By CONNIE and LYNN BAER
Grossmont High School’s nearly 100 years are reflected throughout its historic campus. While the campus has been dramatically modernized over the past 10 years, reminders of its past include a remarkable historic clock and indoor bronze plaques celebrating those who have led the way over the past 10 decades. Our thanks go to the alumni, retirees and community members whose donations have made these plaques possible.
Historic Master Clock
Since 1922, the clock has hung on a wall of Grossmont High School, first in the original school and from 1958 on in the high school office. We can only imagine the tales that the clock could tell.
Three pages of the 1925 yearbook “El Recuerdo” document the unique perspective of the clock with the “Diary of the Hall Clock.” It begins:
“September 8. Once again, I have been wound and started in order to keep watch over the various things which happen to high school students. School has opened and I am not lonesome as usual.”
The Oct. 1, 1928 student newspaper, Foothill Echoes, also personifies the clock:
“The old clock grins broadly, as he is responsible for the resounding, unharmonious bell which sends boys and girls hurrying in all directions.”
In 2014, thanks to the members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Chapter 133-Western Electrics of Southern California, which specializes in electric horology, the clock was restored with a new pendulum and a display of the tapes that originally controlled the classroom clocks and the bell system.
Celebrating historic principals
On campus, three past Foothiller principals have been honored within buildings with bronze plaques.
Bill Davis is recognized for his commitment to the values which have been permeated the campus since its beginning in a plaque that reads:
“2016 Student Support Center
Dedicated to William F. Davis, Jr.
GHS Class of 1948
1966-1970: GHS Vice Principal
A man who loved Grossmont and reminded us of its values and traditions”
Across the upper quad, the second principal plaque in the New Gym honors a man whose love of Grossmont was legendary. This plaque reads:
“1970 New Gym
Dedicated to Walter Barnett
GHS Class of 1928
1945-1959: GHS Teacher, Coach, Counselor, Vice Principal
Grossmont Spirit in Person, a fitting tribute to a man who devoted half of his life to Grossmont High School.”
There are two plaques in the GHS Auditorium-Gymnasium. The first honors a principal whose leadership during its early years created the traditions Foothillers hold dear and established the school as the social hub of the community and as a source of comfort during challenging times. It reads:
“1937 Old Gym
Dedicated to Carl Quicksall
1920-1924: GHS Math and Science Teacher
1924-1944: GHS Principal
‘who knew almost every student personally and each felt it a privilege to be able to consult him.’”
Finally, beside the Carl Quicksall plaque in the Old Gym is the plaque honoring the beloved Christmas Pageant. For 50 years, from 1937-1988, the Old Gym was the site of the pageant. The plaque reads:
Grossmont’s Gift to the Community
The annual Christmas Pageant was one of Grossmont’s most beloved traditions. Free tickets for each night were issued beforehand to guarantee seats. Due to the Pageant’s popularity, the number of performances grew from two in the 1930’s to three in the 1950’s and then four in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
The Christmas Pageant was the result of the vision of Eva McCarthy Quicksall. Over the years, she, and the hundreds of GHS faculty, staff, and community members who followed, collaborated to create this gift for the community.
The Pageant consisted of three main scenes: an Old English Feast Scene, the Madonna Scene, and the Nativity Scenes. The “Hallelujah Chorus,” sung by the choir, accompanied by an organist and the orchestra, provided a dramatic finish!
Thousands of Grossmont students in the cast and crew remember the Christmas Pageant as the highlight of their years at Grossmont.”
Become part of an historic campus
Today, there are several opportunities to celebrate yourself, your family, your class, or your business. One way is to contribute to our GHS Endowment Fund and become a Foothiller Friend or Founder. Your donation will be permanently commemorated with a gray tile on campus. Visit grossmont.donationtiles.com to place an online order or contact us to receive an order form by mail.
Other opportunities include donating a personalized royal blue bench on campus or sponsoring a decade showcase for the new GHS Museum, opening next school year. Please email or phone us for more information.
To learn more about GHS, past and present, visit the GHS Museum website at foothillermuseum.com. Due to the coronavirus, the GHS Museum is currently closed, but we are checking our emails at email@example.com and our phone messages at 619-668-6140.
— Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.