By CONNIE and LYNN BAER
Grossmont High students and staff are excited to begin a more normal school year, hoping for the return of traditions and camaraderie challenged during the past two years.
For 102 years, GHS has welcomed freshmen to its campus. Over the years, concerned staff have designed different ways to assist in the transition to high school and ways to build student spirit. During the 1950-1970s, a unique freshmen tradition was to white wash the G on Cowles Mt. Last year’s drive-through freshmen orientation was certainly the most unique.
This year’s orientation for the Class of 2026 was hosted and planned by GHS’s 150 member G-Crew, after eight hours of training, led by the G-Crew A-Team who had an additional nine hours of training.
From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., various activities, including a GHS photo taken on the Jack Mashin Stadium Field, were followed by a pep assembly. Then the freshmen were broken into small groups of 10 with 2 G-Crew upperclassmen. After games designed to “get to know you” and to build Foothiller spirit, G-Crew led a tour of campus to their groups.
From 10 a.m. to noon, the GHS staff and G-Crew assisted the freshmen as they took their ID pictures, received their Chromebooks and their schedules, and looked for their classrooms.
Senior G-Crew A-Team member, Jasmine Chenu, shared, “Goals I set for the various activities throughout freshmen orientation were to make the freshmen feel welcome and comfortable and to overall prepare them for this new chapter of their life. The most impact moment during the morning was seeing how nervous the freshmen came in, but when they left, they had this sense of relief knowing that they had upperclassman to help them adjust to high school. G-Crew will continue to support the freshmen by helping them navigate their classes the first week of school, and during the first semester, they will act as a support system for the new students.”
New staff members
GHS welcomed four new teachers this year including science teacher Kara West and English teacher Kaylee Montesanto. The other two are returning alumni, who join a staff which last year had 28 alumni among it.
Assistant Principal, Brianne Jones Froumis, Class of 1998, social studies teacher 2008-2011, noted, “I am thrilled for the opportunity to return to Grossmont High School. I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues, friends and meeting new staff members. I am excited to learn about the opportunities and programs that are building Foothiller PRIDE. Grossmont has always been home to a forward thinking and student centered faculty. As a former Grossmont teacher and alumnus, I am acquainted with long standing traditions. I am excited to learn the new innovative programs that are currently in practice and look forward to collaborating with all of you.”
Social Studies Teacher Justin Rutherford, Class of 2007, pointed out, “Returning to Grossmont as a teacher is an immense privilege and honor. As a student at Grossmont, I was able to be part of a warm and welcoming community where I could discover my core interests and values. The staff and students at Grossmont are so inviting and welcoming, and I cherish the opportunity to hopefully inspire the next generation of Foothillers.”
Bell schedule time change
Principal Dan Barnes shared, “Senate Bill 328 required all schools to adjust their bell schedules by the fall of 2022. One key element is that high schools are not allowed to start the school day before 8:30 a.m. In our district, the decision about how a bell schedule is created, changed, and implemented ultimately must be approved by our certificated staff through a vote.”
After a year-long discussion and evaluation, Grossmont’s staff selected a schedule that continues its commitment to academics, extra-curricular activities, and building a strong student support system through its PRIDE program, its ASB assemblies, and its staff collaboration during a modified schedule on Fridays. This school year period 1 begins at 8:30 a.m. and period 7 ends at 3:36 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
The hour later ending of the school day certainly has created some challenges for the athletic program.
Athletic Director Megan Long stated, “This is a challenge in a long line of challenges these past couple of years. Luckily, we have an excellent and professional coaching staff, who have made the adjustments necessary while providing the best experience possible for our Foothillers. The time change has put a little stress on time available for facilities to fit in sports and other events. Yet we have made it work. The time has also impacted the start times of competitions. Many contests have been pushed back to a later start so classroom time is minimally interrupted. While the time change might impact many in our school community, teachers, families, coaches, and athletes will work together so athletes canmeet the expectations of being a successful “student-athlete” at Grossmont High School.”
Boys and Girls Cross Country coach Ross Bartell, takes the changes in stride, matter-of-factly sharing, “Our practices now start at 3:55 p.m. instead of 3:15 pm. The League meets will still begin at 4 pm as always.”
Certainly, the gratitude of students and staff for the return of normality will enable them to adjust to new challenges as they arrive, with a spirited staff and students affirming again and again, “It’s great to be young and a Foothiller!”
GHS Museum closed until spring 2024
While we are closed, we have access to our file cabinets, yearbooks, bound newspapers, and research items we use frequently; we will continue to write our monthly columns and our newsletters. We welcome donations of memorabilia and financial donations to help us create the new museum.
Visit our website at foothillermuseum.com to learn more about GHS, past and present. Contacts: 619-668-6140 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 1972: Saturday, Sept. 10. Contact email@example.com.
Class of 1992: Saturday, Aug. 27. To RSVP and purchase a ticket, visit: reunionspecialists.com/reunion2.php?reunion=939#.YocipeiZO3A. Campus Tour and Picnic on Aug. 28, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Blue Stage.
— Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.