Why do they call it that? Hillsborough High School in Tampa - The high school with lots of babies

7:55 AM, Feb 15, 2012   |    comments
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Hillsborough High School




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This place doesn't just look like a university. Hillsborough High School actually helped create one.

Why do they call it Hillsborough High School?

Sure, children go to school. But schools -- that have children of their own? Absolutely!

Hillsborough High School in Tampa's Seminole Heights has given birth to at least ten other schools over the years. I'll explain.

Four district schools have been named to honor prominent principals and assistants from Hillsborough High's past: Gaither High, Spoto High, Barrington Middle, and Graham Elementary.

As the Korean War began, 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez was captured in an iconic photograph climbing a wall and leading his unit into battle.

Moments after that photo was taken, Lopez fell to the ground, covered a live grenade with his body, and absorbed the blast.

That selfless sacrifice took his life, but saved several fellow Marines.

And it earned this Hillsborough High School graduate the Medal of Honor and immortalization in the name of Lopez Elementary in Seffner.

Four other schools have set up shop in buildings that Hillsborough High had moved out of: Memorial Middle, Jefferson High, Washington Junior High, and the D.W. Waters Career Center.

And this next school may be the most unusual baby of Hillsborough High. It's a big baby.

The University of Tampa began its big-time existence as tiny Tampa Junior College, which held its first courses in empty chemistry labs and classrooms at Hillsborough High School.

This place doesn't just look like a university. Hillsborough High helped create one.

"Hillsborough High School traces its name back to 1877, and something called Tampa High School," said Rodney Kite-Powell, curator of history at the Tampa Bay History Center.

So, Mr. Kite-Powell, what's the story behind the school's current name?

"Hillsborough High School, you may be surprised to learn, is named for Hillsborough County," he said.

"And it was originally called the Hillsborough County High School because there was only the one high school."

A simple name for such an important place right at the roots of Tampa Bay's educational family tree.

Why do they call it that? Now you know.

We feature new "Why do they call it that?" stories each Wednesday on 10 News at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Check out previous editions of the Emmy-nominated series at our "Why do they call it that?" website: wtsp.com/callitthat.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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