City College commemorates the life of student Greigary Fingerle

Adult High School Program and GED instructor Tricia Mautone remembers her time with recently deceased student Greigary Fingerle at a flag lowering ceremony to celebrate his life on Sept. 27 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. He graduated from the Adult High School Program in the spring of 2020 where he frequently worked with Mautone.

Rodrigo Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief

City College held a flag lowering and tree planting ceremony this past Monday, Sept. 27, in remembrance and honor for the life of student Greigary Fingerle.

He died on the night of Aug. 9, 2021. The City College community received the news of his passing through an email from Interim Superintendent-President Kindred Murillo on Thursday, Sept. 16.

“The flag lowering ceremony is a lovely tradition and speaks volumes about SBCC’s care for students, each other and the community,” Murillo wrote in the schoolwide email.

A group of about 40 staff, faculty and students, along with family and friends, gathered near the flagpoles at the front of the Luria Library to pay respects and honor the impact he had on the college.

The ceremonies were led by IT User Support Services Director Jason Walker, who also volunteers as the campus chaplain. Walker read an obituary that was written by Greigary Fingerle’s mother, Debbie Fingerle.

“With his gentle smile and gullible demeanor, he never lost sight of the goal to rise above his past on paper and to re-enter the world of life that was just out of his reach for far too long,” she wrote.

Family members and faculty went up to the podium to speak of their fond memories of Greigary Fingerle and how his enthusiastic personality brightened and touched the lives of many in the City College community. Recurring themes from the individuals that spoke included his love of surfing, pursuing and promoting higher education and the ability to overcome obstacles with an optimistic attitude.

Murillo delivered a brief speech expressing her condolences to the Fingerle family, recognizing the positive mindset he had.

“I believe we can all be inspired by his ability to get back up,” said Murillo. “It’s not that we fall, it’s that we get back up and try again.”

Murillo presented Debbie Fingerle with an honorary associate degree in Communications for her deceased son.

After being incarcerated, Greigary Fingerle enrolled in the Adult High School Program in late February 2020 in the pursuit of completing his diploma and was a City College Promise and Transitions student for the past year. He graduated from the program in the spring of 2020, where he frequently worked with Adult High School and GED Instructor Tricia Mautone — who also spoke at the ceremony. 

Mautone recalled her time spent interacting with him and asking him to be one of the student speakers for the program’s graduation ceremony this past spring.

Mautone told The Channels she chose him to speak at the graduation because of his inspiring story and his way with words. 

“We all have our own stories, reasons for how we got here, and what we have learned from the experience.  For me, I know that this experience has taught me that if I can do this — accomplish what I’ve accomplished in the last year — I can do anything!” Greigary Fingerle wrote for the program’s graduation ceremony in the spring of 2021.

In an interview with The Channels, Debbie Fingerle said her son completed the program at home during the pandemic with the desire to return to campus — which was fulfilled with the tree planting ceremony.

“It makes my heart feel good knowing that he’s on campus. I thank [City College] very much for this,” she said. “It’s all he ever wanted.”

The specifically requested madrone tree planted in honor of Greigary Fingerle can be viewed on campus in front of the Learning Resources Center.