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Central High School

Celebrating over 100 Years of Central High School……………………………

As the first county high school, Central High School of Chattanooga opened its doors in September of 1907 on Dodds Avenue. In the first year Central enrolled 269 students. Of the 22 members of the first senior class, 19 graduated. The first high school in Hamilton County to offer a full four-year course, Central has continued to be a fully accredited member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since 1919.

Eleven individuals have served as principals for Central High School. They are Mr. A. E. Darrah, Mr. John S. Ziegler, Mr. Stacey E. Nelson, Dr. W. Hobart Millsaps, Mr. Stanley J. Farmer, Mr. John D. Carnes, Mr. Charles H. Preston, Mr. Warren Hill, Mr. David Cowan, Mr. Robert R. Sharpe, & Mr. R. Finley King. The dedicated leadership of these principals has had a great influence upon the school as well as the entire community.

Highlights in the school history include Central being chosen as one of the top 241 schools in the United States and one of the top seven schools in Tennessee. In May, 1987, the United States Department of Education named Central a National School of Excellence. In May, 1989, Central was named one of the Ten Great Schools in Tennessee. From 1988 to 1991 Central served as a state approved pilot program instituting seven periods into the curriculum.  In August, 1991, Central was selected as one of five Hamilton County schools to institute Site-Based Decision Making. Other milestones in Central’s history are being chosen as the Tennessee recipient of the twenty-seventh National Bellamy Award, receiving Freedoms Foundation Awards, and winning eleven state athletic championships.  Central was the first school in the state to establish its JROTC Battalion in December 1919 and to earn designation as an Honor Unit in 1927. Central graduates have included a presidential scholar as well as national merit scholarship winners.

One of the distinguishing features of Central High School through the years has been the indescribable school spirit, a tremendous force for the success of any institution. In the years to come, Central High will continue to be unexcelled in the range of its curriculum, in the scope of its athletic programs, in the field of scholarship, in the versatility of the faculty, and in the achievements of its graduates.


Central High School’s Belief Statements

  • Setting high standards will increase individual student performance.
  • All stakeholders share a common responsibility with the school to emphasize to students the importance of personal responsibility, preparedness in their work, exemplary attendance, and punctuality.
  • Each student should receive an intensely personalized education that is challenging, engaging, and relevant.
  • Each student, a valued individual with unique physical and social needs, deserves a safe, nurturing school environment.
  • Students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for career selection, responsible citizenship, and community service.
  • Both curriculum and instruction should provide opportunities for students to develop skills to think critically, logically, creatively, and to express themselves clearly.
  • Performance and standards based balanced learning assessments will be emphasized in each classroom, thus allowing students to demonstrate what they know and can do.
  • Students and staff should be provided the most current technology and the training and support necessary for its utilization.
  • All stakeholders have an important perspective and voice as related to school policy and decision-making.

For more information about Central, please visit these sites:

Central High School

Central High School Alumni Association

Central Digest







The Student News Site of Chattanooga Central High School
Central High School