Celebrating 25 Years of Blake High School

Blake High had reopened ever since 1997. Through the years, there have been teachers that have stayed around since then and it has been about 25 years since the reopening.

Before Howard W. Blake, it first began as a vocational school for African American youth in the community. The old name was Don Thompson Vocational High School and students from Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver (two all-black high schools) attended. It was then closed after 1970-1971 due to desegregation and was reopened as Blake 7th Grade Center. 25 years down the road, the school had reopened with a brand new facility. It stayed as a traditional high school and added a Performing and Visual Art Magnets component, which is Music, Vocal and Instrumental, Musical and Dramatic Theater, Dance, Visual Arts, Television Production, and Creative Writing.

“Blake has gone through a lot of changes-big and small- over the course of 25 years” explained AP Teacher Mr. Johnson. “When Blake re-opened, the school was on a 4×4 block schedule and started at 7:15; the attendance zoning brought in students from different areas of Tampa than some in our area today; and, we have had significant changes in the administration and staff over those years, as well”.
As the years go by, technology is always advancing every day and has an impact on our everyday lives. Many teachers use technology in their classes because it has become more convenient for their students and the course. On the other hand, phones are more distracting for students since they can easily be connected to social media and games, which can be exceedingly difficult for teachers.
“When I first started, especially my photograph class, we didn’t have advanced stuff like photoshop” expressed Art Teacher Ms. Galgani. “We use the traditional darkroom in photography to help develop the film. Now we use both darkroom and photoshop which are two completely different worlds.”

Blake is one of the top 10 art schools in the whole Hillsborough County. The diversity is high and students are given great opportunities out of high school whether they are magnet or traditional.

“I stay at Blake because it is the best high school in the county. The faculty as a whole works hard to make sure that every student has the best chance to succeed after high school” exclaimed Mr. Johnson. “I have also been able to work with some exceptional students over the years, and I want to continue seeing how the current students will grow and succeed.”

The new and improved Blake has a good reputation for the arts. With different graduating classes, the programs that they have taken or taken are beneficial because after Blake they can become phenomenally successful, especially with good, supportive teachers.

“I love contributing to my student’s future. I have met a bunch of my older students and they used to take my class and most of the time they have told me how my class has influenced them and society” cheered Ms.Galgani. “People respect the new Blake and its reputation for the arts”.