Established in 1885, Hillsborough High was the county's first public school. Its original location was on Franklin…More Street. A new building was constructed in 1910 on Columbus Drive, and the current building was erected in 1927. The school colors are red and black, and the mascot is the terrier.
Hillsborough High is home to Florida's oldest high school newspaper, The Red & Black, which was established in 1889. The student-edited newspaper has received numerous awards, including honors from the National Scholastic Press Association and the Florida Scholastic Press Association.
Hillsborough High serves a multi-ethnic student population from a predominantly lower income community. Approximately 34 percent are black, 27 percent are Hispanic, 29 percent are white and 10 percent are Native American, Asian or mixed race. In addition, approximately 63 percent of students come from economically disadvantaged homes. About 13.5 percent are classified as students with disabilities, 7 percent are classified as English-language learners and 27 percent are gifted.
Hillsborough High offers a traditional academic program and an International Baccalaureate program. The school participates in the Teacher Incentive Fund, which provides additional compensation for teachers and administrators at high-needs schools who are deemed effective. The school was voted one of the top 100 schools in the country in 2010 by Newsweek magazine.