NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

CoOL is cool

Council members of CoOL sit around a table and deliberate. | NECC Observer

The CoOL council met on Sept. 17 to discuss the upcoming semester.

College isn’t just for young adults anymore. NECC has a volunteer organization known as the College of Older Learners, or CoOL, for people 50 or older who want to remain intellectually active.

“I was teaching at the college, and I did a sabbatical on lifelong learning and came up with this model with my cohort Peter Spellman who also helped me start it,” said George Medelinskas, co-founder of CoOL and former NECC teacher.

CoOL was founded in Feb. 2011 and has so far offered 85 different seminars. Seminars are $30 each, and they run for two hours a class for six weeks. The seminars run during both fall and spring semesters.

Teachers of seminars are paid a $10 stipend, and the rest of the money generated goes to NECC.

“It’s a volunteer organization,” said CoOL council chair Nancy Clark, “there’s a lot of work and time that goes into it, but it’s great that the college gives us the space and time.”

“The goal was to get people to stretch,” said Medelinskas. “By that I mean if you’re not good in science, maybe take a climate change course. “If you’re really shy, take the senior theater course.”

“School isn’t just for younger people,” said Clark. “Or middle aged people. It’s for older people.”

To register for a seminar, go to

Contact with any questions.

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