Emsley A. Laney High School

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Emsley A. Laney High School
2700 N College Rd
Wilmington, North Carolina 28405

United States
Type Public
Motto "Our Treasure is Knowledge"
Established 1976
School district New Hanover County Schools
Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley
Principal Al O'Briant
Number of students 2,242
Color(s)      Blue
Team name Buccaneers
Campus Lot size: 26.477 acres

Emsley A. Laney High School is a high school in Wilmington, North Carolina, is named in honor of Emsley Armfield Laney, who distinguished himself as a business and community leader for several decades in Wilmington. In 1941, Mr. Laney was elected to the New Hanover County Board of Education, serving as a member for 32 years, as well as chairperson for a portion of his service. A portrait of Mr. Laney, presented to the high school by his family at the Dedicatory Service on May 1, 1977, is prominently displayed in the main office.

Kenneth E. McLaurin was appointed principal of Laney in 1975, one year before the school was to open. During that year, he oversaw construction, met with the new school’s faculty and with the students assigned to attend the new school. Through these meetings with students, the school colors and mascot were chosen. A portrait of Mr. McLaurin, who served as principal through 1992, is notably displayed in the main office.

When Laney opened in August 1976 to grades ten through twelve, construction was still underway. With the stadium incomplete, the Buccaneers played their home football games at Legion Stadium. The gymnasium, now referred to as the Michael J. Jordan Gymnasium, was completed just in time for the basketball season. Since then, a classroom addition to accommodate grade nine and a larger student body, opened in 1988. The arts complex, named in honor of Ms. Maryann Nunnally, who served as principal, 1993 – 1998, opened in 1997. Ms. Arthalia Williams served as principal, July – December, 1992, before the appointment of Ms. Maryann Nunnally

Laney held its first commencement in 1977 in its football stadium. The senior class consisted of less than 100 graduates since seniors had been given the opportunity to finish their senior year either at NHHS or John T. Hoggard High School. The Class of 1977 chose as its class song, "We’ve Only Just Begun." The Class of 1979 was the first class to complete all three years at Laney. The last commencement service held in the Laney stadium was in 1984. Since 1985, commencement services have been held in Trask Coliseum on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. With the addition of ninth grade, the Class of 1992 was the first class to complete all four years at Laney.

Laney's first homecoming was held in the fall of 1977.

There have been many changes at the school. One of the most notable changes has been in numbers. That first year, faculty and staff consisted of less than 65 members and the student body less than 1,000. Now, the faculty and staff consist of more than 120 members and there are approximately 1,900

Starting 1977, Laney offered Naval JROTC. In 1980, Laney began to offer Air Force JROTC.

That first year, students were able to drive school buses. Now, only adults can drive school buses.

In the fall of 2005, the football stadium was named in honor of Dr. Rick Holliday, Laney's principal, 1998 - 2004.

In recent years, Laney has been recognized by the state of North Carolina as an Exemplary High School (1999, 2000, 2001).

In 2001, Laney was recognized as a North Carolina Hallmarks of Excellence School and with their business partner (General Electric) won the Governor’s Business Partnership Award in 2002. In 2004, the school was recognized as a Nationally Certified Senior Projects High School (Level 1), the first in the nation. Laney was recognized as a North Carolina School of Progress in 2002. In 2003 and 2004, it was recognized as a North Carolina High Growth School of Progress

In 2006, the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development recognized Laney as a Lighthouse School in leading the way in North Carolina for excellence in student achievement and innovative programs. Laney has received praise for its development of a summer orientation program for 9th grade students and its creation of a Freshman Academy.

Also, in 2006 Laney was the only county high school to achieve AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in all categories for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). After the 2009-2010, Laney was recognized as a high growth School of Distinction.

Mr. Al O’Briant was welcomed home when he was appointed Laney’s Principal in July 2007, replacing Mr. Robert Grimes, who served as principal, 2004 – 2007.

Decade Club

In 1986, twenty-three members of the faculty and staff were recognized for ten years of service to Laney and inducted into the Decade Club. Each inductee received a certificate and a Jefferson cup. Two original charter members – Paul Lucas and Ruby Sutton – are still part of the Laney faculty and staff. In 2001, the two were recognized for 25 years of service to Laney at a reception commemorating Laney’s silver anniversary.

There are several members of the faculty and staff who have been inducted into the Double Decade Club for 20 years of service to Laney.

The school's front exterior and gym was used in The CW's T.V. show One Tree Hill, which is filmed nearby.

LHS local rival school is New Hanover High School

Laney is 747 students over capacity as of the 2015-16 school year.[1]


The Laney High School "Buccaneers" have won state championships in wrestling (1992), baseball (2010), gymnastics (2005, 2006) and softball (1994, 1997, and 1998). The Bucs have also earned the title of Conference Champions in the following sports ( denotes Regional Champions):

  • Baseball - 2010 4A State Champions
  • Basketball (Boys) - 1984, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000[2]
  • Basketball (Girls) - 2004, 2007[2]
  • Football - 1997, 1999, 2001[3]
  • Golf (Boys) - 2005
  • Lacrosse (Boys) - 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Soccer (Boys) - 2011
  • Softball - 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005[4]
  • Volleyball - 1984, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997
  • Wrestling - 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Tennis- 1992, 1993, 2012[5]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Frazier, Janae. "NHC high schools overcrowded; leaders discuss future". WECT News. WECT News. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Buccaneers Basketball". Emsley A. Laney High School. December 8, 2007. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  3. ^ "Buccaneers Football". Emsley A. Laney High School. November 10, 2007. Archived from the original on November 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  4. ^ "Buccaneers Softball". Emsley A. Laney High School. September 18, 2007. Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  5. ^ "Buccaneers Wrestling". Emsley A. Laney High School. December 5, 2007. Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°18′08″N 77°52′31″W / 34.3021135°N 77.8752631°W / 34.3021135; -77.8752631