By Katharine Outcalt
Dec. 16, 2020: Celia Cuce, Bronxville Adult School's ("BAS") Executive Director and the school's only full-time employee, describes a herculean effort made by the school's fifteen person board and one part-time assistant to redesign the school's programming to accommodate for COVID safety measures. This has involved shifting most of the school's classes to virtual formats and endlessly researching new classes that translate well to at-home learning. After eight months, Cuce is pleased to report that the school is not only "still standing" but thriving in many ways.
Virtual Classes & Teachers From All Over the World
"There have been some silver linings," says Cuce. "We are no longer restricted to instructors who live in the area. Now that classes are virtual, we can hire teachers from anywhere." This past Fall's course offerings included an instructor who zoomed from Europe and one who conducted class from her vacation home in Michigan. Additionally, several of the school's most popular classes, such as Mary Beltran's Kripalu Yoga, the in-home cooking classes, and History Happy Hour, no longer sell out as Zoom does not have space limitations.
Ben Lentz, a long-time resident of Bronxville and a member of BAS's Board of Trustees, worries some about the financial health of the school in the wake of the pandemic. While the school's mission has always been to provide cultural, intellectual, and recreational classes at a nominal cost, they have found the need to decrease class fees even further due to the change in format. Lentz hopes that community members who have enjoyed BAS offerings over the years will continue to support the school either by signing up for virtual classes or by making a donation to the school.
Mary Massa is the school's Curriculum Chairperson who happens to have an unbridled enthusiasm for the school. "I am so proud of the school for providing so much enriching programming during these uncertain times," says Massa. Massa gives credit to the many BAS instructors who have "been so generous with their time" and attributes the school's continued enrollment to the need for people to escape for a while. The school's book talks, art and history lectures, and cooking classes have had strong enrollments, as well as the FREE guided meditation every Thursday night.
The school's Winter 2021 catalog drops this Tuesday and will include several first-time offerings. Chess for all levels will be offered with references to the move that Beth Harmon perfected in the very popular Netflix miniseries, The Queen's Gambit. Nearly a dozen classes will be free to sample for the first week in January, including a virtual tour of Grand Central Terminal, a magic workshop, and several of the school's most popular fitness classes. The catalog and registration can be found on the Bronxville Adult School website, www.bronxvilleadultschool.org.
So, as winter approaches and we find ourselves retreating indoors again, why not consider a class at the Bronxville Adult School? It's bound to be better than thinking about vaccines, infection rates, and herd immunity - if only for a little while.
Photo courtesy Bronxville Adult School
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.
About the Bronxville Adult School & Contacts
The Bronxville Adult School is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1957 and chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. The School "offers all adults of Bronxville and surrounding communities the opportunity for personal growth through life enhancing skills and provides cultural, intellectual and recreational stimulation at a nominal cost."
The Bronxville Adult School
Bronxville Public Library
The Bronxville Public Library traces its origins back to 1875, when it was a small lending library housed in a room attached to the “Bronxville Model School.” The Library was officially chartered in 1906 and moved into the Village Hall Building. The needs of the library grew with the town and, in 1942, a new standalone building was erected, which is where the Library is today. Over the years, the Library was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of the community.
The Library has wonderful resources for adults and children and offers a comfortable and relaxing environment. The Library also houses a fine art collection, consisting principally of Bronxville painters and sculptors.
The Library offers special events, art exhibitions, and programs for adults, young adults and children. All events are open to the public, unless otherwise indicated.
The Bronxville Public Library
201 Pondfield Road (Midland Avenue & Pondfield Road)
Concordia College Adult Education
Concordia College was founded in 1881. It is a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college located in Bronxville. Concordia's Accelerated Degree Programs are designed to give you the skills to be competitive in your chosen career or in graduate school.
Concordia College - New York
171 White Plains Road
Bronxville, New York 10708
Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, New York 10708