DALLAS – Thousands of people packed the grounds of Wilmer Hutchins High School for its homecoming game and tailgates.

Alumni of the school were present. Many of the members say the annual reunion, of sorts, is not just about the hype of the game. They said it is about remembering and preserving their school’s history.

“This school District was our heart and soul,” said Sha Brewer, President of the Wilmer Hutchins Alumni Association. “You know everybody in the community knows every street, every family. So we are trying to bring that back, get that back and teach these students of the community now, what rich history they have.”

Graduates from classes dating back to 1975 were present. They said understanding the school’s legacy is key.

It is a legacy that includes surviving a time that nearly crippled the community back in 2005. That is when Wilmer Hutchins Independent School District was shut down by the state.

Lonzella Green joined her former classmates from the class of 1977.

She said, “There were a lot of challenges, because a lot of students, they had to be bused to other schools which was out of their neighborhood. They had to adapt to a different environment.”

The Wilmer Hutchins community saw a comeback in 2011 when Dallas ISD took on its schools.

Shaniqua Richards from the class of 1995 still has strong feelings about that.

Richards said, “We are pretty much like the step children of DISD. It’s not the same. They pretty much focus on the Carter, the Kimball.”

Holding on to memories and pushing forward with strong support for students and future graduates is how Wilmer Hutchins’ alumni and community members say they are preserving the history and legacy of the school they love.

“This is all we know,” said Green. “This is where we are from. This is our roots.”