The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Instructor shares 90 years of learning on SE Campus

By Karen Gavis/se news editor

SE senior education instructor Lois Knickerbocker, 90 years young, stood by a dominoes table full of her students and offered some advice.“Do you have a deuce?” she asked a student. “You can play a deuce.”

Meanwhile, the other tables in the class had varying conversations going during the game.

“You dirty rat,” one man said to another player.

“I’m hoping my partner can help me,” said another.

“Look at her rearrange everything and give him a better hand,” one player said while Knickerbocker assisted another player.

Knickerbocker walked between the tables passing out Halloween candy to her senior students. Laughter filled her classroom, and high-fives were shared.

“See y’all are doing much, much better,” she said to the students at one table.

One of her students asked Knickerbocker for help.

“Well, I’d say scramble it and throw it in the fire,” she said just before he folded.

“Sorry, Ed,” a player said to the man next to him just before playing the winning domino at their table.

“I’m surprised you didn’t sit over there giggling the whole time,” his partner said.

Born April 12, 1921, in the upstairs of a town square restaurant in Venus, Texas, Knickerbocker said she grew up playing dominoes and cards.

She likes to share her knowledge of 42, a dominoes game, with others, she said. May Lauber, SE continuing education student, said Knickerbocker is sweet, patient and knowledgeable about 42.

One of the other students in the class jokingly questioned the sweet part.

“She does keep us in line, though. We don’t get too rowdy,” Lauber said.

Joyce Springman, another of Knickerbocker’s students, said Knickerbocker knows everything about 42 and keeps the class interesting.

“She keeps us all happy,” Springman said.

Knickerbocker met Springman’s husband for the first time this year and said it was like she had known him forever. He is now part of the gang.

Newcomer Etta Brooks said she played dominoes with her parents, and Knickerbocker brought it all back to her in a flash.

“The beginners [in her class] are fun because you are teaching them something,” Knickerbocker said. “They are eager to learn.”

Knickerbocker said she will play during her class if there is an open spot. And sometimes she loses.

“I don’t let them win,” she said. “They win.”

She wants everyone to know they are invited to join the SE Campus senior education program. Knickerbocker said classes include knitting, holiday gift-wrapping and stress management.

“I’m here. I’m meeting people. I try to help in any way I can,” she said.

Knickerbocker started teaching on SE Campus shortly after it was built in 1996. When the instructor of her dominoes class left, she took over the class.

“We have five schools [campuses] now,” she said. “And we need to tell people about it.”

Rusty Fox, SE vice president of student development services, said Knickerbocker is always helping.

She has a choice and could be doing anything she wants, but she has an interest in teaching and learning, Fox said.

“It’s remarkable and kind of inspiring,” he said.

SE coordinator of special projects Nita Haliburton has worked with Knickerbocker about 12 years and said she is down to earth and “no-nonsense.”

“I call her a firecracker. She has the energy of a firecracker,” she said.

Knickerbocker said her biggest accomplishment has been staying alive. She credits that to not expecting too much, doing what needs done, making friends and enjoying herself. Knickerbocker said her friends include everyone in her class.

“The senior program is the best thing a senior can get involved in,” she said.

For $20, seniors can enroll in 10 weeks of senior education classes on any campus and take any number of courses, except computer classes, which cost $20 extra and last for five weeks.

“It keeps an older person from sitting at home,” she said.

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