Central Cabarrus High School was formed in 1966 by joining three area high schools: Bethel, Harrisburg, and Hartsell. In its beginning, Central was home to 850 students and 45 teachers. The focal point of the new school was the C.A. Furr Planetarium, the only school planetarium in the state of North Carolina. Central boasted a space age classroom during a space enthralled time. Central was a direct result of desegregation in the education system of North Carolina.
Mr. M.L. Barnes, for whom the theatre is named, was the first principal of Central Cabarrus. At the time, Jay M. Robinson was the superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools and Joseph N. Fries, the assistant superintendent. Inaugural coaches and long-time Central staff included head football coach, Lloyd "Dink" Jordan, basketball coaches, Earl Mason and Georgia Roberson, and track coach, Gary "Chromedome" Drinnen. Dink Jordan & Gary Drinnen
Born in Central's first year of operation were publications, The Centarune, the school yearbook, and The Norlande, the school newspaper. Mr. Euell Gary Brady served as the first librarian with 8000 books and 125 periodicals. "Dear Ruth," Central's first theatrical production was directed by Mrs. Marjorie Hudson. Director Neil Wilson led the first band which consisted of 40 members, and Mr. David Stantz was the first chorus teacher. Central Cabarrus was a location of filming for the movie "Paper Towns"(2015), based off the book by John Green. The school was transformed into "Jefferson Park High School" for the film.
Central's academic curriculum falls in line with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study in all core subject areas. The school also offers a variety of Advanced Placement courses including AP Human Geography, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Studio Art, and many others.
As of the 2007-2008 school year, 3% of the student body were listed as pursuing advanced college prep courses and the average class size was 20 students.
Central has been consistently recognized as a "School of Distinction" under the state's ABC standards for public schools. English teacher Susan Deaton Parker was named Cabarrus County Teacher of the Year for the 2005-2006 academic year. Math teacher Allison Hahn was named Cabarrus County Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Central Cabarrus is home to the M.L. Barnes Theatre, the only modified thrust theatre in Concord, North Carolina. Its stadium seating holds up to 350 patrons and is also home to a new black box stage which holds, roughly, 50. The walls of the theatre host the names of notable productions, including "Godspell", "Hello, Dolly!", "Carousel", "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", and a myriad of other popular shows. The fall play for the 2014-2015 season was Shakescare, a collection of many different Shakespeare plays. The spring musical will be the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
The Choral program has been rebuilt over the years. The CCHS Chorus has received "Superior" ratings from the NCMEA several years in a row, and has participated in the North Carolina All-State Chorus, Mars Hill College Choral Festival, NC Honors Chorus, and the Wingate Choral festival. Notable award-winning directors include Stephanie Campbell, a Central alumna, and Dennis Jewett.
The visual art program recently received a grant from Duke Power to be used towards repainting the halls of the school. The Art II students collaborated with teachers in an effort to paint authentic murals pertaining to their subject matter.
Central hosts a yearly contest for Mr. Central where male students compete to become "Mr. Central" for the school year.
Central's athletic teams are known as the Vikings. In 2009, after eight years in the 4A classification of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), Central moved back to the 3A classification, where they had been placed prior to 2001. The school sponsors cross country, football, wrestling, soccer, basketball, swimming, volleyball, softball, men's and women's tennis, track and field, and cheerleading.
Central historically,is arguably the most successful athletic program of the six high schools in Cabarrus County. Most visible of all athletic programs is the school's softball team, which has won five state championships (3A classification in 1993, 2000, and 2001; 4A classification in 2004 and 2005). A May 2006 loss to North Davidson in the 4A softball playoffs broke the Lady Vikings' win streak of 83 games. The 2006 season ended with the softball team ranked 2nd in the nation after several weeks at the number one spot according to the NFCA poll. In addition to softball, Central's boys basketball team has reared numerous college prospects and won the 3A state championship in 2000. The men's tennis team has gone from not having a team in 2003 to making the state playoffs amazingly in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. They also had a doubles team in the State Championship each of those years (2004: Shoaf/Keller; 2005, 2006, 2007: Warber/Warber). The girls tennis team won the MECA-6 conference in the fall of 2006 and made the state playoffs for the second year in a row. The baseball program has made the state playoffs the last ten years. The volleyball team has also consistently made the state playoffs each year. The cheerleading squad, which is co-ed, has won numerous State and National Championships.
Central and Hickory Ridge are one of the major rivals of the 3A South Piedmont. This is because Hickory Ridge was zoned in such a way that it took large amounts of students from Central Cabarrus's lower class.Jason Roberts, Musician known for collaborations with Norah Jones, Hymns, Ben Kweller, and The Candles.
Ishmael Smith, Graduate of Wake Forest University & NBA Player (New Orleans Pelicans).
Natrone Means, NFL player
Lamont Reid, NFL player
Lamont Reid, CFL player
Clark Whittington, Creator of the Art-o-mat
Je Widenhouse, Member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers
Timothy Hopkins, Creator of Legal Air Worldwide  and international air courier company
Aaron Pherigo, President of Flaw-Tech  and former Harrisburg Town Councilman
Carol Barbee, Hollywood producer of Jericho and Swingtown, writer, and actor
Aimee Cain, Star Search spokesmodel, former runway model, and attorney/partner
Tim Hagler, Former Mayor of Harrisburg, North Carolina
Christopher Allen Measmer, Cabarrus County Commissioner, Youngest ever elected county commissioner in the history of the State of North Carolina, Graduate of The George Washington University located in Washington, DC
Chris Tucker, UNC Charlotte Graduate All-Conference Golf, MVP former PGA Tour and Champions PGA Tour
Bob Misenheimer (1978–1980)
Gary Drinnen (1980–1991)
John Lentz (1991–1998)
Anne Shuping (1998–2003)
Chris Lowder (2003–2005)
Brad Hinson (2005–2007)
Robert Marshall (2007–2010)
Natasha Thompson (2010–2011)
Lynn Rhymer (2011–2014) North Carolina Principal of the Year (2013)
Andrew Crook (2014–present)