Welcome to Ridgefield Public Schools Continuing Education Program
Writing, Genealogy, History, Art History, Archaeology, Voice-Overs, Speaking, Acting
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History, Writing, Genealogy, Archaeology, Voice Overs, People of Ridgefield Before 1703 - Keep Scrolling Down!


Writing a Novel or Short Story

Participants will learn how to successfully create, develop, or complete your novel or short story by FIRST focusing on the basics, such as character development, scene creation, and a fully developed plot, which will enable you to construct a coherent, satisfying story scene-by-scene, and chapter-by-chapter. Just as importantly, you'll learn how to avoid the biggest mistakes, such as jumping in at page one with no real idea how your story will develop or even how it will end. Getting to know all your major and minor characters first, as well as all the main conflicts and actions of your story, will make your writing a far more manageable and rewarding experience.

We'll look at:
• Developing character backgrounds
• Formulating a plot
• Building scenes that move your story ahead
• First, second, and final drafts

Instructor Michael Canavan is the author of 2 novels, a collection of short stories, and nearly a dozen nonfiction books.

Structured for New Students:
5 Sessions $ 119 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 95)
Mon., 5/3, 10, 17, 24 and 6/7 from 1 to 3 p.m.; taught online via Zoom.
NOTE: New Dates. Drop 4/26 and add 6/7.

Structured for Continuing Students:
5 Sessions $ 119 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 95)
Wed., 4/28; 5/5, 12, 19 and 26 from 7 to 9 p.m.; taught online via Zoom
NOTE: New Dates. Drop 4/21 and add 5/26.


Voice-Overs . . . NOW is YOUR Time!
In what could be the most enlightening ONLINE class you have ever taken, our instructor and professional voice coach will show you how you can actually begin using your speaking voice for commercials, films, videos, and more. Most people go about it the wrong way. In this introductory class, you will learn about a unique, outside the box way to break into this creative, fulfilling, and potentially lucrative industry. Voice-overs can be managed on your own terms, on your own turf, in your own time, and with minimal overhead! Whether you choose to pursue voice-overs part-time or full-time, this could be the game changer you have been looking for. In addition to online instruction, you will be given the opportunity to book a 1-on-1 script read and voice evaluation via telephone with your instructor for the following day. This class will be presented via Zoom, you will receive a link the 24 hours prior to the class. Instructor Nicole Porche built her career as a professional film, television, theater and voice-over actor by demystifying the casting process and illuminating the business side of pursuing a creative career. This native New Orleanian has starred in series on the major networks Lifetime, The Food Network and Spike TV. Her years of experience in the film industry has afforded her the opportunity to teach others. She has earned her credits as an Acting Coach, Casting Director, Producer and Film Director. She has been featured in Rolling Out and Celebrity Net Worth "The Richest". Nicole Porche is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Nicole built her career as a professional film, television, theatre, and voice-over actor by demystifying the casting process and illuminating the business side of pursuing a creative career.

1 Session $ 31 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)
Tue., 6/29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Zoom

1 Session $ 31 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)
Sat., 7/17 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; Zoom


Genealogy for Beginners
This two part class will get you started on finding out about your family history and organizing and documenting the data you collected using mostly free sites on the internet. We will cover essential sources of information including the United States Census and vital records, as well as immigration and naturalization records. A brief introduction to finding records outside the USA and about how DNA is used in genealogy will be included. Instructor Eileen Burton has been involved in genealogy as a serious hobby for over 15 years. Her research led her to visit ancestral villages in Germany. Class Limit 7.

Available Fall 2021. Please email ridgefieldcontinuingeducation@gmail.com or call (203) 431-2812.

French and French Canadian Genealogy
If you are a descendant of French or French Canadian ancestors, your ancestors are among the best documented people in the world. This workshop focuses on resources available on-line to help you trace your family history in France and in the French Canadian Province of Quebec and highlights the commonality between French and French Canadian church records. The French genealogy section details what vital, census and military records are available from the French archives and how these data bases can be accessed. The French Canadian genealogy section lays out on-line resources available for the region of Quebec covering the work of earlier genealogists such as Joseph Drouin and Rev. Cyprien Tanguay, the Canadian archives census records and the Quebec notarial records. Specific techniques and challenges of French Canadian genealogy such as dit-names are also discussed. Instructor Francoise Lampe has extensive experience doing genealogical research in the US, France and Germany.

1 Session $ 31 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 25)
Thur., 5/20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; Zoom.

German Genealogy
This workshop focuses on US and German on-line resources available to locate German ancestors and on how to overcome the challenges unique to German genealogy. The course includes a discussion of German history and geography, immigration and emigration of ethnic Germans, church and civil records, given and family names, gothic script and how to use use maps and gazetteers to locate the German village of origin. Besides vital and census records, other sources of information such as passenger lists, city directories and newspapers are also discussed. Instructor Francoise Lampe has extensive experience doing genealogical research in the U.S., France and Germany.

Available Fall 2021. Please email ridgefieldcontinuingeducation@gmail.com or call (203) 431-2812.

Ridgefield Archaeology and History

The People of Ridgefield Before 1708

Ten thousand years ago the glaciers had withdrawn from Ridgefield, leaving behind an environment that was inhospitable to plants and animals alike. Yet, there is evidence that at least one hunter was here. Since then Ridgefield has been populated by people, who lived their lives, raised their families, and lived off of the land. This course deals with these people, their lives, their tools; and their ability to adjust to the climate changes, and the changes in their environment over the ten thousand years they occupied this land. Instructor Lynn-Marie Wieland is a lithic archaeologist specializing in Southern New England prehistory with an emphasis on the Native Americans of Ridgefield, who belonged to a larger community whose territory covered the land between the Norwalk River and the Hudson River. She excavated a site in Ridgefield that covered at least 10,000 years of occupation. Her specialty is the study of the manufacturing and use of stone tools.

2 Sessions $ 74 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 59)
Wed., 4/28; 5/5 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon; Zoom

European History

Nancy Maxwell - Instructor Bio:

As a student at Cornell, Ms. Maxwell was encouraged to major in Psychology, but her interest in the humanities was always paramount, and her reading of History has taken pride of place.

As a teacher and counselor in an international school in Switzerland for more than twenty years, she had the opportunity to familiarize herself with the palaces and cathedrals of European cities, to savor the extraordinary wealth of artistic treasure that they contain, and to walk in the very footsteps of historical figures.

Her understanding of European history has been enriched as much by exhausting days walking the corridors and grounds of the Palace of Versailles as by descending to the dismal, tragic halls of the Conciergerie. It has similarly been her privilege to tramp the Parisian streets from the site of the Bastille by way of the Louvre and the Tuileries gardens to the Place de la Concorde and thence along the Champs Elyses to Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe. These experiences have provided both a mental and physical context in which people who lived centuries ago regain their humanity and tell their stories. It is her delight to share those stories with students.

The French Revolution
Marie Antoinette may have been extravagant, but she did not cause the revolution! When Louis XVI summoned the Estates General he let loose a deluge of opposition that could not have been foreseen and which few could control. This course will examine the course of the revolution and the unpredictable shifts of power that led to the overthrow of the ancient regime, the execution of the king, the Terror, and the eventual rise of Napoleon. Taught by Nancy Maxwell (bio above).

2 Sessions $ 39 (Sr./Disab. $ 31)
Tue., 5/25 and 6/1 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Zoom

The Germans are Coming - Hanoverians Take the English Throne
The first three Georges were a quirky lot, (with a common hatred of their oldest sons) but survived to rule England through a tumultuous century.
The Hanoverian Succession - George I
. Despite her numerous pregnancies, when Queen Anne died in 1714 there was no direct heir to the throne of England. Concerned that the Catholic Stuarts might try to regain power, the Parliament had taken measures to ensure a smooth transference of the crown to Anne’s nearest legitimate Protestant relative, George. Apart from the horrific scandal of his wife, George of Hanover was enjoying a life of gambling and hunting (and ruling!) in his German state. Yet in 1714 George sailed for England, and began a new royal line. That he was already middle aged, spoke little English, and already ruler of another state was insignificant. The Whig party welcomed George I and gained control of the government. This class will explore the character of George I and the impact of his reign on English history.
The Hanoverian Succession – George II
George I and his son so loathed one another that the latter’s home became a center of political opposition to royal policy, and when George II succeeded to the throne his father’s ministers expected to be dismissed, and George II’s supporters expected to be rewarded. They had not reckoned on the influence of Queen Caroline! With his focus on his German lands, George II led England into two European wars and left her on the verge of disaster, and his temperament and lifestyle did little to help his popularity. This class will explore the less known Hanoverian king.

3 Sessions $ 55 (Ridgefield Sr./Disab. $ 44)
Tue., 6/8, 15 and 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Zoom

Jacques Louis David
One of the foremost artists of his generation, David lived and thrived through the upheavals of the French Revolution and rose to even greater prominence depicting Napoleon Bonaparte's glory. From "The Death of Marat" which demonstrates not only David's skill but also his political sympathies, to the stunning "Coronation of Napoleon", this lecture will explore the life, times, and works of this most ambitious, brilliat, and unusual artist.

1 Session $ 29 (Sr./Disab. $ 23)
Thur., 6/10 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; Zoom