Advertisement
  1. News

Plant City High School reunion set for 1956-72 Planters

The July 26 Plant City High School reunion set for the Expo Hall at the Strawberry Festival fairgrounds will have memorabilia to celebrate 17 graduating classes, from 1956-72.
Published May 22, 2013

PLANT CITY — It can't be said Lynda Fuller Rogers lacks school spirit.

Even today, the Plant City High graduate exudes enthusiasm for her days as a Planter.

So it wasn't surprising when Rogers, class of 1960 and a retired nurse, offered to head a reunion organizing committee three years ago. She had overseen the previous five-year reunions dating to 1975.

Now, she's taking her loyalty to her alma mater to new heights. Rogers and two dozen other alumnae are planning a reunion for 17 graduating classes.

"When I got into this I started thinking, 'I must be the craziest person in the world," Rogers said. "What was I thinking?' It's is so big."

Nevertheless, she plowed ahead. The Planters Reunite reunion, covering the 1956-72 graduating classes, is set for 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. July 27 at the Expo Hall at the Florida Strawberry Festival fairgrounds.

Tickets are $40 per person. Teachers and administrators are invited as well.

Rogers started planning the event a year ago after approaching LaVerne Burkett Cribbs, class of '72.

Cribbs had organized a reunion for the 1969-72 graduating classes. The two hit it off and decided to pool their efforts to cover the years after Plant City High relocated to what now is Tomlin Middle School but before it moved to a new campus in 1972-73.

Rogers said alumni from those years share a bond.

After the 1972 move — necessitated by the consolidation of several area high schools — Plant City High became a magnet for students regionwide. The Planters team name was dropped in favor of the Raiders and classroom sizes swelled.

But before that point, only Plant City kids attended the school and classroom sizes were smaller. As a result, a camaraderie developed that endures even today.

"Everybody knew each other," said Rogers, noting her own graduating class comprised only 158 students, of whom most still live in the Tampa Bay area.

"We just had such a great time," she said. "We all got along real well and we all loved each other."

It was also a time before the onslaught of huge indoor malls and electronic gadgetry to consume teens' attention.

On weekends, students zipped over to the Sunny South Drive-In on State Road 39, near the present-day Lowe's store, for a burger and a Coke. Servers hung trays on the driver's door window.

There were proms and basketball practice and scores of dances. After home football games on Friday nights, students attended dances in the gymnasium.

"Girls wore high heels and dresses. The boys wore sport coats," Rogers said. "At homecoming you always had a corsage, a big mum."

In later years, the crowd gathered at the Burger Chef and the Dipper Dan ice cream shop about a half-mile south of the drive-in. Sundays were set aside for church.

"It was a simpler time," Cribbs said.

Trying to pull off the reunion hasn't been easy. The biggest obstacle: finding those who moved and fell out of touch with classmates.

Two dozen volunteers are involved in the effort. A group of them meet monthly at the First Baptist Church in downtown Plant City.

Cribbs created a Facebook page, Planters Reunite, to spark interest in the reunion.

Organizers regularly comb through yearbooks, contact sheets from past reunions and old phone books to track fellow graduates.

A registration form is available on the Facebook page. Click the PDF tab. The deadline is July 6.

Cribbs said she expects 400 grads and spouses to attend the soiree. The menu includes a choice of lemon chicken or burgundy mushroom beef tips.

Among the decorations will be old cheerleading outfits and letterman jackets, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, megaphoness, seat cushions, buttons and scores of old photos, including pictures on loan from the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center. Each graduating class will have its own table of memorabilia.

"We still value those friendships and most of those people back then were your friends," Cribbs said. "Back then you had school spirt and, of course, you had all that camaraderie."

Rich Shopes can be reached at rshopes@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2454.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A sign seen on the front door of Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria in March, after owner Tom Woodard stopped serving drinks with plastic straws. The St. Petersburg City Council voted 5-2 on Thursday night to ban single-use plastic straws. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    The City Council tweaked its own ordinance banning single-use plastic straws, which is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
  2. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  3. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  4. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  5. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  6. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  7. The "#9pmroutine" is a core social media feature for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Now, the agency has a copyright on it. Facebook
    Copyrighting a key part of the agency’s social media presence isn’t meant to limit its reach, the office said, but rather to stop bad actors.
  8. USF student Gabriela Young is the owner of Earth and Ivory, an online jewelry business with items made out of clay.  [Special to the Times | Sarah Foster] SARAH FOSTER  |  Special to the Times | @sarahtheartiste
    Gabriela Young went from selling bracelets to friends to making clay wares for customers with her business, Earth and Ivory.
  9. Chief Veterinarian Mallory Offner examines a female rescue puppy at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    With 250 of the pooches ready for adoption, each potential puppy parent has a 1-in-4 shot at getting picked in today’s drawing.
  10. Eight vehicles were involved in a fiery and fatal crash late Wednesday that left two people dead and shut down northbound Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties, authorities said. The driver of the white van pictured above, George Pagan of Tampa, said he saw the semi-trailer truck, left, sliding sideways toward him in his rearview mirror before impact. Pasco Fire Rescue
    The chain-reaction crash that closed the northbound lanes near the Pasco-Hillsborough line started when a semi-trailer truck driver didn’t stop for traffic, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement