This year 471 seniors in the Grossmont High School 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.
Graduation was held on campus earlier this month 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,” Barnes said. “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.
Berk 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.”
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.”
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, three 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, six 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, Barnes recognized 18 students: Alazain Angotti, Noah Barnes, Rachel 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 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, Findahl told her classmates, “After the last three 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 email@example.com.
Class of 1958: Tuesday, July 5, 12 p.m. GHS campus and district office tour and off campus lunch. Contact Mike Vitkauskas at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 1972: Saturday, Sept. 10. Contact email@example.com.
Classes of 1980, 1981, and 1982: July 29 main event and July 30 family picnic, 2 p.m. GHS campus and district office tour. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Class of 1992: Saturday, Aug. 27. To RSVP and purchase a ticket, visit: reunion-specialists.com/reunion2.php?reunion=939#.YocipeiZO3A.
Class of 2002: Saturday, Aug. 13. Visit: evite.com/event/036EO4BAS33PYY63UEPMR7ATI6SC6I/
(Photo courtesy Connie and Lynn Baer)