By Kurt Groseclose
BACKGROUND: Sunset High School is a continuation high school for the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD). It is currently undergoing a complete remodel, replacing the dated portables and district warehouse facilities that are nearly 40 years old, and is scheduled to re-open next fall. The Principal is suggesting a name change to go along with the remodel and presented it to the School Board earlier this year. The School Board has not yet decided on the issue. There has been considerable opposition to his proposal led by current and former students, staff and community members.
An Open Letter to the Board of Trustees for San Dieguito Union High School District
I am writing to STRONGLY encourage you to NOT change the name of Sunset High School. A name change would be a true travesty to the legacy of the school and more importantly dilute the history of all the students who have attended Sunset High. It is a truly unique school that not only gives students an alternative choice to the way they earn their high school diploma but has often been praised as “saving a child’s life”.
My wife had the tremendous opportunity to join the Sunset staff in 1995 while Dr. Roy Risner was the Principal and key leader of the school. It was the best career move she ever could have made because of the professional growth she attained while working with the staff and students under Dr. Risner’s guidance. I attended several of their graduation ceremonies and every time came away with a sense of awe after observing and feeling the emotion of student determination and self-worth, parents’ emotional relief and thankfulness, staff’s commitment and affirming posture, and an overall emotional high!
The notion that Sunset High School needs a name change because of a perceived negative stigma can only be attributed to the fact that whoever believes that, does not truly understand the heart and backbone of Sunset. Simply read the online petition that has begun with comment after comment from students, former students, parents, community members at large and staff that carry a very common theme: Sunset High School is a unique gem in San Dieguito Unified High School District. They say it better than I ever could, but I will echo their words and ask you again, PLEASE do not take away the school’s legacy with an unnecessary and damaging name change.
Thank you, Kurt Groseclose
Kurt is a 30-year Encinitas resident, father of three San Dieguito Union School District graduates and husband to a San Dieguito Union High School District retiree. Additionally, he has served on several SITE councils, the LCC Foundation for over 7 years, the City of Encinitas Planning Commission, additional Task Forces for the city, and multiple board positions for several youth sports organizations.
- San Diego Reader article: Why Encinitas wants to ditch Sunset High
- Posted in public comments by B. On, at the bottom of the article… “This is so typical of this city. The principle is from East county. He does not even understand the culture or the history of this school or this town. Just like the politics that want to change this town and make it worse and help everybody forget what made it great. Sounds like he just wants to have his legacy along with his new name for the school. Go back to East county. What an absolute joke.“