Check out all area kids' activities at Hill Country Kids!
And check back here to see what Club Ed is up to in Fall 2011. Thank you for your support!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I was honored to be named President of the Texas Community Education Association last week. It is more of a challenge than an honor, really - it is no secret that education is facing uncertain economic times in Texas.
But the real value in holding a state office is the wider perspective it allows.
During one conference event, I was privileged to share a table with two delightful ladies who work at a community education program in Beaumont. We were comparing notes on what courses were popular in our very different communities. While country-western dance tops our list of favorites in the Hill Country, the Beaumont folks turn out most for Zydeco dancing! Hmmm... might be an idea there for next session.
At the other end of the state - about as far from Beaumont as you can get - a community educator in Dalhart brought a former youth minister turned insurance agent turned fundraiser for West Texas A&M in Canyon. He shared insights on his challenging quest to raise awareness and support for the arts in a part of the state that is known more for roping and wind farms than for opera and ballet.
We learned of large community education programs that are cutting back, and tiny ones that are growing. Right here in Kerr County, Center Point ISD was honored for starting its own community education program last year. Director Shirley Wright and Superintendent Cody Newcomb led a session on how to start a program in any district, no matter how small. We were especially tickled we could honor one of their teachers - Betty Tromm - as an Outstanding Community Educator for the entire state.
In spite of the many forms it takes, lifelong learning is alive and well, and more important than ever as our population ages and the world changes. I’ve always preached that school doesn’t end at 3:30, and we don’t stop learning at age 18, or 22, or ever.
When I taught gifted and talented youngsters back in Iowa, on the first day of class I liked to announce that I was not going to teach them anything the entire year. Once their eyebrows slid back down their foreheads, I explained that no one can really teach anyone anything: knowledge only comes from learning. A subtle difference, but it made the point that each one of us is ultimately responsible for what we learn in life. I’ve seen students in third world countries stacked 40 deep in bare classrooms who come out as engineers and doctors; I’ve watched NBA Hall of Fame players who learned to shoot baskets through a hoop on a barn in the snow.
That spirit of learning is what drew me to the field of community education. What a miracle! To lead a program where everyone learns anything they care to learn, all the time!
And I continue to learn. My task for the coming year is to lead the state organization through some interesting times.
How shall I do this?
Friday, April 8, 2011
|Bruce Shackelford, Antiques Roadshow|
One of those classes we always get requested to offer - but don’t - is Antiquing.
We don’t offer it for the same reason we can’t do several classes - we don’t have a teacher. Years ago, Rita Baker would lead a group out and about the many antique shops in the hill country, ending up at her home which was a showcase itself.
We still are not offering an antiques class, but thought it would be good to alert readers that one of the nation’s best known appraisers will be in the hill country next weekend. Bruce Shackelford, the San Antonio resident who has been a regular guest on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow television series for 14 seasons, will hold forth at Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Museum on Friday, April 15 as part of its What’$ It Worth event.
The consultant - who is curator at the Witte Museum - considers his specialty American Indians and the American West. The fifth-generation Texan comes by his interest honestly. One great grandfather was a rancher and cowboy up around Post.
“I grew up on his ranch,” Shackelford said. “He was 96 when he died. He lived in a time when the 19th century wasn’t so far away.”
Shackelford will share his behind-the-scenes peek at the Antiques Roadshow. He reels off trivia that is surprising: they film three shows at each locale, more than 6500 people pass through and each has two items, 70 appraisers judge about 15,000 items per show.
“People think we see hordes of treasure,” he said. “We don’t. We pretty much see a moving garage sale. Only the great things get on the air.”
Having reviewed thousands of great and “not so great” items, Shackelford has clear advice on what to collect.
“You buy what you want to live with and enjoy,” he said. “The best way to make a good deal is to learn about what you are interested in, then buy from someone reputable. Some of what I bought that appreciated most were what I bought for full retail, not things I bought at a garage sale. They were what I enjoyed, they were quality, and went up most in value.”
Shackelford can’t escape an interview without answering the question: what was his most surprising find?
“Three seasons ago a lady came in with three baskets passed down from her great grandfather. She wondered if they were worth anything.” Turns out they were highly-prized baskets hand woven by a member of the Washoe tribe, and worth $25,000 each. They would be worth more, he told her, if she could find out who made them.
Months later the lady sent Shackelford an old photo she had found of a Washoe woman holding her very same basket. It was a recognized crafter who had presented a similar basket to President Woodrow Wilson. “Suddenly that basket was worth three times what I told her,” Shackelford said. That shows that it is not just the money, but the history of an item that determines the value. “A historic item that is important is worth a whole lot more than an important item with no history.”
Nor does age alone translate into money. Every show he sees multiple items well over 1000 years old that are “worth five bucks.” But antiques always make a good investment, especially in today’s economy. “Buying antique furniture can be cheaper than buying something new,” Shackelford said, “plus it will last a lot longer.”