Tag Archives: adult education

Tiperon University-Blacktip Offers Free Continuing Education Courses

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Wine making and adult literacy are two of the continuing education courses offered in Tiperon University-Blacktip’s new adult education program. (photo illustration by Clete Horn/BT staff)

In its continuing effort to serve the Blacktip Island community, Tiperon University-Blacktip officials announced Thursday the university will offer free adult education courses for island residents.

“We take a lot of heat for being hoity-toity ivory tower,” TU-B chancellor Donna Requin said. “This program’s aimed at showing TU-B is relevant to everyone. The university’s donating the space and our instructors are donating their time to make this happen. We’re not some elitist bastion. We’re here for the hoi polloi, too.

“We pulled out the stops to offer something for everyone,” Requin said. “We have courses in driftwood arranging, flotsam bottle collecting, basic literacy I and II, wine making, arithmancy and intro to psychological self-therapy.”

Many residents praised the new program.

“Anything that gives people something to do after work besides sitting around and drinking is great,” Rusty Goby said. “Theses courses are a great way to grow personally, regardless of your background.

“I covered the bases by signing up for wine making and self-therapy,” Goby said. “I figure if one doesn’t work out, the other one will.”

Not all residents agreed.

“Slap in the face is what it is,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Donna and them’re still looking down their noses at everybody. Saying I should better myself? That’s saying something’s wrong with me.

“They’re dissing us all, and I won’t stand for it,” Bottoms said. “Got half a mind to go to a class, then just sit there and not learn anything. Or teach my own class, maybe, in the parking lot. Or at the Ballyhoo.”

Some TU-B faculty also were critical of the new program.

“If by ‘donating time’ you mean ‘working extra hours without pay so the university doesn’t lose government funding and grant money,’ then sure,” archeology professor Catalina Luxfer said. “Put all the lipstick on it you want, this pig’s still just a revenue ploy. At the faculty’s expense. Like I know anything about collecting washed-up bottles.”

Others pointed out the program’s long-term benefits.

“You really can’t get more egalitarian than free university,” TU-B engineering chair and arithmancy instructor Sally Port said. “These are accredited university courses. They count toward a degree in Island Liberal Arts.

“It’s a plus for everyone,” Port said. “Whoever wants a class can have one, and the university can keep its doors open. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

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Volunteers Salvage Blacktip Island Continuing Education Program

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The Blacktip Island Theosophy Hall, where most of the island’s adult continuing education classes are being conducted after a local businessman withdrew his financial support for the program. (photo courtesy of Peachy Bottoms)

Community groups teamed up with Tiperon University-Blacktip Wednesday to save the Blacktip Island’s adult continuing education program after a local financier withdrew his backing.

“Damn straight I pulled the plug on that nonsense,” said Rich Skerritt, owner of Eagle Ray Cove resort. “Waste of time and money, people learning basket weaving and water-color painting. The idea was to offer courses that’d let folks to better their lives, get better jobs, be more productive.

“But no one wanted to learn about computer reservation systems or housekeeping or carpentry or landscaping,” Skerritt said. “They were all hot for the hippy-dippy, me-me-me crap. Well, there’s no profit in personal enrichment. No return on investment, for them or for me.”

The decision didn’t surprise program organizers.

“Rich bankrolled the con-ed program to churn out worker bees for his resort,” continuing education coordinator Peachy Bottoms said. “He got hacked off when he realized people were taking courses aimed at personal development. It was just a matter of time.

“We talked to the TU-B administration and the Rotary Club about underwriting the courses,” Bottoms said. “Our instructors agreed to teach pro gratis, and for classrooms we use the Theosophy Hall behind Harry Master’s Bait Shoppe and Newsstand.”

Many island residents applauded the 11th-hour deal.

“The adult classes are a boost for the island,” longtime resident Edwin Chub said. “It keeps people engaged and learning. My wife’s taking a scrapbooking course. And I myself am learning Turkish. That’s been a lifelong dream of mine.”

Other residents took a broader view.

“Blacktip’s a tiny island. There’s nothing to do,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “Most people get off work and head to the bars. These con ed classes lift us above that.

“They tell the world there’s more to Blacktip than diving,” Diesel said. “It says we’re an island of thought and intellectual growth. The Athens of the Caribbean. The Greek Athens, not the one in Georgia.”

The classes have also led several residents to unexpected personal discoveries.

“I don’t say it often, but Rich was wrong on this one,” Public Works chief Stoney MacAdam said. “The fly-tying class was full up, so I ended up in an ice sculpture course. Turns out, it’s fun and practical.

“It’s hot as blazes this summer, so I got to carve in the freezer. That means the sculptures’re pretty small,” MacAdam said. “But it’s about the experience, not the product. And I got these racks of little ice-cube hummingbirds I can plop in folk’s rum when they come over. Way I see it, I got me a retirement job.”

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