Meet Lici Beveridge

By Lola Norris and Mary Nagurney

Lici Beveridge

Journalism may be her profession, but there's much more to Lici Beveridge than words and deadlines. Consider these intriguing facts: she traveled across the US and Europe performing blues, rock and country music; she lived in Scotland for three years and in France for a year; and she is an accomplished cook. All these experiences add depth and savor to the OLLI facilitator we meet here.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Lici—after traveling and seeing a bit of the world&fomdash;und her way to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to be near family. She started as a biology major at Arkansas State University but eventually found that writing was a more natural course for her to pursue. She earned two bachelor's degrees: one in photojournalism and another in French.

She has been a journalist ever since. An early job at a movie studio gave her lots of time while waiting for things to happen. During the lengthy intervals, she interviewed people, documenting their stories. “Everyone has a story,“ she says, and understanding that has been a significant factor in the work she does from day to day.

As Breaking News Reporter for the Hattiesburg American, she reports on current events in the city and surrounding area. Her goal is to get the community involved in what is happening around them. In her work, integrity is the vital ingredient. “It is important to be accurate, fair, and balanced. Let your work speak for itself.”

Lici Beveridge

At OLLI she has taught classes on journalistic techniques and food and nutrition. A “pescatarian,” not “vegetarian,” since she enjoys eating fish, she likes to challenge herself by trying new things that are not meat-centered, thereby reducing fats and introducing better carbs and sugars. And, it is a more economical approach. In a fall seminar she shared recipes using plant-based protein. She spent $22 to feed about 20 people who attended the session, and all were well fed!

A few years ago Lici's career was interrupted when she contracted meningitis. She had to learn how to walk again, how to talk again, and, most importantly, how to work again as she had two teen-aged children to care for. “You have to work hard to overcome these things,” she says, and she has.

Active in our community, she serves as vice-president of the Board of the Hattiesburg Arts Council and vice-president of Waiting for a Cure Foundation. She is very excited about the possibility of a Community Arts Center being developed in downtown Hattiesburg in the old Hattiesburg American facility. “It's special because that's where I used to work.”




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Meet Susie Pham

By Carol Ann Lewando

Susie Pham

A resident of the Gulf Coast since 1982, Susie Pham has been a facilitator of beginning and intermediate Tai Chi for several terms at Gulf Park. Her journey began during the devastating Vietnam War when she struggled for her very survival with her three young children. She was able to flee her native land through the United Nations Refugee Family United Program. This program sought to reunite war refugees with family members in safer parts of the world. Since her mother was already in the United States, she relocated to this country as a refugee with her children.

She did not immediately settle in Mississippi, but after searching for a place to raise her children in an area she considered family—friendly and safe, she chose to make her home here. She started a small business and began her life anew.

During this time, she traveled as a tourist to China and observed the practice of Tai Chi. It piqued her interest when she saw elderly people in early morning in the town squares in perfect harmony with their flowing clothes and fluid motion. She subsequently studied the discipline with Mark Segal in Gulfport—but this is only the beginning of her story.

Susie Pham

When Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, both her home and her business were destroyed. Devastated by her loss, she sought housing with some relatives in Mobile. As the toll of the loss began to damage her health, both physically and emotionally, she sought relief. She firmly believed that the practice of Tai Chi would help her regain both the physical and emotional strength she needed to rebuild her life. She connected with a Master teacher at the Shaolin Institute in Mobile, and she credits her recovery to the practice of the ancient art of Tai Chi. Susie continues to study and teach weekly at the Shaolin Institute.

Tai Chi can be traced back to the Shaolin Temple established in China in the year 495 AD. The essential principle of Tai Chi is the mind integrated with the body to allow the Qi—energy—to flow powerfully through the body.

Susie considers Tai Chi to be “meditation in motion,” and this is the approach she takes as she teaches. The form she practices and teaches is the 24 Yang style, a universal form. Her class begins with a warm-up exercise to open the channels to the Chi—energy flow. The motion of the form strengthens, coordinates and integrates both sides of the body as well as the upper and lower halves with the core. It produces mindfulness and focused attention. Tai Chi can be easily adapted to various groups, even for those confined to wheelchairs.

The benefits of practicing Tai Chi are numerous. Research has found that it can be used as an adjunct therapy to prevent or rehabilitate various conditions such as Parkinson's disease. Medical studies have demonstrated benefits to the immune system, balance, heart, arthritis, bone density and the nervous system.




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What YOU Said About . . .

During the past couple sessions, members of the Communications Committee captured OLLI members after they finished classes, seminars and field trips and asked their opinion of their experience. Here's their answers.

Theresa Ratti



The seminar Bob Dylan: Borderless Troubador was much appreciated by Theresa Ratti, a member for less than a year. She said, “I liked learning about Dylan's influence on singer/songwriters of other countries. It was fun learning Dylan's history. Very informative.”

Michelle Zeeman





One of OLLI's snowbirds, Michelle Zeeman, attended Land between the Levees: The Mississippi River Batture and said of the seminar, “It was more wide-ranging than I expected. It presented an interesting picture to me, a non-native of Mississippi. Great reference and stories in the handout.”

Klare Lane



Klare Lane went on the field trip to the New Medina Friday service. For her the experience showed “the more you learn about other religions, the more you enrich your own soul. I felt very welcomed at the center and learned how much we have in common.”

Diane Key





Music lover Diane Key said of the class Songs of the Jazz Age, “Don (Dr. Rust) made the class fun and interesting with a lot of variety. There's been visual, audio, music, music theory and, of course, great piano playing. Very engaging.”

Kevin Kistler




Kevin Kistler, a new OLLI member, attended the Lunch and Learn and Art at the Mary C where he enjoyed learning cooking techniques. New to the area, Kevin said, “When working, I didn't have enough time or interest in cooking, but now that I am retired this is the kind of learning environment that will most likely motivate me to attempt cooking for myself.”

Bill Graham





The Gospels and the Origins of Christianity class struck a chord with Bill Graham. “Amy (Slagle) is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Studying the Gospels from a historical perspective has given me a new view. For instance, Mary and Joseph's return to Jerusalem for census would be comparable to most Americans returning to Europe to register.”

Pam Milloy




Pam Milloy, after attending History in Song: America's Folk Music, said of the class, ”Not only was the folk music class a lot of fun, but it was also very educational. We moved from early colonial days' music to today's American songs.”




Concerning the very first class he attended at OLLI, Exploring Shakespeare, Donald Nester said, “The class was very interesting. I've learned much more about the play including archeological support for the characters.”


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