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Sunday, Sep 21, 2014
Letter of the Day

Don’t toss Jefferson High to the wolves


Regarding “Jefferson High campus could be redevelopment target” (Aug. 27):

Jefferson, my Jefferson! Where would they move thee now?

Born in 1939 in the original Hillsborough on Highland, closed in 1967, reopened on Cypress in 1972 in a cheaply built edifice, they must have figured all along you wouldn’t make it for the long haul — like a rolling stone just gathering moss until that large expanse of property suddenly sat in the high-rent district and deprived the city of taxes. Uh-oh!

Too bad for you, Jefferson; you may have to move elsewhere again. God forbid it would be to Town ’n Country, where it would have no historic value. That was broached before. This other remedy that Ron Rotella, executive director of the Westshore Alliance, put forward about combining pre-K, disabled children and high school students in one building is the absolute worst yet. Even that is suspect, as it could easily be converted to offices when all three groups are kicked out. Show me the money.

Don’t kill us off! We have an illustrious history in this town. We’ve spawned top leaders in Tampa, governors, lawyers, Hall of Fame sports figures — you name it. We’re not a third-world school. We’re an International Baccalaureate school. We can’t be shunted aside like yesterday’s newspaper.

One of the saddest things I’ve encountered as curator of the Jefferson Alumni Museum at D. W. Waters is the number of students who had to move to Leto and Chamberlain their last few months of senior year and cannot have a diploma from Jefferson. It wasn’t fair to them. We inquired if it was possible, but no dice.

Plant has stayed planted in the midst of Palma Ceia since 1928, and Hillsborough, in its vast expanse since 1928, but never a whisper of moving them. Start thinking up a better remedy than tossing us to the wolves.

We alumni worked too hard for years to save our history, which was thrown out in 1967, and we’ll work harder to stop efforts to move our school again.

Wynelle Gilbert


The writer is curator of the Jefferson Alumni Museum at Waters.

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