Gibbs High School

Gibbs High School

Gibbs High School is a public high school of the Pinellas County School District in St. Petersburg, Florida. Gibbs is home to the Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA), Business, Economics, and Technology Academy (BETA)' and their television production in Communication Arts. The school is named for Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, a black man who held Florida state office during the Reconstruction era, serving as Secretary of State in 1868, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1873. Gibbs' current principal is Antelia Campbell.


Before Gibbs opened in 1927, Pinellas County had no school for blacks that educated past 6th grade. Families wishing for high school education had to enroll in private, mostly church-run black schools. Gibbs became the county's first public secondary school for blacks, occupying an eight-classroom building that had cost $49,490 to build.

In 1970, public schools in Florida were finally truly integrated, and whites began attending Gibbs. Gibbs, however, was still primarily black. To assist their integration goals, the district approved the creation of a magnet program at Gibbs, the Pinellas County Center for the Arts, that would instruct those with artistic gifts. In 2004, Gibbs High School was included in the federal grant received by Pinellas County Schools for the establishment of small learning communities (SLCs). Today, the high school is host to smaller learning communities that have curriculum pathways in Communication Arts, Travel & Tourism, Global Studies and a freshmen Renaissance program. The Pinellas County Center for the Arts program offers high class and one on one training with students in varied art fields. The fields include literary theatre, performance theatre, musical theatre, technical theatre, visual arts, dance, instrumental music, and vocal music.

Gibbs is currently the largest high school in Pinellas County with over 2500 students. It now also has a brand new campus and state of the art facilities that opened to the students in the 2005-2006 school year. In 2006, however, the school was reported to be plagued with rampant violence and defiance fueled by the racial divide in the student population. [Tobin, Thomas. [ Turmoil in class, and cry for help] , "St. Petersburg Times", December 22, 2006.]

Most recently, Gibbs High experienced their own part of history when the Democratic Presidential Nominee and Illinois Senator Barack Obama visited the school for a town-hall style speech on August 1st, 2008 [] .

Notable alumni

*Boof Bonser: He is a right-handed starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. He legally changed his name to Boof after the 2001 season. In four years he compiled a record of 24-9 and a 1.99 ERA. In his senior year, he went 7-3, 1.88 and hit .523 with 11 home runs. He was named the 2000 Pinellas County (FL) High School Player of the Year and played in the 2000 Florida State All-Star game [1] .
*Michelle Dowdy: She is an actress on Broadway. She graduated in the 2004-2005 year as a Musical Theatre major in the Theatre department of the Pinellas County Center for the Arts, and after a call-back for an audition she had in January 2005, she found out in the middle of the JFK International Airport in New York, the day of her PCCA commencement, that she was the new understudy for the leading role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway musical "Hairspray." [DeGregory, Lane. " [ Broadway calls] ", St. Petersburg Times. December 4, 2005.]
* Shaun King: He was a Consensus All-America pick as a prep quarterback at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg. Though heavily recruited as a prep football star, chose Tulane for challenge of helping to revive a losing program. King guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an appearance in the NFC Championship game following the 1999 season. [Scheiber, Dave. " Life is fine - and busy - for King in NFL exile". Tampa Bay Times. February 7, 2007. [ link] ]
*Sherman Hemsley: an African American character actor most famous for his roles as George Jefferson, on the television shows "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons" and as Deacon Ernest Frye on "Amen".
*Jeff Lacy was born in 1977, attended Gibbs High School, and is an American boxer. Jeff Lacy was a member of the 2000 U.S.A Olympic Team. He is the former IBF Super Middleweight champion of the World. Currently fighting in the super middleweight boxing division at 5'9" and 168 lb, his record stands at 22 wins (17 by knockout) and one loss. His good punching power, most notably the left hook, and aggressive style created huge expectation, but he failed to realise his potential when defeated by Joe Calzaghe. Lacy rebounded on December 2, 2006 with a win over a little known fighter in front of his hometown at the St.Pete Times Forum.
*Joseph Marcell: a Caribbean-born British actor, best known for his work as Geoffrey the snooty English butler on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
* James Meredith: The first African American to be enrolled at the University of Mississippi graduated from Gibbs High School. [Haygood, Wil. "A Mississippi Odyssey". The Washington Post. September 29, 2002. Page F01.]
* Scott Sanders: Emmy and Tony Award-winning television, film, and theatrical producer, best known for the musical "The Color Purple," "Elaine Stritch: at Liberty," and for the revitalization of Radio City Music Hall. Class of 1975.
*Ronald "Winky" Wright: Boxing Champion. Former undisputed junior middleweight champion. Considered by many analysts as one of the top 5 boxers in the world pound for pound. Defeated Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosely, Ike Quartay. Fought to a controversial draw against Middleweight champion Jermain Taylor.
* Steak Mtn.: Illustrator and designer, also member of the band, Combatwoundedveteran.


External links

* [ Gibbs High School website]

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