Hibriten High School – A Brief History
Compiled by Lewis Wright - July 19, 2010
Following a survey of the schools of Caldwell County in 1963, the State Department of Public Instruction recommended that three of the rural schools – Oak Hill, Kings Creek, and Happy Valley – be consolidated. It was also recommended that a new building be constructed on a new site for the consolidated high school. Thirty-five acres of land, located in the Lower Creek section of the county, were purchased at a cost of $37,500.
In 1962, an architect was employed for a period of two years to complete plans for the building. Designed in a plan similar to a split-level building, the school is of three levels and contains departments in Science, Foods and Consumer Science, English, Foreign Language, Math, Social Studies, Music, Physical Education, Drama, and Vocational Studies. Over the years agriculture, carpentry, graphics, drafting, electronics, metals, masonry, business, industrial cooperative training, and distributive education have been offered in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program. The building also includes administrative offices for the principal, assistant principals, secretaries, counselors, as well as a conference room currently referred to as the “Panthers’ Den.” The cafeteria seats 250. The gymtorium and music building (housing band and choral programs) were completed in 1972 with the gym seating 1800. Since 1972 the school has added a theater that seats 422, and has also added wo classroom additions that now house the Freshman Academy on the third level. Above the third level an auxiliary gym was constructed in the early 2000’s that houses a basketball court, as well as a state of the art weight room. In 2007 a concerted effort by boosters and parents rebuilt the baseball stadium and made significant renovations to the softball field.
Located at the foot of Hibriten Mountain, the school was given the name of Hibriten High School. Its mascot is a panther, and the school colors are red, black, and white. It is located two miles from the main thoroughfare of the city of Lenoir. The school officially opened it doors to students on August 26, 1966 with Kenneth A. Roberts as principal and Ronald Beane as assistant principal. Student enrollment was 715, with a faculty of 42. The class of 1967 graduated 118 students. The 1975 graduating class had approximately 175 members, and the class of 2010 graduated 209 members. In the 2009-2010 school year Hibriten High school received students from three K-8 schools and two middle schools.
Most schools are similar in the way they provide service for their students and community. At the same time, each school has its own personality. Hibriten High School is no exception.
Visitors frequently ask about the origin of the name “Hibriten.” Caldwell County residents know that the school is named for its location at the foot of Hibriten Mountain. This unique name actually came from Brighton, England. A local resident, who was especially impressed with the beauty of Brighton, England, thought the mountain on the east side of Lenoir should have a sophisticated name since it was the “high” point of Lenoir. Combining “High” and “Brighton,” the name was eventually shortened to one word, “Hibriten.” Many visitors to Jeff Storie Memorial Stadium remark about its beautiful views. It is easy to forget that the school is located adjacent to highway 321 and Caldwell County’s busiest commercial and industrial area. The school serves a very diverse community. Many of the students come from the city of Lenoir while others come from the more rural areas of Oak Hill, Happy Valley, and Kings Creek.
People who have been associated with the school since its opening have seen many changes. Yet some things about the school have remained constant. First, Hibriten is a true community school. The school facilities are in frequent use by individuals and organizations from the community. The tennis courts and track, as well as the athletic fields, seem to be used almost daily by community members. The school serves as a place to vote on election days, and it is not unusual to hear a talented performance by the Lenoir Men’s Chorus or to see a Weekend Training exercise by the Lenoir Police Department on the Hibriten campus.
The school is proud of its emphasis on academic competition and academic organizations. Hibriten always has a large number of students who qualify and participate in Beta Club. Our Beta Club normally competes well at the Regional and State Beta Club Conventions, providing State Presidents in 2009 and 2010. The school is also especially proud of its Quiz Bowl Team and Chess Club. Both organizations are regularly among the best in the region. The Chess Club is routinely recognized for finishing high in state rankings, and at one point either winning or tying for a state championship for ten consecutive years. Hibriten has also had it share of success in educating students who have won scholarships to the most prestigious universities in the country. The school has produced a National Merit Scholarship, as well as a Morehead Scholarship recipients. Full scholarships have been earned by students attending Harvard and Yale, as well as several of the service academies. The school faculty is proud of the fact that it routinely achieves high levels as measured by state and federal testing/assessment programs.
Hibriten High School and the community have always had a special relationship with the arts. A large number of students are interested in the theater arts, and many students show great promise. After winning a state drama competition in 2010, the drama team represented Hibriten in the national showcase in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Hibriten Band and Chorus regularly receive superior ratings in regional competitions, and have represented Hibriten High School all over North America, with the band competing in the North American Music Festival in Toronto, Canada in 2001.
Athletically, Hibriten has had its share of success as well. In Wachovia Cup competition, Hibriten regularly finishes at, or near the top of the conference. Wachovia Cup standings are based on the overall success of an athletic program. Offering 27 different sports teams for males and females, Hibriten provides athletic opportunities for almost any sports interest. Over the years, Hibriten has sent teams deep into the state play-offs in tennis, soccer, track, cross country, swimming, golf, baseball, softball, and football.
In summary, Hibriten High School, like all schools, has its own personality. The school staff is proud of the community it serves and is fortunate to have its exceptional support.
Hibriten High School Principals
Kenneth Roberts: 1966 - 1978
Jack Pennell: 1978 - 1980
Herb Stevens: 1980 - 1994
Andy Anderson: 1998 - 2004
James (Buzz) Sims: 2004 - 2007
Lewis Wright: 2007 - 2010
Brian Oliver: 2010 - 2012
David Colwell: 2012 - 2020
Courtney Wright: 2020 - Current