By Connie and Lynn Baer | Foothiller Footsteps
In June of 1921, Grossmont’s first graduating class of 37 seniors became Foothiller alumni. In 2018, the 97th graduating class numbered 503. Today, a total of 36,611 alumni call themselves Foothillers.
Tuesday, Aug. 13, was the first day of school for 575 excited and anxious freshmen, who are members of the class of 2022, Grossmont’s 101st graduating class. Aug. 8, incoming freshmen were welcomed to Grossmont for Freshman Orientation by trained G Crew members. Throughout the year, ninth-graders are guided by the G Crew as they adjust to the personal and academic challenges of a high school campus with a student population of 2,160.
In fall 1921, months after the graduation of Grossmont’s first class, its alumni returned to campus for Alumni Day. In the 1920s, the type of celebration varied, but often included an alumni play, basketball game, dance, and attending classes of their favorite teachers. In 1930, the yearbook states, at “its annual ‘visiting day’ at Grossmont …. as many ‘old grads’ as can possibly do so return to the familiar haunts and halls of their alma mater to live again, for a while, in memories of the time when they, too, were students here.” In 1947, the annual alumni gathering was first called “homecoming.”
“This year’s homecoming theme is ‘Roadtrippin’ Across the USA,’” Associated Student Body President Kennedy Dirks said.
On Friday, Sept. 21, there will be a KUSI Alarm Clock pep assembly at 5 a.m. that morning, a tailgate in the afternoon, and the football game versus Poway at night. During halftime, students will perform a skit and crown the homecoming queen. On Saturday, there will be a club carnival at 3:30 p.m. and the homecoming dance at 7 p.m., where the homecoming king will be crowned.
A sign of Foothiller pride is the amazing tradition of alumni returning to teach at Grossmont. Currently, Grossmont High School (GHS) has 18 alumni staff members. Several of them are from multigenerational Foothiller families.
Since 1956, a member of the Baer family has been teaching at Grossmont, beginning with teacher and coach Marlin Baer. Since then, four of his six children have taught at Grossmont, including Brad, Connie, and Greg. Currently, daughter Yvonne Baer Vellone, Class of 1975, and grandson Kevin Baer teach math, making it a 62-year, three-generation tradition.
Another Foothiller teacher family is the Daggs-Ridgway family. In 1946, Charles Daggs first taught at GHS; followed in 1960 by daughter Diane Daggs, Class of 1949. Dick Ridgway began teaching at GHS in 1957. Since 1985, their son and current GHS math teacher Rob Ridgway has followed in their footsteps. Rob’s two sons Jesse and Taylor are recent Grossmont graduates.
In 2015, Carolyn Jungman, Class of 2010, became our youngest Foothiller alumni teacher. Carolyn’s three brothers, Mitchell, Sam, and Alex, are Foothiller graduates as well as her father, Christopher, Class of 1981, and his four siblings, Mary, William, Gregory, and Robert.
Registrar Jeannine Sousa Calabrese is herself a 1981 graduate along with her brother Robert, and her three children, Michael, Matthew, and Megan. Jeannine proudly proclaims, “I am a forever Foothiller!”
On Friday, Sept. 21, the GHS Museum welcomes alumni to visit campus from 4–7 p.m. with a campus tour at 5:30 p.m.
For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619-668-6140. Visit the museum non–3:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 or Oct. 3 or by appointment. To learn more about Foothiller history, visit foothillermuseum.com.
— Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.