September 2007 Newsletter


Classes begin September 21


Registration has gone very well and we have nearly 180 members—a new record.  There is still room to enroll in most classes.  Please register immediately if you have not done so.  


Since our board members are volunteers who attend classes themselves, we do not want to be registering people on Friday mornings.  Contact Patricia Reed at (816) 753-7671 immediately if you need to register before classes start. Please do NOT wait until Friday.


You are responsible for purchasing your own textbooks. There is a special tab on the website that lists books for all classes and provides links to sources for purchase.  Members are responsible for purchasing their own texts.  If you need assistance, contact Judy Pearlstein who can help you.


All activities are held at Second Presbyterian Church, 55th and Brookside Boulevard.  There will be signs up to direct you to our classrooms and social room where coffee and snacks are served. All activities are on the third floor.  Use the stairs or the elevator.




Sincere sympathy is offered to member Roe Griffith whose husband Mickey (Lloyd James Griffin) died on September 11 after a valiant fight against cancer.  Services were held on September 15 with burial following in Johnson County Memorial Gardens. Members wanting more details can read the entire obituary online (published in the KC Star on 9-13-07). 


Welcome to our New Teachers


La Causerie has been blessed with excellent teachers over the year and this year is no exception.  We welcome these new members of our faculty:




Susan Bass has taught Spanish and French for the past four years at a small private Christian School in Belton, Missouri called Heartland High School. She attended both Kansas University and CMSU and received a Bachelor's of Science in Education with a French major, Spanish minor.  In previous teaching positions she started a French program in Pleasant Hill that expanded its foreign language offerings. At Lee's Summit she helped launch foreign language instruction at the junior high level so the International Baccalaureate could begin to be offered at the high school.  Susan has also translated for a private detective, the police department, and a missionary group traveling in Mexico. 


Douglas R. Eikermann is a consultant for corporations that do business in Latin America and he speaks both Spanish and Portuguese.  He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1974, completed a Juris Doctor at the University of Kansas in 1982, and earned a Master of Laws from the University of the Pacific in 1985.  He is the author of two books: The Second Half of the Life of Bernard Trammel, a novel published in 2001 by Creative Arts Book Company, and What Your Lawyer Doesn’t Want You to Know, a nonfiction book published in 2002 by Self-Counsel Press.  Before and during law school, he taught Spanish 101 and 102 to undergraduates for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Kansas.


Martha Gransee is a native Spanish speaker from Columbia, South America.  She has a Bachelors degree in architecture from the University Jorge Tadeo Lozano and has worked in construction administration, historic restoration projects and other types of design projects such as office and medical buildings and single family homes.  Martha, who is fluent in English, has been in Kansas City since 2002.




Joan Gioacchini has studied Italian for the past 14 years, both in New York City and at La Causerie. She began teaching Italian a few years ago at Johnson County Community College, teaching evening courses for beginning and intermediate students.  She also does private tutoring in her home.  She is married to an Italian from Parma named Alessandro and the family (including three children) takes yearly trips there.  Joan was born in Jamaica, has a background in Spanish and a BA in Economics from Colgate University.  Previously Joan spent 15 years as a journalist for both CNN and Fox in New York City and Washington D.C.


Some rules of the road


With a new location for our classes and a number of new members, we thought it might be a good idea to outline the way some things work.


1.       Please direct questions about La Causerie, problems you encounter or needs that arise to your officers listed below, NOT to the church staff.  Second Presbyterian Church has no role in running La Causerie.  They are our landlord and we want to keep them happy (and relatively unburdened by our business).


2.       When you arrive for class, go directly to the third floor.  Check the bulletin board to find your correct classroom as some class assignments have changed since the Enrollment Party due to class size requirements.


  1. Members of your board of directors take classes, too.  In fact, that’s how they got involved.  So do everything you can to take care of issues or needs at a time other than Friday morning. Our phone numbers and emails are provided for that purpose.  If you tie them up on Friday morning, you both may miss class.


  1. We have coffee and snacks available on Friday mornings.  Members bring snacks and you can sign up with Pam White (or at the coffee table) to participate.  We take up a collection at the snack table each week to cover the cost of coffee.  Think of it as our “weekly bake sale.” 


  1. Please clean up after yourself in all classrooms.  Throw away all coffee cups, trash and clean up any spills. We want to keep the church happy with us (and keep our rent low).



Homework Assignments on Our WIKI


On our website you can find a tab at the top named “Wiki.”  This is where our instructors post weekly homework assignments.  If you miss a class, or forget the details of an assignment, check our WIKI for votre devoirs or los deberes or i compiti.


To new teachers:  instructions on using the WIKI are coming your way soon.


Noon Programs


La Causerie offers noon cultural programs for its members. Generally these focus on cultural aspects of the countries in which our languages are spoken.  Each program is presented in one of our three languages (occasionally a joint program in English).  We try to have six programs each year in English, six in Spanish and six in Italian.


A volunteer is still needed to coordinate the Italian programs. If someone does not step forward, there will be no Italian programs this year.  The volunteer would need to identify, schedule and coordinate six programs.  There is a $50 honorarium for each speaker.


Thanks to Thad Carver (French) and Angelica Estrada-Minton (Spanish) for coordinating those programs.  If you know of interesting speakers in any of our languages, let these folks know about them.




September 20                   Please complete all registration activities

September 21                   CLASSES BEGIN

September 28                   Classes held


Executive Board Members 2007-2008



Patricia Reed  (Assistant to the Board)

Check Livret for contact info


President:       Inez Pennington                                   

First VP:         REMAINS UNFILLED  Looking for a volunteer                       

Second VP:     Pam White (also Chair of Social & Hospitality)                            

Secretary:      Joan Daniels (Program Chair)                           

Asst. Secy:     Judy Pearlstein (Textbook Chair)                

Treasurer:      Linda Lyon                                           

Asst. Treas     Dalene Bradford (newsletter and publicity)