By Benjamin Joe
Have an itch to try something new? Maybe something like dance, finance, cooking and health and fitness? How about spiritual awareness? If so, the answer may be found in the Niagara-Wheatfield School District’s community education programs.
Starting this January, classes from the low cost or free – like “Family Tax Planning” and “Practice SAT and ACT Exams” – to more intense classes like the “All-Pro 4 Hour SAT Boot Camp” and the so-necessary “Driver’s Ed: All-In-One Package” class; the programs are an array of options to challenge the brain and the body are being offered.
“We’re planning on running morning workouts three times a week from 6-7:15 a.m.,” wrote in Sean O’Brien, swim coach at Niagara-Wheatfield, describing the new “Masters Swim Program.” “It’s aimed at former competitive swimmers, triathletes or fitness swimmers. We’ll also have a lane for people who just want to swim laps.”
As swim coach, O’Brien will also be offering a lifeguard class in the spring, a new edition to the course roster.
Kristen Brolinski, owner of Spice Harbor, is also bringing her cooking expertise to Niagara-Wheatfield this year after teaching with the Lewiston-Porter Community Education program for seven years.
“(There’s an) intro to spices and herbs and how you use them for cooking and for medicinal purposes,” she said. “I’ll teach you what spices are good for your body and ways you can use them that way. Turmeric is good for joints (for instance).”
“Some are good for dementia, there’s some that stave off cancer, and some are good to stave off arthritis.”
Brolinski said students will follow recipes in class, and have something to take home, as well.
“We give them a whole set, a set for there and a set to take home included in our class,” she said. “Believe it or not, my mom would cook meals for date night for my dad and she complained about the prices of spices. So, he said, ‘Let’s do something about it!’ … I’m second generation and my son is third generation (in the spice business).”
Sara Taylor will be teaching “Computer & Internet Safety” and technology based classes this spring. This year Microsoft is ending its support of Windows 7, so these classes will focus on security, choosing a new computer and understanding online advertising.
If you just can’t wait for spring, Lisa Lariccia is offering “Yoga Stretch” and “Jazz Dance” classes for the winter months. On the website, “Jazz Dance” is described as a fun way to burn calories, increase flexibility, strengthen muscles and improve muscle tone for your entire body. There’s also great music.
For those looking out for their financial future, Mike Malaney has been collaborating with the Small Business Development Center at NCCC to bring a “Personal Budgeting” course to the program. He’s also offering a “Family Tax Planning” course and a free “Retirement by Design” class.
Students are also encouraged to take after-school courses. John Corado will teach “Know Your Focus.”
The course description reads, “Not sure if college is for you? Want to know more about the careers available to you after graduation? … Or maybe you’re looking for a job that pays well while you’re in college. Either way, ‘Know Your Focus’ will discuss multiple career options, in detail.”
Topics include employment in security, information technology (IT), freelancing and consulting as well as “Obscure Careers for Steady Income.”
Other classes include a 9-hour SAT preparation and corresponding ACT preparation course, 4-hour SAT & ACT preparation courses, respectively, and a “Writing the College Application Essay” course, all of which may be on students’ minds.
Along with CPR programs there is also a course for many teens’ first job – babysitting – in which teens ages 11-15 will learn about first aid and safety skill to earn a certification card.
And if all the stress is piling up, why not an introduction to meditation? Richard D’Angelo will be teaching a variety of spiritual awareness courses this winter and spring.
More information can be found at www.nwcsd.coursestorm.com.