September 2006 Newsletter


Back to School


Classes begin Friday September 22.  And we’ve never been in better shape for the start of the school year.


One hundred people registered online before the Enrollment Party on September 8.  So we actually partied that day with about 60 of our friends who dropped by to meet teachers, get help with book buying, sample Rosemary’s punch or—in a few cases—to finish registering.  To this date we have 132 students registered for classes and we generally add a few more in early fall.


Room assignments will be posted at the church when you arrive.  Check in the Fireside Room for information.  Come even if your books haven’t yet arrived—you can work something out with a classmate. 


Handicapped Parking


Handicapped parking is available in the circle drive at the front of the church.  Enter the front door and take the elevator to the basement for classes.  People in the church office are glad to help you find and operate the elevator.           


Got snacks?


Having tasty snacks to get us through our Friday morning studies depends on you. You don’t have to feed the entire school—three or four other members will contribute, too. 


Veronica Bergonzoni organizes this for us and she needs your help.  There is always a sign up sheet in the Fireside Room and you can choose to bring a sweet or savory snack.  Or contact Veronica Bergonzoni directly to help:  (see Livret for contact info)




Remember that you are responsible for purchasing your textbooks this year and many books have changed. There is a special tab on the website that lists books for all classes and provides links to sources for purchase.  If you need assistance, contact Mary Lew McCarty who can help you  (see Livret for contact info).


For those concerned about book changes and costs, rest assured that choices were made around quality and longevity—meaning that these books will be used for multiple years.  This has worked well in Italian classes in which students have worked steadily through a text for several years.




The backbone of La Causerie are the teachers who provide consistently high quality instruction for us.  Here are the teachers who will be helping us improve our skills this year:



Hélène Perriguey-Keene fits in well at La Causerie since she is fluent in French (a native speaker), English, Spanish and ranks herself as an intermediate Italian speaker.  She has degrees from universities in France, Spain and the University of Nebraska.  She has taught French and Spanish at nearly every level possible, from elementary school to the university.  Currently she teaches a range of courses at Johnson County Community College.  She has agreed to teach through December as we search for a new teacher.


Becky Tucker is currently a French department tutor at Johnson County Community College and does private tutoring. Her experience as a French teacher is very diverse, ranging from an after school French program in Italy (!) to high school French in Wichita.  She has a master’s degree in French language and culture from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  La Causerie member Marti Moore attended the Lac du Bois Concordia Language Villages adult immersion camp and “discovered” Becky teaching there, too. 


Cyprienne Simchowitz was born and brought up in Paris. She has a Licence ès Lettres (English) from the Université Paris-Sorbonne as well as a Master's in International Law. She was an attorney in France before coming to the USA about 20 years ago. She also has a JD from the UMKC School of Law and maintains a law practice here. Cyprienne has taught French to parents of French magnet students and is a frequent presenter and speaker around town on various legal, cultural and political French and international issues



Liliana Gomez is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and teaches beginner and intermediate Spanish courses in grammar, composition and conversation at UMKC. In addition to holding a B.A. in English and Spanish Translation and an M.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures, she is a certified interpreter in Kansas and Missouri and a member of the Midwest Chapter of the American Translators Association. Prior to coming to the United States, Liliana spent several years in network television coordinating communications between Australia and a Buenos Aires affiliate, and was involved in creative decisions related to on-air programming of theatre, music and dance content.


Marta Diaz is a native of Cordoba, Argentina and teaches Spanish, reading, algebra and assists bilingual students for the KCMO School District. Marta holds a B.A. in Theology and an M.A. in Education. She is very active in her church, providing Catechism and Spanish instruction, has taught theology for the Archdiocese of Kansas and was the recipient of the Hispanic Ministry Award of Kansas in 2002. Besides her love of education, Marta has a strong interest in the arts and has also studied architecture and interior design.



Tiziano Cherubini is hardly a newcomer to La Causerie, as he substituted for Nina last spring and has presented popular noon programs for us. This fall he joins us as a contract employee for the entire school year.  Tiziano is a native speaker and teaches Italian at the University of Missouri Kansas City. He also tutors individuals.


Nina Mehta-Young graduated from the University College, London, in 1995, with a degree in Italian and Art history. Nina lived and worked in Italy on many occasions, moving to the US from Rome where she worked as a tour guide. Nina now teaches art history at the Kansas City Art and teaches Italian both privately and for La Causerie.


Check out our wiki!


You don’t need to know what a wiki is, but we’ve got one that will improve our communications even further.  Go to and click on the wiki tab near the top of the page.  You’ll be taken to an area where all of us can post information. 


Right now you can find a photo gallery with pictures from last fall’s membership meeting, the 2005  holiday party and the 2006 summer luncheon.  There’s also a list of conversation groups in our area. 


After classes begin teachers will post weekly assignments to the pages set up for this on the wiki.  So if you miss a week, you can still keep up with the homework.  Or you can cease being one of those people who calls a friend on Thursday evening at 10 p.m. to be reminded of the homework (you know who you are).


If you’re interested, a wiki is a website that multiple authors can build, add to and edit. You may have heard of Wikipoedia, which is an encyclopedia written and corrected by the public. If you’d like to learn how to add to our wiki, let Dalene Bradford know and she’ll fill you in.  If you can write and send an email, you can contribute to a wiki (then brag to all your friends).


September and October Calendar


Sept. 22    Classes begin

Sept. 29    Classes  Meet

                     Spanish program at noon  Dr. Reinaldo Gonzalez an engineer with Burnes & McDonnell will speak IN SPANISH about his home country, Venezuela.  You can expect an engaging program on things like climate, culture and government.

More programs being planned.

Oct. 6         Classes

Oct. 13      Classes

Oct. 20      Classes

Oct. 27      Classes


Have a suggestion related to your class?


Then tell your department chair. 


*Please note that Carol Dirkes is out of town until November. Contact Inez in the interim.


Have a facilities issue?


Then tell a board member, not someone who works at the church.  They request that La Causerie issues, suggestions and requests be funneled through Inez.


Executive Board Members 2006-2007


President:      Inez Pennington                                                          (see Livret for contact info)

First VP:        Linda Rei                                                                    (see Livret for contact info)

Second VP:    Veronica Bergonzoni (also Chair of Social & Hospitality)         (see Livret for contact info)

Secretary:      Joan Daniels                                                               (see Livret for contact info)

Asst. Secy:    Dalene Bradford (newsletter and publicity)                          (see Livret for contact info)

Treasurer:       Linda Lyon                                                                 (see Livret for contact info)

Asst. Treas:   Mary Lew McCarty (also Book Chair)                                (see Livret for contact info)