October 2006 Newsletter


NOTE:  Be sure to read the FAQ’s toward the end…your burning question might be addressed.


The good news…and the bad news

We have a record-setting enrollment for this school year--152 members participating in classes. In addition, we have quite a few Associate Members who join us for noon programs and social activities.  Our Publicity Committee did a great job getting the word out about La Causerie. 


The bad news is that some classes are filled to capacity.  There is both a physical capacity (some of our rooms are very small) and an optimum teaching capacity (we want everyone to have the chance to speak since we focus so much on conversation).  So it may be difficult to place members in the classes they want.


If you want to make a change to another class, or if you are not yet enrolled, please contact Linda Rei to see if there is space available before you attend a class.  Linda Rei:  816-931-0301   We make every effort to suit your needs, but we do face real limitations.


Membership meeting

There will be a membership meeting on Friday, October 27, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.  NO classes will meet at that time and all faculty members are requested to attend the meeting.  This is a great time for members to meet each other and learn more about the club you now belong to. As an all volunteer organization, membership understanding and involvement is critical to our success.

According to our By-Laws, La Causerie holds two membership meetings each year.  The other, held in the spring, is our Annual Meeting where elections take place.  It will be held in the 11 a.m. class slot (and will not interfere again with the 10 a.m. classes).


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.

Champs-Elysées is here

Well, not the monument.  The audio magazine Champs-Elysées has arrived for Cyprienne’s Cafe Conversation at 11 a.m.  The price will be around $55 (we’re checking on it) so bring a blank check with you on Friday.  Mary Lew McCarty will be collecting your payments and distributing the materials.


And, no, we haven’t broken our new textbook purchase policy for this one class…this particular teaching tool (a monthly magazine and CD) requires a group purchase.


On the lookout for a few good programs

Several times a year each department holds noon programs featuring speakers in their language. If you know someone who would make a good presenter, please tell a board member.  We tend to prefer native speakers but the programs can be on any topic the speaker is comfortable with.  We’ve heard about Versailles and Peru from people who grew up there, the political situation in France, Italian Renaissance art and much, much more.  You can help set up interesting listening and conversational opportunities by hooking us up with people you know.  You don’t have to arrange anything (unless you want to), just open the door for us. 


Noon programs are often followed by Dutch treat lunches with the speakers. Participation in lunch is optional and is arranged on the spot that day.  No advance RSVP necessary.


Enjoy the snacks?  They come from our members.

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.  Just a few years ago our snacks comprised instant coffee, hot tea and Hy-Vee cookies (if we were lucky). Now you enjoy freshly brewed, good quality roast coffee and tea, a range of tasty and healthy treats plus the opportunity to contribute to our bake sale, both financially and otherwise.  But it requires member involvement.


Veronica Bergonzoni organizes this and thanks those who signed up on Friday.  If we missed you last week, there is always a sign up sheet on the snack table and you can choose to bring a sweet or savory treat.  Or contact Veronica directly to help:  (see Livret for contact info)


Sad News

Former La Causerie member (and Spanish student) Kerry Noel died after a fight with cancer on Saturday, October 7, 2006.



Homework assignments are now being posted online by our faculty.  To find assignments, go to www.lacauserie.org.  Click on WIKI in the tabs at the top of the page, find your language and select your class.  If you’re not getting access to homework online, talk to your teacher.


Parking Help

If there are no available spaces when you arrive, be aware that parking is allowed on the Missouri of State Line on 64th Street and on 63rd Terrace.  We’re not the only ones who use the church parking lot, so we can’t control that space. But parking should be a bit better now that the lot has been resurfaced and lines have been drawn.


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.      


October and November Calendar

Oct. 20   Classes Meet

Oct. 27   Classes Meet (except from 10 am to 11 am) 

              10 am to 11 am  Membership Meeting in fellowship hall

Nov. 3    Classes Meet

Nov. 10   Classes Meet

Nov. 17   Classes Meet

Nov. 24   Thanksgiving Holiday; no 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.



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 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)

FAQ’s we’ve heard this year

Why are snacks and coffee in the hall this year (and not in the Fireside Room as they used to be)? Why are we meeting in odd spaces, like the stage, sanctuary and chapel?


We have expanded the range of classes offered this year to meet member needs.  At 10 a.m., for example, we need seven (count ‘em, seven) classrooms.  We used to require a mere four or five. This is one of the costs of progress.


Putting snacks in the Fireside Room was good for relationship building, but caused us to give up our very best teaching space.  Trying to run a class behind the closed divider (with snack service on the other side) didn’t work for student concentration. So we took the lesser of two evils and made the Fireside Room available for our largest classes.


This year we also lost access to one room that was needed exclusively for the preschool lunchroom (due to Kansas child care licensing regulations).  So we had to be creative in our use of space.  We’ll just have to roll with it.


Why doesn’t La Causerie find space somewhere else?

We’re an odd renter in that we only need space one day a week.  So finding a landlord who has seven to 10 rooms available one day a week is difficult. Two years ago the board searched for a different site, but the rents they found were more than double that offered by our current, wonderful and supportive landlord. Given our growth, we are always on the look, however. If you have an idea, tell a board member.


When do classes actually begin and end?

Most classes begin on the hour and end at ten till the hour.  The obvious exceptions are the one and a half-hour French classes.  This is necessary so that students can change classes efficiently.  Since most rooms don’t have clocks, students should remind teachers ten minutes before the class ends.  Teachers should then assign any homework and end the class so the next class can begin on time.


Why was it so cold inside last Friday?

The church either has access to either heat or to AC.  As in most large buildings, they cannot change back and forth on the spur of the moment.  Last week’s cold weather hit before the church had converted to heat.  A church group decides when this will take place.  Since it can turn warm again after the heat is turned on, our advice is to dress in layers until the weather settles into a predictable pattern.