By Connie and Lynn Baer
Historically, the transition from middle school to high school is challenging. Since 1965, gone are the days of freshmen initiation with embarrassed freshmen wearing white shirts to distinguish them as lowly ninth graders, carrying upperclassmen’s books to class, and white washing the G on Cowles Mountain.
Since then, there have been many ways to welcome incoming Foothillers. In 1996, according to the yearbook “El Recuerdo,” freshmen were welcomed to school with a Freshman Picnic, sponsored by the Girls League and Boys Federation, featuring games and contests. In 1997, upperclassmen signed up to be Big Brothers and Big Sisters to freshmen.
In 2002, Link Crew began at Grossmont.
“Link Crew is responsible for easing the transition from junior high to high school for all freshmen,” wrote Coach Nikki Vanderhyde in the 2003 yearbook. In 2009, Link Crew’s name changed to G-Crew.
Megan Long has been the group’s advisor for the past 11 years. According to Megan, G Crew welcomes incoming Foothillers and shares Grossmont’s spirit, traditions, and expectations with the freshmen.
G-Crew members can have two roles.
Mentors, who are upperclassmen, meet with freshmen in a group and guide them through their first year of high school. Typically, there is a ratio of two mentors to 10 freshmen in a group.
Another G-Crew role is Organizers, who can be sophomores and upperclassmen. Organizers serve the club by organizing, setting up, and interacting with incoming freshmen, but are not “linked” to freshmen. Organizers insure that events run smoothly.
This year there are 90 Mentors and 120 Organizers in G-Crew.
Usually there are two planned yearly events that encourage the groups to meet. The goal is for mentors to be making intentional, meaningful connections with their freshmen three times a month.
Before Freshmen Orientation, which this year was on Thursday, Aug. 11, G-Crew trains for three nights so they can provide a fun, welcoming experience that makes the incoming class feel comfortable as they enter high school.
On the first day of school, G-Crew wears their bright gold shirts with a large royal blue G and serve as friendly, helpful faces. The G-Crew are friendly, excited, and demonstrate the attitude and behaviors expected at Grossmont. G-Crew also models Foothiller spirit and participation, which improves the school culture.
Some of the activities planned for this school year include Freshmen Orientation, Nacho Lunch, Freshmen Assembly, Fall Sponge War and Freshmen Sport Support.
“The goal, ultimately, is that G-Crew inspires the incoming class with a desire to be positive contributors to the Grossmont campus, which we hope will produce motivated learners and quality citizens,” said Long.
Integrating freshmen into Grossmont was certainly a goal of the entire staff as they welcomed all four classes to Grossmont on Aug. 15 — the 96th anniversary of the first day of school for Foothillers!
To learn more about Grossmont’s unique heritage, visit the museum this fall: noon – 4 p.m. Sept. 7 or Oct. 5 or by appointment. Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-668-6140. Please browse our website: www.foothillermuseum.com.
—Connie and Lynn Bae write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.