Expanding horizons

Photo by Samantha Moranville

What do T’ai Chi Chih, the American criminal justice system, and the history of jazz music all have in common? They’re all the subject of course offerings at Lifespring, the volunteer-run adult learning community sponsored by the town of Saugerties, now beginning its third year of operation. Geared toward active retirees, the group offers a six-week session of non-credit courses twice a year, fall and spring. Classes meet once a week, on Tuesdays, and members can take up to three courses per semester for a modest annual membership fee.

The new home for Lifespring this year is at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation on Glasco Turnpike. Encircled by a wooded glen, the surroundings are serene, and there’s plenty of parking. Matt Ostoyich, who teaches a class called The Living Constitution, says that the organization worried a bit about changing the setting for the classes from their more centrally located former home at United Methodist Church. Judging by the classrooms filled to capacity at the new site on a recent sunny Tuesday morning, though, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a problem for anyone to get to this location. Susan Puretz, president of Lifespring, is pleased with the turnout, saying that over 100 people have registered for classes.

Chris Zamenick is co-presenter of Hot Topics in Science, one of the first courses of the day. Her segments of the course focus on the human genome. Subsequent sessions by other presenters will cover the aging mind and environmental issues. Zamenick smiles as our conversation is interrupted by a regular stream of accolades from students filing out of the classroom.


“It’s an excellent program,” she says. “The participants are motivated. They want the information, and I like to participate. I’m a senior myself.”

Zamenick is a retired biology teacher with 32 years experience in the Warwick school district, and has taught for Marist, SUNY’s Empire State College, and Bard’s Lifetime Learning Institute. This is her second year teaching at Lifespring.