Then and Now: How the Camden Hills adult education program has evolved over 50 years

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 9:00pm

    ROCKPORT — Fifty years ago, the state’s first adult education program was introduced at what was then known as Camden-Rockport High School by Bob Curran, the school’s interim principal and former principal of Rockport High School. 

    On Sept. 15, 1969, Curran, who would later work with the Maine Department of Education to develop adult education programs across the state, opened the doors to area adults seeking high school completion to complete GED programs and to help those aspiring to attend college or vocational programs. 

    At the same time, the program offered classes to the general community, bringing community members together to use the school building they were part of by being local residents. 

    The first offerings of the program included typing, art, ceramics, math for parents, woodworking and sewing. 

    Over the past 50 years, there has been a multitude of new offerings by the Five Town CSD Adult and Community Education program (which now offers hundreds of courses) and, of course, updates to match societal changes. 

    Typing was upgraded to keyboarding, for instance, in the mid 1990s. 

    In 1989, the top enrollments were in computer-related classes and 1996 saw the establishment of a course entitled Introduction to the Internet. 

    In 2003, the program offered instructional television (ITV) classes and inaugural compressed video classes from the University of Maine at Orono.

    Within a decade, everything was available online and the program now offers hundreds of online courses through Cengage Learning. 

    Regular photography and iPhoto courses were offered in 2004, though by 2007 only digital photography courses were offered. 

    Among the hundreds of courses being offered now are salsa for beginners, ornamental welding, basic vocal technique for singers, how to make handmade pasta, fly fishing, microgreen growing and investing in publicly traded cannabis companies. 
    For those interested in checking out the courses offerings or receiving more information, visit or call 236-7800, ext. 5.

    Reach George Harvey at: