Graduation traditions honored at Grossmont

Posted: June 23rd, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Foothiller Footsteps | No Comments

By Connie and Lynn Baer | Foothiller Footsteps

For 96 years, Grossmont High School’s students and staff have taken great pride in the traditions surrounding graduation. Thursday, June 8, 459 seniors became part of an amazing group — the total 36,200 Foothiller graduates.

Since 1936, the graduating seniors have been led into the ceremony by the Daisy Chain, an 81-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.

The 2017 Daisy Chain juniors who led the graduating seniors into the ceremony (Photo by Boyd Anderson Photography)

This year, as in earlier years, the students used 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, Jillian Dawson with a GPA of 4.791 and Megan Williams with a GPA of 4.786; and two Salutatorians, Caleb Cheek with a 4.767 GPA and Pamela Torresdey with a 4.698.

“This school has been the site of so many memories for me and my peers,” Dawson said in her valedictorian address to the class. “From pep rallies and homecoming games to dances and more, Grossmont has worked hard to give us the best high school experience possible. So thank you, Grossmont, for being what you are and thank you to the people who keep you amazing.”

Williams had a similar message for her classmates. “These past four years at Grossmont have built the foundation on which we will form our futures,” she said. “We will go on to our next stage in life, whether it be going to community college, attending a four-year university, joining the workforce, enlisting in the military, or taking a gap year, and we will be taking our memories from Grossmont with us.”

The 2017 Grossmont High School graduation ceremony (Courtesy GHS Museum)

Yearly, three perpetual graduation trophies are awarded to seniors. Since 1927, for 90 years, two identical silver loving cup trophies have acknowledged one outstanding young woman and one outstanding young man. The 90 recipients’ names are engraved on the trophies. Joining them this year are Kaeli Thompson and Connor Selander.

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 64th, is Alyssa Chong.

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 92nd year, six seniors were honored: Rileigh Dunning, Elizabeth Felix, Isabella Gargano, Luis Matias-Escobar, Lauren Pyiar and Kelsey York. 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 are awarded to students who have distinguished themselves in particular areas at Grossmont. This year, principal Dan Barnes recognized 12 students: Chloe Camarero, John “Jack” Curtin, Kyle Crews, Jillian Dawson, Lizbeth Hernandez, Emily Hinton, Sarvenaz Karbasi, Christopher Laethem, Andrew Nguyen, Allison Schaefer, Pamela Torresdey and Megan Williams.

“All of you are (and will continue to be) the finest ambassadors for Grossmont goodwill,” said Barnes during the ceremony, reflecting on the Class of 2017 and their accomplishments. “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 lives.”

To learn more about Grossmont’s unique heritage, visit the Museum this summer: noon-3:30 p.m. on July 5 or Aug. 3, or by appointment. Contact by email at or phone at 619-668-6140. Visit our website,, for our Saturday summer hours.

—Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.

Leave a Comment