CENTENNIAL New Hanover WILDCATS High School
Turns 100 L
BY PAT BRADFORD OCATED on Wilmington’s historic Market Street, New Hanover High is the oldest exist-ing
high school of the eight in the county’s school district. Construction began in
1919 on the original building designed by William J. Wilkins. The school opened
its doors to students in the fall of 1921 and graduated its first class in 1922. At
the time it was the largest secondary public school in North Carolina.
Current enrollment is approximately 1,452, with a staff of 160. Wildcat athletes have won
30 North Carolina High School Athletic Association state championships, including five in
baseball, four in boys basketball, four in football, three in boys tennis, three in softball, and
three in boys golf.
The list of the school’s notable alumni includes architect Charles Boney, James Goodnight,
CEO of SAS Institute, news anchor David Brinkley, U.S. District Judge Robert Daniel Potter,
Something of Value author Robert Ruark, actress Beth Grant, and a long list of athletes includ-ing
NFL tight end and four-time Pro Bowl player Alge Crumpler, NFL quarterback Roman
Gabriel, MLB outfielder Trot Nixon, George Edward “Bo” Shepard, former head basketball
coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels, and professional basketball player Ty Walker.
NHHS is internationally known after being featured in season four of the TV series One Tree
Hill; it’s where the Tree Hill Ravens played their state semifinal game versus Verona. It also has
been featured in three big box office films.
To celebrate the 100-year milestone, a free expo with tours of the school is scheduled for
April 23, 2022, in the Princess Street Gym. The expo will showcase memorabilia and share
history from the past 100 years, along with special activities.
The school’s flagship gym, Brogdon Hall, is currently decommissioned due to a sinking
floor. Repairs budgeted in excess of $2.5 million are ongoing.
“I didn’t play any sport, but I remember Coach Leon L. Brogden. Coach was a wonderful
guy. One of the all-around top high school coaches. He coached baseball, basketball and
football all successfully,” says George Clark, class of 1946.
The landmark occasion will be capped with a Centennial Ball at
CENTEN N I A L CE L EBR ATION
the Cape Fear County Club hosted by the Alumni Organization,
with dancing, reuniting with classmates, and tables with
decades of memorabilia.
The celebration will honor teachers and staff, those
that guided students to their careers.
“When I ask one of the alumni who they wanted to
see from among the famous alumni, she answered, ‘I
want to see the teachers and those who made a difference
E X P O & B A L L • A P R I L 2 3 , 2 0 2 2
in my life,’” says Linda Kalnen Sykes, executive director of the
Clark is among those who appreciated his teachers.
“I had an English teacher, I can’t remember her name, I liked the fact that she was assign-ing
poetry and one of the projects that she gave was to memorize poetry. To this day I love
poetry,” Clark says.
Approximately 200 alumni are expected to attend the ball.
20 april 2022