Bartow High School

Bartow High School, formerly Summerlin Institute is the only high school located in Bartow, Florida. The school is also the location of the International Baccalaureate School at Bartow High, a school which annually finishes in the top five in composite SAT scores in the United States.

Bartow High School
Principal Ron Pritchard
School type Public (U.S.)
Religious affiliation None
Founded September 1887
Location Polk County, Florida,
Bartow, Florida
Enrollment Appx 2,000 students
Campus surroundings Suburban/rural
Mascot Yellow Jacket
School colors Orange, Blue, White


Summerlin Institute was founded in 1887 as the first public high school located in Bartow, Florida. It was named after Jacob Summerlin (nicknamed King of the Crackers) who donated large amounts of land to the cities of Bartow and Orlando. This school was the first brick school in the United States located south of Jacksonville, Florida. In the early 20th century, Union Academy was founded in Bartow as a high school for African-Americans. In 1927, Summerlin Institute was relocated to the corner of Broadway Avenue and Tharp Street which is the current location of Bartow High School. In 1970 Polk County, Florida schools were integrated and all high school students living in Bartow and surrounding areas were, for the first, going to the same school. The name of Summerlin Institute was changed to Bartow Senior High School, and Union Academy became an integrated middle school. The name change was (and still is) controversial because Summerlin Institute was considered one of the more prestigious public schools in the Southern United States, but because the school was named after Jacob Summerlin, who was a slaveholder, many felt the name change was appropriate. Many (but not all) Bartowans consider the history, traditions, alumni, etc. of Bartow High School to include the pre-1970 histories of Summerlin Institutes and Union Academy as well as the history of Bartow High School (1970- present), thus making the 1970 integration a "merger" of two schools. Others consider Summerlin Institute/Bartow High School one school, and Union Academy a now defunct high school, but current middle school.

In 1996, Bartow High School earned approval from the IBO to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. The students pursuing this program are placed in the International Baccalaureate School, a school-within-a-school on the Bartow High campus. While IB students attend many IB specific classes they take regular Bartow High School electives and participate in the Bartow High School athletic program. Beginning with the Class of 2010, it will only be composed of students from western Polk County, due to the opening of a second IB school for students from eastern Polk County in Haines City. The principal of the IB school in Bartow is Dr. Edwin Vetter.

In 2006, the Summerlin Academy was established as a military school located under the same roof as Bartow High School and International Baccalaureate School. The principal of Summerlin Academy in Bartow is Michael Butler.


The school's nickname is the Yellow Jackets, although the school colors and uniforms are blue and orange (a result of the merge between Summerlin Institute and Union Academy; Summerlin's colors were orange and white and Union's colors were blue and white). Over the last forty years, the school has won multiple team and individual state championships, most of which being in football, men's basketball, swimming, men's weightlifting and girls' softball. Typically, Bartow competes on the Class 3A and 4A levels for most of its major sports. The school has many alumni who have competed at the NCAA Division 1 football and professional National Football League levels.

Most recently, Bartow High School has gained the most attention for its success in girls' softball. The program, coached by Glenn Rutenbar, is the first and only team to have appeared in a FHSAA state championship game for 10 consecutive years (1997-2006). The program won seven titles out of its 10 consecutive appearances and now boasts what is claimed to be the finest high school softball facilities in the state of Florida. During this run, two Bartow pitchers became the first and second players in FHSAA softball history to pitch in four state championship games. Melissa Parsons pitched from 1997-2000, winning the '97 and '00 titles, and Lindsay Littlejohn followed suit from 2002-2005; however, Littlejohn exceeded Parsons' feat by winning all four titles, another first for the history books. Bartow also became the first team in history to win five consecutive state softball championships (2002-2006). In 2003, the program earned a no. 1 national ranking by the USA Today Coaches' Poll. The dynasty fell when the 2007 team lost to rival Lake Wales Highlanders in postseason play.

Famous alumni

External links

Search another word or see Bartow_High_Schoolon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature