By Connie and Lynn Baer
For 97 years, Grossmont High School’s students and staff have taken great pride in the traditions surrounding graduation. On Thursday, June 7, 503 seniors became part of an amazing group, more than 36,600 Foothiller graduates.
Since 1936, the graduating seniors have been led into the ceremony by the Daisy Chain, an 82-year tradition. The teaching staff selects 50 young men and young women on the basis of their school activities, scholarship, and citizenship. Each year the students create two ivy chains with daisies interwoven into them, which these outstanding juniors carry. Being selected is the highest honor awarded juniors. This year, as in earlier years, the students were excited to use the ivy growing on campus, some of which was originally planted by Kate Sessions in 1926.
Each year at graduation, outstanding seniors are recognized for their achievements. Four students were recognized for their academic excellence: two valedictorians, Emily Barnes with a GPA of 4.829 and Irene Van Oosbree with a GPA of 4.766, and two salutatorians, Madison Troyan with a 4.732 GPA and Natalie Harmer with a 4.738.
In her valedictorian address to the class, looking ahead to the future, Barnes said, “The unknown seems like a daunting foe … In reality, the unknown is not such an insurmountable feat, but it brings excitement and opportunity to grow and learn. I encourage us all to embrace the unknown and face it with a positive outlook because I very strongly believe that this class can and will go out into the unknown and overcome any challenge we may face.”
Van Oosbree told her classmates, “These last four years have allowed Grossmont to become much more than a school to me. Grossmont is where I have met some of my favorite people in the world, people I will miss years after this graduation … Just because high school ends today, that doesn’t mean you should ever stop learning.”
Yearly, three perpetual graduation trophies are awarded to seniors. Since 1927, for 91 years, two identical silver loving cup trophies have acknowledged one outstanding young woman and one outstanding young man. Each trophy has the names of the 90 previous recipients. Joining them this year are Nicole Havin and Nicholas Ghosn.
The most prestigious service award given at graduation is the Norman Freeman Award, first given 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 and leadership in student government.” This year’s recipient, the 65th, is Kamryn Correll.
In 1925, outstanding seniors were first recognized with a Circle G, which was the highest award then given to graduating seniors. In 2017, for the 93rd year, six seniors were honored: Emily Barnes, John Flaherty, Madeline Morrison, Ben Sichel, Irene Van Oosbree, and Joseph Williams. 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 distinguished themselves in particular areas at Grossmont. This year, Principal Dan Barnes recognized 13 students: Gracie Briggs, Jenny Burch, Sable Fest, Vinie Hauser, Brett Hayes, Candace Hendersen, Jeffrey Kay, Chase Karlo, Alicia McGuire, Kayla Mendoza, Delila Munoz, Devon Shrestha, and Bethany Weddle.
During the ceremony, Principal Barnes, reflecting on the Class of 2018 and their accomplishments, stated, “Tens of thousands of graduates have crossed this stage before you and many thousands will follow. You are part of a remarkable tradition, one that probably included many grandparents and parents here in the audience this afternoon. So, graduates of 2018, as you celebrate your achievements today, make sure that you take special pride in that tradition.”
To discover more about Grossmont’s commitment to excellence, visit our website at foothillermuseum.com or visit the GHS Museum Wednesday, July 11 or Aug. 1, noon–3:30 p.m. or by appointment. Contact: 619-668-6140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.