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When did New Hanover High School get a student union?

New Hanover High School 1920s

New Hanover High School in the 1920s. (Photo courtesy of the New Hanover County Public Library)

According to former principal Robert Moore, the New Hanover High School student union was first opened in the 1954-55 school year.

“I am not aware if it was the first high school in N.C. or the nation to have a student union,” Moore said.

“It was really nice and, along with the memorial classroom and gym, it was a great addition for New Hanover High School.”

New Hanover is the oldest high school in service in New Hanover County. It was the largest secondary public school in North Carolina when it was completed in the 1920s.

The county Board of Education began acquiring land on the 1300 block of Market Street in 1914, as the nearby neighborhoods of Winoca Terrace, Carolina Heights and Carolina Place were rapidly growing. A cornerstone for the new building was laid in 1919, and the first classes were held in the center block in 1922. Its adjoining wings were completed in 1925.

The main building was designed by Wilmington architect Leslie N. Boney. The school gymnasium on Princess Street, also designed by Boney, was built between 1930 and 1940.

The auditorium, Brogden Hall – named for legendary football, basketball and baseball coach Leon Brogden – was completed in 1954, designed by Boney’s firm. For many years the largest public venue in New Hanover County, Brogden Hall was the scene of Azalea Festival pageants in the 1950s and ’60s, and is still frequently used for public concerts.

User-contributed question by:
Vera Walker

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4 Responses to “ When did New Hanover High School get a student union?”

  1. On November 11, 2011 at 8:24 am Gene Page wrote:

    Lunch in the student union might consist of paper thin buttered, toasted grilled cheese or luncheon meat sandwiches along with a pepsi! Throw in a couple of ping pong matches against Barney Barnhill or Junior Baysden- what a great time we had!

  2. On November 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm Vera Walker wrote:

    I was Secretary of the Student Union in 1957/58. Robert Brock was my faculty advisor. At that time I’d heard that we were the first high school to have a Student Union. That is why I asked the question.
    Thanks for you help.

  3. On November 11, 2011 at 4:27 pm Vera Walker wrote:

    The hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries were delicious. I think a hamburger was 15 cents and cheeseburger 20 cents. Ms. Willis was a terrific lady that served us. We had vending machines; shuffleboard and ping pong tables. There were 45 records played for morning and lunch music. Principal Spencer made me break the record “come and go with me” as it was not suitable. Charles Long and I were in charge of filling the vending machines during first period. Mr. Brock and I sat at a table and made change for students as well as checked any vending machine problems. Life was wonderful in the Student Union.

  4. On November 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm Vera Walker wrote:


    Does anyone have the names of any other person that served as the Secretary of the Student Union?

    I am anxious to know if I was the only one that ever held that position.
    Thanks for any info that you can shed on this.

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