Wildcat History
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The year was 1909 when ten students received diplomas in the first graduation in what was to become Charlotte High School. This year also was the premiere of our yearbook Snips and Cuts. Our first school building was located at Ninth and Brevard Streets in First Ward. The school included the tenth and recently added eleventh grade, with new courses in French, Physics, and Trigonometry. Mr. Harry P. Harding, the principal and later superintendent of the Charlotte City Schools, guided the school until 1912 when the eighth and ninth grades joined the two upper grades. It was in this year that the Charlotte High School was established. The young high school experienced much academic success and its enrollment increased during the next decade.

In the spring of 1920 the student body moved to a new, larger building located on East Morehead Street. This move included the administration, faculty and all the traditions of the Charlotte High School. Our second school building was named in honor of Dr. Alexander Graham, who had served for over twenty-five years as superintendent of the Charlotte City Schools. Our leader for many years, Dr. Elmer H. Garinger was appointed principal in the summer of 1921. However, the time at Alexander Graham High School was very short because of the rapid growth of Charlotte's population.

A new school building located on Elizabeth Avenue opened in 1923 to relieve the ever-expanding student population of Alexander Graham High School. The new school, named Central High School, received all its remaining students from Alexander Graham High by 1924. Just as in 1920 when Charlotte High School closed its doors and moved the faculty, students, and traditions to Alexander Graham, the new school moved again to Central High School. Alexander Graham became a junior high school. Our rich history at Central spanned thirty-six years, primarily under the leadership of Dr. Garinger. In the spring of 1959 Central High School closed; the building is now part of Central Piedmont Community College.

The summer of 1959 brought much excitement to our Wildcat family. A new high school on the edge of a growing city, four miles northeast of uptown Charlotte, Garinger High School was named in honor of our former principal and then superintendent of the Charlotte City School. The campus-style high school design won many architectural awards for its unique modern buildings and special features. Again as in 1920 and 1923, the administration, faculty, students, trophies, books and all our traditions moved into our modern school to start the decade of the sixties.

Our blue and gray school colors, the Wildcat, Snips and Cuts, the Rambler newspaper, the Hall of Fame, school motto "Service," the Willow Tree, and school clubs made the journey to the campus facility on Eastway Drive. The school "Alma Mater" and "Fight Song" music remained the same, but new lyrics reflected the new tradition.

Garinger High School was featured in a 1962 edition of National Geographic as Charlotte-Mecklenburg's showplace high school. The new high school was to become the largest secondary school in the state during the mid-sixties with a rich history of academics and superb athletic teams.

Our school has been through many changes since the first diploma was presented in 1909, but its mission has never wavered. Our graduates have gone on to make significant contributions to our community and our country in the arts, sciences and humanities.