, the various emphasis’ that they put into made it sound completely different than when they played it the first time.

The last story Zander told was one he heard from a woman who survived the Holocaust.

He said the woman and her brother were separated from their parents at a very young age when they were sent to Auschwitz.

Zander recalled the girl’s words: “‘We were in the train going to Auschwitz, and I looked down and saw my brother’s shoes were missing.’ And I said, ‘Why are you so stupid, can’t you keep your things together for goodness’ sake?’”

Zander said that this was the last thing she ever said to her brother. According to Zander, the woman told him, “I walked out of Auschwitz into life and I made a vow. And the vow was, I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I ever say.”

Zander ended with saying that it would be difficult for us to live that way “but it is a possibility.”

Words that should be banned in 2015

MCP Staff Reporter Tori Aldana polled a class of ECHS students to find out what words they consider “so last year.”

  • Bae
  • YOLO
  • fleek
  • dafuq
  • swag
  • Barely
  • or nah
  • salty
  • thot
  • Bruuh
  • Bish
  • thirsty
  • twerk
  • 21, or the associated “stoopid”
  • #hashtag
  • Kobe
  • Ebola
  • Felicia
  • turnt or turn up
  • “about a week ago”

However, by general consensus of a room of 17-18 year olds, “ratchet” should be kept for 2015