One heavy classload

Alvirda Pah’or of Clovis enrolls in an advanced art and sculptor class and women’s weightlifting Monday afternoon at Clovis Community College. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

A widow and a weight lifter. A great-grandmother to seven, a missionary and a late-blooming artist. That’s Alvirda Pah’or (pronounced power).

About four years ago, Pah’or took her first art class at Clovis Community College.

She continued her college pursuits Monday, enrolling in advanced art and women’s weightlifting.

“I always said to myself, some day I would paint,” said Pah’or, 75.
“My instructor said I’m a fine artist,” she added.

The senior citizen said she feels “right at home” in CCC classrooms.

“A lot of people, if they only knew what this college offers for seniors, they would be tearing the doors down to get in,” she said.

CCC slices costs for certain seniors.

A reduced rate of $8 per credit hour is available to New Mexico seniors 65 or older who enroll in six or less credit hours at CCC.

Every semester, a loyal segment of seniors enrolls in CCC credit and noncredit classes, CCC President John Neibling said.

According to figures provided by CCC officials, 620 seniors were enrolled in CCC classes from spring 2005 to summer 2006. Seniors make up roughly 17 percent of CCC’s student body, according to CCC figures.

“We are a community college so we try and meet the needs of all different populations,” CCC Marketing and Community Relations Director Lisa Spencer said.
“We have such a nice mix of students,” she said.

Seniors are especially drawn to the college’s health and recreation courses, such as swimming, weightlifting and aerobics, CCC officials said.

“They want to keep their minds active and their bodies healthy,” Neibling said.
And then, there are those like Pah’or, whose pursuits at CCC have bled into daily life. With extra time on her hands, Pah’or spends a good portion of the winter season on her art, with oil her medium of choice.

“People start hobbies — not hobbies, careers — they didn’t even know they had in them after retirement,” Spencer said.

Monday marked the first day of fall classes at CCC.

Friday is the last day to register for the semester. The college will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Thursday, and will close at 4 p.m. Friday.