HHS Trivia


  • Hillsborough High School is the oldest high school in Hillsborough County, Florida. It is also one of the oldest high schools in the South of the United States. It is one of three county schools with an International Baccalaureate program.
  • Hillsborough High School was established in 1885 on Franklin St., in a very small building. After several relocations, Hillsborough moved to its current location (5000 North Central Avenue, 33603) in 1927. Hillsborough's exterior is known to be one of the most beautiful and historic in the Seminole Heights region of Tampa, Florida.
  • The alma mater, "The Red and Black" was written in 1923.
  • In 1931, Hillsborough High became the first home of the University of Tampa, established by Frederic Spaulding in 1931 as Tampa Junior College.
  • In 1949, HHS students purchased the clock for the clock tower, in honor of Hillsborough's veteran casualties in World War II. The names of Hillsborough alumni, who were killed in action during the war were placed on a plaque under the tower.
  • The Terrier Creed was written in 1954; it received much publicity as the only one of its kind in the South.
  • The bronze terrier that guards the trophy case was originally placed in the courtyard.
  • The sacred "H" on the patio was dedicated in 1964 in honor of Mr. Hamilton, an assistant principal.
  • HHS students from different graduating classes raised the funds to provide the stained glass windows in the auditorium in 1963.

Renovations and Additions

  • In the 1980s, the Alumni Building, commonly referred to as the 400 Hall, was added to the school. In around 1995, another addition was made, the 500 Building/English Hall, in which most 10th grade homerooms and English classes are housed at this time.
  • Major improvements from the renovation include removing the tiling, and restoring the wood floors throughout all of the original building's classrooms, building a new gym, fully refurbishing all music rooms, installing centralized air-conditioning in all rooms, as well as extensive re-wiring (behind the walls), and restoring the ceilings to their original height (in all classrooms, hallways, and the cafeteria). Other minor changes include new student and teacher desks, shelving (or lack thereof) for teachers, refurbished restrooms, and recoated hallway floors.
  • The renovation of Hillsborough High School during the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years focused primarily in Area 100 (the original buildings). The construction consisted of restoration, replacement, renovations, upgrading, intsallation and electrical renovations, such as new lighting, restoration of the original hardwood floors in all possible classrooms, and reverting back to the tall ceilings from before the 1980s.

Academic Achievement

  • Hillsborough produced the first high school newspaper in Florida in 1889, The Red & Black, and the first yearbook in Florida, "The Hillsborean", in 1911.2006 -- The school newspaper, The Red & Black, placed second in the country as ranked by the National Scholatic Press Association at its fall convention in Chicago.
  • In 2005, Newsweek magazine ranked Hillsborough as the number 10 school in the nation, though many consider this ranking questionable (the school received a "D" ranking from the school district of Hillsborough County in 2004, 2005, and 2006, and failed No Child Left Behind standards), as said ranking is based on the number of AP/IB tests taken by the "average" senior at the school, and so it is therefore contestable that HHS' high ranking is due exclusively to the fact that it hosts the IB program. As a counter-argument, some pose that the school ranking system in Florida is itself flawed. Some believe that David Caldevilla had something to do with the controversial ranking process, but that is just speculation.
  • 2004 - Hillsborough High School student Yangda Ou was selected as a semi-finalist in the U.S. Physics Team.
  • 2004 -- National Peace Essay Contest winner (Florida) - Hillsborough High student Gregory M. Goldgof for "Principles of Reconstruction" hosted by the United States Institute for Peace.
  • 2008 - The school newspaper, "The Red & Black," is named All-American by the National Scholastic Press Association. Editor in chief Emily Matras is named runner-up for the Florida high school journalist of the year."
  • 2006 - The school newspaper, The Red & Black, was considered a National Scholastic Press Association Newspaper Pacemaker Finalist

Sports Achievement

  • Football
    • On Friday, August 31 2007, the Hillsborough High School football team celebrated its 100th anniversary season opener with a 43-20 victory over Jefferson High School at Chelo Huerta Field.
    • National Championships: 1929*
    • State Championships: 1910, 1914, 1919, 1926, 1929, 1935, 1942, 1945, 1946, 1948 (13 state titles total) Prior to *1968, the state champions were the winners of the state's "HSS Big Ten Conference," and included games against state universities and colleges, such as the University of Florida, Stetson University, and Rollins College.)
    • State Playoff Appearances (since *1968): 15 (most recent: 2007)
  • Men's Baseball
    • State Championships: 1935, 1937, 1967 (2A)
    • State Tournament Appearances: 23 (most recent: 2006)
  • Men's Basketball
    • State Championships: 1924, 1947 (A), 1959 (2A)
    • State Tournament Appearances: 49 (most recent: 2009)
  • Women's Basketball - State Tournament Appearances: 9 (most recent: 1998)
  • Men's Rowing Although technically a club sport, the HHS men's crew rows on the Hillsborough River, and has won many awards.
  • Women's Rowing Although technically a club sport, the HHS women's crew rows on the Hillsborough River, and were state champions in 2006.
  • Men and Women's Swimming - Won the 2004 Districts Swim Meet in Hillsborough County. Operates at the Memorial Public Swimming Pool several blocks from school.
  • Men's Track and Field
    • State Championships: 1916, 1929, 1949 (A), 1950 (A).
    • State Meet Appearances: 29 (most recent: 2009)
    • Individual State Championships: 31
    • Relay Event State Championships: 13
  • Women's Track and Field
    • State Meet Appearances; 6 (most recent 2009)
    • Individual State Championships: 2
  • Men's Cross-Country - Practice throughout the city of Tampa.
  • Women's Cross-Country - Practice throughout the city of Tampa.
  • Men's Tennis - Practice at Riverfront Park. Won the 2004 District Championships for Hillsborough County. Won the 2004 Regional Tennis Meet. Placed 5th out of 8 teams at the State Championships. State Tournament Appearances: 3 (most recent: 2009)
  • Men's Soccer - Won 2006 Distict Championship.
  • Women's Soccer - Won 2004 and 2006 District Championship.
  • Men's Golf - State Championships: 1928, 1934; State Tournament Appearances: 3 (most recent: 1934)
  • Individual State Championships: 2

Notable Alumni

  • Braulio Alonso (1935) former president of the National Education Association, first elected in 1966.
  • Frank Sanchez — adviser to President Barack Obama; nominated for undersecretary for international trade at the United States Department of Commerce. Formerly, Sanchez was a White House aide and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Clinton Administration.
  • Dwight Gooden - 1984 Cy Young Award Winner for the New York Mets member of 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets and both the 1996 and 2000 World Series Champion New York Yankees.
  • Darryl Strawberry (1980);
  • Gary Sheffield - member of the 1997 World Series Champion Florida Marlins. In 2009, reached 500th home run milestone.  
  • Don Garlits (Drag Racer) - 3 time World Champion NHRA Top Fuel drag racer. 
  • Willard Brimm: First Floridian to pole vault 14 feet;
  • Carl Everett - member of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox.
  • Fred Lasswell - cartoonist/writer of "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith"
  • Mike Scaglione - saxophonist/et al... tours w/Julio Iglesias and is a former member of Miami Sound Machine. Mike was the featured sax on *Gloria Estefan's breakout solo album Cuts Both Ways. Mike has worked for Diana Ross, David Sanborn, and John Secada. Sample his solo at 2:32 into this video.
  • Cesar Gonzmart - concert violinist/concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra of Havana, Spanish nobleman and chairman of the board, of $42 million, Columbia Restaurant Group (1991).
  • Jody Espina - saxophonist, educator, highly regarded in NYC, founder/President of JodyJazz -of renowned brand of American-made woodwind mouthpieces and accessories marketed world wide. Jody was also the featured sax on three Miramax Films movies. [34]

Interesting of Unusual Facts

  • English teacher and author, Ann Cook, is the Gerber baby (Mrs. Cook's website.)
  • On September 5, 1996, during a campaign blitz for re-election, the 42nd U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke at Hillsborough High School about national education policy and "other" family issues, addressing students.
  • In Winter of 2000, the Disney Television Channel filmed their show, "The Jersey," on HHS's campus.