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2018 Day Tripping with ACE
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ACE Blog

Day Trippin', Yeah!

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Day Trippin’, Yeah!


Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride – in comfort! Once again, we’ve chartered a real bus (yes, it has cushy seats and a bathroom!) and we’re taking you on some trippy jaunts this fall.


Day Trips on chartered bus - fall term 2018


Saturday, Nov 3, 2018

Dali Museum – Clyde Butcher Exhibition – “Visions of Dali’s Spain”

            If you associate Salvador Dali primarily with those melting clock faces, you are not alone. But in this special exhibition of photographs by renowned Florida photographer Clyde Butcher, you will see another side of the famous Surrealist painter. The Dali Museum in Spain commissioned Butcher to produce a portfolio of photographs of Dali’s Spanish home, including the Village of Cadagues, where Dali spent summers growing up; his villa in Port Lligat; and the rugged area of Cap de Creus – landscapes that all feature prominently in Dali’s artworks.

            Often referred to as “The Ansel Adams of Florida,” Clyde Butcher is best known for his black-and-white landscapes of Florida. He will be present November 3rd to sign copies of his book, “Visions of Dali’s Spain.”


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Florida Botanical Gardens – Holiday Lights Exhibit – Largo, Florida

            If you love tropical plants and tropical critters, you will love the Florida Botanical Gardens: 100 acres of every tropical plant you can name (and many you can’t!). The Gardens are also home to more than 150 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles.

            After a Dutch treat lunch, you will have several hours of daylight to explore the grounds during the afternoon – but save some energy for later! At 5:30 pm, more than 1 million lights come on to get you in a jolly mood for the holidays. You’ll want to wander throughout the gardens for a while longer to enjoy the full effect of the holiday lights before boarding the bus to head for home.


Day Trip on COW Bus – fall term 2018


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Myakka City Lemur Reserve

            When you see a lemur for the first time, you’ll have to agree that lemurs must be the most appealing creatures you’ve ever seen. With their big eyes, soft fur, and long, striped tails, they spell adorable. But it’s important to take their situation seriously: their habitat is shrinking at an alarming rate, and their population is endangered. It’s heartwarming to know that right here in Florida is an organization dedicated to their survival.

The Lemur Conservation Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the primates of Madagascar through managed breeding, scientific research, education, and art.  The Foundation maintains an active office in Madagascar and focuses on community and habitat protection programs. Madagascar is the only place in the world where lemurs are found naturally.

            The 130-acre Myakka City Lemur Reserve in Manatee County opened in 1999 and is home to more than 50 lemurs of six different species. The Reserve is planted with many fruit trees that lemurs love, such as mango, passion fruit, and guava. Two buildings act as indoor/outdoor lemur enclosures. The Myakka City Lemur Reserve facility is open to academic professionals and college-level students for behavioral research opportunities. 

Pass the Hors d'Oeurves, Please

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Pass the Hors d’Oeurves, Please


If you’re retired, you might be taking advantage of that extra free time and doing some traveling that you could never do while you were working. And that means you aren’t home long enough to commit to a 10-week class – or even a 6-week class, most likely.


Well, we have the perfect solution! If you’ve studied our website or our catalog (like we hope you have), you’ll see that we have many one- or two-day courses and workshops designed for people like you who can’t commit to an extended class right now.


One-day workshops give you a taste of all sorts of interesting adventures, from jewelry making to gardening to painting. An hour here, a couple of hours there – whenever you feel like taking a class, we’ve got something to tickle your fancy.

Of course, we hope that when you’re not on the road, you’ll sign up for a longer class so you can give a subject your full attention in more depth. But a one-day class gets you out of the house and gives you a tidbit of learning to whet your appetite. It’s like an hors d’oeuvre for your mind!


Here are a few examples of what’s coming up this summer:


5/12/18        Designing Your Florida Yard (2nd in Series)

            Even if you hire someone to landscape your yard, you need to be able to tell them what to do. Don’t waste your money on plants that don’t belong in a Florida landscape; learn what to plant where, and how to keep them healthy.


5/22/18        The Texting Class: Learning the Bells & Whistles

            Do you feel exasperated when your grandkids want to text instead of talking on the phone? Don’t beat ‘em – join ‘em! Bring your smartphone and learn the ins and outs of texting in this fun class with Bonnie Hammer.


5/23/18        Taking Advantage of the New Tax Rules

            The tax overhaul recently passed by Congress will affect everyone. It’s not too early to start thinking about the ramifications for you and your family. This seminar, taught by Joe Walsh, will clue you in on the details.


6/2/18           Ikebana: Intro to Japanese Flower Arranging

            Meditate with flowers! The art of Ikebana incorporates the simplicity of nature with the beauty and elegance of flowers, taking into account seasonality and the natural shapes of foliage.


6/19/18        Growing & Propagating Antique Roses

            If you’re a transplanted Northerner who loved her roses, you’ll love this workshop. Gary Patton is a Florida gardener who can coax anything to grow in Florida, and he’ll share his secrets with you.


6/20/18        Google Photos: Store, Organize & Share for Free

            If you’re like most people, your phone is chockful of photos of kids, pets, artwork – whatever – and it takes forever to find the one you want to share with someone. Take this workshop and we guarantee that problem will be a thing of the past.


7/10/18        Create a Memory Pendant

            Recycle a charm bracelet or necklace into a memory pendant that has special meaning. You’ll learn wire-wrapping techniques in this workshop that you can use for other pieces as well.


8/23/18        An Abstract Mess: Acrylic Pouring

            With its psychedelic patterns harkening back to the sixties, acrylic pouring is all the rage. See how easy it is to make swirling designs just by mixing some paint and chemicals in a tray! It’s easy as pie and loads of fun. Choose your colors and you’ll have art on your walls in a day.

North Port News

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North Port News


Did you know that if you live in Venice or Port Charlotte, you are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our newest campus?


You may know North Port as the site of Warm Mineral Springs, one of Florida’s most popular tourist attractions. People travel from all over the world to soak in the mineral-rich water, and many believe it has healing properties.


But another lively attraction recently opened its doors just a bit further south: Yes, ACE now has a home in North Port!


Suncoast Technical College unveiled its North Port branch last fall right off Exit 179 at the intersection of Toledo Blade Boulevard and Cranberry Boulevard (for your GPS, the street address is 4445 Career Lane). ACE classrooms share a building with the Shannon Staub Public Library.


Grab a friend and hightail-it down to North Port for a refreshing dip into ACE’s pool of lifelong learning! Now you can learn to paint like a pro, improve your computer skills, navigate your phone, and trace your roots, among other useful and interesting pastimes, on a beautifully landscaped campus closer to where you live and work.


Here are just a few of the fascinating courses coming up Spring/Summer Term, which runs April 23 – August 30. Registration begins April 9 (April 2 for patrons!):

  • Right Brain Drawing
  • An Abstract Mess
  • One Morning Masterpiece
  • Selling Your Art Online
  • Intro to Windows 10 for Windows Users
  • iPad/iPhone Workshop Step 1
  • Pastels

Whatever your passion, you will probably find a class waiting for you at ACE in North Port! See you there…

ACE is in the Family Way!

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ACE is in the Family Way!

Now that we have your attention, we’d like to tell you more about Family Saturdays, a new program we’ve launched this fall. Usually our “customers” are adults, but this project welcomes some younger members of the family – however you define “family.” If you’re always saying you want to spend more quality time with some kids – well, here’s a way to do it, one-on-one.

Here’s how it works: Any kid at least 10 years old can team up with an adult – the adult has to be at least 18 – for a few choice hours on a Saturday to laugh, learn, and grow together. We’re offering classes in everything from Sushi to Bead Stringing, and so far it’s a hit!

Some of our most popular instructors are on deck for this program, such as Bonnie Hammer, who usually can be found taking photos or teaching people how to use their smartphones. On Family Saturdays, she will teach Bike Maintenance, which is all about how to take care of your two-wheeled transportation, including on-the-road fixes, so you’ll never be stranded. You’ll also find Gary Patton, whose expertise is all things green and growing, and who will share his knowledge about Container Gardening. Students love his classes, because they always leave with free plants! A few other things family teams can learn about on Saturdays this fall include quick breads, jewelry-making, and collage. Read the full schedule of classes here. We’ll offer a new set of Family Saturday classes after the holidays, for Winter Term.

We’re thrilled that The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is helping to underwrite this new program, allowing us to cut our regular fees in half so more family teams can take part. Make your next Saturday a Family Saturday at ACE!

A Million Reasons to be Grateful

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As the administrator in charge of ACE, I am excited and humbled that we have surpassed the milestone of over one million dollars in class sales for the 2016-17 school year.  When you consider that many of our classes cost less than $50, this is an incredible feat that speaks to the quality of our community members.  It is apparent that our community is filled with those who love to learn, to grow and to expand their minds.  That's what lifelong learning is about - that and the desire to connect with like-minded individuals.


Having such a successful adult enrichment program that is housed within a K-12 school district is not common.  It is only possible when you have incredibly qualified teachers who love to share their passion, those who are willing to pay to learn and grow, and a school district that is willing to provide the needed support.  In Sarasota, the School Board recognizes the importance of lifelong learning as an important contributor to a quality community.  To this end, they provide ACE at Suncoast Technical College the space in which to hold classes.  The ACE program pays for all the costs of running the program: staff, instructors, registration system, equipment and supplies.  The money we bring in goes back out into the community in the form of teacher salaries, contracted services and the supplies we purchase from local vendors.  

ACE is known for its welcoming culture. We know we are lucky to have the students and teachers who make up our program.  Now we have a million reasons to be grateful.  Thank you, Sarasota.

Laura Kelley Trubac, MPA

Program Manager, Adult & Community Enrichment

Suncoast Technical College

Sarasota County Schools

Setting More Records for Lifelong Learning

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We ended up with 12,320 registrations for the year, which wrapped up on June 30th.  When you think about it, this is a staggering figure and proves that Sarasota loves lifelong learning!

 In my mind, we are asking folks to spend two valuable commodities to take a class: time and money.  Unlike a credit class, our students' objective is simply to learn something.  But there is much more to it than that - otherwise YouTube and Rosetta Stone would put us out of business!  What then?

My role as the administrator of the ACE program means I read a lot of your class evaluations.  Within the comments you make, we can see that not only are you learning, you are connecting with your teachers and your fellow students.  Thousands of you express gratitude for our existence, saying their class is the highlight of their week,  that they now have new friends, that they feel more interesting and interested, that they are tapping into their creativity.  This all spells self-fulfillment to me. 

I can tell you that the ACE staff truly enjoys working with you and helping you enrich your life.  Lifelong learners as a whole are delightful people.  So thank you for choosing ACE as your lifelong learning provider.  We are truly honored.


Laura Kelley Trubac, MPA

Program Manager, ACE

Suncoast Technical College



Record-Breaking Registration!

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Over 3600.  That's how many registrations ACE has processed already for the Winter Session.  And it isn't over - we have 100's of classes starting throughout January, February, March and April.  How can this be in the age of the Internet?  Because there is a synergy in a classroom full of life long learners that can't be duplicated by watching YouTube. 

ACE has hit the lifelong learning trifecta of great classes, great teachers and a top-notch facility - all at affordable prices.  Another factor in our success is our students.  Without those of you who want to continually learn and grow, we couldn't exist, let alone thrive.  So thank you for letting all of this be possible!

People always ask me what classes filled the fastest.  For the past few years, the answer is always Elaine Charney's wonderful watercolor classes.  In fact, her classes filled during our Patron Pre-Registration Day!  That led us to pull her class listings from our catalog - not wanting to disappoint potential students by listing classes that were unavailable.  The problem with that was many wondered if she still taught for us.  I'm happy to report that our affiliation with Elaine is as strong as ever, and we are thrilled to have her teaching for us! 

Other perennial favorites are Ann Moore's tennis classes and all things Ipad and Iphone.  The surprise hit has been our new Staging Your Home to Love It or List It.  I had the pleasure of sitting in on the class for a few minutes and can tell it will be an ongoing favorite - interactive and fun with several guest speakers.

There are so many great classes yet to start.  Hope you can join in the fun!


Laura Kelley Trubac, MPA 

Program Manager, ACE

Suncoast Technical College