What's in a Name: NHC high schools

Reported by Colin Hackman - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Most high school students attend schools named after the place they live - Pender, North Brunswick, Whiteville, New Hanover.  But some New Hanover County students attend schools named for someone else - Hoggard, Laney, Ashley.

So who were they, and what did they do to deserve having a school named after them?

We start with the oldest of the three schools, built in 1968 - John T. Hoggard High.

Dr. John Thomas Hoggard was a renaissance man. He served with Col. Theodore Roosevelt in Cuba during the Spanish - American war.  After the war, he finished his degree in medicine and practiced in Wilmington for 20 years.

But Hoggard High, was named because of the 18 years he spent on the New Hanover County school board. Hoggard was pivotal in acquiring 610 acres off of Highway 132, later to become UNCW.  He is also credited for helping de-segregate that institution.

Desegregation was a trying time in the south, and School Board Chair Emsley Armfield Laney was the man who took New Hanover County through that time.  Laney spent many days implementing and upholding Brown vs. The Board of Education.  Laney High Opened in 1977.

In 1968, the same year Hoggard opened, 37-year-old Sgt. Eugene Ashley was in Vietnam. Ashley led 101 Company C out of Camp Lang Vei in North Vietnam. During a heroic escape - he helped destroy 5 of the 7 tanks that had his platoon pinned down. He later died, all but one other made it out alive.

Only four men from our area have received the Medal of Honor, including Charles Murray, and Edwin Anderson, which are both also schools on the Veteran's Park campus.

Of course these schools have had their notable alumni's over the years, but their namesakes and their stories will be honored for generations.

If you'd like to learn more about why a certain place is called what it is, email Colin at whatsinaname@wect.com.

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