By Eliza de la Flor

Staff Writer

As LBCC says goodbye to another school year, students and colleagues also say goodbye and good luck to English as a Second Language professor David Thrift.

Financial Aid employee Irene Polly also retired.

Thrift has taught at LBCC for 35 years. His colleagues gave him a retirement party at Lola’s Mexican restaurant in downtown Long Beach on Thursday, May 23 at 6 p.m.

Colleague Lisbeth Alvarez, ESL office coordinator, was unable to attend the event, but said, “Based on the years I have had the privilege to work with Mr. Thrift, I can say that he is a very dedicated and committed instructor who has made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of ESL students by teaching them the grammar lessons over the years at LBCC.

“I think one of his passions has been teaching the structure of the English language, so the students could learn how to write the language perfectly. In addition, he is a very friendly and sensible person. We all are going to miss him.”

The dinner at Lola’s was organized by Thrift’s colleague and ESL associate professor Giselle Richards. Thrift was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, all there to share their love, admiration and respect for a man who has taught so many.

Donna Coats, administrative assistant in the ESL department, said in an email, “Fellow ESL instructor Teresa Gaudiot gave a heartfelt speech about coming to LBCC 27 years ago as David’s 19-year-old assistant. Now herself an ESL teacher, Gaudiot wondered how she was going to survive his absence in a life that he has been in for so long.

Richards’ efforts were obviously worth it as exhibited by the deep gratitude that Thrift and his family exhibited. To honor Thrift’s penchant for daily naps, he received a new robe, pajamas, a pillow and teddy bear. “He will be deeply missed by colleagues and students alike.”

For plans after retirement, Thrift said, “After I catch up on sleep, I’m going to learn how to play the guitar. My wife gave me one and I played trumpet years ago, so I’m somewhat musical. Catch up with friends, correspondences I haven’t had as much time for. And working around the house and garden, improving everything, there’s quite a list. I won’t be bored.”

On what he will miss, he said, “The thing I will miss the most, the reason I put off retiring for a few more years, really, is the classroom experience. I really have enjoyed my students.”