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Adult Enrichment program generates first million in annual fees

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Sarasota County Schools Adult and Community Enrichment student Greg Wright accepts a mock million-dollar bill from ACE Program Manager Laura Trubac and School Board member Jane Goodwin. Wright’s registration put this year’s revenue for the program over $1 million.

SARASOTA; June 13, 2017 – The Sarasota County Schools Adult and Community Enrichment (ACE) program has generated more than a million dollars in annual fees for the first time, program director Laura Trubac announced at a presentation June 9. Program revenue has exceeded last year’s total by more than $70,000.

ACE classes are offered primarily at the Suncoast Technical College campus in Sarasota. Although the school district provides the facilities for the classes, the operating costs of the program are supported entirely through class fees.

The school district subsidized the program until 2010, when it was moved to what was then the Sarasota County Technical Institute campus. With a new location and restructured management, the program soon became self-sufficient.

Trubac credits the talent of the instructors and the enthusiasm of the students for the success of the program. “ACE employs more than 150 part-time teachers, who work hard to offer high-quality lifelong learning courses,” she said. “And you must have folks who are eager to participate in our classes,” she said.

She said the ACE program is a significant contributor to the local economy. “In addition to providing wages to teachers, ACE returns revenue to the community through the thousands of dollars spent on class equipment and supplies,” she said. The program has a particularly strong impact on the arts community because more than 40 percent of ACE classes are in the arts.

Trubac said the $1 million figure represents more than 12,800 enrollments this school year.  She said enrollment has grown steadily since the program started in 1985. “Once people discover ACE, they keep coming back – and often bring their friends,” she said.

A prize of $100 toward ACE class fees was awarded at the June 9 ceremony to Greg Wright, whose registration put ACE over the $1 million goal. The presentation was made at an event on the STC campus attended by ACE faculty and staff, STC staff and district representatives, including School Board member Jane Goodwin.

Wright said, “As a recent retiree who moved to Sarasota from the Midwest, I was concerned about keeping both socially and mentally active. I found just what I needed through ACE. Since moving here, I’ve taken classes on learning how to dance the tango, maintain a bicycle, set up a blog, build a WordPress website, and play the blues harmonica.”

The harmonica class was taught by Les McCurdy from Les McCurdy’s Comedy Theater.  “That last class was a whole lot of fun,” Wright said, “but I’d have to say that all my teachers have been really great. 

“There’s no reason to have a boring retirement when you have the opportunity to participate in the adult and community enrichment classes through ACE.  I’d encourage all my fellow retirees to give it a try.” 


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