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Spanish professor readies to say ‘adÍos’

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 04:03

Linda “Holly” Colville

Courtesy of Linda “Holly” Colville

Linda “Holly” Colville, who has been teaching Spanish for 38 years, will be retiring from Citrus College at the end of the semester. 

“The saying goes, ‘Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,’” Colville said. “The first Spanish class I took was in eighth grade, and I absolutely fell in love with it.”
 
A passion for the language that reflects the cultures of many Spanish-speaking countries inspired Colville to study Spanish from middle school through her high school years. 
 
Colville earned her bachelor’s and master’s in Spanish at the University of California, Los Angeles.
 
During her junior year at UCLA, Colville participated in the school’s study abroad program, spending an entire school year studying at the University of Madrid and housing with a family native to Madrid, Spain.
 
“It was very different from anything I’d ever known,” Colville said. “It was so great to see things that I had only read about.”
As a graduate student, Colville was a teaching assistant at UCLA while completing her master’s degree.
 
Following her undergraduate work at UCLA, Colville taught two years as a full-time Spanish teacher at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.
 
She continued her career by working part-time at both Fullerton and Cypress colleges, in addition to obtaining full-time employment with the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program, where she trained prospective teacher assistants. 
 
In 1991, Colville was offered a full-time faculty position at Citrus College.
 
“What she likes to do is engage students in the class and make them really feel like they can participate and enjoy their experience,” said Citrus professor Anna McGarry, colleague and friend of Colville for the past 13 years. “From the moment class starts, she’s giving 100 percent to the students, so [for me] she, has been somebody that has been an inspiration.”
 
Former student and aide Veronica Cervantes became inspired by Colville’s “interactive and cooperative” method of teaching, leading her to earn a degree at California State University, Fullerton, and gaining employment at Covina High School as a Spanish teacher, as well as the school’s department coordinator.
 
In 2006, Colville’s life reached a pivotal turning point when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that afflicts one out of every eight women during their lifetime.
 
“I was very lucky that it was caught early,” Colville said. “Fortunately, I had great medical care that was covered by insurance, but most of all, I had a great support system.”
 
After returning to Citrus —following a semester of leave for treatment—friends, colleagues and family members of Colville’s encouraged her to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena that year. 
 
That experience led her to form the Citrus team, who will be participating in their sixth annual Race for the Cure event on Saturday, March 24 at Dodger Stadium. 
 
Colville also volunteers at the Expressions Appearance Center, located in the St. Jude Medical Plaza in Fullerton.
 
“It has been a privilege to fulfill my lifelong dream of teaching Spanish at the community college level as a member of this academic community,”
Colville said. “I am truly honored and grateful to have been given the opportunity to make a positive difference in the way my students perceive themselves and the world.”

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