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 Community College 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 Vernita Hargrove, recipient of the RILL scholarship for the 2022/2023 academic year. Vernita is a pre-nursing student, mother of five, and lives in Henrico. 

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:  Richmond County residents can take up to three RILL courses at no charge, thanks to a generous grant from Richmond County. Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury residents enjoy 50% off class tuition. Blue Ridge Bank Golden Advantage members receive 15% off class tuition. RILL thanks our sponsors and partners!


SPRING 2022


Memoir Writing for Beginners ($45)

Location: RCC Kilmarnock

Instructor: Ann Eichenmuller

Mondays, March 7, 14, 21, 28

1 pm to 3 pm

Register and pay here.

Have you ever thought about capturing your childhood memories in writing? Perhaps sharing the story of your trials and triumphs with your friends, children, or grandchildren? Your unique experiences and life lessons can teach and inspire others or serve as a gift to be handed down for generations to come. In this course, we will read and discuss short excerpts from best-selling memoirs, learn how to make our writing engaging and interesting, and participate in guided exercises that will help each of us craft our memories into vivid and compelling stories. No writing experience is necessary–all you need is paper and pen or your laptop. Whether you’d like to record a single personal anecdote or compose a full-length book, this course will help you meet your goals.

Ann Eichenmuller is an educator, mariner, and travel journalist, and novelist. She is the recipient of four Boating Writers International Awards as well as the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Award for Excellence in Education.


Ancient Poetry: The Biblical Psalms ($35)

Location: RCC Glenns and Zoom

Instructor: Dr. Ken Wilbur

Tuesdays, March 22, 29, and April 5

1 pm to 3 pm

Register and pay here.

The ancient writers of the Near East poured out their hearts in their poetry, but they also relayed bits of wisdom, history, and politics. Some psalms are private prayers, while others are clearly meant to be used in a worship setting with responses for the people to say, shout, or sing. It’s a rich archive that reveals a lot about the ancient world and the ancient mind and spirit. We will explore some ancient poetry outside of the psalter (even some outside of the Bible), but will spend most of our time looking at the structure, themes, and art of the psalms. We will discuss a few poems together in class, and students will analyze some on their own and share their thoughts with fellow students. This class is available via Zoom or in-person on the Glenns campus.

Ken Wilbur holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Boston University (1994). His doctoral dissertation examines the difference between prose and poetry in ancient Hebrew. He has taught “An Introduction to the Old Testament” for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Virginia, as well as “Elementary Greek” for the Virginia University of Lynchburg. He served as the minister of Rappahannock Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Dunnsville, Virginia, for 35 years until his retirement in January 2022.


Sleep Your Way to Better Health ($35)–Cancelled 

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Barbara Angleberger

Based on the New York Times bestseller, Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, Ph.D., we will examine the critical need for sleep and the essential role it plays in brain health and functioning. As a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, and the director of the enter for Human Sleep Science, Walker’s groundbreaking research demonstrates how sleep impacts every aspect of our lives from decision-making to emotional regulation, immune system functioning, regulating our appetite, and more. Students may wish to purchase Why We Sleep, but it is not a requirement for the course. 

Barbara Angleberger is a retired Frederick Community College faculty member and holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. She has taught numerous courses including: General Psychology, Honors Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Social Psychology, Human Growth and Development and Educational Psychology. She also served as chair of the Social Sciences Department for 15 years and taught several lifelong learning classes.


Brains and Balance ($35)

Location: RCC Kilmarnock

Instructor: Meg Miller

Mondays, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 9

2 pm to 3 pm

This class may be full. Please call (804)333-6707 to register.

Comprehensive class designed for seniors with the goal of improving strength, flexibility, dexterity, and balance utilizing free weights, bands, and balls. Parts of the class are done while seated in a chair. Emphasis is on exercises and drills to build spatial awareness, improve or restore function, build muscle, and assist in activities of daily living. Includes overview of basic muscle anatomy, dance for coordination, and dexterity/endurance challenges, and a lot of fun.

Meg Miller is a certified group fitness instructor who teaches senior fitness classes at the Northumberland YMCA.


Intro to Computers ($35)

Location: RCC Warsaw

Instructor: Martin Bailey

Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21

2 pm to 4 pm

This class may be full. Please call (804)333-6707 to register.

This course is designed for those who are not confident using technology. It will begin with basic computer operating fundamentals for both hardware and software and will provide an overview of the Windows 10 operating system. Students will develop competency in file and folder organization and management, internet and email usage, and management of various file formats. This is a hands-on course allowing the students to work along with the instructor. Computers will be available; however, participants are encouraged to bring their own Windows laptop computers. Class is limited to 12 students for maximum one-on-one instruction.

Martin Bailey holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in computer science from Virginia Tech. Before his retirement from the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, he was involved in many aspects of computer work, including programming, algorithm development, database management systems, and computer security. Bailey is also an adjunct professor at RCC.


Penelope Fitzgerald Returns ($35)

Location: Deltaville Branch, Middlesex County Public Library

Instructor: Gail Kenna

Tuesdays, April 19, 26, May 3

1 pm to 3 pm

Register and pay here.

In this second course on the late British writer Penelope Fitzgerald, students will read the three captivating works that preceded her remarkable novel, The Blue Flower. The novels under discussion will be Innocence, The Beginning of Spring, and The Gate of Angels. It is not required to have taken the first course on Fitzgerald to enroll in the second. However, Hermione Lee’s brilliant biography of Fitzgerald will be required reading for the course.

Gail Wilson Kenna taught college and university classes for decades in foreign countries and the United States. A published author, Kenna most recently won second place in the National League of Pen Women Vinnie Ream competition. She is also a 2012 Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference scholarship winner and the Creative Nonfiction judge for the Soul Keats literary competition in San Francisco. Since moving to the Northern Neck in 2004, she has taught numerous writing and literature courses for RILL.


Robert Frost: Exploring the Heart and Mind of Man to Create Powerful Stories ($35)

Location: RCC Warsaw

Instructor: Sally Honenberger

Tuesdays, April 26, May 3, 10

1 pm to 3 pm

Register and pay here.

The recipient of an unprecedented four Pulitzer Prizes, Robert Frost confronted the emptiness within and without. He celebrated the rhythm and sounds of everyday language to lay bare the hard truths of human existence. Using Frost’s writings and poems, we will practice his unflinching pursuit of those hard truths in the creation of characters, setting, and plot. This is a writing intensive course. 

Sarah Collins Honenberger’s third novel, Catcher, Caught, is a Pen Faulkner Foundation selection for its Writers in Schools program. It was #1 in Death and Dying on Amazon.com in 2010 as well as a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Honenberger’s numerous fiction awards include First Prize for new Millennium, First Prize in the Hook judged by John Grisham, second runner-up for the F. Scott Fitzgerald Fiction Award, and nominations for the Library of Virginia Fiction award in 2007, 2009, and 2010.


George Saunders and Russian Short Story Masters ($35)

Location: RCC Kilmarnock

Instructor: Gail Kenna

Thursdays, May 12, 19, 26

1 pm to 3 pm

Register and pay here.

George Saunders’ A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life will be the text for this course. Considered one of the best short-story writers in English, Saunders won the Man Booker prize for Lincoln in the Bardo. This class is intended for readers and writers who want to explore the short story in depth.

Gail Wilson Kenna taught college and university classes for decades in foreign countries and the United States. A published author, Kenna most recently won second place in the National League of Pen Women Vinnie Ream competition. She is also a 2012 Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference scholarship winner and the Creative Nonfiction judge for the Soul Keats literary competition in San Francisco. Since moving to the Northern Neck in 2004, she has taught numerous writing and literature courses for RILL.


Patrick Henry: His Life and Times ($35)

Location: Historic Christ Church and Museum, Weems

Instructor: Robert Teagle

Wednesdays, June 1, 8, 15

10 am to 12 pm

Register and pay here.

Remembered best for his “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech, Patrick Henry (1736-1799) was a lawyer and statesman who helped lead Virginia during the Revolution and its early decades as an independent Commonwealth, Henry rose to fame in 1763 with the Parsons’ Cause. Two years later his Stamp Act Resolves elevated himself and Virginia to the forefront of resistance against British authority. Elected the first Governor of a free Virginia, Henry remained active in politics through the constitutional conventions. This course examines Henry’s life from his youth in Hanover County to his visionary role as “the man who gave the first impulse to the ball of the revolution.” 

Robert Teagle is the Executive Director at the Foundation for Historic Christ Church and Museum in Weems, where he has worked since 2000. He earned his B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary and M.A. 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.


Basics of Pickleball ($35)

Location: RCC Warsaw tennis courts

Instructor: Paul Shrieves

Thursdays, June 2, 9, 16, 23

9:30 am to 11 am

Register and pay here.

Have you heard about pickleball and wonder what the hype is? This course is designed for the first-time adult pickleball player and will cover the basics: rules, terminology, primary skills, coordination, beginner court time, and more. Paddles and balls will be provided for use during the class or bring your own. Class is limited to 12 students.

Paul Shrieves has been playing pickleball for three years. He has worked in telecommunications for 47 years beginning at C&P Telephone and moved to telecommunications manager for a healthcare provider before starting his own company. Shrieves served two years in the military and spent 13 months overseas.


Using Windows 10 and Your Computer More Effectively ($35)

Location: RCC Warsaw

Instructor: Martin Bailey

Thursdays, June 9, 16, 23

2 pm to 4 pm

This class may be full. Please call (804)333-6707 to register.

This course is designed for those who have either completed the “Introduction to Computers” course or who have some working knowledge of a Windows-based computer. It will begin with a brief review of some topics covered in the Introduction class and move into getting a better understanding of the Windows 10 operating system. Course will include using Microsoft Office Suite, with emphasis placed on features of Word. A brief introduction to Windows 11 will be covered. This is a hands-on course allowing the students to work along with the instructor. Computers will be available, however participants are encouraged to bring their own Windows laptop computer. Class is limited to 12 students for maximum one-on-one instruction.

Martin Bailey holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in computer science from Virginia Tech. Before his retirement from the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, he was involved in many aspects of computer work, including programming, algorithm development, database management systems, and computer security. Bailey is also an adjunct professor at RCC.


Understanding the Menokin Landscape ($25)

Location: Menokin, Warsaw

Instructor: Alice French

Mondays, June 13 and 20

9 am to 11 am

Register and pay here.

A cultural landscape is a place with many layers of history that evolves through design and use over time. It embodies the associations and uses that evoke a sense of history for a specific place. This course will introduce those layers of history at Menokin in Richmond County, a 500-acre site devoted to telling the story of the people, buildings, land use patterns, and natural resources of the National Historic Landmark (NHL) property and wildlife refuge. The site is listed as an NHL for being the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence (more info can be found at www.menokin.org). Please note that students will be walking moderate distances during this course as they explore the Menokin site.

Alice French is the Menokin Foundation’s Director of Education and Programs. She develops and creates programs for 4th grade through lifelong learners about the historical, architectural, and environmental attributes of this 500-acre conservation classroom. French has worked in the Northern Neck museum field since 2007 and has a diverse work history in interior design, set design, and art retail management.


Getting Your Photography from Good to Great ($25)

Location: Zoom

Instructor: Howard Clark

Thursdays, June 16 and 30

10 am to 12 pm

Register and pay here.

This course is for students who use traditional or smartphone cameras. The first 2-hour Zoom session will illustrate how visible elements like composition, effects of weather, time of day, or point of view can strengthen your photos. Also, you’ll see how to create more compelling images by including mystery, humor, and emotion in your pictures. The second 2-hour Zoom session is interactive and will allow students to share their photos–and what they learned in session 1–for a group discussion and critique.

Howard Clark is a professional photographer with over 55 years of experience with “enthusiast” and professional-level gear. Landscapes and scenics account for most of his images, and water appears in about 80% of those. He participates in two camera clubs and two art associations. Since his 2011 retirement, he has exhibited photos in 31 different galleries. In June of 2020, Clark began a new career as an adjunct professor at Frederick Community College, teaching lifelong learning photography classes, and now also joins the RCC program for the first time with this course.


Arranging with Tropicals and House Plants ($45*)

red and orange flower arrangement

Location: RCC Warsaw

Instructor: Laura Anne Brooks

Wednesday, June 22

1 pm to 3 pm

This hands-on class will focus on arrangements created from the leaves of tropicals and house plants. Tropicals and house plants will be used to construct simple, colorful designs that are sure to cure the dreary days of winter! After an hour of instruction and an hour of hands-on arranging, participants will leave class with a professional arrangement. *Fee includes some materials.

Laura Anne Brooks is a floral designer in English and French schools as well as New Creative Design and Modern European design. Brooks has taught at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and lectures for many garden clubs and botanical groups. Her work is frequently seen at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Call Brittany Abdul-Malik at (804) 333-6707 or email bjenkins@rappahannock.edu for registration information.


Advanced Memoir Writing ($35)

Location: RCC Kilmarnock

Instructor: Ann Eichenmuller

Dates to be announced

1 pm to 3 pm

This course is for participants from the fall 2021 or spring 2022 “Beginning Memoir” class or anyone who already has a partial draft of their memoir (no length requirement). We will look at how authors deal with structure, time, and difficult subjects within memoirs and create a supportive, collaborative environment in which to share our own writing and receive productive feedback. Sessions will include instruction on how to successfully incorporate literary elements into our memoirs, improve pacing, flow, voice, word choice, and characterization, follow a narrative arc, and focus on a theme that unifies our past. Students will be asked to bring copies of their memoir-in-progress to each class.

Ann Eichenmuller is an educator, mariner, and travel journalist, and novelist. She is the recipient of four Boating Writers International Awards as well as the Washington Post Agnes Meyer Award for Excellence in Education.


 RILL 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.

Shoreline Studies ($35)

Instructor: Carl “Woody” Hobbs

Shoreline Studies considers the character of beaches, dunes, barrier islands, and tidal marshes along with the forces and processes that create and change them. Discover how wind, waves, tides, storms, the characteristics of sediments, and sea-level rise including climate change impact shorelines. While the course concentrates on physical aspects, it includes a brief discussion of marsh plants. Students will gain a better understanding of and appreciation for the major environments of the shore. 

Carl Hobbs has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in geology. He worked for over 40 years at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) specializing in coastal geology and the geology of the Chesapeake Bay region.  Hobbs led projects studying the tidal shoreline of Virginia and the environmental consequences of mining offshore sand.  He is author of The Beach Book.

Register and pay here


The Navy Comes to Dahlgren ($35)

Instructor: Dr. Rob Gates

This course will provide a brief history of the Navy laboratory system and the establishment of the Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren. The Navy came to Dahlgren in 1918 but not without some opposition. Nevertheless, the laboratory grew and prospered and now generates more than a billion dollars in business annually. The course will address the beginnings of the Dahlgren laboratory, some of the major developments, and some of the most influential people in Dahlgren history. Choose to attend in person on the Warsaw campus or virtually through Zoom.

Dr. Rob Gates had a long career at the Dahlgren Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) and retired as the technical director of the Indian Head Division of NSWC. He is vice president of the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation and president of the RCC Educational Foundation. Gates was an adjunct professor at the U.S. Naval War College and the University of Mary Washington.

Register and pay here


Choosing the Least Worst Death ($25)

Instructor: Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Battin

Philosopher and bioethicist Peggy Battin has worked for decades to defend the right of terminally ill individuals to have greater control over the timing and manner of their deaths. Her academic work tackles issues around end-of-life care, suicide, euthanasia, and religion. In 2008, her personal and professional worlds collided when her husband Brooke Hopkins broke his neck in a bicycle accident, becoming quadriplegic. When he eventually decided to die after years of struggling with his condition, Peggy found she was the one dragging her feet the most as he sought to have his ventilator and other life-prolonging technologies disconnected. Her personal experience made her re-examine her beliefs around an individual’s right to autonomy, as he sought to achieve the death he believed “least worst” for him, views reflected in her continuing support for medical aid in dying.

Peggy Battin is a distinguished professor of philosophy and adjunct professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah. She has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College, an MFA in fiction writing and PhD in philosophy from the University of California, Irvine.

Register and pay here


The Invention and Evolution of Slavery

Instructor: Rev. Robert Prichard

When the first Africans arrived at Jamestown in 1619, there was no provision in English law for perpetual servitude.  It would take most of a century to create the legal structures to support slavery. When those provisions were finally in place, the institution was not static; it continued to change. By the same token, emancipation was not brought about by a single proclamation or victory in battle; it was the result of a struggle that was already under way before the American Revolution began.  This class will trace the rise and fall of American Slavery in a series three lectures. 

Robert W. Prichard taught history for thirty-six years at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and is now a Professor Emeritus at that institution.  He graduated from Princeton (B.A.), Yale (Master of Divinity), and Emory (Ph.D.) and is an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church.  He has served in five different churches in Virginia, including a Spanish language congregation and an historically Black church. He is the author or editor of ten books, including A History of the Episcopal Church.  He and his wife live in Middlesex County. 

Register and pay


Winning the War Against Paper Clutter ($20)

Instructor: Debbie Bowie

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


Navigating the Virginia General Assembly ($35)

Instructor: Dr. Matt Brent

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


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

Instructor: Dr. Robert Chapman

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


Living with ADHD: Challenges and Solutions ($20)

Instructor: Debbie Bowie

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


Genealogy: Selected Topics ($35)

Instructor: Bessida Cauthorne White

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


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.

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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.

Register and pay


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

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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.

Register and pay


For more information, please contact Brittany Abdul-Malik at (804)333-6707 or email bjenkins@rappahannock.edu.