West Edgecombe High School — Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Posted by DaveSanders | North Carolina | Posted on February 15th, 2010

West Edgecombe High School cafeteria circa 1950
(image from “North Carolina: Unforgettable Vintage Images of the Tar Heel State

West Edgecombe High School cafeteria circa 1950

West Edgecombe High School
Reunion Apparel for West Edgecombe High School

6301 Nobles Mill Pond Road
Rocky Mount, NC

West Edgecombe High School building today
   (click image for Google Street View)

mascot: Wildcats
colors: Blue & White

West Edgecombe School opened in 1923 as a high school. Prior to 1923, any students who wanted to continue past 8th grade had to enroll in another school in the area. From 1928 through 1978, the school housed all 12 grades. SouthWest Edgecombe High School was supposed to open in the Fall of 1978, but construction wasn’t completed in time. West and South students attended the first semester in their old schools (but operated as SouthWest Edgecombe High School), then moved into the new SouthWest building for the second semester.

Much of the information below was gleaned from two sources:
- History of West Edgecombe Middle School on the Edgecombe County Schools website
- The book Edgecombe County: Along the Tar River By Monika S. Fleming

—- Significant Dates in West Edgecombe High School History —
1923 – A one-story West Edgecombe School was constructed to house high school grades
1928 – A two-story building was opened and elementary grades were consolidated into the school (Dixie, Pleasant Hill, Powell, Oakdale, Nobles Mill, Progress, Oak Grove, and Juvenile schools) making West Edgecombe the largest consolidated school in North Carolina.
1949 – A new gymnasium was added
1951 – A new primary building was added
1951 – Class A State Baseball Champions (defeated Madison, 8-5)
1953 – A new agriculture building was added
1962 – A new high school building was constructed
1969 – The gymnasium was remodeled and enlarged
1969 – G. W. Carver High School (Pinetops) was integrated into West Edgecombe High School (the last graduating class from Carver was 1971.)
1970 – Phillips High School (Battleboro) was integrated into West Edgecombe High School (the last graduating class from Phillips was 1972.)
1973 – State Basketball Champions (defeated Orrum, 50-46)
1976 – Advanced to the State Football Playoffs and won the first round before falling in the second round.
1978 – West Edgecombe High School and South Edgecombe High School were merged to create SouthWest Edgecombe High School.

Here’s where you Wildcat alumni can help. I have doubts about some of the info above. I’ve found reputable sources that state SouthWest opened in 1971, 1972, 1978 and 1979. That makes me wonder how accurate some of the other info is. For example, Carver High School was located in Pinetops, only a couple of miles from South Edgecombe High School. Why would they integrate with West? From the scant info I could find, I’m assuming the integration of Carver and Phillips into West in 1969 and 1970 was “freedom of school choice”, where the students could go to West if they wanted to, but it wasn’t required. But now I’m curious about what happened to the Carver and Phillips students when their schools closed in 1971 & 1972? None of the sources I found mentioned where they went. If you can straighten me out on all this, or make any corrections to the dates and info above, please leave a comment below.

West Edgecombe Baseball 1968
West Edgecombe Baseball 1968
There are some old West Edgecombe photos online in the Charles S. Killebrew Collection at Braswell Memorial Library. They are mostly photos of the 1968 baseball and basketball teams, but there are other photos, too. (tip: Just type edgecombe in the search box.) The photo collection seems to only be available for online viewing during library hours.

There’s a West Edgecombe alumni group on Facebook.

There are over 500 West Edgecombe alumni on Classmates.com.

3 Responses to “West Edgecombe High School — Rocky Mount, North Carolina”

  1. DaveSanders says:

    The link to the photos at Braswell Library no longer works. For now, you can still see thumbnails of the photos by going to Google Image Search and typing this:
    edgecombe site:www.braswell-library.org
    Apparently, Braswell Library has abandoned its project of digitizing Charles Killebrew’s photos, so they are no longer available online. The thumbnails on Google’s search results may only be available until they clear the cache.

  2. Gladys Scott says:

    Carver students may have been given “freedom of choice” when the high school closed. Geographical logistics, however, resulted in most of Carver students attending South Edgecombe High School in Pinetops. I was entering 9th grade in 1971 when we left Carver and went over to South Edgecombe.

  3. Phillip Dupree says:

    I can confirm that SouthWest Edgecombe HS opened at the begining of the second semester of the 78-79 school year when we returned from Christmas break.I was there in the 10th grade.I merged over from West Edgecombe.

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