Mr./Ms. Intern goes to Washington

Who says summer jobs for students have to entail waiting tables or slinging hash at the local greasy spoon?

U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor is now accepting applications from college students interested in working as congressional interns in his Washington office this summer.

The program will be divided into two six-week sessions — June 1 to July 9, and July12 to Aug. 20 — with two interns per session. Applicants should be college students with at least two years of undergraduate study, a keen interest in government and public policy, a high level of academic achievement, and a demonstrated record of success.

The interns will assist the Congressman and his staff with administrative tasks and legislative research involving a wide array of national issues. Interns will receive a modest stipend while working in Washington and will be expected to work long hours.

To apply, send a resume, a brief writing sample (one or two typed pages) and two letters of recommendation to Rep. Taylor’s Washington address: Office of Representative Charles Taylor, 231 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. The deadline for applications is March 31.

For more information, call Christopher Shields at (202) 225-6401.

Not just older, but better

It’s no secret that Asheville and environs is considered a prime retirement spot. But what makes a place especially attractive to senior citizens? Often, it’s a combination of factors — climate, economy, location, geography and local culture. And one obvious attraction here in Asheville is the College for Seniors, which begins registration for its spring 1999 session on Monday, Feb. 8.

The college, an adjunct program of the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, has long been a proponent of “lifetime learning,” in which retirement is seen not as an end but a beginning, a time of enthusiasm and personal discovery. And, even though the classes are open only to seniors ages 50 and up, the offerings are designed to appeal to anyone who shares a sense of adventure in learning. “The classes are geared toward anybody,” says Director Cissie Stevens. “In fact, a lot of people who aren’t 50 years old have wanted to take the courses.”

The schedule, too, is arranged so that older individuals can sign up for a course or two without feeling that they’ve taken on too much of a commitment: There are no night classes, for instance, and the sessions run an agreeable five and 10 weeks, leaving ample time for travel, additional learning, or whatever else CCR participants may want to do. And the courses, themselves, may be as easy or as challenging as the individual wants to make them. “The classes are challenging, in that they cover the gamut from history to literature, the sciences to wellness to computers,” Stevens says. “Outside reading often accompanies a course. But, basically, people can choose how much outside study they do.”

With instructors from UNCA and the community creating the lesson plans and facilitating the discussions, the focus is on the material, an eclectic mix ranging from literature (studies of Joyce, Dante and Mark Twain are all included in the next session), to health (yoga, the benefits of walking, and a sampler of wellness techniques are included), to issues explicitly facing seniors (“Transitions: Birth, Death and the Meaning of Life” is one particularly intriguing class title).

“Sometimes, we’ll even carry a class over several terms,” Stevens explains. “A group has been studying Dante’s Inferno, and they’re now in the Paradiso section. We’ll do surveys of our members, [to find out] what classes they want. The key is not just the members’ interest, but who we can get to teach that course; many times, courses are brought to me by a member or an instructor, saying, ‘I’d like to teach a course on such and such.’

“We don’t teach a particular way of thinking,” concludes Stevens. “We support the idea that learning should allow for all different kinds of viewpoints and ideas.”

To find out more about the College for Seniors, call 251-6384.

Publish or perish

The Writer’s Guild of Western North Carolina racked up an impressive tally of accomplishments in 1998, according to a recently released report. Eileen McCollough of Old Fort had a banner year: She recently won the Appalachian Heritage Quality of Writing Award, for an essay published early last year; and, in August, she won first prize for nonfiction at the Sandhill Writer’s Conference for her essay on William Butler Yeats, titled “A Terrible Beauty.” McCollough’s second book, Irish Cooking with Wit and Wisdom, was released in November.

Not to be outdone, Jack R. Pyle of Burnsville published his fourth book last year, The Sound of Distant Thunder — “an Appalachian tale of romance, mystery, and vengeance,” according to a Writer’s Guild news release. And Taylor Reese of Spruce Pine published HUMOR is Where You Find It, his third book, which drew comparisons to the work of Will Rogers.

Two women from Arden also made their mark: Frankie Schelly won third place in the Green River Writers’ Crucial First Chapter Contest for her novel Changing Habits, and Susan Snowden published several poems in Dream International Quarterly, Vermont Ink and Writer’s Exchange. Another local author, Jo Woody of Spruce Pine, published her poem “Sacrament” in a special women’s issue of Potato Eyes, and also an article in the June ’98 issue of The Christian Science Journal.

For more information on the Writer’s Guild, call 687-1601, or write to: Writer’s Guild, 34 Spring Hill Circle, Suite 200, Arden, NC 28704.

And the envelope, please …

Just because you live and go to school in western N.C. doesn’t mean you couldn’t win an Oscar. The 26th annual Student Academy Awards competition, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is now accepting applications.

Applicants must first enter one of three regional competitions (North Carolina is in Region Two), with the winning films advancing to the finals. These films will be screened at the academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills, and voted upon by Academy members — the same folks whose votes select the Oscar winners.

Films may be entered in one of four categories: alternative, animation, documentary or narrative. To be eligible, films (16mm or larger) must be produced within the curriculum of an accredited college or university, in the context of a student/teacher relationship, and must have been completed after April 1, 1998. All Region Two entries must be received at the regional center by 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, 1999. Student winners will be flown to the awards ceremony in L.A. Along with their trophies, the winners will receive cash prizes: $2,000 for gold medalists, $1,500 for silver medalists, and $1,000 for bronze medalists.

Interested students can download an application from the academy’s Web site (, or send an application request, with an SASE, to: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211, Attn: Student Academy Awards.

Help yourself by helping others

Volunteering can be a valuable experience at any age; for seniors, it offers some particular advantages: it gets them out of the house (and meeting new people), and helps them stay physically active and mentally alert. The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at the Land-of-Sky Regional Council has been recruiting and placing senior volunteers in public, nonprofit and charitable agencies throughout western North Carolina since 1985.

That doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t have room for still more volunteers: Want to learn CPR and become an instructor? Tutor elementary-school students? Help with office work? Distribute food and clothing to people in need? How about helping out in the smaller public-library branches? All these opportunities and more await your call.

To learn more, call Nicki Benatan at 251-6622.

— caudally compiled by Paul Schattel

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