Live and learn through the Duxbury Seniors Center Curriculum


“That ‘back to school’ vibe is strong here,” media manager Brooke McDonough said ahead of the fall term this month.

Although the program is administered by the city’s senior center, its course offerings are open to anyone, from all communities and of all ages.

“We love to see friends and neighbors reconnect and new friendships forged through these classes,” said Moore. “There is nothing better than seeing friends making plans together after class! “

“You don’t have to be a senior,” McDonough added. “But that’s what they were designed for. “

This fall, the program offers 15 courses in areas such as history, current affairs, religion, science, art and literature. Among them, a course on the interaction of religion and education, “When Jesus Came to Harvard”; a course on the history of Western art, “The Stone Age in the Renaissance”; and a course on the film genre called “Film Noir”.

The course program is the work of a lifelong learning committee, made up of nine volunteers and four municipal employees. The committee uses feedback from participants from previous semesters to offer new courses on topics of interest.

“Committee members will find an instructor from the community who has a passion for the subject and is ready to teach,” McDonough said.

Many instructors teach year after year, picking up popular courses and coming up with new ones. Over the life of the program, 368 courses have been offered.

Other offerings this fall include a class on Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer’s Night Dream; »A course on American musicals and big bands; a literature course on “The Seven Deadly Sins”; and a class based on readings in “The New Yorker”. Also courses on poetry, the legacy of the Duxbury pilgrim, geological history, Russian cultural history, the Anglo-American alliance in the 1940s; and classes on James Thurber, Thomas Edison and “Hot Topics” on Beacon Hill.

Jack Hill, a former principal of Duxbury High School, teaches “When Jesus Came to Harvard,” an online course, with Reverend Catherine Cullen, Minister of Duxbury First Parish Church. Hill, who also taught offerings to great literary figures such as Wordsworth, Emerson and Irish poet Seamus Heaney, began teaching the “Jesus to Harvard” course in 2008; every year it attracts new participants. Cullen previously taught “How to Read the Bible.”

The move to online courses triggered by the pandemic last year added flexibility and extended the reach of the program. In previous years, participation was largely limited to residents of the South Shore for reasons of remoteness. Online course participants can live anywhere.

The instructors come from all over the South Shore region, McDonough said. Stephanie Blackman of Whitman, who teaches “The Literature of the Seven Deadly Sins,” began teaching with the program two years ago.

Former history teacher Carrie Meier, who has been teaching a course called “Reading Shakespeare” since 2008, chooses a different piece for each session.

“Hot Topics on Beacon Hill” is a grassroots class led by City State Representatives Josh Cutler and Kathleen LaNatra, and Senator Patrick O’Connor. “It’s a good class for people who want to stay informed,” McDonough said.

Although the fall semester started the week of September 20, registrations will still be accepted for classes that are not already full. If you are interested in taking a course in its second week, call the Duxbury Senior Center at 781-934-5774, ext. 5703, or drop by the office at 10 Mayflower St. Online registration closed September 16. For a list of available courses, including course descriptions and instructor information, visit

The cost is $ 30 for each class. Class sizes range from eight to 25, with a size limit for in-person classes that depends on the size of the classroom in the city’s senior center. A new addition was added just two years ago. In-person class sizes have been reduced this year to allow for social distancing.

Robert Knox can be reached at [email protected].