July 2022 - GHS Graduation

This year 471 seniors in the Class of 2022 became part of an amazing group: 39,000 Foothiller graduates.  For 101 years, Grossmont High School’s students and staff have taken great pride in the traditions surrounding graduation, many begun in its first decade.

Friday, June 3rd, graduation was held on campus in the Jack Mashin Stadium.   At the beginning of the ceremony, Principal Dan Barnes reflected on this historic moment.  “Tens of thousands of graduates have crossed our graduation stage before you, and many thousands will follow.  You are part of a remarkable tradition, one that probably includes many grandparents and parents here in the audience this morning.”

During the celebration, five retiring staff members were recognized for their decades of service to Grossmont: Lou Ann Kirby, Jordie Lehr, Jan Mafnas, John Neil, and Jeannine Calabrese. 

Since 1936, the graduating seniors have been led into the ceremony by students carrying the Daisy Chain, an 86-year tradition, created from the historic ivy still growing on campus and yellow daisies.  Guided by Daisy Chain advisors Matt Flisher and Kristen LoPrell, the teaching staff selected 50 outstanding juniors on the basis of their school activities, scholarship, and citizenship; being selected is the highest honor awarded juniors.

During the graduation ceremony, three outstanding seniors were recognized for their academic achievements: Sara Standlee with a 4.833 GPA plans to attend  UCSD in the fall; Raquel Berk has a 4.795 GPA and plans to attend SDSU; and Sarah Oung with a 4.795 GPA plans to attend UCLA School of Nursing.  The three valedictorians elected to deliver their speech together.

Raquel began, “Our opportunity to come up here today was not just a singular effort, but the accomplishments of our teachers, our friends, and our families…. To the Social Science department, thank you for showing us the mistakes of the past so we can build a brighter future. To the Literature and Arts Departments, thank you for giving us the ability to express ourselves on paper and to the world.  To the STEM departments, thank you for providing us the skills to keep up with the ever-changing technology of our future and expanding our minds to the world of possibilities.”

Sarah Oung recalled, “It feels like yesterday that there was the announcement that the world was shutting down into a pandemic. It feels like yesterday that we were logging onto zoom and longing for a brighter future. It feels like yesterday that we were choosing a dress for prom. And it will feel like yesterday in ten years when we look back at this day and at this graduating class.”

Sara Standlee ended their speech, “Lastly, we would like to give this message. Each and every one of you has the potential to change the world. When you step off this field today, you will no longer be high schoolers, but independent adults who will brave the chaos of life. There will be obstacles, there will be hardships, there will be difficulties. But, there is always a rainbow following a rainstorm.”

This year, as in years past, 3 perpetual graduation trophies were awarded to seniors. The most prestigious service award given is the Norman Freeman Award, first awarded in 1953 as a memorial to Norman Freeman, ASB President, Class of 1947. The trophy is engraved “For the Grossmont student who has most strengthened democracy through participation”.  This year’s 69th honoree is Ava Findahl, Senior Class President.

Since 1927, two identical silver loving cup trophies have acknowledged one outstanding young woman and one outstanding young man.  Each trophy is engraved with the names of the 95 previous recipients. Joining them this year are Molly Schell and Garrett Kinnard.

In 1925, outstanding seniors were first recognized with a Circle G, which was the highest award then given to graduating seniors.  In 2022, for the 97th year, 6 seniors were honored for their all-around excellence in academics, leadership, citizenship, and service: Laila Aleman, Christopher Falcon, Tayler Grant, Mariah McCaskill, David Ordaz, and Sara Standlee.  Each student received a gold pin, a G enclosed in a circle, a reminder of the legacy binding GHS graduating seniors.

Since 1965, the Principal’s Letters of Commendations have been awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership in a variety of areas. This year, Principal Dan Barnes recognized 18 students: Alazain Angotti, Noah Barnes, Raquel Berk, Samuel Chiu, Briauanna Cooney, Mason Dirkes, Adrianna Dubiel, Ariy’Ana Duke, Natalie Emery, Carissa Freeman, Jessie Kim, Joshua Kelly, Sara Lopez, Sasha Luhnow, Katie O’Laughlin, Sarah Oung, Jasenya Shanks, and Joseph Steinbock.

As Principal Dan Barnes shared with the graduates, “All of you are, and will continue to be, the finest ambassadors for Grossmont goodwill.  The diploma you are about to receive tells the world that you have met extremely high standards and are ready for the next stage in your life.”

Ending the ceremony, Senior Class President Ava Findahl told her classmates, “After the last 3 unprecedented years, one thing I am confident in is we all learned how to persevere. I have no doubt that each of us will create the lives that we desire, always remembering who we are…forever young and a Foothiller.”   Then with a turn of their tassels, the Class of 2022 left GHS with unforgettable memories and the knowledge that they were a unique part of history, the 101th class to graduate from Grossmont High school.

GHS Museum Closed until Fall 2023

While we are closed, we will have an “office” in the Social Science lounge in the lower quad.  There, we will have access to our file cabinets, yearbooks, bound newspapers, and other research items we use frequently; we will continue to write our monthly columns.

Reunions are welcome to contact us to schedule a campus and district office tour with prior arrangement.  Visit our website at foothillermuseum.com to learn more about GHS, past and present.  Contacts: 619-668-6140 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Upcoming Reunions

Class of 1958:  Tuesday, July 5th, 12:00 GHS campus and district office tour and off campus lunch. Contact Mike Vitkauskas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Class of 1972:  Saturday, September 10, 2022 Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Classes of 1980, 1981, and 1982: July 29th main event and July 30 family picnic, 2:00 GHS campus and district office tour.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Class of 1992:  Saturday, August 27th, 2022. To RSVP and purchase a ticket, visit: https://www.reunion-specialists.com/reunion2.php?reunion=939#.YocipeiZO3A

Class of 2002: Saturday, August 13th

https://www.evite.com/event/036EO4BAS33PYY63UEPMR7ATI6SC6I/

May 2022: War Memorial

The GHS Museum War Memorial display pays tribute to those who have died in wars as well as those who made a difference or who sacrificed in ways not to be forgotten.  Three of their personal stories offer a vivid glimpse of history.

Japanese Americans Sent to WWII Internment (Relocation) Camps

A collage that honors the 15 students removed from Grossmont in 1942 hangs on the wall above the memorial.  Their stories are testament to the human cost of Executive Order 9066.  In 2011, Grossmont High School received a letter from the niece of Grace Kaminaka Tsuida, who as a sophomore, was one of the 15 sent to an internment camp.  

Read more ...May 2022: War Memorial

April 2022 - GHS Museum Art (Part 2)

For 101 years, Foothillers have created amazing art works while at Grossmont High School or have donated them to Grossmont High School in remembrance of their years at GHS. Four unique ones are on display in the GHS Museum.

1986 Japanese Bunka Embroidery

Masako Morishita Morinaka, Class of 1936, donated a lovely floral Japanese Bunka Embroidery to Grossmont on her class’s 50th Anniversary.  She brought the Bunka Embroidery to their reunion; it was later presented to the school. 

Read more ...April 2022 - GHS Museum Art (Part 2)

March 2022 - Castle Museum Art

Since its earliest years, Grossmont High School’s original 1922 granite school building has been an ideal model for artists to capture. The granite design, its location on the hill straddling the boundaries of La Mesa and El Cajon, and its proximity to the railroad, now trolley, tracks, have made it an East County landmark, leading many to give directions referring to its presence.

1942 Drawing

Read more ...March 2022 - Castle Museum Art

February 2022 - Marching Band on Parade

The past two years of COVID have presented seemingly insurmountable obstacles for activity classes such as high school marching bands.  GHS Instrumental Music Director James Villegas found ways to overcome those obstacles.

2021 Mother Goose Parade

Read more ...February 2022 - Marching Band on Parade

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