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Jul 2023, 102nd Graduation

This year 486 seniors in the Class of 2023 became part of an amazing group: 39,500 Foothiller graduates.  For 102 years, Grossmont High School’s students and staff have taken great pride in the traditions surrounding graduation, many begun in its first decade.

Thursday, June 8th, 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.  As you celebrate your achievements today, make sure that you take special pride in that tradition.”

During the celebration, one retiree was recognized for her service to Grossmont: Social Science teacher Holly Jones.

Since 1936, the graduating seniors have been led into the ceremony by students carrying the Daisy Chain, an 87-year tradition, created from the 1920s historic ivy still growing on campus and white daisies.  Guided by Daisy Chain advisors Matt Flisher and Kristen LoPrell, the teaching staff selected 45 outstanding juniors on the basis of their school activities, scholarship, and citizenship; being selected is the highest honor awarded juniors.

During the graduation ceremony, five outstanding seniors were

recognized for their academic achievements: Valedictorian Paula Winkler 4.835 GPA, who plans to attend Westmont; and Salutatorians Brandon Case 4.795 GPA, attending UCLA;  brothers Owen McCulloch 4.795 GPA and Torin McCulloch 4.795 GPA, also attending UCLA; and Sunayana Nguyen 4.795 GPA, attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

In her Valedictorian speech Paula reflected, “Now we are moving on to other things. Whether this is a bitter ending, a sweet ending, or a bittersweet ending, there are new expectations to be held for the future. There will surely be setbacks and obstacles along the way, but the future is bright....We will go on to make the world a kinder, brighter, and “funnier” place, for generations of Foothillers to come.”

The first of four Salutatorians Brandon Case reminded his classmates, “Over the last four years we have learned to overcome obstacles, adapt, persevere, and embrace mistakes and accomplishments. It is equally important that we never let our fear of failure prevent us from taking risks, following our dreams, and battling through whatever comes our way….Now is our time to enter the arena, spend ourselves in a worthy cause, and dare greatly! Enjoy the wins and learn from the inevitable losses. Pursue your desired future with kindness and integrity.”

Torin McCulloch ended his speech, “In high school, we've learned that success isn't solely defined by scores on a test or the medal around our neck. It's about the friendships we've built, the challenges we've overcome, and the lessons we've learned. Each of us has our unique talents, passions, and dreams. As we step into the world beyond Grossmont, we must remember that success is about finding our own paths, defining our own goals, and measuring our achievements by our own standards.”

Owen McCulloch stated, “High School is the place we have made friendships that will last forever. Friendship extends beyond the boundaries of a traditional definition. It is the early morning math discussions with Mr. Carpenter, the team huddle after a big win, relationships that began in elementary school, the dodge ball tournament, the break between second and third period, and lunch.  More importantly, these friendships have become an integral part of who we are, shaping our identities and leaving an immense mark on our lives.”

The final Salutatorian Sunayana Nguyen shared, “I want to thank my parents, who came to this country to forge a better life for me. It is only through their countless sacrifices that I am able to stand up here today. As we bid farewell to Grossmont, let us remember that this is not the end, it is only the beginning…. Above all, let us never lose sight of the potential within ourselves and the positive impact we can make in the world, for as we know, the connotation of life is anything we wish it to be.”

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 70th honoree is Austin Mitchell, who was described as “a shining example of what it means to be a Foothiller.”

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 96 previous recipients. Joining them this year are Samantha Warren and Brandon Case.

In 1925, outstanding seniors were first recognized with a Circle G, which was the highest award then given to graduating seniors.  In 2023, for the 98th year, 6 seniors were honored for their all-around excellence in academics, leadership, citizenship, and service: Justin Brown, Isabel Curtin, Zita Huang, Riley Rippengale, Elizabeth Weeks, and Bridget Wilson. 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: Audrey Allen, Lonna Banawa, Brayden Bennett, Brooklin Bowles, Jasmine Clark, Jade Daley, Darian Davis, Kira Draffan, Katheryn Heubach, Taylor Houston, Marie Leilani Elmange, Ehdecempaw Mweeheh, Cedric Ngandu, Talia Page, Alexander Rodriguez, Savannah Stump, Gabriel Sanz-Miller, and Ava Zimmer.         

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 Austin Mitchell told her classmates, “Wherever we all are headed, I know that because of the support of our families, teachers, friends, and the community of Grossmont as a whole we will succeed in all that we attempt.”  Then with a turn of their tassels, the Class of 2023 left GHS with unforgettable memories and the knowledge that they were a unique part of history, the 102nd class to graduate from Grossmont High school.  

Upcoming Reunions

Class of 1973 50th Reunion: Saturday, August 5, 2023 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Campus Tour at 10.

Class of 1983 40th Reunion: Friday, July 28, 2023 Campus tour Saturday, July 29th, at 10.

Class of 2013 10th Reunion Weekend: August 4-6, 2023  Campus Tour Saturday, August 5th, at 10.

Visit our website at 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..

Daisy Chain 2023

  • Dylan Alagar
  • Ryan Albano
  • Alexandra Banman
  • Kalia Bautista
  • Molly Blakeley
  • Adrian Contreras
  • Abigail Costello
  • Abigail Cott
  • Sada Cuzick
  • Kiya Daley
  • Dana DeVriese
  • Grace Dilgard
  • Aidan Dilgard
  • Elizabeth Dilgard
  • Shannon Elwin
  • Karmen Fong
  • Luke Freeman
  • Erica Freeman
  • Eileen Griffing
  • Hadley Hall
  • Brandon Hermosillo
  • Chloe Herron
  • Calyssa Hill
  • Lucy Holenstein
  • Kai Hurst
  • Faythe Jordan
  • Sydney Luhnow
  • Megan Lyon
  • Reese Mackay
  • Miranda Martin
  • Benjamin Noble
  • Grace Record
  • Aethan Santos
  • Raylee Serrato
  • Maxwell Short
  • Tenley Sitze
  • Scotland Smith
  • Jacob Starkey
  • Kyle Sterling
  • Jacob Suter
  • Mylie Weston
  • Adelina Willett
  • Aubrey Wisniewski
  • Leah Yost
  • Kyle Zimkin