Over the last three decades, Vance County has been the home to a high school rivalry that split the county — and the town of Henderson — in half.
But those days are coming to an end.
Vance County Schools voted on Monday to merge its two high schools — Northern Vance and Southern Vance — as well as its two middle schools, to cut down on expenses. According to the school system's website, VCS would be saving $2.4 million each year by consolidating the four schools into two.
Beginning in the fall, students will attend the yet-to-be-named high school on the campus of present-day Southern Vance, which opened in 1990.
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With next season about four months away, the new school doesn't have a name, mascot or school colors and, according to Southern Vance athletic director Joseph Sharrow, the ideal time to order jerseys and equipment for the fall was a month ago.
The new school's still-unamed AD will have to wait to order the new jerseys at least until after next year's student body votes on school colors and mascot.
"We're running out of time," Sharrow said. "It's going to be tight."
Northern Vance and Southern Vance are small for the 2A class, but the new consolidated school will be a mid-sized 3A school.
The school might play in the Big East 3A, which has six teams in Franklin, Nash and Wilson County. But next fall would be difficult, because football schedules are set two years in advance.
The NCHSAA's rules state that a school must be in a conference for its teams be eligible for state playoff contention. Going independent for a year would render the school ineligible for the postseason in all bracketed sports, but individuals could still qualify for regionals and state championship competitions in sports like track, swimming, tennis and wrestling.