ATWATER, CA – From a band of fewer than 60 students to more than 168 marching today, Atwater High School’s band and choir director Norman Caulkins has inspired thousands of students over his 40-year career.
On Wednesday, May 18, he will direct his last concert before retirement and everyone is welcome. The concert starts at 7:00 pm in the Atwater High School gymnasium.
“We are expecting Atwater alumni and former students from Newman High School, Orestimba High School and others where he taught,” explained Mr. George Smith who graduated with Caulkins from Trinity College in 1976.
Norman Caulkins grew up in Ceres on an almond and walnut farm and graduated from Ceres High School in 1972. Two days after graduating from Trinity
College in 1976, he married his wife Marla. They moved back to California and he began his career as a band director and music teacher at Valley
Christian Schools in Santa Clara County.
Mr. Caulkins originally taught elementary and middle-school band, but as he built the program he started the first-ever marching band at Christian High
School. He came back to the Central Valley in 1989 as the Band Director at Modesto Christian School.
The next year, he moved over to public schools to teach instrumental music and band in Newman, at two elementary schools, Yolo Middle School, and
Orestimba High School. He remained at Orestimba until his move even closer to his home in Ceres in 2000 to Atwater High School.
During his tenure at Atwater High School, the band earned first place at the International Music Festival in Hawaii four times, along with many other
awards and recognitions over the years.
“As the Principal of AHS for more than five years, I watched “Mr. C”, as he is called by his students, grow his program from 100 to almost 200 students,
shared Merced Union High School Superintendent Alan Peterson. “I am not sure any other single staff member served more students in and out of the
classroom. His dedication to the program meant far more to AHS than 1st place trophies (though he earned many). Mr C impacted student achievement,
test scores, and overall student success by connecting his students to AHS through music, he is one of a kind”