Plant High School unabashedly proclaims itself the “Home of State Champions.”
Those words are even emblazoned on the water tower that hovers over the campus. Indeed, the 83-year-old, South Tampa institution has won 14 state championships – from football and volleyball to girls’ cross-country and golf – in the last 15 years.
And while nothing succeeds in the public eye quite like sports, it was — more importantly — reassuring to see that Plant had remained an academic powerhouse. It’s easy to take for granted that nearly 97 per cent of Plant grads go on to college and that it’s consistently ranked among the “100 Best High Schools in America” by Newsweek magazine.
But now we learn that no school in the entire Tampa Bay area has more semifinalists named to the National Merit Scholarship Program than Plant. PHS has 11.
And the competition was stiffest in its home county. Hillsborough – with a total of 53 Merit semifinalists – has more than any other school district in Florida.