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Course Offerings

Spring 2024 Courses

Welcome to Encore’s spring 2024 course offerings.  These learning opportunities are scheduled within the college’s academic calendar; they are assigned to available areas after the credit classes have been scheduled.  This scheduling is completed at least two months before classes begin.  

So, as you consider what to register for, please note carefully the dates, times, and places for each offering.  Then register for those offerings that fit within your own calendar and commitments.  Neither Encore nor its instructors can make changes after that.  The only exception would be a college-wide postponement, cancellation, or rescheduling i.e. snow day.

Check the SUNY Orange website for closing updates



6 sessions
1:00 – 3:30 pm
Monday, March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
(ROOM – Library – Room 130)

Learn to play that popular game, Mahjong, which you keep hearing about. The American version will be our focus.  The class is for men and women who are beginners or need a refresher.

Participants will need to furnish their own Mahjong cards. Instructor will order these.  Approximate cost is $15.00. Payment is due at the 1st class.

Instructor:  Florette Soroka, Pat Blau 
Florette has played Mahjong for over 35 years and has been teaching others to play for numerous years in Chester, at Middletown Mulberry House, Encore and at the Town of Wallkill Wildflower Community Center. Florette is on the board of the Encore Steering Committee.


4 sessions
1:30 – 3:30 pm
Monday, April 1, 8, 15, 22
1:30 - 3:30 pm
(ROOM – Harriman Hall - Room 211A)

Students will be introduced to the use of watercolors. 

Supplies needed:

  1. Watercolor brushes: a set of 10 mixed brushes is good.
  2. Watercolor paper: cold press size is preference
  3. Watercolor tin of colors minimum set of 24 colors
  4. #2 pencil with an eraser, a pencil sharpener, and ruler
  5. A sponge
  6. A small container or 2 for holding water

These items can be purchased online at
Amazon, Dick Blicks, Jerry’s Artarama, Michaels or Hobby Lobby

Instructor: Joe Petrosi
Joe is an accomplished artist.  His work hangs in many businesses and homes. In 2012 he was voted the Best Ink and Pencil Artist in the Hudson Valley.  His work has been exhibited in both multi-artist and one man shows in the tri-state area.  Joe is the President of the Encore Steering Committee.



3 sessions
2:00 – 4:30 pm
Tuesday,  April 9, 30, May 7
(ROOM – Library – Room 130)
Students will be making 2 cards per class, to choose from Everyday, St. Patricks and Easter cards.         Bring scissors to class.


Instructor: Pam Ippolito
Pam has been making handmade cards for over 15 years.  In the last year she became a stampin-up demonstrator.


2:15 – 4:15 pm

Tuesday, March 26, April 2, 9, 16
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 211B)

What investments can help you meet your goals?  We will follow some specific investments (stocks, ETF’s (Exchange Traded funds), Business Developments cost, etc.  during the 4 week course (class can help choose). Learn from the instructor’s 50+ years of investing and avoid his mistakes. Beginners are welcome! All questions are welcome!

Instructor: Robert Pollsen
Robert is a retired Certified Financial Planner professional.  He has worked in NYC’s financial district for over 25 years: Standard & Poor’s, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and more.


4 sessions 1:30 – 3:30 pm
Tuesday, April 2, 9, 16, 23
(ROOM - Harriman Hall 211A)

Students will learn some basic drawing techniques and the use of color pencils and color techniques. Students should bring in pictures as studies to draw from.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Color pencils (a set of 24 preferred)
  2. Drawing paper: Bristol paper pad, velum 100lb, 9x12
  3. Pencil sharpener, eraser, ruler
  4. Drawing pencil (an HB is good and also bring a #2)

These items can be purchased online at Amazon, Dick Blicks, Artarama, Temu, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby.

Instructor: Joe Petrosi
Joe is an accomplished artist.  His work hangs in many business and homes. In 2021 he was voted the Best Ink and Pencil Artist in the Hudson Valley.  His work has been exhibited in both multi-artist and one man shows in the tri-state area.  Joe is the President of the Encore Steering Committee.


1 session
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Tuesday April 23
(ROOM – Harriman Hall – Room 103)

Create a unique floral garden plaque by painting on a wooden plaque using veggies as your paint brush.  

Please bring to class:

  • 4 broccoli florets with stems (to hold onto).
  • 1 bunch of celery still connected to its base (uncut).
  • 6 grape tomatoes.

A $13 fee will be collected at the beginning of class to cover expenses.

Instructor: Diane Kitson
From the time of Diane’s birth, she was painting everything she could see and was under the tutelage of a Fine Arts instructor from age 7 until 14.  Diane’s love of painting continues.  She owns an arts and crafts store in PA.



3 sessions
11:00 – 12:00 pm
Wednesday,  March 6, 13, 27
(ROOM – Phys Ed Dance Studio)

This class is for beginning and ongoing students of Yoga.

Students should be able to move from standing position to seated or lying on their mat and easily getting up from the floor.

Instructor:  Mary Berrigan
Mary is a 20+ year practitioner and teacher of yoga.  She has taught classes for Adult Ed programs.  Mary is on the Encore Steering Committee.


2:00 – 4:00 pm

Wednesday, March 27, April 3
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 203)

March 27 we will discuss The Personal Librarian by Heather Terrell & Victoria Christopher. For the April 3 class we will discuss Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. (79 pages) also, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds.

Students will be required to read each book prior to class.

Instructor:  Marlena Lange
A long time Encore instructor; Marlena has also been a teacher of English at Chester High School, SUNY Orange, Harriman College and Mercy College.  She has also worked in many prisons and is a member of Friends of Thrall Library.

Hollywood Land Noir 2

3:00 – 5:00 pm
Wednesday, April 3, 10, 24, May 1
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 201)

This class is a survey of true crime during Hollywood’s Golden Era, Part 2… the dark side of Tinseltown where unsolved murder is forgotten!  Where studios protect their stars and help cover up crime and scandal.  We will cover William Randolph Hearst, The Three Stooges, Thelma Todd, Russ Columbo, Joan Crawford and others.

Instructor: Frank Kieck
Frank is an avid old-time radio and mystery fan.

The Interwar Period 1919 – 1939: Unleashing the Demons

Wednesday, April 10, 17, 24
1:00 - 3:00 pm
(ROOM – Rowley Center Room 010)

The Great War was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Instead, it set the groundwork for the next larger scale conflict.  In this course, we will explore what happened in the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles and other treaties that enabled the rise of totalitarianism.  

Emphasis will be placed on Italy, Germany and Japan.

Instructor: Professor Heidi Amelia-Anne Weber, Ph.D
Dr. Heidi Amelia-Anne Weber is a Full Professor of History in the Department of Global Studies at SUNY Orange.  She is actively involved in teaching classes in the Honors program as well as for Encore.  Heidi was selected as the recipient of both SUNY Orange Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Heid has written a book Like a Great Feudel Landlord: How Architecture and Slavery Created the World of the Upcountry Planter published in November 2022 by Mercer University Press. 

Historic Hillside Cemetery

Wednesday April 24
2:00 - 4:00 pm
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 200)

A look at Hillside’s 160 year history with special attention to Calvert Vaux, the cemetery designer, and various notables who are buried there.

There will be a tour of the cemetery on April 27 (the instructor will discuss the details in class).

Instructor: Fred Isseks, Andy Mills
Fred taught at Middletown High School for 37 Years.  Andy is a psychologist and RN who has worked at a community health clinic for the last 40 years.  He is presently the president of Hillside Cemetery Corporation.



1 session
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Thursday, March 14
(ROOM - Harriman Hall 211B)

Opioids such as heroin, Oxycontin, Percocet, and fentanyl are the cause of hundreds of thousands of overdose deaths.

Learn how to recognize the signs of opioid overdose and how to reverse by administering Narcan.  You will leave the class with a Narcan Rescue Kit.

Instructor: Lauren Mandel
Lauren is a registered nurse for 29 years.  She is the Program Director for Keep It Moving, a grassroots Opioid Prevention Program based out of Newburgh, NY.  She leads formal Narcan and opioid trainings; serving as the voice of Keep It Moving.


2:00 - 3:30 pm
Wednesday, March 21 & April 18

(ROOM – Harriman Hall 211A)

This class covers four areas associated with healthy aging: Cognitive activity, exercise, diet/nutrition and social engagement.  We will also cover waring signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.  This program increases awareness of the benefits of early Alzheimer’s detection and provides information about memory loss and normal aging, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.  Also learn about the risk factors, 10 warning signs, diagnostic process, and resources to help.  

Instructor: Donna Davies
Donna has worked for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Hudson Valley chapter for 18 years, currently in the position of Care Consultant, Senior Director of Programs and Services.  She has 32 years of clinical social work etc.


2:00 - 4:00 pm
Thursday March 21, 28, April 4
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 211B)

Women have lived, fought, loved and died next to men for years. They often found their ways difficult, often ever barred but they persisted.  Come and meet some of these women and gain a new perspective on what is meant to be called “strong women”.

Instructor: Yvonne Bigney
Yvonne was a Civil War re-enactor for 10 years participating in re-enactments including Museum Village and the 135th anniversary at Gettysburg. She has given talks at historical societies, libraries and schools.


2 sessions
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Thursday, April 11, 18
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 201)

You will learn and apply basket weaving techniques to make your own small basket.

Bring the following to class:

  1. Yardstick or ruler
  2. A dish, basin or bucket (to soak the reed)
  3. A water spray bottle
  4. Clothes pins (spring type – about 10-12 of them)
  5. Flat Head screwdriver
  6. Pencil and paper towels

The class fee of $10 will cover the weaving materials kit.  This will be collected at the beginning of the 1st session.

Instructor: Susan Parry
Susan is the retired Director of Libraries at SUNY Orange. Susan took classes at the Brookfield Craft Center and Peter’s Valley School of Craft and enjoys sharing what she  has learned with others.


1 session
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Thursday, April 25
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 211B)

Jerry will cover the Middletown State Hospital which opened in 1874 and was a major factor in Middletown’s growth in the 20th century.

Instructor: Jerry Kleiner
Jerry has been President of the Historical Society and the Wallkill Precinct.  He graduated from George Washington University.  He serves as 2nd ward alderman for the City of Middletown.


1 session
2:30 - 4:30 pm
Thursday, April 25
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 201)

This class will cover many poems of Roethke (1908 – 1963), a Pulitzer – prize winning poet.  There will be readings of his poems, and some videos from YouTube of him reading his own poems.

Instructor: Hollis Kellogg
Hollis is a retired Occupational Therapist.  He attended Pratt Institute and Syracuse University to receive a degree in Fine Arts.  Since 1970 he has studied piano and has performed solo in various venues over the years.



2:00 - 4:30 pm
March 15, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3
(ROOM – Harriman Hall 111)

This film series will be “Special Requests from the Balcony”.  These are the tentative films. Program subject to change.

  • Sense and Sensibility  -  March 15
  • Laura – April 5
  • Key Largo  - April 12
  • Sorry Wrong Number  - April 19
  • Twelve Angry Men  - April 26
  • Adams Rib  - May 3

Instructor: Matt Pfisterer
Matthew Pfisterer has served as the Director at Middletown Thrall Library since 2011.  Matt earned a Master’s Degree in Information Science from SUNY Albany, worked as a public Librarian and gained experience as a director of public libraries in Ulster and Dutchess counties.