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March-April 2022 | GHS Museum Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We have sad news to share with you.

GHS Museum Closing from June 2022 through Summer of 2023.

Recently, we learned that the museum’s needed installation of heating and air conditioning as well as the replacement of the windows required a seismic retrofit of thebuilding. These improvements are not possible in the 1950 Dance Room, where the museum is currently located.

Needless to say, we are heartbroken. There are so many ironies, among them that we have only been open since late April 2021, not even a year. A huge sadness for us is the loss the students will feel. This year, through their English classes, the seniors and juniors have visited the museum. We plan to have the sophomores visit this month and the freshmen in May. Last Wednesday, we had at least 60 students visit at lunch, many for the first time. They love the typewriters, the telephones, and, recently, have discovered the 1930s stencil machine that creates signs, one letter at a time. This past Saturday, a student came during our open hours to practice his typing. About 45 minutes later, we heard him say, “I’ve got to go. I was only supposed to be here 30 minutes!” as he ran out the door.

Our new space will be about the same size, but without the historic memories. We are working with the architects to design the interior of the new museum. The museum will be farther east on campus, next to the Humanities Building, with the new weight room to the west of it.

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As you can imagine, this move will be a herculean task. The district will pack and store all of the items and showcases that are in the current museum. We are looking for an on-campus location for us to house our file cabinets, display yearbooks, bound newspapers, and anything else we might need for research during the next year. But as our wonderful volunteer Jerry Botts, Class of 1970, said to us Saturday when we told him the sad news, “We’ll make it work!”

Alumni who want to visit the campus as part of their class reunions are welcomed to contact us for a campus tour, which could include our smaller decade displays, 1920s-present ,in the school office, the athletic displays in the PE Building, the first athletic team photos in the 1970 New Gym, as well as a peek inside the 1937 Old Gym. Your tour could also include the district office, where we have a large display upstairs and where a walk on the 1922 hardwood floor in the hallways will rekindle many memories. Please contact us to confirm a time and adatefor your class. Our thanks to Principal Dan Barnes and Superintendent Theresa Kemper for their support.

Passing of Beloved GHS Teachers

John L. “Larry” Hoefer, Physics and Chemistry Teacher 1966-1978

While his time at GHS was short, his impact was large as evident from two formerstudent memories.

Phil Kerig recalls, "Mr. Hoefer was my freshman Science teacher '69-70 and senio rPhysics teacher '72-73. The epitome of "tough but fair". Emphasis on the former. I was class clown in every class but his! His Physics lessons are with me still. We will miss him."

Another alumnus Richard Hensel remembers,"I had him in '72-73 as 1/2 of a freshman chem/physics intro course and also in '74-'75 physics class. Remember TTY punch tape computers?? Anyone remember the cream pie episode? He took it so well. We were very lucky with all the quality teachers at Grossmont High at the time. Thank you, John, for your dedicationto your students. I cannot forget his white shirt, tie and pocket protector.”

9th and 10th Grade English Teacher Debbie Neel

Six years ago, Debbie, who came to Grossmont after many years at Mt. Miguel HS, died quite suddenly in January from acute monocytic leukemia, AML monogenic subtype.

Her fellow English teacher Laurie Jensen remembers, “Debbie loved her students and she had a really good sense of humor. She was always giving little one-liner type jokes to theclass, so I’m told. She usually ate her lunch in her classroom so that it was available for students to come in and hang out and be able to talk to her if they needed to. She really liked coming to Grossmont because at Mount Miguel they didn’t teach a full novel, so she really appreciated that we taught novels.”

Debbie’s memorial service is on March 19th, 2022 at 10:00 am at Shadow Mountain Community Church, 2100 Greenfield Drive, El Cajon, CA 92019, Main Auditorium.

1922 “Castle” Museum Art

Since its earliest years, Grossmont High School’s original 1922 granite school building has been an ideal model for artists to capture. The granite design, its location on the hill straddling the boundaries of La Mesa and El Cajon, and its proximity to the railroad, now trolley,tracks, have made it an East County landmark, leading many to give directions referring to its presence.

The museum’s most recent artistic donation has an interesting history. The journey began with a luncheon in Chicago of a group of four Class of 1959 alumni, which commercial illustrator Bob Happ attended.

Alumnus Marti Ballance Guarin shared that during the luncheon, “Bob asked about Grossmont High. He later looked it up. Was I amazed when Bob told me his plan to donate his drawings of Grossmont High School then and GHS today in honor of the Class of '59! It was a wonderful initiative of his. The drawings are beautiful and evocative. He also did small versionsfor each of us. They so bring back our Grossmont years.”

The entire article on Grossmont HS’s “Castle” artwork is available on our website at

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Students Rodolfo Saulog and Christian Vatacio with 2022 Drawings 1922 “Castle” and 2016 GHS Office

Yes, There Was a G on Cowles Mt!

The history of the iconic G on the Hill dates to the 1920s in various locations around GHS and now in the front of the school.

Finally, thanks to Carol Smith, Class of 1970, we have a photograph of the G on Cowles Mt. As Carol shared with us, “While scanning old slides, I found a picture of me and my parents taken in 1956 or 1957 taken on Mt Helix with the “G” in the background. I remembered a request for a photo so here is the one I found. Thank you for all you do to keep our memories alive!”

We previously had asked the SDSU Special Collections archivist, LM Historical Society, Mission Trails Park, and none of them had a photo of the G. We grew up on Dallas St., but never took a photo of the G ... that we know of … we need to search some old photos, right? If you have a photo of the G on Cowles Mt. or of students whitewashing the G, we’d love to have a copy of it.

Foothill Echoes
December 2, 1936



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1960 Freshmen at Cowles Mt.
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1956 or 1957
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Passing of GHS 2020 Hall of Honoree Gene Chubb, Class of 1948

As you know, Gene left his footprints at GHS over the past seven decades. We were blessed with his friendship and support for the GHS Museum and the school he loved.

The services for Gene will be at 11 on April 20, 2022, at Our Lady of Grace; a celebration of his life will follow at 12:30 at Carlton Oaks Golf Course.


Gene demonstrated his love of Grossmont High School through campus improvements.

In 2015, the G in front of the original school was repaired and painted, the frame of the G redone in stone to match the 1922 granite of the original school, and the gravel replenished with materials again supplied by RCP.

Simultaneously, Gene worked on another project at the entrance to Grossmont: modernizing the Class of 1989 monument with Gene donating the concrete blocks and the masonry. Gene also facilitated the creation of a paver pathway on the north side of the Math Building through his donation of the needed pavers, gravel, and sand.

Next in 2016, Gene provided the materials and the masonry to create the face and the pillars of the front monument beside the new GHS Office, another iconic testament to Foothiller history. In 2020, Gene created two concrete block seats at the entrance to the GHS Museum; they echo the other monuments on campus as well as the granite of the original school.

Over the past 72 years, Gene Chubb has epitomized Foothiller pride through his generous efforts to modernize the campus while preserving its amazing history.

Final Thoughts

We hope you can make plans to visit the museum in the next three months before our year-long closing from June 2022-Summer 2023. Visit us on Wednesdays by appointment or from 10-1 Saturdays, March 19th, April 9th, or April 23rd. To read the entire text of Gene's Hall of Honor plaque, visit our website at

For more information or to make an appointment for a Wednesday visit, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 619-668-6148.

Connie, Lynn, Jerry, and Paul