It’s a family reunion.

Hundreds of people born and raised in Lynwood Park in Brookhaven and attended Lynwood’s former elementary and high school return to their roots each year to eat, pray, sing, hug, laugh and be with each other.

Virginia White, left, and Barbara Shaw, far right, attended 7th grade together at the former school in Lynwood Park. For the past three years, Shaw has invited her 7th grade classmates to her home to watch the Lynwood Park Community Day parade. (Dyana Bagby)

This year, on May 5, families and friends marked the 40th anniversary of Lynwood Park Community Day with a parade going down Osborne Road into the park area and featuring Grand Marshal Mayor John Ernst, the Miller Grove High School marching band, men on horseback and many Corvettes and other classic cars.

“The community has changed … most [people] have moved away,” said Virginia White while watching the parade. “But we always come back.”

White grew up in Lynwood Park and attended school there, but now lives in Decatur. She was watching the parade from the front lawn of her former 7th grade classmate at Lynwood, Barbara Shaw. Shaw still lives in Lynwood Park, her one-story blue house one of only a few small houses remaining in the gentrified community now filled with large mansions.

For the past three years, Shaw has invited her 7th grade classmates to gather at her home for the community day event to watch the parade. About 30 people, along with their relatives and friends, come each year, she said.

Shaw was one of the first 17 students from Lynwood Park to attend the formerly all-white Cross Keys High School in the 1960s when DeKalb County schools were desegregated. The city first honored the “Lynwood Integrators” in 2016. Another ceremony celebrating the students’ roles in the civil rights movement was also held this year and featuring keynote speaker DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond.

“I love it,” Shaw said of her former classmates coming together. “We get together because of fellowship and love. Everyone who comes here says, ‘I feel like I’m at home.’”

Read more about Lynwood Park’s history by clicking here.

Photos Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.