Cary High School

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Cary Senior High School
Cognitio Vincit
Cary, North Carolina
United States
Type Public High School
Established 1896
Principal Nolan Bryant
Grades 9 - 12
Number of students 2100
School color(s) Green and White
Fight song Notre Dame Victory March
Mascot Imp

Cary High School is one of four high schools in Cary, North Carolina. Established in 1896, it was the first public high school in North Carolina. Students in grades 9-12 attend Cary High. In 2006, approximately 2,800 students attended, with 540 graduating seniors, making Cary High one of the largest schools in the state. Cary High is a part of the Wake County Public School System and operates on a traditional calendar, with a block schedule.


Cary High School was established in 1896[citation needed] as among the first public high schools in North Carolina. The school was originally located in downtown Cary on Academy Street, until it moved to its current location in 1960.

The school was the first to be desegregated in Wake County outside Raleigh in 1963 when six Black girls, chosen to be bright, outgoing, and "strong-willed enough to take what was inevitably coming to them," came to the school amid intense verbal opposition from Whites. Some White parents sued the school system over the integration, and the suit was thrown out by the state Supreme Court.[1]

The original site housed Cary Elementary School until it reopened August 13, 2011, as the Cary Community Arts Center.[2]

A new auditorium, gymnasium, music classrooms, and a classroom building have recently been completed on the main campus.

The original mascot was a White Imp after the UNC White Phantoms (later Tarheels) and the Duke University Imps (later Blue Devils). The "white" was dropped to avoid racial connotations when the school was desegregated.[3]

Student life[edit]

Cary High School students participate in extracurricular activities ranging from sports teams, to acting, to politics.

The Cary High School Marching Band, established in 1920, is a corps-style Marching Band which consistently delivers a top notch show, winning countless awards in competitions at the national, regional, and local levels. The band is notable among bands of its size in that it traditionally has had only one drum major (as opposed to the more common two or three), though the band has had two since the 2011 season, and three starting in 2013. Additionally, the band hosts Cary Band Day, a large annual festival featuring marching bands from the North Carolina and Virginia area. In 2011, the band appeared in Bands of America Grand National Semifinals for the first time. It is one of three bands from North Carolina to appear in Grand National Semifinals. The director of the band program since 2000 has been Mr. Matthew Minick.

The drama department led by Kristin McCormick and choral department led by Ed Yasick put on a fall play and a spring musical most years. Both programs have consistently produced talented performers and their productions are further enhanced by the professional sets created by the tech theater club (a division of the drama club).

Cary High School's art students participate in a number of honorable extracurricular activities. Dozens of students have their work featured in galleries and symposiums each year (including the NC State Fair and the American Senate) bringing back prestigious awards and scholarships for the school. As of the 2007-2008 School Year, the students have begun participating in the "Animals of the State Fair" competition.


The Cary High Mascot


Cary High School's wrestling team through the leadership of former Coach Jerry Winterton became one of the premier wrestling programs in the state. Over the course of Coach Winterton's career Cary High won twenty state championships, eighteen consecutive regional tournament titles, and twenty-eight consecutive conference tournament titles; the streak continued under the leadership of Coach Taylor Cummings, capping off at twenty consecutive regional titles, and thirty consecutive conference tournament titles. Coach Winterton was inducted into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame in October 2014.

Winterton’s Cary wrestlers won 11 North Carolina High School Athletic Association state tournament titles and eight dual team championships. His teams also finished as runners-up in those two events on 13 occasions. His overall record during his stint at Cary was an astounding 621-16, with 28 consecutive conference championships and 138 consecutive victories at one point.He coached 42 different individual state champions and has been honored previously by the North Carolina chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.[4]

State Championships[edit]

  • Baseball:(1) 1914
  • 4A Men's Soccer:(1) 1998
  • 4A Wrestling State Dual Meet:(8) 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009[5]
  • 4A Wrestling State Tournament:(11) 1987, 1988, 1989, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009[6]
  • All Division State Wrestling Tournament:(1) 1977
  • 4A Women's Cross-Country:(1) 1997
  • Class A Football:(1) 1955
  • Class A Men's Basketball: (1) 1954
  • Class B Men's Basketball:(1) 1939
  • 4A Men's Basketball (1)1995
  • 4A Women's Basketball: (1) 1993

In 1994 Cary High men's basketball team played in the state Championship game. It was later discovered by Cary's Head coach that they used ineligible player and they forfeited all the games in the 2nd semester of the 1994 season.

Notable People[edit]

  • Josh Adams (class of 2006): Adams left his mark as one of the top football players Wake County has ever seen. At the time of his graduation, Adams’ junior-year total of 2,888 yards rushing was eighth-most in state history for a single season. His 7,220 career rushing yards were fourth-most at the time. The star running back was a three-time all-state selection and played in the N.C.-S.C. Shrine Bowl. In track and field, he was a state qualifier in the long jump and relays. Adams went on to play at Wake Forest, where he was named ACC Rookie of the Year.[7]
  • Zack Schilawksi (2006): Schilawski was an All-American soccer player for Cary his senior year. Schilawski piled up 59 goals and 38 assists during his four years on the varsity, where the Imps went 71-18-8 in that time. He was The News & Observer’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2006, after graduating with a 5.12 GPA. He played at Wake Forest in college, where he was an All-American. He scored the winning goal in the Deamon Deacons’ 2007 NCAA national championship win. He was taken ninth overall by the New England Revolution in the 2010 Major League Soccer draft. Schilawski now plays in Cary with the Carolina RailHawks of the North American Soccer League. [8]
  • Austin Herbert (2000): Set the North Carolina record for career field goals with 37 ...Tied the state single-season field goal mark during his senior campaign with 17 kicks, his long was a 50-yarder ... Posted a 43-yard punt average for Coach Ron Pendegraft ... Placed 80 percent of his kickoffs in the end zone ... An all-state performer who played in the Shrine Bowl and he played in the East-West game ... Earned numerous player of the week awards from various media outlets ... Helped lead his prep soccer program to the state championship as a junior, he was an all-state goalkeeper each of the last two years ... Also selected to play in the soccer East-West All-Star game[9]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°46′18″N 78°45′57″W / 35.771752°N 78.765922°W / 35.771752; -78.765922