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Race relations after Atticus and Scout. Difficult Bible passages. Secretaries of state.

The McCall Continuing Education program for fall doesn’t shy away from controversy. Plunging headfirst into hot topics, McCall continues to attract people interested in current (and past) events. Classes are taught at Brookside Center at Givens Highland Farms Retirement Center.

Dwight Stobbs has guided McCall (Montreat College Center for Adult Lifelong Learning) for the past seven years. He like everyone on the curriculum committee is a volunteer.

The committee - all “well-qualified people,” Stobbs said - works to find interesting teachers and subjects. Many of the instructors hold doctorate degrees and are often retired instructors. Each term lasts six weeks. No college credit is earned. For each term, about 120 students enroll, with 65 percent them coming from the Givens Highland Farms Retirement Center, Stobbs said.

Stobbs, 81, has “taken so many of the (McCall) courses that I’ve lost count,” he said. “These classes give the opportunity to continue to learn and keep the brain active. The courses also keep you in tune with what is going on.”

This term, Stobbs is taking the course, “U.S. Secretaries of State: Their Challenges, Triumphs, Blunders and Legacies,” taught by Ken Scott, Jr. Stobb’s wife, Betsy Stobbs, is enrolled in two classes. She has been a McCall student for the past 15 years.

“I take courses every year,” she said. “It is good for my mind, body and soul. It is a wonderful way to learn with interesting, intelligent people.”

Last year, the McCall classes generated $5,000 that was donated to the Montreat College Scholarship Fund. An anonymous donor matched the donation, bringing the total up to $10,000. An anonymous donor contributes every year, Dwight Stobbs said.

Jeannie Franklin, co-owner of Black Mountain Books, is a retired teacher who taught “To Kill A Mockingbird” to ninth grade students for 17 years. This term at McCall, she will teach the course “Atticus and Scout and Race in America.”

“I think we need to talk more about race relations, including our ideas from the ’50s and our ideas now,” Franklin said.

Fall classes meet Mondays from Sept. 28-Nov. 2, Wednesdays from Sept. 30-Nov. 4, and Fridays from Oct. 2-Nov. 6. The annual McCall membership fee is $25. Each course costs $25. The fall term kicks off with a presentation at 2 p.m., Sept. 23 atin Brookside Center.

For more, contact Bob Shaw at 669-6423 or e-mail shaweebob@aol.com.

McCall fall schedule

Mondays

U.S. Secretaries of State: Their Challenges, Triumphs, Blunders and Legacies, 9:30-11:30 a.m., instructor Ken Scott, Jr.

Writing Your Legacy Memoir, 2-4 p.m., instructor Georganne Spruce

Wednesdays

Atticus and Scout and Race in America, 9:30-11:30 a.m., instructor Jeannie Franklin

Spreading Religions and the Human Being in History, 2-4 p.m., instructor Robert Montgomery

Fridays

Difficult Bible Passages, 9:30-11:30 a.m., instructor Kent Smith

Wildlife in the Smokies, 2-4 p.m. Wilma Durpo

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