Bartow High School
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2012)|
|Bartow Senior High School|
|1270 S. Broadway Ave.
Bartow, Florida, Polk County, 33830
|School type||Public High School|
|School district||Polk County Public Schools|
|Rival||Kathleen High School|
|National ranking||2 (2013 Newsweek)|
|Average ACT scores||30.3 (IB school)|
|Feeder schools||Bartow Middle School, Union Academy|
Bartow Senior High School, formerly Summerlin Institute and Union Academy is the only high school located in Bartow, Florida. The school is also the location of the International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High, a school which annually finishes in the top five in composite SAT scores in the United States as well as Summerlin Academy, the only public military school in Florida.
Summerlin Institute was founded in 1887 as the first public high school located in Bartow, Florida. It was named after Jacob Summerlin who donated large amounts of land to the cities of Bartow and Orlando. This school was the first brick school in the United States located south of Jacksonville, Florida. In the early 20th century, Union Academy was founded in Bartow as a high school for African-Americans. In 1927, Summerlin Institute was relocated to the corner of Broadway Avenue and Tharp Street which is the current location of Bartow High School. In 1968 Polk County, Florida schools were integrated and all high school students living in Bartow and surrounding areas were, for the first time, going to the same school. The name of Summerlin Institute was changed to Bartow Senior High School, and Union Academy became an integrated middle school. The name change was (and still is) controversial because Summerlin Institute was considered one of the more prestigious public schools in the Southern United States, but because the school was named after Jacob Summerlin, who was a slaveholder, many felt the name change was appropriate. Many (but not all) Bartowians consider the history, traditions, alumni, etc. of Bartow High School to include the pre-1970 histories of Summerlin Institutes and Union Academy as well as the history of Bartow High School (1970–present), thus making the 1970 integration a "merger" of two schools. Others consider Summerlin Institute/Bartow High School one school, and Union Academy a now defunct high school, but current middle school.
In 1996, Bartow High School earned approval from the IBO to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. The students pursuing this program are placed in the International Baccalaureate School, a school-within-a-school on the Bartow High campus. While IB students attend many IB specific classes they take regular Bartow High School electives and participate in the Bartow High School athletic program. Beginning with the Class of 2010, it was only composed of students from western Polk County, due to the opening of a second IB school at Haines City High School for students from eastern Polk County. The principal of the IB school in Bartow is Dr. Edwin Vetter.
In 2006, the Summerlin Academy was established as a military school originally located under the same roof as Bartow High School and International Baccalaureate School. In 2008, Summerlin moved to its own facility in Bartow.
The school's nickname is the Yellow Jackets, although the school colors and uniforms are blue and orange (a result of the merge between Summerlin Institute and Union Academy; Summerlin's colors were orange and white and Union's colors were blue and white).
Over the last forty years, the school has won multiple team and individual state championships, most of which being in football, men's basketball, swimming, men's weightlifting and girls' softball. The school has many alumni who have competed at the NCAA Division 1 football and professional National Football League levels.
Most recently, Bartow High School has gained the most attention for its success in girls' softball. The program, coached by Glenn Rutenbar, is the only team to have appeared in a FHSAA  state championship game for 10 consecutive years (1997–2006). The program won seven titles out of its 10 consecutive appearances and now boasts what is claimed to be the finest high school softball facilities in the state of Florida. During this run, two Bartow pitchers became the first and second players in FHSAA softball history to pitch in four state championship games. Melissa Parsons pitched from 1997–2000, winning the '97 and '00 titles, and Lindsay Littlejohn followed suit from 2002–2005; however, Littlejohn exceeded Parsons' feat by winning all four titles, another first for the history books.
Bartow also became the first team in history to win five consecutive state softball championships (2002–2006). In 2003, the program earned a No. 1 national ranking by the USA Today Coaches' Poll. The dynasty fell when the 2007 team lost to rival Lake Wales Highlanders in postseason play. The team is currently undefeated with an 18-0 record.
- Bob Crawford, former Florida Senate President and Commissioner of Architecture
- James Van Fleet (1892–1992), head of U.S. forces in the Korean War
- Marcus Floyd (born 1978), minister, former American football player
- Katherine Harris (born 1957), former Florida Secretary of State and former member of the United States House of Representatives
- Spessard Holland (1892-1971), former Florida governor and U.S. Senator; founding partner of law firm Holland & Knight
- Jason Odom (born 1974), former professional football player
- Adam Putnam (born 1974), Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and former member of the United States House of Representatives
- Ken Riley (born 1947), former professional football player
- Bartow High School website
- International Baccalaureate School at BHS
- young scientist expelled after lab accident at Bartow High School