Alumni, families and supporters of Ed Davis School honored the history and legacy of Georgetown’s African American school at the annual Ed Davis Ball.
This year’s event, which serves as a fundraiser for the Ed Davis Learning Center, was held at Scott County High School and featured the school’s principal, Meocha Williams, as the evening’s speaker.
Much of the night highlighted the legacy and celebrated the school’s alumni attending the banquet.
“I was not born in Georgetown, but after 30 years, it has given me a sense of pride because I know our alumni struggled. The same struggle was in Montgomery County. You all could have given up, because it was tough. We had the leftover books. We had the leftover desks,” said Robbi Barber, interim president of the Ed Davis Learning Center. “But we’re still here and I’m thankful. Because without you, there would be no us.”
Charles M. and Ann Graves have come to the ball several times to catch up with friends. They went to Ed Davis through seventh grade when desegregation was implemented.
“I remember a lot of camaraderie,” Charles said. “Everyone knew everybody,” Ann said.
They went to Garth and said that desegregation seemed to go well.
“We were so young, I’m not sure we had any feelings about it. It seemed to be no big deal,” Ann said. “We had grown up around everyone and everyone seemed pleasant,” added Charles.
Lottie Williams was Homecoming Queen at Ed Davis High in 1954.
“Ed Davis was a nice place to go. I had a lot of good friends, and met a good man and married him (her husband Billy Williams, who played quarterback). And we had good teachers,” she said.
Special alumni were honored by their families with the Ed Davis Living Legends Award presented to Mary Hicks and Sammy and Alice Williams.
“We stand here three generations down from her,” said Hicks’ daughter Francine McIntyre. “On behalf of my momma, I want to thank the Ed Davis Ball Committee for recognizing her this year. She looks forward to coming to this every year. I know she was a cheerleader at the school, and I love to hear her talk about her school, her teachers, her team and her classmates. She keeps moving along, and she is still feisty.
“When you have reunions, it is always good to try and go because you don’t know who will be there. It’s always good to see your classmates. I love my mom dearly and very thankful and appreciative for her. Her back window faces my back window, and every morning, if I see her curtain open I say thank you Jesus for having her another day.”
“Our parents instilled very strong values. We appreciate the many sacrifices they made for us,” said Sandra Young, Sammy and Alice Williams’ daughter, joined by other family members. She said Sammy played football and Alice was a cheerleader. “They taught us to set goals and achieve them. They encouraged us to do our best. The values they passed on to us we passed on to our children and grandchildren.”
There was a concerted effort to encourage people to locate memorabilia that ball organizers can display at this event and other gatherings throughout the year. Ed Davis Learning Center leaders stressed the importance of capturing that history as more of the Ed Davis School alumni ages.
“We’ll make a way to get what you donate here to display,” said Willie Gossey, Ed Davis Learning Center vice president. “I know there’s a lot of it out there. We just don’t know where it is. We’re counting on our alumni and generations down from those days that may have yearbooks, diplomas, football helmets, jerseys, whatever, we can display and grow that.”
Williams was introduced as a link to the perseverance and history of the Ed Davis School.
“I’m comfortable saying, she looks like me. She looks like you Ed Davis alumni,” Barber said. “Her leadership purpose is rooted in providing extensive and consistent support to ensure a culture of excellence for academic achievement, behavior, professionalism and work ethic. Out of this leadership purpose came the Scott County High School motto: Be Positive. Be Engaged. Be the Best Version of Yourself. Be Excellent.”
Williams spoke of legacy and asked the attendees to take an oath in support of leaving a legacy for students.
“Every generation has their version of ‘kids these days.’ With every generation there comes more opportunity and the need for solid role models, programs and metrics to measure what it truly means to leave a legacy,” she said. “How do we cultivate a culture of excellence so our youth leave a positive, lasting legacy?”
She described how she envisions excellence and culture and how it impacts students and establishes their legacy, building on the legacy and history of Ed Davis School. The school started in 1894 when a building was erected on Chambers Avenue School to educate African American Children with four rooms and 365 students. Charles Steele was the principal, and when he passed away in 1908, Edward B. Davis was named principal and in 1924, a full four-year high school curriculum was established. Chambers School was renamed to Ed Davis School in 1929.
“Mr. Steele started at one school, and finished at another. And his teachers followed him. Be that kind of leader,” Williams said.
When desegregation was established by the 1954 Supreme Court ruling, the decision was made to close Ed Davis School.
“We have said a legacy is handed down by our predecessors. Before we determine the legacy our students will leave, we must reflect on what we as their predecessors have left them as a footprint. What tools have we left them as a foundation,” Williams said. “Are we teaching them the power of verbal and written communication is so important? How are pushing them to learn multiple languages?
“When we see a tall, slender young man or woman, do we automatically assume they are a basketball player? Do we change the conversation and say we see a businessperson or an engineer or a superintendent? Our students are always watching and mimicking what we do.”
Steve McClain can be reached at email@example.com.