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Page 8 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 08 no. 1 April, 1932

Part of Mountain Life and Work

Page 8 MOUNTAIN LIFE AND WORK April, 1932 scale of education; and those who enroll for observation, and those who have the privilege of attending classes "ex officio," find in them sources of fresh inspiration and of culture. These are brought to the group through men and women from the Berea faculty, with the finesse and force which come from conviction and ideals and love of life. This is Grundtvig's "living word." In January, 1932, the Opportunity School held its seventh session. This has been one of the most interesting and successful sessions, and a resume of it should give a very good representation of the plan of work and its characteristics throughout the seven years. Leaflets explaining the purpose and outline of the work were sent to former Opportunity School students and community workers and leaders throughout the mountains. The School was also explained to the student body of Berea and advertised in the various lines of extension work throughout the fall. It has been gratifying to have the cooperation of many mountain workers in interesting men and women of the right caliber. Fully half of those who attended this year came through this channel. The 1932 group was composed of twenty-two women and eighteen men. Twenty-five of them came from Kentucky, four from Tennessee, seven from North Carolina, one from West Virginia, and three, who came for observation, from "out of territory." The majority of the men were farmers, two young fellows having outstanding records as club leaders in Tennessee. The other men were teachers, one having taught "twenty-six schools" in one county; three women were mothers of Berea students, two were community workers, two young women engaged in handicrafts, one was a winder in a cotton mill, and two were weavers. The life of the group centered about a large recreation room in the basement of Elizabeth Rogers Hall, where an atmosphere of freedom and home was established by the simple expedient of reading tables, bookshelves, pictures, a few easy chairs, and an open fire. Here were the lectures, the reading, the games, the "family gatherings," the Sunday school classes. It was in every sense the Opportunity School living room. After six-thirty breakfast and dormitory duties, the group assembled at 8:15 for morning devotions; from 8:30 until noon a full morning followed. The lectures were of forty-five minutes' length with sufficient intermission for informal discussion and relaxation. The program varied from day to day, the weekly "budget" of lectures and discussion being as follows: Three periods a week were given to history which pertained to significant movements in the settling of our country and several interesting biographical studies. Three periods a week were also given to literature and sociology. The literature hours gave delightful understanding of books, interpretation of poetry, and choice stories. The sociology, a new term to many, opened new lines of thought, new viewpoints of other peoples, new conceptions of personal responsibility towards impersonal problems. The discussions were grouped around problems of India and Russia, of present industrial and financial situations, or of peace and war. Writing later, one of the young men says, "Some real windows have been opened, if only my weak thoughts will use them. I know I shall not think blank any more." Twice a week there were inspiring Bible lessons by the pastor of the Union Church, and free discussions of community problems with good illustrations and appreciations from their own experience. Perhaps no subject led to greater revelations than science, with the first glimpse into chemistry, the boundless wonder of the stories which geology holds, and the more intimate appreciation of natural life. Some of the questions that came out showed that minds that think are not necessarily minds disciplined by "book learning." Two mornings, in the hour before dinner, the Opportunity School joined the rest of the campus in United Chapel exercise-an opportunity to feel the thrill of a large assembly with a common bond. This hour on other mornings was the music period. We had "the singingest" crowd this year! Singing with spontaneity and taste was the motive of the music class, and folk songs have been found to be one of the best mediums for such a group. The afternoons were free for practical work in the industrial arts shops on the campus, and this work was largely guided by individual interests. The women had a simple course in home problems, including home nursing, and another in handicrafts. A group of men and two women chose woodwork, while others preferred instruction in motor mechanics. A husband and wife learned "double" weaving. One young man had special

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