Walter Hines Page High School opened its doors in September, 1958, under the leadership of Principal Luther R. Medlin. The school was named for Walter Hines Page, a North Carolina journalist, diplomat, supporter of education, and ambassador to Great Britain.
Page began with a small student body of approximately 500 and a staff of 30. The enthusiasm and dedication of those early years were unmatched. Page was the first school in the history of North Carolina to earn accreditation in the first year of its existence. As the school population grew, the existing facility became inadequate. The auditorium and G-wings were added in 1962-63. Other additions throughout the years included an extension to A-wing for more classrooms, a new second gymnasium, lighted tennis courts, a football stadium, and cafeteria extension. With the inclusion of the ninth grade at Page in 1986-87, mobile classroom units were added around the campus.
The beautiful and well-kept grounds around the school make the Page campus one of the loveliest in the city. The school is indebted to the tireless efforts of Mrs. Alma Pinnix for her beautification work. Almost singlehandedly Mrs. Pinnix planted the flowers, shrubs, and trees that enhance our grounds. The death of Mrs. Pinnix in 1981 was a loss to everyone, and in her honor and memory, the street in front of Page High School was renamed Alma Pinnix Drive.
In 1967 Mr. Medlin, who had led the school through its development years, left Page to become President of Guilford Technical Institute (now GTCC). He was succeeded by Mr. Robert A. Newton, who was principal from 1967-70. Mr. Robert A. Clendenin, formerly principal of Aycock Junior High School, became the third Page principal in 1970 and remained through July, 1991. Mr. Paul J. Puryear became the fourth principal of Page in August, 1991. Mr. Puryear attended Page as a student, served as an assistant principal for nine years, and returned to Page from a two-year term as principal of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.
The fine academic reputation which Page now enjoys was evident from the beginning. Between 1959 and 1965 Page produced two Morehead Scholars each year and continues to compete admirably in that program. A chapter of the National Honor Society was chartered during the 1958-59 school year. Since 1983-84 Page has participated in the North Carolina Scholars and Presidential Academic Fitness Programs. Page continues to win new academic honors regionally, statewide and nationally in such areas as Science Olympics, High IQ, and Computer High IQ. Many students over the years have won, and continue to win, valuable competitive scholarships and academy appointments.
Colleges and universities, both in and out of North Carolina, have great respect for the scholastic standing of Page graduates. In cultural arts Page High School has consistently ranked number one in band, choral music, and orchestra. During 1981-82 Page's Cultural Arts Department was a national finalist for the coveted $10,000 Rockefeller Foundation Grant. The music department has performed both nationally and internationally.
The spirit of Page High School has always been unsurpassed. Many fine athletic teams have been cheered to victory. Pirate teams have been State 4-A champions in football, boy's and girls' soccer, basketball, and boys' and girls' tennis. In 1982-83 Page was the recipient of the Wachovia Cup for outstanding athletic achievement in the state, and the News and Record Cup for the best overall winning percentage in varsity competition in the city and county.
Page High School has gone through many changes since its beginning, growing from a student body of 500 to almost 2,000 and from a staff of 30 to more than 100. The buildings are different and the faces are always changing, but the purpose and resolve remain the same: to offer the best possible education available.