French teacher at Godinez leaves loving memories behind

Loving French teacher Dr. Robert Engle passed away in early August

TJ Leota

Ana Orozco, Staff Writer

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Early in the school year our students and staff heard the heartbreaking news that French teacher, Dr. Robert Engle, had passed away. 

Current friend and fellow teacher Erik Pierre said sorrowfully, “He was a very dedicated teacher, mentor, and a very good friend of mine.” Engle was a French teacher at Godinez since the school opened in 2007.

Engle was born on February 2nd, 1945 and passed away due to his health decreasing over the past couple of years. on August 6, 2019. Before coming to Godinez, Engle was a teacher in Hawaii at a community college and high school, where he taught choir, music history, and French for 27 years and left with a full retirement after 30 years of teaching. 

He worked a lot with the Samoan community which he felt very close Spanish teacher Elvia Morales remembers, “His Samoan family liked to say he was more Samoan than white. They even gave him a shirt saying that. He loved his community and they loved him very much.”

 In 2017, he retired from his position in the foreign language department at Godinez Fundamental High School.

Engle and Pierre were very good friends for several years. He motivated  Pierre to become a French teacher by telling him he just needed some courses and to pass a test. Pierre already spoke French he just needed small goals and a push from Engle in order to become a teacher. Pierre has now been the French teacher for the past 3 years at Godinez after Engle’s retirement.

The class of 2020 is the last class to have had Engle as their French teacher. Senior Jorge Velasco who said, “Engle was a very serious man but he taught very well, he would always walk through the lessons and knew very well what he was teaching his students.”  Velasco had Engle his freshman year. 

Engle’s way of teaching was just a bit different than your average teacher. He would make students put away their phone in their backpack and put them in the back of the class with the desks and just have rows of chairs in the front of the classroom.

“He was a great teacher and a well-rounded person in general. He shared more than an educational experience with us he shared real life,” said senior Yazmin Almanza who also had him as her teacher freshman year.

On Friday, August 23  many teachers and administrators, along with friends and family attended his memorial at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Long Beach, Calif. He left memories with the Godinez staff and the foreign language department.

Pierre added his final thoughts reflecting,” I will miss him in a much faster way. I will miss him most because it’s the person I relied on for this profession. He was really nice and now I feel like I don’t know who to call.” 

Morales adds,” He was a really good friend and a real sweetheart.”

Engle will be missed by the students and staff. His accomplishments will live on with the people who knew him and cared for him. May he rest in complete peace.