Celebrating CAWEE's 50th Anniversary
Bridging School to Career


CAWEE President 1995-1996

Lula Calkins


What were the challenges you faced as a member of and as president of CAWEE?

In the beginning, the challenges that I faced included following in the footsteps of the previous president. That person was a strong president and had established a very strong support system. In many ways some of the policies and procedures established created a challenging time for a new president and board. After some time and working with many great CAWEE members throughout the state, unity was established and a wonderful coalition was the result. During the year of my presidency, the Executive Board consisted of so many wonderful, dedicated CAWEE members. Our goal became one of reaching out to a variety of other work-related educators throughout the state who had never heard of CAWEE. Much credit should be given to Sylvia Drucker who was instrumental in always offering a workshop on work permits. She was such a valued workshop leader and in so many ways became a mentor to many. A challenge we were certainly facing was the financial assistance needed for educators to attend conferences and statewide work-related workshops. We consistently pushed for their “need to know” to not only protect working students but to also protect their respective districts. Charter schools were being introduced with little or no guidelines established for working students and outreach to those institutions became a major concern. More and more high school students were also being home schooled with little knowledge of workplace safety requirements, hours of employment, and work permit regulations.  

What interesting memories do you have of your CAWEE experiences at conferences, meetings, etc?

My memories include all of the wonderful CAWEE chapters throughout the state who spent countless days and hours working on conference registrations, filling guest bags with donated goodies, arranging for guest speakers at dinners and luncheons, and the thankless job of securing workshop speakers and ultimately putting the program together with such accuracy!

We had conferences where construction was on-going at the hotel; one hotel had “great” mattresses; times when elevators were not functioning as well as they should; food was overcooked, undercooked, and perhaps not what was expected. CAWEE members were always professional about it all.

We were able to develop a personal relationship with Sacramento legislators who spoke at our conference; we incorporated high school students in our conferences as entertainers; and enjoyed the many vendors who introduced everything from new curriculum to fashion.

One conference that I remember was in beautiful Monterey. On the trip back to Stockton, we got caught in the worst fog that I have ever experienced. My passenger was hanging out of the window telling me to go left or right as we could not see the road due to the darkness and fog. Just prior to entering I-5, we located the driveway of a hotel and had to spend the night. We decided we would never take that chance with our lives again. We should have
stayed in Monterey!

It was always my honor to prepare bar-b-que ribs at my home for Mid-Valley Chapter’s last meeting of the year. I truly loved to see the large attendance at that meeting. (I was never sure if they came for the ribs or to say goodbye for the year). This was a meeting that I always knew the Modesto members would be well represented!  

What have you been doing since leaving CAWEE?

I have had the great thrill of going to Canada twice on a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. I have also traveled throughout the United States, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii. I have been in caves under the ground, ziplined above the trees and walked the Great Wall of China.

As some of you know, for years I had been decorating homes and businesses as a “fun part” of my life. Well, I now fill many hours of decorating homes across the United States and Mexico. About 12 years ago, my husband and I decided to live in Branson, MO on Table Rock Lake. After three years of living in Branson, we purchased our vacation home in Harrison, AR (about 30 minutes south of Branson) and now spend six months here and six months in CA. I love the shows in Branson, the shopping and the wonderful people here. When I get off the plane, I sigh with relief for the slower pace of living and the views of the beautiful Ozark mountain scenery.

Many of you know my husband, Jack, retired as the Chief of Police in Stockton. Beginning four years ago, “we” spent two-plus years getting his Master’s Degree in Homeland Security at the ripe “young age of 76.” During those two years, all of my free time was spent on the computer. I have also had the great pleasure of watching my son get his Masters and now serves as the Fire Chief in Albany, CA. (I have often thought I have too many Chief’s and not enough Indians).

My sister has opened a five-star furniture consignment store in Stockton where you will now find me several days a week designing and decorating her shop as well as staying very busy decorating for clients. Thankfully, since leaving CAWEE, my health has been great. Jack and I will also be celebrating our 56th Wedding Anniversary on October 4, 2015.

I am so very sorry that I cannot be with you on this special occasion. What a milestone! I feel so honored to have been invited! Please do not forget me as I would love to attend a chapter meeting and/or a conference. It would be great to see some familiar CAWEE faces again. I know everyone will have a wonderful time at this very special 50th celebration and if I were in California, I would definitely be there!

Thank you again for the esteemed honor and privilege of serving as your 1995 CAWEE President!