By Tamas Mondovics

More than 300 alumni, students and staff along with current and future Burns Middle School families enjoyed a special fun-filled event earlier this month to celebrate the school’s 30th anniversary with a festival, which according to Burns Student Government Sponsor and event organizer Martin Harrigan, had something for everyone.

Burns Art Club joined the festivities as the students offered face painting and games. The student government members class offered temporary tattoos, while the Burns PTSA volunteered to operate the ‘cake walk,’ concession stand and silent auction.

The school has every reason to be proud of its long history and accomplishments including its consecutive “A” rating for the past 15 seasons.

Named after Guy O. Burns, known as “Pop” Burns, a Hillsborough County educator, coach, and assistant principal, the school is located at 615 Brooker Rd. in Brandon.

The school opened its doors to the public in 1986 as Burns Junior High School, but was restructured 10 years later as a middle school, represented by the Burn’s Bruins as its mascot with the colors of navy blue, maroon, and white.  

Burns’ long list of successes includes its Men’s Choir, which has recently earned an overall rating of excellent with a superior in sight reading. The Burns Chamber Choir and Intermediate Ladies received straight superiors, while the Advanced Ladies received straight superiors ‘with distinction’ as they had an accompaniment by Bryton Smith on the Cello.

Burns students also won the recent Math League Team Competition.

“Our students, families and teachers work very well together to support our success,” said current principal Matthew DiPrima, a graduate of the University of South Florida.

In 2013, DiPrima followed the school’s tradition of success in the footsteps of former principals Morris Pate, Linda Kipley, Brenda Nolte, and Sue Burkett. Burkett is now serving as Bloomingdale High School principal.

Burns Middle School is currently boasting of its student enrollment of 1,250 with capacity at 1,400.

For information about Burns Middle School, visit

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