Raffle tickets, hearty meals, and joyous gatherings were experienced at the Verdugo Gym holiday party on Thursday honoring all faculty, classified and management who are retiring at the end of the fall semester.
The event acknowledged all 43 retirees by giving each one of them a certificate and small gift when they were called up to the front of the stage. While some of them gave a speech, others chose not to. Overall, every retiring employee who showed up had their moment of recognition and applause.
Glendale College President Audre Levy described the purpose and theme of the event.
“This event is for the honor of the years of service that individuals have given to the campus,” Levy said. “Any of us want to be acknowledged for what we’ve done, and we wanted it to be in a joyful and positive event.”
A retiree event is usually held on campus in the spring. The California School Employees Association President, Saodat Aziskhanova, explained the timing of this event.
“It’s a tradition for Glendale College to have a retiree event in the spring,” Aziskhanova said. “It’s usually a luncheon, but because we have 43 retirees this time, we decided to do it now instead of bringing them in spring when some of them will not be around.”
Robert Kibler, the chairman of visual and performing arts at GCC, explained the importance of having a retiree event.
“Well, I think that people just need to recognize that we’re losing a lot of talent on the campus and people want to be recognized for the time they’ve spent here,” Kibler said. “Because for most of us, it’s our whole lives, really. Our whole working lives have been here at Glendale College.”
Aziskhanova then said that although it is sad that the college will be losing a lot of employees, there is still a bright side to the departure of these employees.
“The good thing is that this is a good way to deal with the budget crisis,” Aziskhanova said. “It might save the college some money just to survive. We need to get together because we’re short on staff, but we have to do all we can with this state budget.”
Although most of the retirees will eventually be replaced, some faculty members will come back and teach part-time, so they will not be gone permanently.
“Part of the agreement of the early retirement is that some employees will not be replaced for 12 to 18 months unless they serve essential functions to the college,” Levy said. “The [retiring faculty] can still come back and work part time. They can work up to six or nine units.”
Levy then continued on about the amount of experience that will be leaving at the end of fall.
“We have about 1,000 years of service added up that is walking out of the door at the end of December in terms of wisdom and heart that they have nurtured over the years,” Levy said.
After the event was over, John Kray, welding and metallurgy instructor, voiced his opinion about the effectiveness of the event’s purpose.
“For the amount of people that showed up, I think it was done well,” Kray said. “It’s kind of a standard college event similar to other ones they’ve had. I was happy with it.”
With the older employees retiring from their full-time positions, this paves way for the newer teachers to start building their careers at GCC. Many people will remember the years of service and commitment of all the employees that will be retiring at the end of this semester.
“We have people who have been here 25 years, 30 years, and even longer,” Aziskhanova said. “They will definitely be missed.”