In March, Debra Weeks Alexander attended her Georgia high school's reunion for grads from 1951-1981. It was so much fun that she and her husband Joe, co-presidents of the Chantilly Athletic Booster Club, want to start a Chantilly High Alumni Club.
They're not Chantilly grads, but Debra's daughter, Lauren Wingate, graduated in 1998 and son Nick Weeks is a sophomore there now. "It's a wonderful community, and I really want to get back to that," said Alexander. "We want Chantilly to be a hometown school."
Saying that a community is often measured by the people who come from it, she wants anyone ever associated with the school — students, parents, teachers, etc. — to come back and be part of the lives of new generations of graduates.
"They can set examples for these students and participate in the building of other great citizens," said Alexander. "I want them to network with each other to let the new kids coming up see their leadership and their successes — and to learn how they've struggled and survived. It'll show them, 'If this guy made it, so can I — it may not be an easy road but, at least, I can travel it.'"
Chantilly's Homecoming game is Friday, Sept. 27, and an Alumni Club tent will be on the grass by the concession stand. It'll have a beach-party theme, with sodas, T-shirts and beach chairs, and alumni will have an opportunity to join the club and to give information about themselves for the Charger Booster newsletter.
"The exciting thing is that it'll allow alumni — and their parents — to reconnect with their past and lots of friends they haven't seen in a long time," said Alexander. "I was involved in so many Chantilly activities with my daughter, and I missed all that until my son came to Chantilly. So, for example, if there's a 75-year-old couple in Greenbriar that used to go to the games and misses them, we want them back."
She hopes to have the club up and running within six months. At the tent, people may fill out membership forms ($15/year dues) and tell what direction they'd like to see the school's spirit take and how they'd like to contribute to it.
For more information, any Chantilly alumni or parent of an alumni may call the Chantilly Booster Hotline at 703-912-4002 and leave a message. Or call the Alexanders at 703-620-3434.
"Joe and I are really excited about this project," said Alexander. "We think it'll really boost community spirit. As we go along, we'd like to have an alumni party and a dance, plus some events with the alumni and the current students."
If the members want to hold a reunion for a particular time span, that's fine, too. Said Alexander: "The big thing is to draw them back together and back to the school."