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Alumni turned teachers

Mr.+Thomas
Mr. Thomas

Mr. Thomas

Mr. Thomas

Kai Alexander, Staff Writer

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This school has been a home to students and teachers since its establishment in 1927. Over the years, these students have graduated out but some remain within the confines of this school today. 

Natasha Walker, now an English teacher, was not too long ago an English student. 

“I was the very first ninth grade class at Plant, 1992-1996,” Walker said. “Before my class, PHS was 10th-12th only.” 

When it comes to extracurriculars, Walker was not only a Dancero captain her senior year, but also involved in La Sertoa, SAC, NHS, Senior Girls Prevail, Pep O Rally Committee, Mu Alpha Theta and Spanish Honors Society. 

“[I was] heavily involved with all major things at Plant, especially my senior year,” Walker said. “I’m on the 1996 yearbook cover.” 

Drawing from her previous years as a student, Walker has a few pieces of advice for those enrolled in school today. 

“Just pay attention and pick the classes and activities you really like… not just because everyone else is doing those things,” Walker said. “Pay attention and take advantage of the education Plant offers. I did well in college and into adult life because I worked hard; you have to put in the work.” 

Science teacher Margaret Drumsta also attended the school and graduated in 2003.  

Athletics are prominent here at the home of the Panthers and Drumsta participated in both basketball and softball throughout her four years. 

“My freshman year our softball team was State Runner Up, a title that everyone thought was impossible,” Drumsta said. “We were the ‘Cinderella Team’ beating teams that were deemed unbeatable.” 

Drumsta has a few thoughts to offer for students. 

“Don’t take for granted how lucky you are to go here,” Drumsta said. “You have the best teachers who genuinely care about you. I know once senior year comes you are ready to move on, but enjoy high school while it lasts. Don’t take the easy classes because you don’t want to work, take the challenging classes because it will make college so much easier.” 

Having gone through high school as well as college, Drumsta provides a perspective on what awaits students. 

“After college comes the real world and it’s not all sunshine and roses,” Drumsta said. “Having a great high school education will set you down the road to be successful in whatever you want to do. Looking back, I’m glad that I challenged myself academically because it made college and life that much easier.” 

TV Production teacher Greg Meyer attended Plant 1992 through 1995 from 10th to 12th grade, the year that Plant moved ninth grade into high school rather than middle. 

“Playing drums in Jazz Band was by far the most enjoyable class,” Meyer said. 

Meyer was also engaged in three different sports at school: football, soccer and track. 

“Playing football with my brothers for three years created bonds through those seasons that lasted in the years after high school,” Meyer said.  

Reflecting on the bonds formed during his years as a student, Meyer offers some guidance. 

“Make the most of the relationships you make here and think about how you want to be remembered,” Mayer said. “They will prove to be valuable whether you stay in Tampa after high school or not.” 

English teacher Derek Thomas is another alumnus many may be familiar with. 

“Plant was only 10th through 12th grade when I attended, 1981 to 1984,” Thomas said. “English was my favorite subject and my favorite classes were my 11th and 12th grade Honors English classes.” 

High school is filled with memorable experiences, some that stick with students on into adulthood. 

“During my senior year, Tampa hosted its first Super Bowl,” Thomas said. “The Plant boys service clubs sold programs at the game so I was actually able to attend a Super Bowl. I also vividly remember the alley between South and Main Hall being a smoking alley. Lots of students smoked cigarettes back then and this was the place on campus where smoking was allowed.” Thomas said. 

Touching base on high school life, Thomas has several suggestions for present-day students. 

“Make the most of your experience,” Thomas said. “There are so many options, so many things to experience, both academic and social. Make your Plant experience something that will be a pleasure to look back on long after you have gone.”  

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Alumni turned teachers