Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning

RILL was designed with you in mind!

Enroll in a course today and explore something new in a stimulating classroom environment where you can share your interests with community members. RILL is an exciting program of the Rappahannock Educational Foundation, Inc. (RCC EFI) that is intended to be a life-enriching learning experience for adults. As RILL students keep their minds active through these thought-provoking classes, they also have the privilege of helping local students in their pursuit of higher education. Each year a scholarship is awarded to an RCC student through net proceeds from RILL class tuition payments.

RILL congratulates Shane Hagewood of King George, recipient of this year’s RILL scholarship. Shane is pursuing a degree in criminal justice at RCC.

Classes: RILL’s noncredit college-level classes are held in convenient locations within RCC’s service region — Virginia’s Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and surrounding areas. Some instructors may suggest specific preliminary reading material to prepare students to get the most from the course; this information will be sent to registered students ahead of time. The courses will include neither prerequisites nor tests.

Benefits:  Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury residents enjoy 50% off class tuition. Virginia Commonwealth Bank Golden Advantage members receive 15% off class tuition.

Many of our classes will be held through Zoom. Not sure about Zoom? Contact Michele for a free demo. Call (301)646-8827 or email minderrieden@rappahannock.edu.

John Keats portrait

Local Lifelong Learners Win Literary Awards

Rappahannock Community College’s Rappahannock Institute for Lifelong Learning (RILL) recently learned that several students were winners in a national literary competition. Ilona Duncan of Heathsville, Sarah Collins Honenberger and Shari Dwyer both of Tappahannock, were named winners in the 2020 Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition in San Francisco.

This outreach program of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) is beginning its third decade of inviting writers everywhere, to address soul-making in innovative ways, based on a quote from John Keats. “Some say the world is a vale of tears, I say it is a place of soul-making.” Each category of the contest has a judge; and each judge has a page on the Soul Keats website which explains that category. Of the 13, two categories are designated exclusively for youth. RILL instructor, Gail Wilson Kenna, has been the judge for Creative Nonfiction since 2017. Kenna says the judging is blind, that only Eileen Malone, the director, knows the identity of hundreds of writers from around the United States and other countries.

See the full press release or check out the contest website.




Most spring classes will be held virtually using Zoom. If you aren’t sure about Zoom, register for one of our FREE Zoom drop in sessions. Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury residents can attend Zoom classes in the RW-C auditorium.

Winning the War Against Paper Clutter ($20)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Debbie Bowie

Date: Thursday, March 4 from 1 pm to 3 pm

Paper is unrelenting. It just keeps pouring in, cluttering our homes and offices, and can shut down even the best organizers. In this class you will learn what makes paper management challenging, steps for clearing paper clutter and daily paper management, what to keep and what to trash. You’ll leave with strategies to help prevent future paper clutter nightmares.

Debbie Bowie holds a Master’s degree in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University She is a professional organizer of 23 years specializing in ADHD.

Register and pay here

Navigating the Virginia General Assembly ($35)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Dr. Matt Brent

Dates: Tuesdays, March 9, 16, 23 from 1 pm to 3 pm

Learn more about Virginia’s governing body, including its history, constitutions, relationship to the Governor and the courts, structure, leadership, and more. You’ll also discover who your representatives are and how to contact them.

Dr. Matt Brent is a professor of U.S. History, Virginia History, World History, and Western Civilization at RCC. He also teaches courses on American Politics and Local Politics.

Register and pay here

Changing Personal Behavior: What it Means and What it Takes ($35)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Dr. Robert Chapman

Dates: Mondays, March 15, 22, 29 from 1 pm to 3 pm

To change behavior, how you feel or act, you have to change how you think. This course will help you understand the stages of readiness to make changes and steps that can be taken at each of these stages; how to formulate a plan to successfully attempt behavior change; recognizing and overcoming obstacles; and come away with an increased sense of “I can do this.” One of the goals is promoting change through self-discovery.

Dr. Robert Chapman was Associate Clinical Professor and Associate Director of the Behavioral Health Counseling program (retired) at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. He is a professional counselor specializing in substance use disorders.

Register and pay here

Living with ADHD: Challenges and Solutions ($20)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Debbie Bowie

Date: Thursday, April 1 from 1 pm to 3 pm

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that affects the ability to focus, manage time, initiate and sustain action, complete tasks and regulate emotions. This class explores how ADHD shows up, brain challenges underlying ADHD, various clinical models and ways of addressing, understanding, accepting, and managing ADHD. Great informational class for people who have ADHD as well as their family members.

Debbie Bowie holds a Master’s degree in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University She is a professional organizer of 23 years specializing in ADHD.

Register and pay here

Using Windows 10 More Effectively ($35)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Martin Bailey

Dates: Thursdays, April 8, 15, 22 from 1 pm to 3 pm

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest operating system for personal computers and continues to mature as each new release introduces many enhancements. This course will cover often missed or unknown features of Windows 10 and help you maximize efficiency. Students must have a working knowledge of their computer and basic knowledge of Windows 10.

Martin Bailey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from The College of William and Mary and Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. He is retired from the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren and is an adjunct professor with RCC.

Register and pay here

New Discoveries at Old Gloucester Buildings ($35)

*Locations: Timberneck Farm, Walter Reed Birthplace, Fairfield Estate

Instructors: Dr. Dave Brown and Thane Harpole

Dates: Tuesdays, April 13, 20, 27 from 1 pm to 3 pm

On-site visits and informative lectures held at Timberneck Farm, Walter Reed’s birthplace, and Fairfield Estate. Other sites may be added. Learn about the history and significance of these properties, including architectural details, Virginia history, and Native American and African influences. *Masks, social distancing, and a limited number of attendees required to comply with virus mandates at the time of the class.

Dave Brown and Thane Harpole are co-directors of The Fairfield Foundation and co-owners of DATA Investigations LLC, a cultural resource management firm, and founding members of Werowocomoco Research Group.

Register and pay here

Genealogy: Selected Topics ($35)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Bessida Cauthorne White

Dates: Wednesdays, April 14, 21, 28 from 1 pm to 3 pm

This class will explore answers to some of the questions most frequently raised by budding family historians. Topics include online research: resources and best practices; DNA as a family research tool to supplement traditional research – nuts and bolts of genetic genealogy; Preserving and sharing family history – ways to record, share, exchange, and preserve family stories, particularly in a pandemic age; the opportunity to present challenges for class discussion and analysis.

Bessida Cauthorne White, a genealogist for nearly 40 years, is her church’s historian and historian for eight families. She is a founder of two genealogy societies and currently serves as president of the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical Historical Society. White manages the DNA results for 35 persons.                   

Register and pay here

Writing for Health ($45 includes Writing Rx Workbook)

*Location: RCC Kilmarnock

Instructor: Ann Eichenmuller

Dates: Tuesdays, May 4, 11, 18 from 1 pm to 3 pm 

Want to be healthier and happier? All you need is a pen! In this interactive, research-based course, participants will learn how expressive writing can decrease doctor visits and improve blood pressure, lung, liver, and immune system functioning, boost memory, and increase feelings of well-being and satisfaction. The instructor will guide students through a variety of writing activities including gratitude lists, journaling, healing letters, and memoirs for personal development and will also include strategies for using writing as a caregiver. The class fee includes a personal writing workbook for each participant to keep. *Class is limited to 9 students. Masks and social distancing required.

Ann Eichenmuller is an educator, journalist, and the author of The Writing Rx as well as four nautical mystery novels. She holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Humanities and is a recipient of the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Award for Excellence in Education.                   

Register and pay here

Herman Melville: Why Read this 19th Century Author in 2021  ($35)

*Location: RCC Kilmarnock and Zoom

Instructor: Gail Wilson Kenna

Dates: Thursdays, May 6, 13, 20, 27 from 1 pm to 3 pm

Is there more to Herman Melville than Moby Dick? In this course of lecture and discussion, Melville’s relevance to modern life will be explored. Moby Dick, though not assigned, will be discussed through Nathaniel Philbrick’s short work, Why Read Moby Dick? Students will read and discuss Melville’s Billy Budd and “Bartleby the Shrivner.” In addition to discussion topics, the instructor will share her research on Melville. *In person class is limited to 9 students. Masks and social distancing required.

Gail Wilson Kenna taught college and university classes for decades in foreign countries and the United States. A published author of four books, Kenna most recently won second place overall of three genres in the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) Vinnie Ream competitionI; and first or second in five prose categories of the 2019 NLAPW biennial. In 2012 she was awarded the Donald Axinn Fiction Scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. Since 2017 she has been the Creative Nonfiction judge for the Soul-Making Keats literary competition in San Francisco. Kenna has taught numerous writing and literature courses for RILL since 2005.                  

Register and pay here

Church and State in Colonial and Revolutionary Virginia ($35)

Location: Historic Christ Church and Museum

Instructor: Robert Teagle

Dates: May 26, June 2, and June 9 from 10 am to 12 pm

Established by law and supported by taxation, the Church of England was the official religion of colonial Virginia. Church life revolved around the parish, a geographical area that supported a minister and functioned as a unit of local government. Over the 18th century, Presbyterians, Baptists, and other dissenters challenged the Church of England’s authority and traditional role in Virginia society.

In the Revolutionary period, Virginians brought forth religious liberty with landmark legislation that shaped the new nation in profound ways. This course examines how Virginia moved from a royal colony with few dissenters and a well-established Church of England to an independent commonwealth that declared religious freedom to be a natural right of mankind.

Robert Teagle is the Director of Programs & Communications at the Foundation for Historic Christ Church in Weems, Virginia, where he has worked since 2000. He earned his BA in History from the College of William and Mary and MA in American History from Virginia Tech. His research interests include the architectural history of early Virginia, the role of the Church of England and the rise of religious liberty in colonial Virginia, the Carter family, slavery and emancipation, and the history of Christ Church Parish.

Register and pay here

Zoom Drop In (Free)

  • Thursday, February 4 at 10 am
  • Tuesday, February 16 at 1 pm
  • Wednesday, March 3 at 1 pm   

Register here

FALL 2020 On Demand Library

Did you miss these RILL classes? Now you can access courses on your on time. We’re offering the recordings and handouts of these RILL classes.

Living Large and Leaving a Legacy ($35)

Tom Baker, VP, VCB Financial Group, discusses how the 2020 election and COVID-19 may affect your personal finances and assets, including post-election, non-political prognostications and overview of the CARES Act. Make confident financial decisions before the end of the year.

This three-session class covers: estate planning in plain English; avoiding a real life (post death) “Family Feud”; retirement planning in a low-yield environment; and the joy of charitable giving. Now more than ever, estate and retirement planning, combined with charitable giving is vital to creating a comfortable life in retirement.

Access Living Large and Leaving a Legacy

Introduction to Feng Shui ($20)

Feeling stuck? Stressed? Cluttered? The arrangement of your living areas and work spaces influences your relationships, health, finances, and more. Certified Professional Organizer Debbie Bowie shows you ways to create balance and harmony in areas you spend most of your time to affect positive changes in your life.

Access Intro to Feng Shui

Investing for Income in a COVID World ($20)

Does the volatility of the stock market make you jumpy? Worried about your investments? Clayton James, founder and Managing Director of Jamestowne Investments LLC, talks to you about how to make your investments work for you in an unsettled market

Access Investing for Income

Edna O’Brien Literary Sampler ($35)

In this discussion-based course, Gail Kenna takes students on a literary journey through three novels from the captivating Irish writer, Edna O’Brien whose literary life began in the 1960s and continues today. The works discussed are Country Girls (the trilogy), Light in Evening, and The Little Red Chairs. An optional book will be O’Brien’s memoir, Country Girl.

Access Edna O’Brien


(These classes may be rescheduled, moved to Zoom, or cancelled based on changing COVID-19 restrictions.)

For more information, please contact Michele Inderrieden at (804)333-6824 or email minderrieden@rappahannock.edu.