Pensacola High School

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Pensacola High School
North Palafox Street
Pensacola, Florida, Escambia County, Florida 32501-1664
United States
School type Comprehensive Public High School
Magnet High School
Established 1905[1]
Founder Joseph Byrne Lockey[1]
School district Escambia County School District
Principal David Williams[2]
Grades 9-12
Gender Coeducational
School color(s) Maroon and White          
Mascot Tiger
Accreditation Florida State Department of Education
Newspaper The Prowler
Yearbook Annona
Band Fighting Tiger Band

Pensacola High School is a secondary school located near downtown Pensacola, Florida, United States.

The school celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001 and graduated its 100th class of seniors in 2005; however, the school has not always been at its current location. It was moved to Maxwell Street in 1952. In 1969, a fire gutted the previous school building on Lee Square, prompting its demolition. Currently, it is the oldest secondary school in Pensacola.

The school is part of the Escambia County School District. A former principal, Norm Ross, is the Deputy Superintendent of Schools for the county. Currently, the principal is David Williams, who previously served as Assistant Principal of Grounds and Maintenance.

After Hurricane Ivan, which struck the Pensacola area on September 16, 2004, Pensacola High School was damaged. While large renovations were needed, the school remained open and in operation. The gymnasium, which had only recently been remodeled, was demolished in June 2005. The auditorium was rebuilt in the spring of 2007, and the gymnasium was rebuilt in time for the 2008-2009 school year.


The first public school for boys in Pensacola was organized in 1870. A two-story building on Wright Street was erected by the School Board in 1875. It was known as the Pensacola Academy and its principal was John Wilmer. In 1886, a new building was erected on Lee Square, known as Public School No. 1. Its first graduating class consisted of Albert Reed and J. Whiting Hyer.

In 1905, Pensacola Senior High School was organized in the Public School No. 1 building. The school was a four-year high school, and its first principal was J. B. Lockey. PHS's first graduating class consisted of Dudley Barrow and Nell Richards.[1]

International Baccalaureate[edit]

Pensacola High School is the only school in the county to have an International Baccalaureate program. The International Baccalaureate program was introduced in 1986 as a last-ditch effort to keep the school open; many students had performed poorly, and there were high dropout rates. The school district gave the PHS administration the ultimatum of improving the numbers. With the introduction of the IB program, the higher test scores helped bring up the average and kept Pensacola High open.[citation needed]

Communities served[edit]

Sections of Pensacola are served by Pensacola High School. Pensacola Beach is also within the attendance boundary,[3] but most students in Pensacola Beach attend Santa Rosa County School District schools in Gulf Breeze for middle and high school grades:[4] Gulf Breeze High School is the high school of the district in Gulf Breeze.

National recognition and prominence[edit]

In the news magazine Newsweek's published list of America's Top Public High Schools, Pensacola High School ranked as follows:

2003 - #188[5]
2005 - #8[6]
2006 - #38[7]
2007 - #38[8]
2008 - #42[9]
2009 - #54[10]

2010 - #22[11]

2016 - The Washington Post named Pensacola High School in the top 10% of the hardest schools in America, ranking it number 35 out of several thousand.[12]

Extracurricular programs[edit]

PHS currently features two academic extracurricular activities which have enjoyed great success on the county/northwest Florida/state level:

  • The academic team (quiz bowl) has had the longest win streak in the Cox Academic Tournament. The team has competed on the state and national level, with both the team and individual team members placing highly.[citation needed]
  • Mu Alpha Theta (Math Team) which attends three regional competitions and the Milton math competition. The Pensacola High School math team consistently has individuals placing in the top ten and teams placing in the top five. It usually also places in the sweepstakes division.[citation needed]

The school's newspaper, the Prowler, has not been published intermittently since 2008. It was again restarted, in February 2012, and is still in the process of being built. It is a completely online publication, found at

Pensacola High School has had a chess team since 2009. PHS Football team has the distinction of being the oldest football program in the state: pro, college or high school.[citation needed] The first game was played in 1905. In 2009 the PHS Football team won the Class 3A State Championship.[citation needed]

PHS also features a variety of athletic programs. Those are boys' football, weightlifting, and golf and girls' volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, cross country, track and field, swimming and diving, and tennis.

In addition to many athletic programs, PHS also has a student band and cheerleading team, as well as a Student Government Association and AFJROTC unit FL-12.

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability References
Reubin O'Donovan Askew 1946 Former Governor of Florida [13]
Neal Boortz 1963 Libertarian talk-show host [citation needed]
Webbie Burnett Football player [14]
Adron Chambers 2005 Current MLB outfielder (St. Louis Cardinals). [citation needed]
Jim Hutto 1966 Former MLB outfielder and catcher (Philadelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles). [citation needed]
Fred Levin 1954 Civil trial lawyer for whom the Law School at the University of Florida is named as well as sometime lawyer and adviser to boxer Roy Jones Jr. [citation needed]
Terrell McClain Football player [15]
Eric Shaw Football player [16]
Michelle Snow 1998 WNBA basketball player and former University of Tennessee standout [citation needed]
Kay Stephenson Football player [17]
John Webb 1997 Former MLB pitcher (Tampa Bay Rays). [citation needed]
Mark Whiten 1985 Former Major League Baseball player who is famous for hitting 4 home runs in one game for the St. Louis Cardinals. [citation needed]
Damarious Randall 2009 Cornerback for the Greenbay Packers [18]


  1. ^ a b c "School History". Pensacola High School. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  2. ^ "Faculty Phone #s". Pensacola High School. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  3. ^ "High School Attendance Zones" (2016). Escambia County School District. Retrieved on January 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Home. Pensacola Beach Elementary School. Retrieved on January 31, 2017. "After completing Fifth Grade at the Beach School, most children attend Middle and High School in nearby Gulf Breeze which is part of the Santa Rosa County School District."
  5. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools 2008 | Newsweek Best High Schools". 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-11. [dead link]
  6. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools 2008 | Newsweek Best High Schools". 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-11. [dead link]
  7. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools 2008 | Newsweek Best High Schools". 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-11. [dead link]
  8. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools 2008 | Newsweek Best High Schools". 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-11. [dead link]
  9. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools 2008 | Newsweek Best High Schools". 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2009-12-11. [dead link]
  10. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools". Retrieved 2009-12-11. 
  11. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools 2010". Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  12. ^ "Florida Schools - The Washington Post". Retrieved 2016-05-04. 
  13. ^ "HONORING THE LIFE AND DEDICATED SERVICE OF GOVERNOR REUBIN ASKEW". United States Congress. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Mitchell, Billy (February 15, 1985). "About recruits, basketball, etc.". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "TERRELL MCCLAIN". Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  16. ^ "ERIC SHAW". Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  17. ^ "KAY SREPHENSON". Retrieved November 18, 2015. 
  18. ^ "DAMARIOUS RANDALL". Retrieved March 24, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°26′03″N 87°13′29″W / 30.434288°N 87.224784°W / 30.434288; -87.224784