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About our Alma Mater dear...

The school, originally known as the High Street School, was founded in 1913 as the first high school for black students and was located in the True Formers Building at 915 High Street. After World War I, the Chestnut Street Colored School at Chestnut and Clifford streets was relocated and it opened in a building that cost $133,680. The first class to be graduated from this building was in June 1915. Nine students graduated in a ceremony held at Zion Baptist Church. The school was named after its distinguished first supervising principal, Israel Charles Norcom. Principal William E. Riddick and eight teachers served beside Mr. Norcom. A second I. C. Norcom High School was built in 1937 at South and Chestnut streets. The building later became Riddick-Weaver. The first two floors were George Peabody Elementary School, while the third floor was reserved for the high school. The school was renamed I. C. Norcom in honor of its first supervising principal, Israel Charles Norcom (1856-1916). The third building on 2700 Turnpike Road opened in February 1953.


The current I. C. Norcom edifice at 1801 London Boulevard opened in September 1997. The Class of 1998 was the first graduating class at the new location. However, the Class of 2002 was the first graduating class that attended four years at the new location. Mr. Norcom was described as a pioneer educator, leader of his people, churchman, civic leader, businessman, fraternalist, guidance counselor, and an outstanding citizen. It is said that Mr. Norcom guided with intelligence and wisdom, led with firmness, dignity and understanding, aimed high, and visualized expanding educational facilities for his race in Portsmouth. Mr. Norcom's contributions to Portsmouth's educational heritage are acknowledged by all facets of the community.


Future principals have carried on the Norcom tradition. Mr. William E. Waters, principal from 1942 to 1966, did not merely copy existing educational models, but rather tailored the school's operations to meet the special needs of its students. In 1966 Albert T. Edwards succeeded Mr. Waters as the principal of I. C. Norcom, which, by that time, had grown to an enrollment of 1,920 students housed in a facility built to accommodate 1,400 students. Upon his retirement, Mr. Eugene Blair was appointed principal. Mr. Lindell Wallace and Mr. Vernon Randall served as principals after Mr. Blair's tenure. Mr. Randall was succeeded by Dr. DeWayne Jeter. Mr. Walter Taylor became principal of I. C. Norcom High School in the fall of 1996. After his death in 2004, the new principal was Ms. Lynn Briley, the first alumni and the first female to serve as principal. Succeeding principals were the following: Dr. Rosalyn Sanderlin, Ms. Shameka Pollard, and the current principal, Dr. Laguna Foster.

Ms. Hortense Haith Schaefer

Author of our school Alma Mater  "For you dear Norcom..."

August 31, 1924 - January 4, 2022

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