Pitman High School
In November 1997, the voters of Turlock approved Measure "N" to fund the construction of John H. Pitman High School, named after the former superintendent/principal of the Turlock High School District. Construction was completed in April, 2002 and over 1000 students began their first day of classes on August 26, 2002. Superintendent William H. Gibson and Principal Rod Hollars greeted approximately one thousand guests at the Pitman High School Dedication Ceremony on Saturday, August 10, 2002. As indicated by Dr. Gibson, the facility was constructed under budget and well in advance of the scheduled opening of school.
John H. Pitman
John H. Pitman was the Principal of Turlock High School for twenty years from January 1, 1947 to June 1966. He was born July 9, 1898 in Dayton, Ohio, and his father was a Presbyterian minister who brought his family to Modesto in 1903 where he attended Modesto High School. Pitman was working as the foreman of a garage when he was offered the job of Auto Mechanics instructor at THS in 1923. He also taught Electricity and Physics. Pitman would remain at THS the next 42 years except for the 29 months he spent as an Aircraft Instructor for the Army Air Corps in Deming, New Mexico, during WWII.
In 1934, Pitman became Dean of Boys at THS and, in 1935, added the job of Vice Principal. He became the eighth Principal of THS in 1947. In 1965, he turned the principalship over to George Marks and became the Superintendent of the Turlock Joint Union School District until his retirement in 1966.
When Pitman started at THS, only the current East and West Wings existed. He spent the rest of his career overseeing the building of the campus and the expansion of the course offerings and programs as well as hiring dozens of employees. Above all, his focus was on providing the best education possible for THS students. In nearly every issue of the Alert yearbook, Pitman added this message to seniors: "We hope our students will graduate not only with an intellectual interest in life but with a philosophy which embodies those words that have been clarion calls to many generations--Love, Justice, Courage, Self-Mastery, Mercy, Liberty. These attributes do not occur without cultivation."
John H. Pitman died August 21, 1979. when the groundwork was being laid for a second high school, its name was easily chosen: John H. Pitman High School.