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Grossmont High School

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Title: Grossmont High School  
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Subject: Jeff Van Raaphorst, Grossmont, Grossmont Union High School District, Ellen Ochoa, List of high schools in San Diego County, California
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Grossmont High School

Grossmont High School
1100 Murray Drive
El Cajon, California
Type Public comprehensive secondary
Established 1922
School district Grossmont Union High School District
Principal Dan Barnes[1]
Grades 9-12
Campus Urban
Color(s) Blue and Gold[2]
Mascot Gus the Foothiller
Yearbook El Recuerdo
Nickname Foothillers[2]

Grossmont High School is the oldest high school in San Diego's east county, California. Its mascot is the Foothiller,[2] so chosen because, at the time of the school’s construction, east county was much more isolated from the rest of San Diego than it is today and was often referred to as the boondocks or the foothills. Grossmont is in the Grossmont Union High School District. The school has an approximate enrollment of 2,800 students.[3]

Grossmont High School has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1962.[4] The current accreditation is valid through 2008.

Grossmont High School was recently recognized as being a California Distinguished School for the scholastic year of 2008-2009.


  • Campus 1
    • Future construction 1.1
  • Curriculum 2
  • Extracurricular activities 3
    • Athletics 3.1
    • Performing Arts 3.2
  • Traditions 4
    • Commencement 4.1
  • Notable alumni 5
    • Astronauts 5.1
    • Athletes 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The school’s “Old Main” building was constructed in 1922 and was used for decades as a teaching space before being converted to district offices. The campus has slowly expanded over the past 80+ years to include thirteen additional permanent instructional, athletic, and administrative buildings. Notable among these is the “Old Gym” which was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Recent plans to demolish this gymnasium were tabled after considerable negative community response.

Grossmont is listed as being in El Cajon but is actually right on the border of La Mesa and El Cajon. It is located close to regional Harry Griffen Park.[5] The majority of the student body is from the La Mesa area.

Prop H Construction on the Grossmont High School campus began summer of 2005. The corridors are in the process of being re-modeled. So far the 800,700, and 500 buildings have been re-modeled and the construction crews are going in reverse order by the building number, 800 first and 100 last. 600 will not be re-modeled as it was re-modeled in 1995, along with the Old Gym. The 400 building or the Old Main building was shut down. Whether the district will re-model this building or demolish it is yet to be decided.

Proposition U passed during the 2008 election by an overwhelming majority. Construction and renovation on the campus will continue.

Future construction

The Grossmont Union High School District plans to first renovate the newer buildings, and have rebuilt the science and Locker Room Buildings. The Science Building Project encompasses designing a two-story science classroom building on the site of the current boy's locker room, shower facilities and weight room. The design is approximately 17,033 GSF for the Science Building comprising ten (10) classrooms (3 Chemistry; 5 Biology; 2 Physics) and New Restrooms. The building is designed to the current District Standards as to performance capabilities, and per Education Code and building codes (ADA compliance, Fire Life Safety, Structural). They will then separately, construct a new 9,250 GSF Boys Locker, Showers, Weight Room. The underground utility infrastructure (wet & dry) utilities will removed, rerouted, installed (as required or requested) consistent with the underground utilities water infrastructure plan. Construct a new 9,250 GSF Boys & Girls Locker, Showers, Team Room, which replaced the existing Carl Perkins Building, demolished to make way for the new science building.


Commentary on the Founders
An early principal and superintendent who oversaw explosive development of the District following World War II was Lewis F. Smith. Other prominent faculty from the founding, and other early teachers, included Miriam Anderson (Latin); Mary Atkinson (Women’s P.E.); John Crippin and Walter Barnett (Tennis); Merle Donohue (Choral Music); Harold Hughes (Physics); Winifred King (Biology); Jack Mashin (P.E., later, The Grand Old Coach); Raymond Reed (History); Harold G. Lutz (Instrumental Music); Eva McCarthy Quicksall, Dorothy Smith, and James R. Dewey (English); Lazelle Andrew Smith and Beulah Shriver (Speech); Eugene Vinson (Foreign Languages); Ross Wallis (Art); and Hazel Eldridge (the principal's secretary).

Extracurricular activities


Grossmont's athletic teams, the Foothillers, compete in the Hills League of the Grossmont Conference and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Diego Section.

The school fields teams in the following sports: baseball, boys basketball, girls basketball, boys cross country, girls cross country, football, boys golf, girls golf, gymnastics, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys soccer, girls soccer, softball, boys swimming & diving, girls swimming & diving, boys tennis, girls tennis, boys track & field, girls track & field, boys volleyball, girls volleyball, boys water polo, girls water polo, and wrestling.

Grossmont's varsity baseball team have captured the division II CIF title in the past 4 seasons ('05, '06, '07, '08) and ranks amongst the most competitive high schools in California.

Grossmont High School's rival is Helix High School. Helix High School and Grossmont High School play for the coveted "musket" trophy in football.

Performing Arts

Among programs at Grossmont High, it is imperative to include instrumental music. The Marching Band, in particular, was a model for performing groups that followed its leadership in quality of production which began under Maestro Harold G. Lutz and continued with his successors at Grossmont and well beyond it.

Theatre arts are likely to have begun with pastor-friendly amusements typical for high schools early on. It was Raymond Kniss who introduced the higher quality of Broadway initiation of shows in 1948–1950 with Arsenic and Old Lace, You Can’t Take it With You, Our Town, and George Washington Slept Here. The first foreign-origin play at Grossmont was from 1917 Ireland. This was Robert Halvorsen’s production in 1957 of J. M. Synge’s hauntingly beautiful but dark The Playboy of the Western World–in brogue and with keening, and in-the round on the Gym floor. Plays by other American authors came along in time, these including Maxwell Anderson (Bad Seed), Arthur Miller (The Crucible) and Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie). Edgier productions, for the time, included The Fourposter and Inherit the Wind. An innovation introduced around 1960 seems likely to be unique for the Little Theater at Grossmont, premiere productions of three one-acts, now long resident in the Samuel French Catalog, with cast lists of debut performers and crews. These were An Overpraised Season (1959); Four Bells Means Glory! (1960); and The Salvation of Lonnie McCain (1961), by Richard S. Dunlop.

On the original campus, some distance north of the main building, a structure contained a cafeteria on its second floor. It is likely that platforms were arranged at one end of this space, perhaps with curtains fashioned in some manner. Circumstances were complicated in 1937 when a north wing was added to the main building, between it and the cafeteria structure. On the second floor, in Room 31, space identified as a Little Theater was created. This space was adequate for larger classes, speech contests, and the like, but was impossible as a functioning theater (had normal stage lighting been used there, performers would have been blinded or fried). Also in 1937, an architect’s glad idea of combining a gym floor and functioning auditorium arrived. These well-intentioned horrors were not corrected for over 20 years. During the 1957–58 year, Dr. John T. Warburton, then principal, was able to secure funding from the District so that electrical supply to the Auditorium’s backstage was, for the first time, very good. “Patching” capabilities, for the first time, allowed remarkable flexibility, particularly in lighting, and a good deal of money was spent on acquiring new lighting apparatus. Dr. Warburton was, also, able to acquire, for other use, what had been the Band room. It was converted for theatrical use and Grossmont had, in 1958, a real, functioning Little Theater, seating perhaps 70 if managed conventionally. Fifty years later this space was scheduled for replacement by an excellently designed and equipped theater seating 450.

The oldest tradition at Grossmont High, in its history, extended from 1926 to 1988. This was its Christmas Pageant, given annually by students and faculty as a gift to the community. The Pageant began with one performance in one end of the cafeteria and eventually was offered in four performances in the Auditorium-Gymnasium, in which 1,200 guests could be seated. The program, of about one hour and 15 minutes, was free but tickets had to be secured well in advance. The last conductor of the final Christmas Pageant was James Nichols. A history of the Pageant, and of Grossmont High School, is: Dunlop, R.S. (2003). Grossmont High School Christmas Pageant, a History. Red Robe Choir Alumni Association.



Commencement at Grossmont used to take place atop nearby Mt. Helix in an amphitheater constructed in the early part of the 20th century for Easter sunrise services. Graduation ceremonies were later moved to San Diego State University, and then to Grossmont’s own Thomas Mullen Adams Stadium (Adams was the first American military officer killed during the Iraq war, and a 1993 graduate). Awards granted each year at commencement include the Circle G Award, the Boy and Girl of the Year Award, and the Norman Freeman Award.

Notable alumni

Beverly Long, 1950, Actress Rebel Without A Cause.



See also


  1. ^ "Principal's Message". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  2. ^ a b c "List of High Schools (with Mascots and Colors)". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  3. ^ "School Accountability Report Card For Current School Year". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  4. ^ "Western Association of Schools and Colleges Directory of Accredited Schools 2005-2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  5. ^ "History of Grossmont High". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  6. ^ "High schools scoreboard". The San Diego Union-Tribune. June 10, 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 

External links

  • Grossmont High School
  • Grossmont High School Blog
  • Grossmont High School Class of 1964
  • Grossmont High School Class of 1966
  • Grossmont High School Student Handbook For Current School Year
  • History Of Grossmont High School

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