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

Seniors keep current, learn new skills in NW program

By Taylor Jensen/nw news editor

The senior citizens seen on every campus aren’t just out for a leisurely stroll. They are prolonging their lives as active participants in the TCC senior citizen program.

Diane Wood, a student in the program, said that, for her, it has been extremely rewarding.

“I am here every day,” she said. “I enjoy it because it keeps me busy, and you get out what you put in.”

Kathy Saburn, a NW administrative assistant, serves as a liaison for the program, instructs the yoga class and currently studies in the program’s beekeeper class.

“I serve three roles in one program,” she said. “I truly believe it extends the lives of the seniors involved.”

She said the program brings a lot of joy to those involved, in particular, past president of the advisory council Elsie Brewster.

“She had to leave the program because she was ill,” she said. “This program was her life.”

Saburn said when she learned Brewster was dying, she called and asked to speak with her.

“The nurse said that I could try, but that she wasn’t responding to anyone,” she said. “They put the phone next to her ear, and I said, ‘I will give you my promise that I will keep the program going, and it will be better than ever.’”

The nurse said Brewster smiled and died soon after, Saburn said.

“I believe that when someone said they would take care of it, she let go,” she said. “That’s how much it meant to her.”

Saburn said since then, the program has grown by leaps and bounds.

“The new president, Sharon Coker, is the best since Elsie Brewster and has really lightened my load,” she said.

Coker, who worked for the Lake Worth school district for 25 years, said one could never have enough education.

“I retired in 2000, and a friend said to me, ‘Now, don’t you want to go back to school?’” she said. “I have always believed in education, and now I learn something new every day.”

These are not credit classes. Instead, they are fun areas senior citizens might find interesting, Coker said.

“We have a lot of people who don’t know how to use a computer because the concept is totally new to them,” she said. “We offer classes that can help seniors keep up with the times.”

The program allows senior citizens to maintain socially, physically and mentally, Coker said.

“You have to keep learning to keep your mind sharp,” she said. “I’m 60, and I don’t want to lose my mental faculties.”

The last thing you want to do as a senior citizen is isolate yourself, Coker said.

“This program allows you to make new friends and branch out,” she said.

Wood said she discovered her passion for pottery while in the program.

“It was something I was interested in and is now something I love to do that keeps me busy,” she said. “It’s my life.”

All persons 55 or older are eligible for the program. The fee is $20 per semester, and students can take any number of classes they want at any campus. Computer courses are an additional $10.

Fall semester starts the second week in September, and spring semester starts the third week in January. All campuses have the program, but only NW offers water exercise for seniors and tai chi in the summer. For more information, contact Saburn at 817-515-7199.

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