Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Colleges join for Undocumented Student Action Week


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, acclaimed filmmaker and immigration advocate Jose Antonio Vargas will be a featured speaker as Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges mark Undocumented Student Action Week.

The week of online events are part of a campaign by community colleges across California to advocate and provide resources for the undocumented student population. Highlighting the week is Vargas’ presentation, “Defining American,” set for 3-4 p.m. Thursday, Oct 2. To receive a Zoom link to attend, submit an RSVP for the free, public event at

Vargas’ presentation is an online event sponsored jointly by San Diego County community colleges and the San Diego Community College District.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Career Expo's virtual platform next best thing to being there

 Grossmont College’s 43rd annual Career Expo will be virtual again this year to avoid the crush of attendees the popular event typically draws, but organizers are making the online environment as interactive as they can.

Grossmont College, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and
the East County Chamber of Commerce will host the free, public event 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27. Students, alumni, job- and career- seekers can register at Employers can register for free at A Remo login will be emailed upon registration.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Grossmont Symphony Orchestra to debut in its new home

The vagabond years of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale draw to a close with its first performance in its new home Thursday night at the new Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center (PVAC).

The 70-member orchestra and 40-member choral ensemble composed of students, teachers and musicians from the community have played since the ‘80s off campus, first at the former East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon until 2009, then the First Presbyterian Church of El Cajon, Santa Sophia Catholic Church in Spring Valley and St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove.

The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m., includes separate performances of the symphony’s brass and percussion, woodwind and string ensembles; the Master Chorale; and a multimedia performance of the chamber orchestra. In pre-pandemic times, the ensembles performed as one large orchestra, but because of Grossmont College’s COVID-19 protocols limiting the numbers of people in one room, Thursday’s performance will be broken up with each ensemble giving its own mini-concert.

“This 390-seat venue has been a part of the original blueprint for Grossmont College from the earliest years,” said music director Randall Tweed, who has been at GSO’s helm for 35 years. “It has been a long, arduous road. This new facility is a huge step up and being able to return for in-person rehearsals, even with social distancing and masking, has been great.”

Colleges ready for in-person arts performances

GSO rehearsal

After more than a year and a half of performances and presentations over Zoom and YouTube, the arts are returning in person to Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

Kicking off Grossmont College’s fall concert series is the Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m. performance of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale, which finally has a venue of its own at the newly opened Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center (PVAC). This, after decades of playing in places such as the former East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) in El Cajon, and several churches throughout East County.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Grossmont College Stagehouse Theatre Opens Season with 'Into the Woods'

Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre, which has not permitted in-person performances for more than 18 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopens to live audiences when it launches its 2021-22 season September 30 with a staging of Into the Woods.

“The faculty and staff of the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department are excited to welcome back students and members of the community as we engage in our first production at the Stagehouse Theatre since March of 2020,” said Theatre Arts Department co-chair Katie Banville. “The safety of our students, faculty, classified professionals, and the public is paramount, and we have  instituted a number of COVID-19 protocols to help ensure everyone’s safety. Most of all, we are thrilled to give our students and patrons the opportunity to reconnect in a shared space as we return to the magical experience that is live, in-person performance.”     

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Fall 2021 short-term classes starting soon at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Culinary Arts courses open
In a hurry to pick up some quick college credits? Or ready to dip your toe in the water and return to Grossmont or Cuyamaca colleges for in-person classes?

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have increased their offerings of short-term, accelerated classes for the fall based on demand, with more students returning to the campuses for both in-person and virtual classes. For a list of Grossmont College’s short-term classes, go to For Cuyamaca College’s classes, go to

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Cuyamaca College VP chosen for national fellowship for community college leaders

Jessica Robinson, vice president of Student Services at Cuyamaca College, is one of 40 educators across the nation to be selected by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program for a 10-month fellowship designed to prepare future community college presidents.

Robinson is one of two from San Diego County chosen for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship. This round of the highly selective leadership program will begin in November, partnering participants with current and former community college presidents serving as mentors. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative at Stanford University, the fellows will learn strategies to lead internal change, improve student outcomes in and after college, and create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, employers, and other partners. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Campus marks 20th anniversary of national tragedy


On a cloudless morning with the San Miguel Fire & Rescue’s massive 70-foot flag serving as a backdrop, the Cuyamaca College campus community and East County firefighters gathered Friday for an early commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“This day is about being resilient,” said Maryam Rammahi, Associated Student Government president, one of five speakers and two musicians featured at the event. The remembrance honored the sacrifices made and the lives lost in the tragedy 20 years ago. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

College district selects new Public Information Director

A former community engagement manager with the County of San Diego is the new Director of Public Information, Government Relations and Community Relations at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Michele Clock’s appointment was approved Tuesday by the District’s Governing Board.

Clock comes to the District from the County of San Diego, where she most recently served as program manager in San Diego County Fire’s Community Risk Reduction Division. There, she and her team of four employees developed programs aimed at preventing wildfire and strengthening community readiness. A program she launched during the pandemic last year won a 2021 National Association of Counties Achievement Award. Clock previously served as communications officer for the County’s Public Safety Group. In that role, she managed communications for seven County public safety departments.  

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Celebrating 60 years: Grossmont College's transformative influence

Mike Hartman has come full circle.

One of the first 1,538 students when Grossmont College opened its doors in 1961 and among the 18 students in Grossmont College’s inaugural graduating Class of 1962, Hartman would go on to earn a Ph.D. in zoology at Oregon State University and complete his postdoctoral research at Yale University. His lengthy academic career included playing a critical role in developing a marine biology program at Savannah State University, a historically Black university in Georgia that is the oldest historically Black public university in the state.

He would end his career teaching after teaching for more than a decade at Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina.

 “It all began,” Hartman said, “at Grossmont College, which really underscores the impact a community college can have on a person’s life.”

 As Grossmont College celebrates its 60th anniversary, Hartman embodies the impact Grossmont has had not only in the region, but nationwide, by transforming lives and through learning and serving as a catalyst for equity. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Grossmont College Computer Science students Cyber Cup champs

Scott Graham and Gerald Wolf embody the excellence of the Computer Science and Information Systems program at Grossmont College. After all, what else can you say about a pair of computer programming students who, at the last minute, decided to enter the 2021 SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge and ended up taking top honors and winning $5,500 in scholarships for the college?

“Honestly, neither of us thought we’d do this well,” Graham said of the two-person Grossmont College team, dubbed Reverse Shells By the C-Shore. “I mean, there were only two of us. The average team had six to eight people. But it turned out to be an absolute success on so many levels.”

The 2021 SoCal Cyber Cup Challenge was held from February 15 through May 31. Sponsored in part by the Department of Defense, the 12th annual SoCal Cyber Cup is aimed at providing extensive training and mentorship to participating students interested in a future in the growing field of cybersecurity.

Fall 2021: Help for all students; more in-person classes for vaccinated students

Some Zoom Rooms will be added.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are preparing for the fall 2021 semester with the start of a return to the campuses that includes more in-person classes and a continuing focus on helping students face the impacts of COVID-19.

To safely return to in-person, on-campus classes and services, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has concluded that all students attending face-to-face classes or seeking access to in-person services on the campuses are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the fall semester on Aug. 16, 2021.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

CDC coordinator's career more than child's play

Maura Mehrian remembers the date clearly. “August 1, 1995,” Mehrian recalled. “I was a single mom raising two kids and going from low-paying job to unemployment to low-paying job. I opened up my mailbox, saw the government assistance check and said, ‘That’s it. There has got to be a better way.’”

Indeed, there was; Grossmont College was just down the street. Mehrian set up an appointment with a counselor and transformed her life through an educational journey that began with earning an associate degree in child development from Grossmont College and included securing a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in the subject from San Diego State University.

Today, Mehrian serves as the Grossmont College Child Development Center coordinator and embodies the impact Grossmont College has in the region as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this fall.

“Grossmont College saved me,” Mehrian said. “I am Grossmont.”

Monday, July 12, 2021

Topping out ceremony for Cuyamaca College's Student Services Building

A ceremonial topping out is set for Tuesday, July 13, at 9:00 a.m. for a three-story Student Services Building under construction at Cuyamaca College, a milestone representing nearly a decade’s effort to centralize student support at the campus.

The topping out marks that construction has reached its highest point. The public event will include an opportunity for members of the college community to sign a construction beam before it is lifted by a crane, along with an American flag and an evergreen tree, atop the frame of the 36,000-square-foot center. The tree is a construction practice that symbolizes good luck for the future occupants, continued growth, and a safe jobsite.

At a groundbreaking ceremony in February, President Julianna Barnes described the center as a welcoming campus gateway and a long-awaited hub for students to engage and receive support services, such as counseling, financial aid, admissions, Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and CalWORKS.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Grossmont College holding virtual open house for Adult Reentry program

Returning to school years – even decades – after one’s last classroom experience can be a daunting experience.

Grossmont College’s Adult Reentry program, geared to help adult learners reacclimate and succeed as students, is conducting a virtual open house from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, in preparation for the fall 2021 semester starting Aug. 16. The free workshop is open to the public and will cover topics including:

·      Admissions and course registration assistance

·      In-demand program and short-term training

·      Financial aid and scholarship opportunities

·      Meeting college administrators and staff

·      Student services and resources

·      Exploring careers and majors

·      Student success stories

·      Taking a virtual campus tour

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Grossmont College grad turns 60 on same day as college's 60th commencement

 For Caesar Mazahreh, June 9, 2021 was a milestone: celebrating his 60th birthday and ceremonial tassel turn on the same day as Grossmont College’s 60th commencement.

 “I informed my daughter of the coincidence and she said, ‘Dad, you are as old as Grossmont College,’” said Mazahreh, who earned associate degrees in Business Administration, Economics and a certificate of achievement in University Studies with a 3.6 grade point average.

 Mazahreh first came to Grossmont College 41 years ago right after graduating from high school in Jordan. He lived with his brother, who was attending San Diego State University. After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Mazahreh’s brother returned to his home country.

 Alone and struggling academically his first time at Grossmont College, the young Mazahreh lost his financial aid and ended up dropping out, working odd jobs to get by.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Grossmont College offers free Office Professional Training

Candy McLaughlin
Office Professional Training, the free, one-semester program at Grossmont College that has produced more than 2,600 well-prepared office workers and placed some 85 percent into jobs over the past 35 years, is gearing up for its fall 2021 term.

Virtual information meetings are set for June 22 and July 13 for students interested in enrolling in the July 26-Dec. 19 online classes. OPT is a full-time, 20-week, free job-training program that teaches eight core subjects: business English; job search; keyboarding; Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook; social media basics and office procedures.  Students also select specializations in accounting, insurance, medical office, or office support.

“OPT is truly an amazing program,” said Candy McLaughlin, the Business Office Technology lab specialist who assists with OPT. “We pay for tuition and lend textbooks to students. We also have a career placement specialist and a licensed counselor who are solely dedicated to OPT. There is so much support for students.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Grossmont College grads show their drive

Driven to Succeed

Grossmont College grads celebrated June 8, 2021, with a drive-thru procession one day before their virtual commencement ceremony. 

The in-car event gave students an opportunity to show up in their regalia, decorate their cars and be greeted by faculty, administrators and staff lining the college's perimeter road.

Sister campus Cuyamaca College is scheduled hold a similar celebration June 9, the day before its virtual commencement.

Nearly 1,790 graduates from the two colleges are set to receive more than 4,850 associate degrees and certificates of achievement.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Celebrations to honor about 1,800 graduates

Melissa Shields, left, and Shanae James-May
 The graduating classes of 2021 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are holding their commencements virtually, with drive-thru processions the day before for more jovial -- but still safe – celebrations.

Almost 1,790 graduates from the two colleges will receive 4,854 degrees and certificates in virtual ceremonies to be held 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, for Grossmont College and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10 for Cuyamaca College.

Digital presentations of electronic slides featuring the accomplishments of individual graduates will take the place of the traditional processional. Because of COVID-19 safety protocols, the colleges opted for online commencements to protect the health and safety of the community. The drive-thru events give the graduates an opportunity to dress in their regalia, decorate their cars, have photos taken and be congratulated by faculty and staff along the route.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Melissa Shields: Grossmont College commencement speaker

Melissa Shields is proof that all things are possible for those who believe in themselves, especially when they work hard and get the support they need to succeed.

At age 53, the Grossmont College student commencement speaker is a first-generation, African American college graduate. But she didn’t always have the confidence in her academic abilities as she does today. As a young adult, Shields believed that she was unintelligent. After her parents’ divorce, she dropped out of high school at 18. Then, life happened, and she became a wife and  mom. As her children grew up, she realized that she had a limited ability to assist them with their homework. She was also embarrassed and ashamed to tell her children that she had not graduated high school.

Shanae James-May: Cuyamaca College commencement speaker

Shanae James-May is a Communications and Behavioral Science major at Cuyamaca College, where she has been selected as the commencement speaker for the June 10 virtual ceremony. She is transferring to San Diego State University to purse a degree in Urban Planning and Development.

Like many college students, in her five years at Cuyamaca College Shanae juggled a full-time job, a family with small children, school, and community volunteer work. She took a break from school, but persisted after finding a better way to organize her responsibilities, and with the support of her husband and family. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Grossmont College's Hyde Art Gallery presents student art showcase

The relocated Hyde Art Gallery, now housed in Grossmont College’s new Performing and Visual Arts Center, is presenting its Spring 2021 Remote Student Art Showcase through June 17. 

This semester the gallery received more than 200 submissions from students currently enrolled in the various programs within the Visual Arts & Humanities Department. The artwork is available for viewing at

In addition to the virtual exhibit, the gallery is excited to present highlights from each class in the PVAC window display. The PVAC recently celebrated its completion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center is expected to officially open in spring 2022, when in-person classes will be back in full and the facility is will operate as a lab facility for performance and visual arts programs and as a performance and art exhibit venue.

These are the first works to be displayed in the new gallery space and it represents the beginning of in-person exhibitions at Grossmont College. 

Although the campus is still closed, these works can be viewed along the pathway in front of the
Performing and Visual Arts Center building at the edge of campus in Parking Lot1. Just scan the QR code posted on the gallery window for more information about each piece displayed. 

As always, please use caution, remain appropriately socially distanced, and wear a mask when necessary.

Friday, May 21, 2021

College district support staff lauded for excellence

Nashona Andrade, Sam Rigby, Chancellor Neault, Natalija Worrell 

 A mentor for former foster youth, a key worker at a child development center and a professional development expert were lauded at a college district Governing Board meeting Tuesday night for epitomizing excellence.

Nashona Andrade, a District Services Professional Development specialist; Sam Rigby, Grossmont College  NextUp specialist; and Natalija Worrell, Cuyamaca College Child Development technician, each received the 2020-2021 Chancellor and Classified Senate Award recognizing the excellence of classified, or non-instructional, staff at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

“This annual award recognizes the exemplary work of the best of our classified professionals whose skills and collaboration help us to better serve students and the community,” Chancellor Lynn Neault said. “This year’s award focused on the districtwide commitment to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion within our institution. The three award recipients strongly reflect this priority in the work that they do.”

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center completion celebrated


Grossmont College celebrated the completion of the Performing and Visual Arts Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the new landmark structure on the El Cajon campus.

With its dramatic steel and glass exterior and soaring

roofline, the $44 million center at the front of the campus is aesthetically remarkable. What it means for the community as a new performance venue and for students in the college’s performing and visual arts programs is beyond measure. Its professional-grade features and size will encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration, promising to enrich Grossmont College’s arts offerings and to improve training for students on stage and behind the scenes.