A Short Visit Outside My Comfort Zone

By Howard Stroud

Howard Stroud

We retirees are often advised to seek new challenges, to expand our horizons and to get out of our comfort zones. As a technology-challenged recently retired octogenarian, I decided to take the advice and reviewed the ten technology classes being offered. Basic PowerPoint was advertised as “No prior experience in Microsoft Word is needed to participate.” That sounded like my kind of technology class, and I signed up.

When the class convened, six of us showed up to be taught by Tamara Wright, a senior at Southern Miss who also facilitated three other technology classes. Tamara opened the class by assuring us that no prior experience was required; that we would proceed at a comfortable pace, which would allow time for questions, additional explanations and repetitions as necessary or appropriate to allow absorption of the material presented.

Tamara started with beginner's instructions for firing up the computer and selecting the PowerPoint program. We then proceeded through its basic features. Soon we were making slides—inserting pictures, ClipArt, creating and editing animations—while covering formatting options available on each tab.

Howard StroudEach of us was allowed great freedom in making selections for the preparation of our slides and this led to varied and interesting results. My slide selections featured a medley of disparate subjects including:

•     A symbol of Southern Miss featuring draped banners—all in black and gold, of course.
•     Three green stars—strategically placed, varying in size, and subject to expanding or         contracting in size.
•     A mother ocelot posed in her jungle home with a heart-stealing kitten.
•     A movie clip of stampeding wild horses.

What a conglomeration! We pulled it all together with captions using various colors, sizes, and fonts. During the class, I stole glances at the slides being put together by others and noted that most were more delicate than mine—some even artistic. It was obvious that all my classmates were talented; however, I think none had more fun than I did in the two-hour session.

Try a short trip out of your comfort zone, it works!


Do you like the OLLI Building and Garden? Come help us keep it inviting and beautiful. No green thumbs required. Tell the OLLI office you want to help on the Building & Grounds committee.

An Invitation to Learn

By Cheri Graham

The Grahams were invited to visit as part of OLLI's Bring a Guest program.
A Guest can come free for one 2-hour class or seminar.

Recently my husband and I were invited as guests to attend a presentation given at OLLI at Southern Miss. Upon arrival we observed the lovely grounds and garden which offered an inviting and peaceful appearing walking trail. Once inside we were greeted by a friendly receptionist who directed us to the proper meeting room. There the facilitator and participants were warm and welcoming.

The presentation, Touring the United Kingdom, was given by Eva Wilkie. Being English and having lived in England for over eighty years, Wilkie presented informative and pertinent information for anyone anticipating travel to this part of the world. Points of interest, means of travel within the country, and lodging and restaurant tips were discussed. The facilitator carried on admirably despite an equipment malfunction that interrupted the visual presentation.

During break time we walked throughout the facility and met very friendly OLLI members. Brett Harris, OLLI director, introduced himself and chatted with us. Coffee was offered along with cinnamon rolls brought by a member. We were fortunate to see familiar faces who encouraged us to consider membership.

After the break and the conclusion of the presentation, questions were addressed, and participants shared helpful information among themselves.

Our first visit to OLLI was a very pleasant experience. We reviewed the catalog listing upcoming courses and learned they cover a very wide range of interests. Membership dues and course cost seemed reasonable. We left the facility with an indelible conclusion that OLLI is indeed an organization which offers an invitation to learn.

Piney Woods Country Life School

By Mary Nagurney

Piney Woods

Sitting on a log in front of an old “throw-away place,” Laurence C. Jones began teaching three young men in the woods of Rankin County. It was 1909 and Jones was a college-educated African American from Missouri. His students, also African-American, were poor and, like 80% of blacks in the county, illiterate. Jones had turned down lucrative job offers in order to travel to Mississippi because he wanted to help those who needed it most.

That “throw-away place,” an abandoned sheep shed, is still on the campus of the school Jones founded: Piney Woods Country Life School. Protected from the elements by a concrete block structure built around it, the shed is open for visitors to walk through and imagine life in an earlier era. OLLI members did just that on a recent field trip that included a visit to the L. C. Jones Museum, a house built by students for the founder and his family, and a bus tour of the campus and farm.

Many of the buildings reflect the history of the school. Taylor Hall was named after Ed Taylor, an ex-slave who donated 40 acres and $50 for the establishment of the school. The Charles M. Schulz “Snoopy” Hall was funded by the Peanuts cartoonist, and the Ralph Edwards Administration Building was named for the host of the television show This Is Your Life, which featured Dr. Jones in 1954, resulting in donations of more than $776,000.

History is important to the Piney Woods community, but the present and the future are also important. Leading the school today is Will Crossley, the first former student to become president. Crossley has a B.A. from the University of Chicago, an M.Ed. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Along with education, Dr. Jones emphasized the Bible, work and music, and these facets are still part of Piney Woods life. The curriculum is college preparatory and 98% of graduates go to college. All students are on scholarship and all work to pay part of their tuition. Christian education is taught daily. The school choir, The Cotton Blossom Singers, has performed at Carnegie Hall and the White House. As Admissions Team Member Theresa Wansley said, “These students are not only prepared for college; they are prepared for life.”


Do you enjoy the art classes? Be part of planning art shows and ensuring we have the supplies we need for great experiences. Tell the OLLI Office you want to join the Art Committee.

What is Osteopatic Medicine?

By Sandra Bender

Osteopatic Medicine

You probably know there is a College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University but do you know what doctors of osteopathy actually do? Through this seminar, we learned from Dr. Italo Subbarao, a dean at that school, that doctors of osteopathy, or D.O.'s, can perform any type of medical treatment they are trained and certified to do, exactly like doctors of medicine, or M.D.'s. They are accepted into the same residencies as M.D.'s, which ultimately determines their specialty such as surgery, pediatrics, or internal medicine, for example. Locally, Forrest General and Merit Health Wesley Hospitals train D.O. residents. D.O.'s are licensed in all 50 states. There are over 380 D.O.'s currently licensed in Mississippi.

William Carey University established a college of osteopathic medicine to help relieve the shortage of primary care physicians in the state. Because William Carey's education model places students in rural communities for some of their training, seventy percent of them have gone into primary care, an unusually high number. The program is considered extremely successful in accomplishing this mission.

Osteopathic medicine was developed during the Civil War by Dr. A.T. Still. His new ideas centered on the person as a whole to promote the healing of a medical problem in contrast to focusing on a symptom. He opened the first school of osteopathy in 1892 in Kirksville, Missouri. Women were admitted into that first class and since then women have been encouraged to become osteopathic doctors.

According to osteopathic medicine, disease processes are felt throughout all the systems of the body. Particularly, the bones, muscles, and cartilage indicate the condition of the other systems. Although D.O.'s, like M.D.'s, are trained to provide standard medical care, they also use osteopathic manipulative treatment to feel with their hands a patient's muscles and bones in order to understand what is wrong, relieve pain, and restore range of motion and general health. The emphasis is on natural treatments, as much as possible, to assist the body's ability to heal itself. Dr. Subbarao mentioned that osteopathic doctors are likely to take time with patients to discuss their habits of living and relationships that may be affecting their health and to encourage healthy behavior changes.


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