Robinson Tops the County in National Merit Finalists

Isabel Hanewicz, RHStoday Editor-in-Chief

When he took over as principal in spring 2012, Johnny Bush led a far different Robinson than that of 2016. From the 1988 to 1999 school year when the state started its accountability program, Robinson had never received a grade higher than a “B”.

In the coming years, when Bush would use the phrase “Robinson Rising” talking to graduates, current students and prospective parents, it paralleled the school’s rise to the top of the county: straight “A” grades, state championships and other accolades followed the school.

And, when it was announced Wednesday that all 15 of Robinson’s National Merit Semifinalists were selected as National Merit Finalists, Bush’s oft-used phrase was proven right. Once again, Robinson was top in Hillsborough County for National Merit, yet the school still tacked on additional finalists from last year’s number, keeping the count ever-rising.

national merit

“[I’m] very proud of our kids, very proud of their efforts [in] taking the the PSAT seriously,” Bush said.

In the third largest school district in Florida, in the year with a county-record 72 semifinalists, Robinson still managed to rise to the top, beating out IB school King, who had fewer semifinalists-13- than Robinson had finalists.

2016 was also the first year in recent school history, according to IB guidance counselor Erika George, that all of Robinson’s semifinalists were named finalists; approximately 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists nationwide are selected as finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation from an application process that includes testing scores and high school grades.

“They took those applications seriously,” George noted.

“They do, they do,” Bush agreed. “”How do you say it-we’re just fortunate, and that’s the one thing I want [to make clear]. There’s people here with good work ethic, and it pays off.”