It was back-to-school night on Monday for the first students at the new adult education school at with the initial ten classes getting underway for a program that will serve the Somerset Hills area.
Students carrying yoga mats, adults checking in to find their class location in the 700 wing of the high school off South Finley Avenue and instructors — many of them local — were on hand setting up for a first night of class that appeared to appeared to run smoothly. The pilot program was the brainchild of local resident Laura Begg, who also attended the school's opening.
The program, which came together in a matter of months, partially because The Adult School of the Chathams, Madison and Florham Park had been looking for a location in the area in which to expand.
Charlene Peterson, director of the larger adult school, was at Monday's first night of classes to greet new students and to answer any questions about the program.
Begg and Peterson said there still are openings in many of the 30 classes — some as short as one session and others a full ten weeks — that will be offered as a pilot program at Ridge this fall.
Along with new students, Peterson said some of the instructors at the school also are from Basking Ridge.
One of the students was Sara Oglesby from Basking Ridge, who said she had signed up for a beginning class on computers because, "My grandchildren can't read cursive."
She added that she had not before received instruction in using a computer, "if you don't count the ones that my 11-year-old grandson gave me."
That class' instructor, Kathy Grilli of Basking Ridge, said that her class is broken into segments, and students may sign up for one, some or all of those topics covered, starting with basic computer use and continuing on to instruction in Word, Excel and Power Point.
Suzanne Banfield, who said she lives "down the street" in Basking Ridge was setting up for her class, an introduction to making wire jewelry, said that while she was new to the Ridge High School program, she already had been teaching for six years in Madison.
In the new program, she said most of her anticipated students are from Basking Ridge, and one is from Bernardsville.
Banfield said she expects her class will continue to draw a repeat crowd, especially since students chose the jewelry piece they want to create in her class.
Another Basking Ridge resident and instructor, Maria Pascale of Get Organized With Maria, LLC, said she was contacted by the school when a survey of area residents conducted this summer showed there was an interest in a session on how to get organized.
If the pilot program continues, sign-ups will begin again in January for another set of classes to begin next March, Peterson said.
The classes, including Spanish and Italian language classes, computer and internet education classes, a class on watercolor painting, local and worldwide history sessions and more are detailed on the Adult School's website.
Still spots available
There are still plenty of spots available in classes, including many that have not even begun yet, according to Peterson. Besides going to the website, those who are interested can call the school at 973-443-9222, or go to this link and follow the Bernards tab: http://www.ssreg.com/chatham/.
Adults and teens may sign up for classes.
Peterson and Banfield noted that the original Adult School began 75 years ago.