Student celebrates 25 years at college

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Student celebrates 25 years at college

18 December 2014

25 year student Gen Van den Heuvell

We recently helped one of our part-time adult leisure students celebrate 25 years of attending courses with us when our Principal, Campbell Christie CBE, presented Gen Van den Heuvel, 82 from Wokingham, with a free semester of French Literature classes.

With 800 courses and approximately 6000 students our adult learning courses offer something for everyone and French Literature was the perfect fit for Gen. Gen has a love of reading, discussing books and the French language so when she saw class advertised back in 1989 it seemed the perfect fit and was to start a long relationship with the college:

“I enjoy meeting people so I like the social aspect of the course and we all get to know each other quite well. In fact I am still friends with some of the people I met on the course 25 years ago.

I also like to think it keeps me young. I like to keep my mind stimulated as I get older and I enjoy having discussions and hearing other people’s views on the books we read.

I have been lucky that during my 25 years I have only had two tutors and both of them were excellent. They have created a very friendly atmosphere and I like the way the classes are run as they are very democratic and we get to choose the books we want to read as a class.”

Principal Campbell Christie CBE was pleased to able to recognise Gen’s achievement:

“It’s really rewarding to get to meet an adult student who has gained so much from their college experience. I was really interested to hear her feedback on the college as this is what allows us to understand what our students want and need so that we can continue to support our local community.”

Gen’s tutor Marie-Chantal Brault was also delighted to see her receive recognition for her long serving commitment to the class and explained a little about how the class works:

“I think it’s amazing, but then Gen is an amazing person who offers a great deal to the class. People in the class come from different generations and backgrounds and it gives them an opportunity to bring their personalities and opinions out when we are discussing the books.

We also use other forms of learning to support the books we read including the internet, film and the theatre and we have been on a number of trips to see plays such as Les Miserables over the years.”

Gen will be putting her free semester to use to continue her studies this September as the class study two texts they have chosen to tie in with the 100 year anniversary since the outbreak of the First World War:

“I was astonished when I found out that the college was going to present me with a free semester of classes and I am already looking forward to getting started.”

Karen Miller, Languages Coordinator at the college added:

“It’s a fantastic achievement by Gen. It is a testament to the fantastic classes our tutors provide for the learners that students such as Gen keep returning year after year.

When it comes to languages we believe we can offer something for everyone. Not only are we able to deliver advanced courses for those who already have well-developed language skills but also provide courses for complete beginners.

Languages are a skill for life and welcome those who have previously studied elsewhere as well as those who are completely new to studying a particular language.”

If you are interested in studying a language or any of our other part-time leisure courses please visit or call 01344 868600.

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