Encore Takes Learning on the Road
By Hannah Vickery
This year, Lee University Encore students had the opportunity to learn about history through mini-courses designed to incorporate travel.
Encore students were able to take courses such as “The History of Baseball” and “Tennessee in Tennis Shoes,” both developed and taught by Dr. David Altopp and his wife Phyllis. Altopp, who started the Lee Flames baseball program in 1996, taught at several universities over a 45-year span, 35 of which he also coached baseball.
“I have been a student of the game for many years,” said Altopp regarding the baseball class. “My favorite part of both classes is getting to teach them. I love teaching, and I just like meeting and being around people.”
Participants in “The History of Baseball” course have ventured to places such as the Ty Cobb Museum in Royston, Georgia, and the Johnny Maze Museum, also located in Georgia at Piedmont College.
From the Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where the bloodiest battle of the Civil War took place, to the home and museum of James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, the “Tennessee in Tennis Shoes” class participants explored the people and places of their home state. Students also discovered Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House and Restaurant in their travels.
“When you live in an area, you tend to miss the hidden jewels of history that are practically in your backyard,” said Linda Gillis, a participant in the “Tennessee in Tennis Shoes” course. “This class makes you aware of the sites that help make Tennessee great.”
The students also toured the Sergeant Alvin C. York Historic Park near Jamestown, where York’s son showed the group the buildings and burial site of his father. York was a decorated soldier in the U.S. Army during World War I.
“I had never been to any of the historic sites the class chose to visit,” said Gary Baldwin, former head coach of the women’s basketball team and now Encore student. “During these day trips, I learned many facts that appealed to me since I love history. One example was at Sergeant York’s home when his son, now 84 years old, gave us a personal tour of the house. He told us the story of how his Dad, York, led an outnumbered group of men up a hill to victory against the enemy. This only shows what an interesting and celebrated figure he is for American history.”
Other participants who visited the York site enjoyed learning not only what the sergeant did during the war, but also after it.
“I have taken classes at Lee since 1947 and out of all my time here, the Tennessee in Tennis Shoes class has been my most enjoyable experience,” said Lloyd Koester, Encore student. “After visiting the Alvin C. York Historic Park, I was amazed at the complexity and creativity of the things York developed after his time in the service.”
All of these sites allowed class participants to gain new insights about parts of Tennessee’s history and experience the past lives of York, Polk, and the soldiers who fought on the Stones River Battlefield.
“There is a lot to be seen in Tennessee,” said Jeanne Hagar, who traveled to the James K. Polk residence. “We don’t have to go out of the state to see interesting places. I learned many facts about the former president [Polk] that I didn’t already know.”
The “Tennessee in Tennis Shoes” class will be offered again this upcoming fall 2016 semester and will be open to all Encore students who wish to enroll.
The Encore program is open to applicants age 60 or older. Encore scholars are invited to enrich their lives through experiencing the academic excellence and Christ-centered atmosphere of Lee University.
For more information about the Encore program at Lee, contact Bethany McCoy at 423-614-8598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.