Celebrating Southwest DeKalb
More than 1,500 alumni from Southwest DeKalb High School came together Aug. 5 to celebrate the school’s history, shared history and community as part of the seventh annual Southwest DeKalb Alumni Cookout.“It’s just family,” said Danny Davison, Southwest DeKalb High School Alumni Association president and member of the class of ’91. “When I was in high school there was five years of high school—we didn’t have middle school.
When you spend five years with someone, regardless of age, you get a kinship with them. As the years get along, you need a reason to stick together.”
For many Southwest DeKalb High School alumni, one reason for staying in touch is the annual cookout.
The 2017 cookout took place at Salem Park and was also celebrated as Southwest DeKalb Day in DeKalb County by Commissioner Larry Johnson.
Johnson said Southwest DeKalb earned the distinction because of its student retention in the community, appearances in movies and television as well as its sense of fellowship.
SWD Alumni Cookout 2017
Davison said the alumni cookout began in 2010 and has grown each year for the past seven years. He said the alumni association’s ties to local businesses and other governing bodies allow the operation to run smoothly.
“We average about 1,200 to 1,500 alumni,” Davison said. “Preparation alone begins in March. We work with DeKalb County Parks & Recreation and [rental companies] and everybody works with us.”
Davison said the main comment he receives as feedback is, “We can’t wait for next year.”
“We’ve actually outgrown Salem Park,” Davison said. “We’re looking to move somewhere a bit bigger.”
Davison said the difference between Southwest DeKalb High and other metro Atlanta high schools cannot be described, only felt. He said he regularly keeps in contact with four to five classmates, but thinks about, talks to and sends well-wishes to more than 30.
“That goes for every class here. It’s hard to dictate and tell people exactly what it is,” Davison said. “You have to be a part of it and know exactly what it is. It’s like a family—we’re all cousins. We enjoy getting together and spending time together, even if it’s for five hours on one day. We treat it like it’s a week.”
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