‘It’s like a family’

As part of the Southwest DeKalb Alumni Association’s seventh annual alumni cookout, DeKalb County commissioner Larry Johnson officially designated Aug. 5, 2017 as Southwest DeKalb Day in DeKalb County. Pictured: Johnson, Southwest DeKalb Alumni Association president Danny Davison and Southwest DeKalb principal Thomas Glanton. Photo by R. Scott Belzer 

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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  1. Daniel Davison says:

    What an awesome Article. He caught me running from one side of the park to the other. Hope that I made you all proud, and clearly represented us well.

  2. Daniel Davison says:

    Thanks Scott B. for a great representation of my Alma Mater!!!!

    • Kam Wright says:

      Awesome Article and so well stated from my brother and driend Danny Davison. As we continue to grow we will change and transform our community one step at a time, one person at a time. SWD love is second to none and will be held with the panther pride instilled in each of us. Panther Panther Pride Pride!

  3. Joan Carroll says:

    Salute Principal, Dr. Thomas Glanton, who continue to carry on with the greatness of Southwest Dekalb High School. He’s a gem and a magnificent educational leader & superior educator. He is loved greatly by the students!

  4. REFORM DEKALB says:

    A great school with a great history in both Academics and Sports. …. Continued success ….

  5. Rodney Harper says:

    Let me start off by tipping my hat to the (SWD Family) It was a Alumni reunion and not just a cookout and a big shout out to the class of 87, one thing I can say about my class we’ve been clicked up every since high school and we throw Gatherings all the time at each other’s homes straight Ballin 87. NOTE I attended the other school and believe me there is no comparison, it’s just as different as night and day. It’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scene that a lot of people don’t realize before and after the event.

  6. Jennifer Simmons says:

    Wonderfully written! Being apart of the SWD Legacy and tradition, just make our enthusiasm pop when we see each other. We can’t wait to do it all again next year. #SWD4LIFE #WeAreFamily #SWDAA #SWDday. Class of ’91!

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