The Rock: Paint and Pride


Sofia Marinac, staff writer

When driving through downtown Moraga, it’s nearly impossible to miss the prominent, well known landmark that sits upon the hill- The Rock. Schools, sports teams, and others have been painting The Rock for years, yet very few stop to think about the rock’s history and the laws that could be broken by painting it.

For the past three decades, the Rock has been painted by high schoolers for various reasons. Miramonte alumn Jennifer Vigo says that while she attended high school in Orinda, many students painted it as a way to express school spirit.

The property that the Rock is on is owned by private citizen Scott Carr. According to Bob Priebe, a Moraga Police Officer, Carr has always been concerned about students painting the rock because of the liability issues if someone were to get seriously injured and because people trespassing on the property upset the cows that graze on the land.

“Our department is only concerned about the rock in regards to safety issues,” Priebe said. “We are always concerned about someone falling in the dark and hurting themselves. We also get calls from the public when an offensive message is written on the rock, but as a police department, it’s not anything we can control.”

Junior Elise Goetzl and graduated senior Mark Ginsburg painted the Rock with their swim teams. Although Ginsburg did not have a fun experience and Goetzl did, both of their experiences were very memorable.

After beating Campolindo in a swim meet, members of the Miramonte swim team hiked up to the Rock around midnight and painted it with their school colors.

“The hill leading up to the rock is covered in cow poop,” Ginsburg said. “I wore shorts and it got on my legs. Because it’s dark and you can’t see where you’re going, it’s kind of hard to avoid.”

Ginsburg says that the journey to and from the Rock was difficult for him because in addition to the trail being hard to see at night, carrying paint cans made the hike extremely strenuous.

Goetzl painted the Rock with her teammates on the Sleepy Hollow Swim Team a few days before the big OMPA (Orinda Moraga Pool Association) swim meet. “We are always extremely spirited before OMPA,” Goetzl said. “But this year we wanted to take it to the next level.”

The day after Goetzl painted the Rock with Sleepy Hollow’s symbols and colors, a rival team painted over it and sent them a picture in the process. “The competitiveness kicked in so we put back on our black clothes, hiked up the hill, and watched them drive away, “Goetzl said. “We spray painted over that green paint and sent them a picture right back.”

According to Priebe, if people under 18 were caught by the police painting the Rock, they would be enrolled into the Moraga Police Department’s Juvenile Diversion Program if they had no prior record. Otherwise, the police department would cite them for vandalism and trespass violations.