Hitchcock Free Academy has stood at the corner of Brookfield Road and Route 20 in Brimfield since 1855. It strives to be a vital part of the community by reacting and adapting to changing times. With the turn of the season comes new challenges and, as always, Hitchcock meets them with some innovative ways to enjoy favorite activities.
With the weather becoming cooler it is time to bring Outdoor Yoga indoors. Beginning September 21 practitioners can savor the relaxation and revitalization of a Sharon Palmer yoga class at home. All that is needed are a mat and a WiFi connection and for one hour and 15 minutes, from 7:15 to 8:30 pm on Monday evenings, yogis can flow into the rest of the work week. Online yoga is just one way Hitchcock Academy has adjusted to the guidelines dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hitchcock is still offering martial arts classes but with modifications in order to ensure the safety of students and instructors. Classes of no more than six students will be offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Students will wear masks; temperatures will be taken at the door and, after washing their hands, students will head upstairs to the dojo where appropriate social distances will be mapped out on the practice mats. Parents will not be allowed in the dojo but they may watch class activity via a ZOOM link. As in years past, the judo program, which runs from September through December 1st is free for the lessons.
Hitchcock Academy has not forgotten the musically inclined either, offering two different venues for those who wish to pursue this option. Violin and viola lessons are offered via ZOOM with instructor Linda Day Newland, who was a violinist in the Austin Symphony Orchestra for 22 years. Students preferring an in person music experience can opt for individual piano lessons with instructor Ann Macon at Hitchcock Academy. Macon has been a pianist for over 25 years and holds a BA in Music Composition and Theory. Piano instruction includes reading music, music theory and writing for beginner to intermediate levels for ages 6 to adult.
Sue Gaulin’s Let’s Cake Decorate classes have always been popular at Hitchcock and this fall, in order to accommodate social distancing, Hitchcock is offering four separate classes featuring seasonal themes. These classes are limited to just nine pupils each and the instructor will provide all materials. Limited class size doesn’t mean limited fun though and every lesson includes step by step instruction for working with buttercream and learning piping techniques to create unique designs.
As Always, Laurie Merritt is on hand to lend a hand to our four legged friends. As the weather permits the Buddies Dog Training and the K9 Nosework© classes will be held outdoors. Laurie also offers individual and advanced classes for those wishing specialized training. When the weather turns cold classes will be modified to accommodate an indoor setting.
With 2020 being both challenging and draining, Hitchcock Academy hopes to bring some light into the community with a celebration of World Smile DayKindness Rocks on October 2. This year marks the first time Hitchcock will participate in the event but, according to executive director, Cindy Skowyra, “with all that has gone on this year this will be a good opportunity for the community to come together to share some joy.” Any community member: old, young, teen or tween, can become a World Smile Day Ambassador. Drop in anytime from 2 to 6 pm and paint a rock to take home to leave on a neighbor’s porch or leave the rock and let Hitchcock distribute them in the area to spread good cheer. Participants in this free event will receive a World Smile Day Ambassador certificate, a World Smile Day sticker and poster. The World Smile Day celebration is yet another example of how Hitchcock Academy adapts to the needs of those it serves in order to remain relevant.