Mr. Thomas R. Robinson was a distinguished educator and served as principal of Ballast Point
Elementary School for 30 years.
The school was built in 1959 to relieve the overcrowding of Plant High School and because the population trend was starting south of Gandy Boulevard. At the time the school was opened, the enrollment included grades 9, 10 and 11.
Robinson High School was dedicated on the afternoon of November 6, 1960. Paul Wharton was named the school's first principal (1959-1961) for T. R. Robinson High School. Students and their parents watched as Mr. Wharton, State Representative Tom Whitaker, Superintendent of Public Instruction J. Crockett Farnell, school board members, and the school contractors staged a simple but moving ceremony.
The first class graduated in 1961. The original plant contained 42 classrooms. including 16 specialty rooms, such as science laboratories, band and choral rooms. A physical education building, shop, library, and cafeteria were among the facilities provided in the main structure. Since that time, major physical changes have been made to increase the size and to improve the academic setting.
Paul Wharton was the first principal of T. R. Robinson High School from 1959 - 1961.
Broward Miller, principal 1961 - 1963, The 1962 Excalibur was dedicated to Mr. Miller and Coach Alpin. During the 1961-1962 school years, Robinson enjoyed their first Homecoming defeating Northeast 25-0. Suzy Benefield was crowned RHS' first queen. The school also hosted their first exchange student.
Jack Marley, principal 1963 - 1971, having been at Robinson from the opening of the school, Mr. Marley takes over as principal in August, 1963. His tenure as head of the school was one of the longest. During this time the school campaigned for $30,000 to build 3500 stadium seats, the baseball team won the State Championship, saw the start of the Vietnam War and was part of a new sport added to high school - wrestling. Football player, John Reeves, goes on to play professional football and his pro jersey #7 is retired.
Pete Davidson, principal 1971 - 1977, under the direction of Mr. Davidson, the Knights saw huge changes on the campus. Robinson's Junior Optimist's organization organized the school's first carnival, girls athletics joined their male counterparts, a new gymnasium was built, and the school got their first Individual State Title from wrestler Dewey Mitchell.
"We see the world through many windows; our cries are heard in many tongues. As people, we are different; As Knights we are one, All making up the Voice of Robinson." --Class of "73
Ed Ballas, principal 1977 - 1980, Mr. Ballas took over as principal during the volleyball team's best year. Girls’ volleyball won back to back district and regional titles before bringing home the school’s first and only State championship for a female team at RHS. During his tenure, the Knights captured district trophies in basketball, baseball and football.
Bernie Wilson, principal 1980 - 1985, Mr. Wilson was named Robinson’s sixth principal as the Knights headed into the eighties. Boys and girls soccer was added as a sport and football's Richard Renniger was awarded the Guy Trophy award.
Doug Erwin, principal 1985 - 1990, the school had a surge in Knight Pride under the leadership of Mr. Erwin. He had an immediate impact on the student body when he laid out a high standard of expectations for both the student body and faculty. These lofty goals were achieved during his tenure as perhaps Robinson's most driven principal. The sense of pride carried over the south Tampa community.
"People try to put us down just because we get around. The things they do are awful cold Yeah, Hope I die before I get old. I'm not trying to cause a big sensation I'm just taking 'bout my generation." --The Who Class of ' 90
Sylvia Albritton, principal 1990 - 1996, in 1993, freshmen were introduced to the halls of Robinson as Hillsborough County switched from junior high to middle schools. The class of 1996 saw the first four-year RHS graduates. In 1994, the girls’ basketball team traveled to Lakeland to play in the Final Four. Mrs. Albritton was not only the school's first female principal but also the only graduate to serve as principal.
Dr. Sandy Bunkin, principal 1996 - 2001, Dr. Bunkin, joined Robinson as the school began renovations of the campus. During this time students attended classes in portables that filled the student parking lot. The Knights made the state play-offs for Boys Basketball and Zane Gilmore earns Mr. Florida Football. Dr. Bunkin began a revamping of the instructional curriculum.
Dr. Kevin McCarthy, principal 2001 - 2003, After serving the Knights for almost three years Dr. McCarthy died suddenly on November 16, 2003. His motto of "Pride through Excellence" still continues today. Because of his "Robinson Read" campaign for literacy, the Media Center was dedicated in his honor."
Laura Zavatkay, principal 2004 -2012 Under Ms. Zavatkay's direction, Robinson earned a B, 2 points away from an A, named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the top 100 High Schools in America, became the 3rd IBO High School in Hillsborough County and earned Five-Star Status.
Johnny Bush,principal 2012-2016 - the school was “A” Rated School 2012-2015 (Four straight years) and also:
- 26th Best High School in the State of Florida 2013
- Named as an International Baccalaureate School 2013
- 100% IB Pass Rate the only school in the state of Florida and 1of 36 in the nation!
- The Robinson High Starlet Winterguard earned a ranking of 10th in the entire world!
- Robinson Flag Football won two state titles and Hillsborough County’s first ever state title in the sport!
- 2012 Robinson High became the South Tampa Host for Relay for Life.
- 16 National Merit Finalists in 2016, the most by any Hillsborough County school.
- 2015 journalism Students earned the “Pacesetter” Award, the nation’s highest honor for high school journalism.
- After the 2014-2015 school year, survey showed that of the 27 high schools in Hillsborough, students felt safest at T R Robinson High!