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Grimsley Alumna Molly Rotunda in front of Grimsley's doors

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A Tribute to Molly Rotunda

The Grimsley Community mourns the loss of a beloved alumna.

By Kennedy Goree

Feb. 29, 2024

Mary Elizabeth “Molly” Rotunda, class of 2022, is a Whirlie to remember. She made a huge impact on every community she was a part of, including Grimsley High School. Early Sunday morning on January 21, 2024, Molly passed away in a fatal car accident. She was 20 years old. 


Those who knew Molly remember her as a fantastic singer, athlete, and friend. At Grimsley she embodied inclusivity and positivity, leaving a legacy that should be honored. 


Molly was very active at her church, Christ United Methodist (CUMC), creating a space for her to foster meaningful relationships. “From Molly, I learned the value of jumping into opportunities with exuberance and joy,” said Pastor Katey Galyon, the youth pastor at CUMC.


“Molly embraced every Sunday School class, Youth Group retreat, mission opportunity, and more with excitement. She let her light shine so brightly that others wanted to join her in whatever activity she was doing.” 


Through letting her light shine at church, she was also able to let her light shine at Grimsley. Molly loved to sing, she was very active in the choir and musical productions at her church and became a Madrigal at Grimsley. 


Whether she was singing at church or school, she always helped those around her to see the good in life, and how to share that happiness through singing. 


“Her positive mindset was an impenetrable defense against life's challenges.” said Marshall “MJ” Johnson, head of the Vocal Music department. “It really helped having her around every day to remind us of the good.” 


Molly was a lifeguard and swim coach at Green Valley, and in her senior year, Molly joined the Grimsley varsity swim team. Even as a senior, Molly was still not nervous to try something new. “I'm so glad that she chose to swim her senior year so that the team had that time to interact with her,” said Coach Susan Skipper, the swim coach at Grimsley. “She set a very positive example for everyone on the team with her indefatigable happy spirit.” 


Molly is remembered by her family and friends as being good at loving others. She made sure others felt included and like they mattered. Emily Phillips, a senior at GHS, said she and Molly grew up together at CUMC. “Molly never knew a stranger,” Phillips said. “She always positively impacted others around her and embodied Susan Norman Vickers’ [a former CUMC pastor] saying ‘Make a friend, be a friend.’ Molly encouraged togetherness and never left a soul untouched.” 


Out of the many communities Molly impacted throughout her life, Grimsley is so lucky to have been one of them. Molly continues to spread her light to others.


“Molly was such a big bright light,” Phillips said. “She always had a smile on her face, always in a good mood, and always including everyone around her. I want to be like Molly when I grow up. I want to be able to make people smile, I want to make everyone feel included, I want my good mood to be contagious. … She spread joy. She spread happiness.”

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