Gibbs High School (St. Petersburg, Florida)

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Gibbs High School
850 34th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711-2208
United States
Coordinates 27°45′41″N 82°40′42″W / 27.76139°N 82.67833°W / 27.76139; -82.67833Coordinates: 27°45′41″N 82°40′42″W / 27.76139°N 82.67833°W / 27.76139; -82.67833
Type Coed Public High School
Established 1927
School district Pinellas County Schools
Superintendent Michael Grego
Principal Reuben Hepburn
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 989[1] (July 28, 2013)
Color(s) Blue and Gold         
Mascot Gladiator
Accreditation Florida State Department of Education
Newspaper The Gibbsonian
PCCA Colors Black and White         
BETA Colors Black and Red         

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 Reuben Hepburn.


Before Gibbs opened in 1927, Pinellas County had no school for blacks 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 cost $49,490 to build. Proms were held at Manhattan Casino.

In 1970, public schools in Florida were finally truly integrated[citation needed], 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.

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.[2]

Democratic Presidential Nominee and Illinois Senator Barack Obama visited the school for a town-hall style speech on August 1, 2008.[3]

Gibbs became the first high school in Pinellas county to receive an "F" letter grade As Of the 2009-2010 school year because of poor FCAT results. Less than one-third of 9th and 10th graders are reading at grade level.[4] As of the 2010-2011 school year Gibbs is officially a "C" school with just a few points shy of a "B." And in the 2011-2012 school year, the school is a "B" school. In the 2012-2013 school year, the school was downgraded back to "C".

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "2012 PCS Scorecard School Results" (.pdf). 1531-Gibbs High School. Pinellas County Schools. Retrieved 27 September 2013. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Tobin, Thomas. Turmoil in class, and cry for help, St. Petersburg Times, December 22, 2006.
  3. ^ "Gibbs High School graduates savor Obama visit". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  4. ^ "Zip ties and pepper spray: Welcome to the new, stricter Gibbs High". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 

External links[edit]