MARIETTA, Ga. -- More than 30 years ago, when Alfred Watkins took a position at Lassiter High School, he replaced someone who declared the school community would never support a music program.
Boy, was he wrong.
Watkins retires this month as a true icon.
The numbers tell the story: four performances in the prestigious Tournament of Roses Parade; three appearances in the esteemed Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; two Bands of America National Grand Championships: and one big building at the school with his name on it.
"His reputation is outside of it here. It's bigger than Cobb County. It's bigger than Georgia. It's bigger than the Southeast," said Stephen Hamlin, parent of four former and current band students and former president of the Lassiter High School Band Boosters. "They're (the Lassiter Band) renowned everywhere they go."