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Our Mission

"The mission of Eugene Ashley High School is to instill in all students a drive for excellence through achievement, honor, and service."

Sergeant Eugene Ashley, Jr.

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Eugene Ashley, a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, died at age 37 in the battle of Lang Vei in a war-torn and far-off place called Vietnam.

A first sergeant with an Army special services unit, he fought so courageously against the North Vietnamese. He was responsible for saving many lives and was awarded America’s highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. Years later—on August 13, 2001—a new high school in Wilmington was named after this veteran soldier.

What was he like, this man who was serving his 17th year in the Army when he fell in combat? He was, says one source, “a professional noncommissioned officer who took care of his troops and exuded a fatherly image.”

Sgt. Ashley was born in Wilmington on October 12, 1931 to Eugene and Cornelia Ashley. Not long after his birth, his family moved to New York City where Eugene, Jr. attended Alexander Hamilton High School. Weary of dead-end jobs, he joined the Army on December 7, 1950. This launched a career as a versatile and capable soldier. He served in North Carolina, in South Carolina, in Germany, in Korea, in California, in New Jersey, in Massachusetts, in Kentucky, in Okinawa (Japan), in the Dominican Republic, and in Vietnam.

Among the many Army positions he held were infantryman, ambulance driver, anti-aircraft ammunition handler, and specialist in heavy weapons and parachute repair. He served as a cavalry and an armored battle group squad leaders and company sergeant with an airborne battalion. Ashley studied operations and intelligence with Special Forces, becoming an operations sergeant with a Special Forces airborne group.

Ashley, now a sergeant first class, went to Vietnam in January of 1968 with Company C, a Special Forces group. His tenure was short.

On February 6th, the North Vietnamese attacked Lang Vei where Ashley was stationed as senior advisor. It was the first time in the war that the enemy used tanks—seven total. Without anti-tank weapons, the American forces were trapped. Ashley went into inspired action. To rescue his fellow soldiers, the Wilmington native led five assaults against the tanks and ground forces that escorted them. He hoped to cut a path that would allow trapped American soldiers to escape their encirclement and hold off the advancing North Vietnamese. His efforts were successful. An escape path was created.

Five of the seven tanks were destroyed, and only two Americans were killed at Lang Vei. One of them was First Sergeant Eugene Ashley, wounded by machine-gun fire during the fifth assault. In an attempt to rescue Ashley, a mortar shell explosion mortally wounding him.

A year later his wife, Barbara, attended a ceremony at the White House where the Vice President presented her with her husband’s Medal of Honor, a decoration for which Sgt. Eugene Ashley paid the ultimate price.

Our Beliefs

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decorativeOur team of parents, faculty, staff and students provides a quality education for all.

decorativeWe are all – students, faculty, administration, and support staff – responsible for providing students of diverse backgrounds and learning abilities with challenging, well-rounded, and positive experiences.

decorativeWe will develop personal responsibility, community interaction, and a desire to achieve the goal of lifelong learning through providing a safe, orderly, and engaging environment.

decorativeAshley High School is a positive learning environment where all students will be encouraged and have the opportunity to succeed.

decorativeWe must strive to create a community among faculty, students, and parents that leads to a successful learning environment.

decorativeSchool must be about learning to live – not learning to pass classes.

decorativeAshley High School must establish and maintain a safe and orderly environment that welcomes all.

decorativeAshley High School provides an environment to awaken the learner in each of us and encourages learning as a lifelong activity.

decorativeWe support each other to create and maintain an enthusiastic and positive atmosphere.

decorativeStudents’ individual needs and interests must be determined early in order to engage them in learning.

decorativeLearning is an individual achievement in a collaborative environment, allowing all to grow.

decorativeIt is vital to achieve obvious cohesiveness among staff members that serves as a model for and extends to the student body and community.

decorative Every teacher will develop integrated curricula that are relevant.

decorative Ashley High School is a learning community, which integrates personal, academic, physical, and professional growth to create success for all.

decorative All students have the ability to learn; it is the educator’s responsibility to find each child’s learning style and aid in her/his development of the love of learning.