cecilia memorial service crpd

Spanish instructor Cecilia Dighero has had an extraordinary life – as a Fulbright Scholar, teacher, interpreter, United Nations worker and wife of a successful actor-playwright with whom she had many adventures.

And despite the very recent loss of her husband of 30 years, Ron House, she continues to teach Spanish I and Spanish II with enthusiasm at SMC Community Ed, taking particular joy in her students.

The affection goes both ways. “Cecilia is delightfully educational, entertaining and beautifully organized,” said student A. Cameron. “She shouldn’t change a thing. Hers has been the best language class I have ever taken, and I’ve taken a lot.”

Born in Valparaiso, Chile, she came to New York under a Fulbright Grant to study English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Spanish Language, Literature & Theatre.

She has taught most of her life, mainly in New York City and Los Angeles. While in New York, she served at the Chilean Desk at the United Nations. She has also worked as an interpreter and has subtitled movies in Spanish as well as Italian (she is also fluent in French and Portuguese).

Dighero is one of – if not the – longest tenured instructors at Community Ed. Indeed, she created the Spanish program at Community Ed.

She has also taught at Pepperdine University and through SMC’s regular academic program, but she says Community Ed is her favorite place to teach “because I love working with adults who are motivated to learn.”

Dighero is still working through her grief over the loss of her husband. She has many happy memories with a man who shared her love for languages – he spoke French and Spanish fluently – and who was an accomplished actor and playwright. His play Bullshot Drummond, which he also performed in on Broadway and in San Francisco, achieved critical acclaim and was later made into a film Bullshot, produced by George Harrison.

He also co-wrote and starred in the zany musical comedy El Grande de Coca-Cola, the off-Broadway hit performed in several languages other than English.

Dighero also shares many memories of their time spent together at their property in Joshua Tree, which also serves as a bed-and-breakfast. “I try to go there as much as possible because it’s really peaceful, quiet and beautiful.”

Cecilia Dighero w husband Ron House

What kinds of students take your class?

All kinds – professional people (doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants) artists, moms, businesspeople who need to communicate with their workers, young adults who want to learn the language of their ancestors, etc. We live in L.A., should I say more?

Tell us one to three things that most people don’t know about you.

I used to be in a theatre group In New York. I know how to ride a horse and play the piano (but not at the same time). I love art in all its forms.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Go with my husband to a spa in Northern California for a long weekend and finding out when we got there that clothes were optional.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Relax in nature with friends, music, a good book and a glass of wine.

What is one of the best compliments you ever received?

I love your class. I have learned a lot. You are funny, entertaining and I am always looking forward to coming.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

A photo of the beautiful flowers we had for the Memorial Celebration of my husband’s life and achievements.

 What book(s) are on your nightstand now?

“Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair,” by Miriam Greenspan, and “Amor” by Isabel Allende.

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