After two years of virtual commencements, Cuyamaca college is going live and in full regalia this June, with hundreds more graduates than last year, celebrating the return of in-person ceremonies.


Some 2,325 students are set to receive 5,203 degrees and certificates in processionals to be held Wednesday, June 8, at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Communication and Arts Building at Cuyamaca College, and Thursday, June 9, at 9:30 a.m. in Parking Lot 1 in front of the Performing & Visual Arts Center at Grossmont College. The ceremonies will also be livestreamed, for Grossmont College at, and for Cuyamaca College at


“With the lifting of pandemic restrictions, we are joyfully anticipating the time-honored ritual of commencement, of hugs and tears of happiness as our graduates walk one by one to mark a tremendous achievement,” said Chancellor Lynn Neault. “The perseverance of our graduates emerging from a difficult era of COVID-19 is reflected in every degree and certificate earned.”

Each ceremony will feature a student commencement speaker, selected by the colleges. Below are short profiles on the two standout students.


Cuyamaca College student speaker

Darlene Fahl-Brittian is graduating with an associate degree in English from Cuyamaca College and an associate degree in Creative Writing from Grossmont College. She plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in English at San Diego State University, and then a master's degree in creative writing. With a 3.89 grade point average, Fahl-Brittian is graduating with honors and will attend both college commencements.


She is the author of three children's books and a fourth book about tea and meditation, all sold on Amazon under the name of Dharlene Marie Fahl. She has also been a retail gift shop owner, a restaurant general manager and director of training for a restaurant group. As a tea expert certified by the Specialty Tea Institute of America, she has traveled the world, touring tea fields and giving seminars at tea forums in India, China, and Japan.


Locally, she brings tea parties to senior communities to share her knowledge and stories.In 2016, she received the President's Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service, with her certificate signed by former President Barack Obama.


Married to a retired Navy commander, Fahl-Brittian was able to attend college through her husband's GI Bill benefits. She is grateful for the support and encouragement she received from Cuyamaca College's Veterans Center.


A mother of two and one of seven brothers and sisters, Fahl-Brittian will be the first of her siblings to earn a college degree.


“As an older student who has experienced a lot in life, my advice to my fellow graduates would be, never settle for being just average – always press for more,” she said recently.


With many graduates earning multiple degrees and certificates, Cuyamaca College is awarding a total of 1,167 degrees to 632 students ranging in age from 19 to 75.


More information is available on the college’s commencement pages at