New Encore classes offer 'new inspiration'

The San Juan College Community Learning Center
Special to The Daily Times
John Rusen celebrates his 95th birthday by scaling San Juan College's indoor climbing wall on Sept. 24, 2012, a tradition he has been doing for several years.

The mission of San Juan College’s Encore program is to create opportunities for seniors to maintain lifelong vitality through self-development and service.

“When I think about an inspiring example of lifelong vitality in action, I think of Encore student John Rusen,” said Liesl Dees, who directs the Encore program. “Every year since his 90th birthday in 2007, John heads over to San Juan College’s climbing wall on his birthday and celebrates another year by scaling the wall.”

The theme for the new Encore schedule is “New Year, New Inspiration, New Opportunities,” and the program offers 54 inspiring classes beginning in January, February and early March.

“If you’re thinking about a New Year’s resolution, there’s a good chance that Encore program has a class to match it,” Dees said.

Looking to be more physically fit? Encore has plenty of options.

“Exercise with a smile on your face with 'Tap Dance for Seniors' or choose from various community locations, including the Bloomfield Cultural Center, the Aztec Senior Center, the Bloomfield Aquatic Center, Sycamore Park Community Center and the Bonnie Dallas Senior Center,” Dees said.

To improve your health and avoid “psycho-sclerosis” — or hardening of the “attitudes” — consider "Courageous Choices, Elegant Aging" with instructor Ann Anthony.

Looking to develop computer skills? In addition to a series of "Computer Basics" classes available both at the main campus and the Bloomfield Senior Center, Encore offers "Introduction to Photoshop" and "Vector Art Using Adobe Illustrator."

If your resolution involves changes to your home, consider "The Design Challenge: Introduction to Interior Design." Other hands-on classes that foster creativity include "World of Watercolor," "Woodcarving Workshop" and "Digital Photography."

Consider brightening the world with "Random Acts of Kindness" or learn a new language with "Conversational Spanish." Explore the region with field trips, including "Rio Grande Pueblos: Pecos and Jemez" and "Along the Rio Grande: Spanish Colonial New Mexico."

All Encore classes are designed for adults 50 and older but are open to all students 18 and older. For details on Encore classes, visit or call San Juan College’s Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214. San Juan College is closed until January 4.

John Rusen prepares to scale San Juan College's indoor climbing wall on Sept. 24, 2012.