Woodstock resident Quentin Thomas is saddling up to teach a class at Kennesaw State University starting Wednesday as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
The course, “Spirits of the Great American West,” runs for eight Wednesday sessions from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The cost is $99.
The Osher Institute is part of the College of Continuing and Professional Education at KSU. Programs and events are geared toward people age 50 and older.
Thomas is known as Texas Red, the pen name he uses to write poetry.
The retired U.S. Air Force colonel is well known in Roswell and Woodstock for his energetic and emphatic history lessons of the Sioux Indians, Louisiana Purchase and Texas Rangers … just to name a few.
“I grew up in an era when everybody was playing cowboys and Indians,” said the native Texan. “Our heroes at that time had fan clubs and so forth, and they all had a code of the West. All of the great cowboy characters had that.”
He said the genre instilled good character in a lot of young people.
According to his class outline, the lessons will begin with migration theories on the population of the Americas and conclude with the end of the Open Range era with some questions on the existence of Great American West spirits.
An optional component to the class is a trip to the Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville where Thomas serves as a docent. Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for adults 65 and older; the price is not included in class registration.
Topics such as migrations and the Trail of Tears might stir debates, but Thomas doesn’t shy away from it. He said, “Usually we are trying to clarify misconceptions.”
Small classes are also important to him. Thomas said he wants people to feel comfortable asking questions.
“I teach in big gigantic ovals. I don’t want it to be so linear. I want to be able to carry the story all the way through to a natural stopping place even though we may expand on it in a later class,” he said.
Thomas wants his students to come out of the class with more curiosity.
“I want them to go research it. (When) they do, (they) come back with more questions,” Thomas said. “I try to be very candid and honest. You can’t be too politically correct because there is no room in history for that.”
“Spirits of the Great American West” begins April 17. To register for the class, visit ksuolli.com.
For more information on OLLI programs, contact Michelle Girage at firstname.lastname@example.org or (770) 499-3340.