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Central High School (Evansville)

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Title: Central High School (Evansville)  
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Subject: Evansville, Indiana, North High School (Evansville), Southern Indiana Athletic Conference, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
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Central High School (Evansville)

For schools of a similar name, see Central High School (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 38°1′45.18″N 87°34′44.21″W / 38.0292167°N 87.5789472°W / 38.0292167; -87.5789472

Evansville Central High School
5400 N First Ave.
Evansville, Indiana,  United States
Type Public high school
Established 1854
School district Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
Principal Darla Hoover
Grades 9-12
Number of students 1467
Mascot Bears
Snapshot ECHS
Gym Capacity 3,300

Evansville Central High School is a public high school in Evansville, Indiana. It is the oldest high school in continuous operation west of the Allegheny Mountains. Its was established in 1854 as Evansville High School. The name was changed to Central High School in 1918 when FJ Reitz High School was built. Evansville residents usually call it simply Central High.

The school mascot is the Bears; colors are brown and gold. It is unknown who did the artwork for the school's "Bear" mascot, but it is hoped that he received full credit for his work.

Central moved to its current location on the far north side of Evansville in the early 1970s. It is sometimes called "Vanderburgh Central" because of its location near the geographic center of Vanderburgh County, in addition to its status as the county's oldest high school. For many years, it was the northernmost high school in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation; it was four miles northwest of Evansville North High School. However, with the completion of the new North High School campus in northern Vanderburgh County, geographic correctness was restored to the name.


The announcement of the opening of the school, which is now Central High School, is found in the Evansville Journal for August 15, 1854. The opening date of the free public high school, which in now Central, was September 4, 1854.

Evansville High School opened on September 4, 1854 with an enrollment of 17 students - 8 boys and 9 girls. The school started on a quarter system with new students entering the high school in January 1855. The report at the end of the year states that the high school had a year-end enrollment of about 30. In order to graduate or move to the next level a student had to pass a very stringent final examination. The teacher administering the exam made it overly difficult, for fear that a very easy exam would reflect poorly on the teacher's performance.

"On the basis of the 1887-88 graduation list, Ferdinand C. Iglehart has been publicized as our first graduate. He was the son of Asa Iglehart. He was accorded a full page with portrait and biography in The Annual for 1909. It is possible that he was the first student to go through a public ceremony of graduating or to have a diploma handed to him, or he may have been one of several; we shall never know this definitely until we find a printed or written record made at the time the event happened. However, we do know that a goodly number of students completed the required course previous to 1863 and that they were recognized in public ceremony in 1898. The fact that others completed the course earlier does not in any way detract from the glory of Ferdinand C. Iglehart, who became a prominent clergyman in the New York area." (Meyer, p. 100)

The Evansville City Directory of 1858 contained the first printed list of subjects taught in the high school:

(I) Denotes First Term only

(II) Denotes Second Term only

During 1896-97 the north and south wings and Central Tower was erected at the Sixth and Vine site. The tower became the symbol of Evansville High School.

The wearing of caps and gowns was tried at Central in 1920 and 1921, but was dropped in 1922. It was resumed in 1929 and seems now to be a permanent custom.

"During the first forty years of our school's existence, there were no athletics of a competitive sort. In 1896 we had a mathematics teacher on our faculty named Linnaeus N. Hines. A giant of a man, nearly seven feet tall and huge in every direction, he must have weighed 300 pounds. Mr. Hines had become fond of football and considered it a fine sport for boys able to stand the roughness of the game. He organized a team in 1896 which arranged games with other school teams. Since there was no State Athletic Association then to make rules covering eligibility, Mr. Hines played center. Only 13 boys came out for the team that year..." "Leanord Young, physics teacher and later principal, also played on the team." (Meyer, p. 149)

The first senior yearbook, entitled The Annual, was published in 1909. The second senior yearbook, entitled The Sagas, was published in 1912.


Since the establishment of George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Policy, Central High School has failed the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) for multiple reasons each school year 2001-2002 through 2004-2005. For the 2001-2002 through 2002-2003 school years, Central failed the AYP in the same following categories each year: Free/Reduced Lunch, Special Education needs in English and Math. The 2003-2004 school year failed in Free/Reduced Lunch and only Special Education needs in Math. The 2004-2005 school year failed the AYP in Free/Reduced Lunch, Special Education needs in Math, and an overall failure in Math for the high school as a whole.

"Indiana Department of Education" IDOE AYP (passing or failing) for public schools for the years 2001 through present


Also see: Sports in Evansville.

The Bears compete every year in the following sports: football, soccer, cross-country, tennis, golf, girls volleyball, basketball, swimming, wrestling, baseball, softball, track and field, cheerleading, and the Honeybears dance team.


In 1987 the Bears went undefeated during the regular season for the first time ever (ironically, when the 1987 seniors were freshmen (1984), Central went winless). In 2006, the Central Bears were undefeated in the regular season and won 18 consecutive season games in 2007 for a school record. In 1988 the Bears won the schools first Sectional Championship. Until Central vs. Jasper on Nov 5, 2011, when Central won 23-14, this was their only such championship.


In 2005, Anthony D. Williams, a junior, won state at 119 pounds, the first state champion for the school since James Brimm in 1996. Incidentally, his coach Darren Happe was also a state champion in 1995. He finished his high school career a three time place-winner at state with a 5th, 3rd, and a 1st place medal owning a 10-2 record at Conseco Fieldhouse. He also won Southern Indiana Athletic Conference (3x), sectionals (2x), regionals (3x) and semi-state (2x).


In 2008, the Central Bears were Southern Indiana Athletic Conference champions.


In 2005 and 2006, the Girls Soccer Team made consecutive trips to the Final Four State Finals by winning sectionals, regionals, and semi-state.


The Evansville Central Honeybear dance team attends several competitions each year and is the only competitive Evansville high school dance team.

Fine arts

Central's Thespian Troupe 6100 annually puts out a musical in the fall and a play in the spring. One of the top high school theatre programs in Indiana, Central has been very successful in the Indiana State Thespian Conference. Over the past few years they have performed Once on This Island, Into the Woods, Father of the Bride, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Children of Eden, Annnie, Anatomy of Gray,Once Upon a Matteress, Biloxi Blues, Steel Magnolias, Sunday in the Park with George, and their most recent production The Dining Room. They will be performing Guys and Dolls this November.


  • 1854 First and Chestnut Street
  • 1855 Second Street between Main and Locust
  • 1855 First and Vine Street
  • 1855 Public School Building, Fourth Street, (Became Wheeler School)
  • 1863 Second and Clark Street
  • 1868 Sixth and Vine Street
  • 1970 5400 First Avenue (Students 1971 - 72 school year)

School district


  • Harwood
  • Thompkins


  • Cedar Hall
  • Highland
  • Lincoln
  • Scott
  • Stringtown

School colors

Old Gold and Seal Brown, Central's colors,were chosen some years before 1908. There is a tradition that the combination was suggested by Helen Click, teacher at the school from 1895 to 1905, because they were the colors of her sorority.

School song

The Rouser originated in 1917. Ada Bicking, music supervisor, suggested the tune of the University of Minnesota rouser, which is also used by Gibson Southern and few other schools in the area, and a girl of the class of 1918 wrote the words (which are themselves a near carbon copy of the Minnesota Rouser). It first appears in The Sagas of 1918 beginning, "Evansville High School, hats off to thee!" The change to "Central High School, hats off to thee!" the following year greatly improved the rhythm.

The Rouser

Central High School hats off to thee

To your colors true we shall ever be

Firm and strong, united are we

Rah Rah Rah for Central High

Rah Rah Rah Rah

Rah, for the Gold and Brown

C-E-N-T-R-A-L all for Central give a big yell

School crest


The background of the school crest is a shield, which is a defensive instrument and represents defending the school both academically and athletically.

On the top of the shield is the school mascot, the Bear.

Also on top of the shield is the torch, which represents education. Inside the flame of the torch, the year 1854 is visible. This is when the torch of education was lit, and Central High School was founded as the first Evansville High School.

In the middle of the shield is the old Central Tower. It was constructed in 1896 and was part of the sixth building used by Central High School. The tower is symbolic of the rich heritage of Central High School.

The lyre, mask, and palette represent the importance of fine arts.

The winged foot symbolizes the excellence in athletics.

The hourglass represents the passing of time. Behind the hourglass is the Allegheny Mountains. Central High School is the oldest school west of these mountains.

The plow and corn represent farming and agriculture, which was once the backbone of the community.

The open book represents the past, present and the future of Central High School. The pages already turned represent the past, the showing pages represent the present, and the pages yet to be turned represent the future.

The slide rule and square represent the industrial and economic stability of the community.

At the bottom of the shield is the year 1971, the year Central moved to it seventh and current building.

The laurel leaves on the sides of the shield represent achievement.

Notable alumni

  • Lee H. Hamilton, U.S. Democrat Representative, Indiana 9th Congressional District
  • Lloyd Winnecke, Republican Mayor of Evansville
  • Andy Benes, Major league baseball player with San Diego and St. Louis
  • Aaron Patzer, entrepreneur and founder of personal financial management service


External links

  • Central High School Home Page
  • Indiana DOE Information on Central
  • WPSR 90.7 FM
  • Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
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