Of the 157 people participating 92 were classmates from the 1965 graduating class. This set an attendance record for the class of 1965 reunions. People came from as far away as Washington state, Texas, California, Wyoming, South Carolina, Alabama and around Georgia.
There were plenty of classmates who have made their home in Douglas County for the last 50 years. With that in mind, the reunion was planned to celebrate Douglas County High School and Douglas County. The Class of 1965 50th Reunion Planning Group spent 11 months planning the event and searching for classmates. The group included Michael Brantley, Maxine Crone Cooper, Janet Price Deal, Emmaline Haddle Pursley, Jonnie Settlemire Garner, Billy Goolsby, Cheryl Wright Kemptner, Dianne Strickland Lawler, Rab Malcom, Billy Smith, Glenda Holt Streetmas, Diane Baldwin Yancey and Tommy Tucker. Janet Price Deal chaired the planning group. Janet is a lifelong resident of Douglas County and her father, W. B Price, was on the Douglas County Board of Education when the Class of 1965 graduated.
The 50th Reunion celebration started with a tour of the Douglas County High School arranged by Emmaline Haddle Pursley. Emmaline is a longtime resident of Douglas County and daughter of former mayor, James Haddle Sr. Douglas County High School Principal Andre Weaver welcomed the group of 1965 students, and with help from current DCHS students provided a tour of the campus.
Weaver highlighted the many accomplishments of DCHS and the Class of 1965 attendees were impressed that 60 percent of the 1,800 students are taking advanced classes and that DCHS was ranked ninth by the Washington Post in high schools in the United States.
As the group toured the campus, they remembered the teachers who many of the buildings are named for. Mashburn, Cloer, Warren, Dorris, Banks and Adams were all the names of teachers who impacted their lives during their school years from 1961-1965.
Recently, the Class of 1965 did a “Favorite Teacher” poll and Dave Young was named as their favorite high school teacher. Young taught government but also directed the DCHS Chorus. For many, this experience started a love for music that has continued until this day.
When asked to share their favorite memories, of course the 1964 state football championship was a winner. This accomplishment has never been duplicated. Many people remembered the day, class and time when their principal, Robert Alexander, came over the intercom and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. For many in the Class of 1965 that week was spent in front of the TV watching every minute of the coverage and the event would impact them the rest of their lives.
The classmates had lunch at the Irish Bred Pub in downtown Douglasville. The group filled the upstairs dining room and spent several hours sharing memories and catching up on the last 50 years. The plaza has changed dramatically since their high school days. Many spent weekends at the Alpha Fowler Movie Theater that was located on the site of the current city hall. For classmates who have not been back to Douglasville in many years, the hosts were proud to walk them past the new parking deck, the convention center, the plaza and the many downtown restaurants.
The party continued at Hudson’s by the Lake with a reception and a Hudson’s BBQ dinner. During the evening the group recognized many classmates and noteworthy accomplishments. Diane Camp Watson and Ikey Watson won the marriage longevity award with over 50 years of marriage. Janna Swofford Gedda won the most distanced traveled by driving across the country from Washington state to the reunion. Dennis Chandler was the classmate elected to public office. Rob Richardson had the most pets, Mike Dempsey the most children and Linda Cosby Burgess the most grandchildren. John Hutcheson won for most states lived in but then he was a colonel in the military. The military also was the reason Dave Todd won the most countries lived in award. There are still members of the Class of 1965 working full time and Rab Malcom won for the most years working full time.
During the evening, a slideshow of old and new photos of classmates was present. Cheryl Wright Kemptner and George Kemptner created the show from photos sent in by classmates. Not only did the presentation celebrate the lives of the classmates, there was a special section recognizing the 32 classmates who have died during these last 50 years. It was a moving tribute and brought the crowd to their feet for an ovation.
The Class of 1965 started the night of dancing with “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Dorothy Bennett Taylor and Richard Taylor showed off their dancing skills by starting the celebration and were soon followed by the rest of the class. There were many “Go Tiger” cheers throughout the night as classmates renewed old friendships. There is a website to support communication with DCHS classmates. You can find it at www.douglascountyhighschool.net or visit and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dchs1965.