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January 2021: 1930s Student Voices

Reading the 1930s Foothill Echoes, the student newspaper, enables us to share the experiences of Foothiller students and staff during the Great Depression, revealing timeless issues as well as issues unique to the 1930s.

The October 14, 1930 newspaper article written by Thelma Engstrom, Class of 1931, is titled “No Funds for Annual Say Ex Committee”.  The cost of the yearbook in past years was $1.25, but the ASB had been subsidizing the yearbook and could no longer do that since the cost of the yearbooks was $2.50 to $3.00.  “If we are to have an annual we can be proud of, we should be willing to pay the entire cost.”  Eventually the senior class produced the 1931 yearbook through fundraising.

That same month, Helen Brunson, Class of 1931, shares her criticism of “That ‘Get By’ Attitude”.  “How can we, for instance, reconcile the action of a girl, who after uniform check, deliberately tucks her middy into her skirt, with the third statement in our Sportsmanship code: “A true Grossmont Sportsman will cooperate willingly in every undertaking”?  How can a boy who cheats and gets by with it, claim to be a Grossmont Sportsman, who according to our code, is true to himself and others?”

The April 14, 1931 article “ASB Play to Depict Modern Family Life” describes the “Friday Performance of That Ferguson Family as Good Entertainment.”  “If your neighbors put a “THAT” in front of your family name, you would realize that they had your family’s number....It is a play about a realistic American family—who live, love, and react so like one’s own next door neighbor that no audience can fail to share the interests, irritations, trials, and triumphs….”

An iconic Grossmont symbol appeared in 1931, as documented by the April 28, 1931 Foothill Echoes,   “Hi-Y Places Big G on Northern Slope.”  “The honor for the erection of the clear-cut symbol of Grossmont spirit, which rests on the slope directly back of the lake in the form of a giant G, goes to the local Hi-Y boys….Work began by clearing all plant growth, the outline was then filled in with rocks and lastly whitewashed. The letter adds to the appearance of the school; makes onlookers think that Grossmont is awake.   Then, too, the school has the honor of being the only high school in the county with such an appropriate symbol.”  Since then, there has been a G representing Foothiller pride on a nearby hill, on the hill in front of the original school, and on Cowles Mt.

The May 9, 1932 Foothill Echoes includes a Humor section.  Rosaleen Remick urges, “Follow Your Conscience”.  “We all have a conscience!  Let’s use it.  We know we shouldn’t throw chalk when the teacher’s out; we know we shouldn’t gossip about people; we know we shouldn’t talk about our teachers; we know we shouldn’t leave term papers, notebooks, book reports, and projects to the last minute….But we do these things.  What is our conscience good for?  What a wonderful place this world would be if we only listened to the little voice inside of us that says, “Don’t do that.”  On the same page are a series of Jokes, including this one: “Linden: Why do you call your alarm clock Macbeth?  Gordon: ‘Macbeth doth murder sleep’.”

The April 12, 1935 Foothill Echoes in the article “Grossmont Captures Metro Track Crown” documents the achievements of the teams.  “In two extremely spectacular and exciting division fights, Grossmont managed to win the track crown in both A and C divisions of the Metropolitan League.”  Coached by now legendary Jack Mashin, the depth of the A team was shown by “the fact that the champion Grossmonters had scored only one first place—indicative of strong teamwork rather than individual starring.”  That lone first place was a dramatic finish when “the final man of the Grossmont relay team crossed the line inches in front of his opponent”.

September 15, 1935’s article “Halls Congested as GUHS’s enrollment exceeds 700.  “Hall congestion problems, leading to the re-routing of incoming traffic through the auditorium and the east court, has been the most marked result of the largest enrollment ever seen at Grossmont High School….Students are asked to cooperate in every possible way in the matter of keeping traffic moving in the halls, and in using the designated entrys and exits and the correct stairways between classrooms, as a step toward solving the congestion problem, and protecting themselves.” From 1935-1937, WPA funded projects would begin to relieve the campus congestion.

These excerpts from the student newspapers capture moments in Foothiller history that remind us of the timelessness of human emotions and experiences.  How fortunate we are to have them.

Become Part of Our Historic Campus

In honor of our historic 100 Years of Excellence Celebration, the GHS Educational Foundation is sponsoring a scholarship fundraising program. $100 for 100 Years donors will have their names,  their families', or their businesses’ names engraved on 2x4 inch gray tiles, which will be displayed on a wall near the front of the school.  In June 2020, the Foundation awarded $6500 in senior scholarships; our goal is to dramatically increase that amount in the future. 

To order your tile, visit  Or write a check payable to GHS Educational Foundation and mail to Connie and Lynn Baer, 5990 Avenorra Dr., La Mesa, CA 91942.  On the check memo, please indicate "scholarship fund" and include the text of your tile with your check (up to 3 lines, 20 spaces each).

Due to the coronavirus restrictions,  the GHS Museum is currently closed, but we are checking our emails at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and our phone messages at 619-668-6140.