By Martha Nodar

A landmark on Ashford-Dunwoody Road since the early 60s, the tenet of Marist School’s mission is to educate the whole person and reach out to the community. To that end, the Brookhaven college preparatory school began the new year by launching the Marist Evening Series, a three-session adult education program open to the public and taught by Marist’s faculty and staff.   Subjects include: art, computer, finance, health, religion and many more, offered on three consecutive Mondays: Jan. 25, Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, from 7p.m. to 9 p.m., at $35 per session.
Claire Walls, a retired Marist guidance counselor, who now serves as coordinator of special projects, said this is the fourth time Marist has offered the evening series.
“The administration is excited about getting people in the community come to our school to experience our teachers and get a taste of what we have to offer,” Walls said.
Brendan Murphy, social studies teacher, recently named 2009 Educator of the Year by his alma mater, Notre Dame, has been teaching at Marist for 15 years and will be teaching once again in the series.
“I created the ‘History and The Holocaust’ class for the evening series to advance and disseminate knowledge about this unprecedented tragedy and preserve the memory of those who suffered,” he said.  “I want to encourage the participants coming to this class to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the events of the Holocaust.”
Eenee Ferrano, a Marist alumni parent, took Murphy’s evening course two years ago, said the class visited the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Midtown.
“The most striking moment for me was meeting a Holocaust survivor during our visit to the Jewish Museum,” she said. “I was motivated to take this course, not only for the subject matter, but also because the professors at Marist are nationally recognized.  For us to get a brief summary of what our children are learning is a privilege.”
Zerrano is looking forward to taking the Middle East class this year by Dr. Louisa Moffitt, a renowned scholar who has been teaching at Marist for 24 years.
“The Middle East is a firecracker of political, economic and social unrest,” Ferrano said.  “I want to know more about the conflict in that region.”
Sandy Springs resident Kathy Cote said: “These courses give you a flavor of a subject at an affordable price before you decide whether or not it’s for you.”
David Donahue teaches Catholicism and hopes to attract many participants to his first class in the evening series “Questions about Catholicism? I’ve Got Hundreds.” “I invite non-active Catholics to come to my class, and also those who may be curious about Catholicism,” he said.  “Let us start a conversation. Donahue’s class is offered at no cost.
Art teacher Michael Bieze, who has been with Marist for 24 years, plans to answer the question: “What is Art History?” during the evening series.  The class will include a review of Marist’s campus design.