For more than 40 years, Chappaqua Continuing Education has created a unique community for ongoing learning. As one of the only community-sponsored, school district run programs in Westchester County, Chappaqua’s Continuing Education program invites Chappaqua residents to come together and take enriching classes on the campus of Horace Greeley High School.
Every year, about 1,200 people take classes through the Chappaqua Continuing Education program, which is a nonprofit organization run in conjunction with the Chappaqua Central School District. “Originally, the program was designed to be a give back to the community and a thank you to empty nesters for sticking around. Their children graduated, but they still lived here, and we wanted to keep them involved in the community,” states the Director of Continuing Education, Maura Marcon. The program evolved into a community-oriented opportunity that spans all ages and crosses over to people in nearby communities who do not have access to this type of programming.
An Array of Options
“The Chappaqua program is unique because it’s community based and supportive, providing a wide range of classes for just about everything,” notes Katie Goldberg who has taught art and Mahjong classes through Chappaqua Continuing Education for the past 25 years. Goldberg is right about the range of classes. This fall, Chappaqua Continuing Education will offer 90 classes in everything from art, cooking, and dance to gardening, exercise classes, finance, and foreign languages.
According to Marcon, the 10-week Spanish, French, and Italian language classes are extremely well-attended. Many people who take Spanish joined the class as beginners and have taken all four levels of Spanish together, developing friendships with one another and with the instructors. “They even socialize outside the class, going out for drinks or dinner with the instructor.”
The most social classes, the games classes, which include Canasta and Mahjong, often bring groups of friends together who want to learn something new. And the finance classes, covering topics from retirement planning and Medicare to understanding estate taxes and financial planning for women, are particularly popular with empty-nesters.
Empty-nesters and people in their late 50’s and 60’s are the most frequent participants in the program. Senior citizens from Chappaqua can receive up to a 50 percent discount on certain classes, and Chappaqua Continuing Education even offers some free classes. The single session, 90-minute classes are favorites of many 30- and 40-something residents, who take advantage of these $30 classes as a plan for an entertaining, educational night out.
Artist and art teacher Quincy Egginton isn’t only a teacher in Chappaqua’s Continuing Education program, she is a 35-year resident who raised her two daughters here. “It feels like home when I go to Greeley to teach,” says Egginton, who enjoys running into her daughters’ teachers and credits the Greeley custodial staff with supporting the work of the program.
Egginton, whose favorite class to teach is watercolor painting, is one of several local residents who teaches in this program. Even the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps runs a class on American Heart Association Family and Friends CPR. Marcon encourages any interested residents to submit proposals for classes, as she encourages the community to get involved in any way possible and is always open to new ideas and creative classes.
Making Lifelong Learning Accessible and Fun
“I love the positive feedback that I get from people about our teachers, classes and wide array of class offerings,” says Marcon, who loves her creative, people-oriented position. Goldberg and Egginton agree that their students are extremely positive about their experiences. “Many of my students have told me that I’ve made complicated, intimidating subjects easy and fun by breaking things down into enjoyable ‘bite-sized nuggets,’” said Goldberg.
Chappaqua Continuing Education offers classes from September through December, January through February, and March through June. Classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings for one to two hours. For more information about Chappaqua Continuing Education, visit their website, ccsd.ws/district/departments/chappaqua-continuing-education, or check out one of the seasonal catalogs that are regularly distributed throughout Chappaqua, Millwood, Armonk, Bedford, Briarcliff, Mount Kisco, and Pleasantville.