Former Granite Hills High School assistant principal Apolinar Marroquin returns to Granite as the new principal.
Jeff Bottoms, who has been principal of Granite Hills for the past year and a half, has been promoted and will now be working at the Porterville Unified School District office to support all 17 schools in the Porterville Unified School District.
Bottoms’ new title is the director of curriculum and instructional technology. He will help the district develop plans to utilize technology in its implemenation of California's new common core standards.
Bottoms has many future plans in mind to help students and staff find better ways to use technology in the classroom.
“There are some campuses that are beginning to explore the use of iPads for students,” said Bottoms, “I’m hoping that we can kind of get our foot in that door too."
Bottoms admits he is happy about his new job, but he will miss the home he created at Granite Hills.
“I always love new challenges, I’m pleased that now I will be supporting about 15,000 students instead of about 1,100 that we have here [at Granite]. I think that this is a position that I can give out more help,” said Bottoms, “It is difficult to leave Granite since I have found this to be such a wonderful place. Connections with students, teachers, and community members have made this a very nice experience for me. I’m excited about my new job, but I’m sad to be leaving Granite."
Bottoms will be leaving, but his chair will not be left empty. In his place will be Apolinar Marroquin.
Marroquin was assistant principal at Granite Hills for seven years, from 2003-10, and he has returned to keep Granite Hills on a positive path.
“ I am so excited for Mr. Marroquin coming back,” said Granite science teacher Sue Carter, “Mr. Marroquin was very involved in the school; he was very effective. We will miss Mr. Bottoms. He picked us up and made us into a nice functioning group of teachers. We would have had a great future with Mr. Bottoms and I believe we will have an equally bright future with Mr. Marroquin. I see nothing but great things happening.”
Dealing with some changes in his personal and family life, Marroquin decided to leave Granite Hills to work at Monte Vista Elementary School in Porterville.
“Over the last couple of years, my support system at home has strengthened, allowing me to balance high school life with family life,” said Marroquin.
Marroquin had strong connections with students, parents, and faculty and is excited to reunite with Granite Hills students and its faculty.
“I feel that it was these connections that have led me back to GHHS. I look back on my days at GHHS, and remember them being the best times of my career,” said Marroquin
As a kid Marroquin had many obstacles. He did not come from wealthy family, but rather a hard working family. A family that, like many other families that migrated to the United States, worked hard all day under the burning sun in the fields of California.
Marroquin grew up in the small town of Orosi, California. Having to learn a whole new language made school hard, but with the help of his teachers, he overcame this great obstacle.
“I was so fortunate to have strong role models, at home and at school, growing up in the small town of Orosi. I am proud to be in this position due to the hard work of my parents and teachers, who did not let me make excuses when it came to school or sports,” said Maroquin, “They did not let the poverty, my limited English or my struggles in school detour their efforts in helping me succeed. It is this up-bringing that drives me to help those who just need the support and someone to believe in them.”
Marroquin may have grown up in poverty, but it did not stop him from pursuing his dreams. Being a very talented baseball player, Marroquin received a full ride scholarship to California State University, Northridge. After a year of college, Marroquin had to leave college due to poor grades.
Marroquin again took another hard hit in life, but he did not give up. After coming back to Tulare County, Marroquin attended College of the Sequoias in Visalia and later transferred to Fresno State. After college, Marroquin began different jobs in elementary schools and high schools. He has been a coach, teacher, vice principal, and principal throughout his career in education.
“I find Mr. Marroquin to be a great role model for many students. He has gone through so many obstacles in life, and I feel many students can find a connection with him,” said junior Taylor Merritt.
“I think working at GHHS is so rewarding for me because of how much I relate to so many in the Granite community,” said Marroquin.
Marroquin has many goals for this upcoming school year. He plans to continue to strengthen all school programs and provide leadership to the Grizzly community.
“Some more goals are to help promote all the great students, programs, athletics that have been thriving at GHHS, but not getting their share of community recognition. Also to continue with the rich traditions of academic and all around excellence,” said Marroquin.
Not everything will be easy. Many challenges are to come, but Marroquin is more than ready to give it his all.
“We must be creative and diligent in finding ways to not lessen our student services that are much needed by our students. But I have no doubt that this team is ready for the challenge!” said Marroquin.
Granite Hills is sad to say good bye to Bottoms and wishes him the best in his future job, but to Marroquin, welcome home!