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Grossmont Union High School 100th Anniversary Celebration

Event Report: Grossmont Union High School 100th Anniversary Celebration

Date held: Friday October 14, 2021 and Saturday, October 15, 2021

Location: Grossmont High School, various locations on campus

Event overview: In June of 2020, Grossmont Union High School District marked 100 years as one of San Diego County’s established high school districts. The district was founded in 1920and saw its first graduating class in June of 1921.Beginning March of 2019, a group of stakeholders consisting of local City officials, district leaders, faculty, alumni, parent volunteers, local historical societies and more, formed a steering committee to plan festivities to celebrate the100th anniversary. These festivities would be centered around a football game versus the other oldest district in the County, a public fair including school performances, a state of the district presentation, booths from all the high schools presenting their accomplishments and a Hall of Honor ceremony celebrating distinct alumni. The audience was geared toward the public and all of the alumni of the schools included in the Grossmont High School Union District. Due to theCovid-19 pandemic, however, celebrations were put on hold for a year, were curtailed in size and scope and were ultimately pushed to being held in 2021.

Event management: The 100th anniversary celebration steering committee and chair and event coordinator was myself, the Grossmont High School Education Foundation President, Amy Conrad. I spearheaded the effort by first meeting with the GUHSD Superintendent and Grossmont High School Principal, brainstorming organic ideas for how to best celebrate the anniversary and highlight the district’s most outstanding accomplishments. I formally asked stakeholders to join the steering committee and worked with them to plan the events, corresponding needs and timeline. I did this by creating a master Google sheet, which was shared by the entire committee. I led all steering committee meetings, delegated sub-committees, filed for permits, booked entertainment; information booths; attractions; and speakers and served as point person for any major decisions, changes to timeline or direction.

Partners: The event was well-attended due to many partners involved. The Grossmont High School alumni association and museum foundation was a strong partner involved in the celebration. Many alumni volunteers who work at the museum, which on the Grossmont High School campus, the location of the event/s, were on-hand to welcome and docent visitors to the museum as well as work to plan the Hall of Honor ceremony inclusive in the celebration event. District employees invited many faculty and key stakeholders from other district schools. The City of La Mesa and City of El Cajon brought staff and provided us with the use of the nearby Harry Griffen Park parking lot. The City of El Cajon police department provided a patrol person. Historical societies from Lakeside and El Cajon were great collaborators.

Event Budget: The event budget for this event was under $10,000 as most of this was volunteer and donation driven. We made great use out of funding we derived from sales of “100 year tiles,” which we sold for $100 each and promoted toward alumni. We also targeted alumni to purchase a 100th anniversary booklet put together by the museum as well as donations solicited from the alumni association.

Logistics: As the 100th year anniversary drew near, it became evident that a committee was needed to forma celebration. Grossmont High School was the first school established in the GUHSD, and the principal suggested to the Superintendent that the GHS Ed Foundation President, Amy Conrad, who has a public relations and event management firm, be the leader of the efforts to plan celebration festivities. A steering committee was formed. Logistics were managed by the steering committee chair, Amy Conrad, via a master Google sheet, which included tabs for stakeholders’ information, material logs, vendor contacts and tracking columns for touch points and secured bookings, sub-committee assignments and a timeline.

Final Result: Overall, the event was widely attended by the public from neighboring towns and alumni from the district’s schools in a wide span of age range as well as district employees and stakeholders .District attendees gave a state of the district speech, which was covered by a local news station, school performances were given, a car show was presented which brought in many car show fans, alumnus were honored and many participants walked away with warm memories from their years spent at their GUHSD attended school.

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