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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosting Free Week

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

A potpourri of art demonstrations and an array of lectures on everything from history to fending off a dog attack are among free events that will be offered at the Waccamaw Higher Education Center on Jan. 6.

Events are scheduled throughout the day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and are part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute's "Free Week," which gives a sampling of courses in the institute's spring line-up.

Sample courses will also be offered at the institute's facility in Conway on Jan. 5 and in Myrtle Beach on Jan. 7. The spring semester starts Jan. 10. "The great thing about Free Week is that it’s really a chance to sort of test everything out before you sign up. It's like a wine tasting," said Linda Ketron, the institute's director.

Potential students can get a feel for the material that will be offered in a course, as well as the instructor's teaching style and any prerequisites. "You can come in and spend 10 minutes or a half-hour in a presentation and if it doesn't interest you or there's something else being offered in that time slot, you can just slip out and there are no hard feelings," Ketron said.

A lecture including an overview of the Holocaust begins at 1 p.m. and comes from Bob Poirier. His eight-week course offers a detailed examination of the Holocaust from 1919 to 1945.

The course will cover laws put in place to exclude Jews, Nazi Germany's "final solution," and steps the Nazis took in their plans to exterminate European Jews, culminating in Auschwitz, the largest of the German concentration camps.

"I refer to this course as horribly fascinating, because it's horrible, but people want to try to understand what happened and how these people who murdered men, women and children all day could go home to their wives and children at the end of the day," Poirier said.

A decorated military officer, retired history teacher and assistant principal, Poirier worked as an analyst for the CIA from 1975 to 1997.

During that time, he worked at the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center and discovered the now famous Auschwitz aerial photographs taken in 1944 and 1945.

"People say they never want anything like this to happen again, but if we never want it to happen again, we have to understand what happened in the first place," he said.

Poirier's Free Week lecture will also include information about his spring courses on ancient Rome and World War II in Europe.

Janice Kennedy will lecture on "What to Do When a Dog Attacks" at 3 p.m. She will teach an eight-week course on dog training and understanding canine behavior.

The lecture is something folks have been asking her to do for some time, she said.

"We've had some situations where people are out walking their little dogs and encountered other people walking larger dogs that got away from the owner and either killed or hurt the smaller dog," said Kennedy, a dog trainer for more than 30 years.

The first instinct of the smaller dog's owner is usually to pick up the animal, but that can lead to the person being bitten, she added.

And though many believe carrying a big stick while walking their dogs can offer protection, the owner is unlikely to be able to fend off an attack with that weapon, she said.

Kennedy will talk about the proper response to a dog attack, as well as what children should be taught in case they find themselves in danger from a dog. Most children know to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches on fire. What to do if a dog attacks should be just as familiar, she said.

The lesson will be beneficial for owners of large dogs, as well as small. The owners of large animals often don't understand the extent of their animal's capabilities and strength, Kennedy said.

It's too late to sign up for a popular course historian Lee Brockington is teaching on the American Revolution, but a two-hour lecture during Free Week will give folks a brief version of what she'll share with her students. The lecture starts at 7 p.m.

The full course will take participants outside the classroom to see important sites throughout Georgetown County. Seats were filled almost as soon as the course was announced, but those who join a waiting list will have priority if the course is offered again.

To see a complete schedule for Free Week or to access the full listing of spring courses offered by the institute, visit coastal.edu/olli.

Students can also sit in for free on the first session of any course that is three sessions or more and is not full.

Call 349-6584 for information.

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