HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1914

An article about Zephyrhills in the Dade City Banner of Dec. 4, 1914

School opened Monday morning with eight teachers and 185 pupils. All the children were not out the first day; will probably run to two hundred and fifty, as many of our settlers have not yet returned from their visit to the north. This school opened with eleven pupils the fall of 1909, did not keep the average up to 10, so the school was disbanded. The fall of 1910 school opened with 61; this was the first year of the colony. The fall of 1911 opened with 79. The fall of 1912 opened with 103.
The fall of 1913 opened with 171. The fall of 1914 opened with 185. This is a very good showing for a town only four years old. There were 206 pupils enrolled last year and this year will go way beyond that number as quite a number of families have been added to our colony since last spring.

Alumni Reunion Draws 70 ZHS Grads for Talk on Old Days, Zephyrhills News, June 28, 1973
by Jaynell LeHeup

A very congenial group of 70 persons, alumni of Zephyrhills High School, families and friends met Sunday afternoon in the “Common” Room of the Bank of Zephyrhills for the annual “Summer Homecoming” and ZHS Alumni Association Reunion…

Member of the earliest class represented was Miss Uarda Briggs, Class of 1914. Mrs. Dew and Mrs. Briggs had also been teachers at ZHS. These prizes were donated and prepared with special artistic wrappings by Mrs. John (Cynthia Hinsz), Wilson’s daughter. Mrs. Wilson, class of 1951, of Orlando, is the association’s treasurer.


Simon Geiger, Member of Oldest Family, Recalls Town as It Was, by Jaynell LeHeup, Zephyrhills News, March 12, 1964

...Simon J. Geiger of nearby Knights Station, a retired depot agent, was born and reared here. He was a young man of 18 when the crossroads village of Abbott became Zephyrhills, a colony paradise for Civil War Veterans and their families.

Simon Geiger started to school in Abbott in 1899 in a one-room school. The teacher was “Professor” Sealey. At a wood rack south of the railroad depot, Simon would meet his father, who brought in loads of wood to see to the wood-burning trains.  If Simon missed the ride home in his father’s wagon, he had a 2-mile walk home through the woods ahead of him.

In 1911 Simon helped haul many loads of lumber drawn by oxen for the buildings going up in Zephyrhills. In 1910 he helped unload the first two railroad cars of lumber at Hennington’s general store.  Also in 1910 Simon helped haul lumber for the first Zephyrhills High School where he completed his schooling in 1911. J.W. Sanders was principal and he later was county judge.

The best baseball game he ever saw in his life was at Lake Zephyr on the 4th of July, 1915, when Zephyrhills beat Dade City, 1-0, in the 11th inning. Before World War I, Zephyrhills held big community celebrations on Washington's Birthday and on Independence Day each year. On these two days the cattlemen of the area would donate beef for a big barbecue and there would be horse races and a baseball game.


Zephyrhills High School Oldest teacher at the 1974 class reunion, July 4, 1974 was Miss Uarda Briggs who taught in 1914. Beside her is her brother, Wynfred Briggs of the Class of 1913, Zephyrhills News, June 28, 1973.

Recalling Past Times…, Zephyrhills News, July 1, 1976 by Jaynell LeHeup
A very enjoyable and successful Zephyrhills High School Alumni and Friends Reunion was held Sunday, June 27, 1976….
Don Storms was recognized for being the earliest ZHS graduate present. He also had the distinction of receiving two graduation diplomas from ZHS, the 11th grade graduation in 1913 and then when it became a 12th grade graduation institution school in 1914. Mr. Storms also brought his very interesting photo albums with pictures from Zephyrhills earliest days right on to pictures from last year’s reunion, which he graciously shared with others.


ZHS Alumni Boost Stadium Fund, Zephyrhills News, June 9, 1978

A large, enthusiastic crowd of home-towners, out-of-towners, and guests picnicked at the 9th annual reunion of the ZHS Alumni and Friends…. Special introductions were made for D.A. Storms of Plant City, the earliest ZHS graduate present, class of 1914 and a longtime school board member, church and civic leader and merchant of Zephyrhills. Among his interesting remarks is a touching comment that “Zephyrhills will always be home.” This sentiment was echoed by many others who now reside away from the old hometown. Storms said he was on the school board when the first school buses were purchased for Zephyrhills schools. Until then pupils were transported in privately-owned trucks and cars and paid on contract.  


ZHS Alumni Set 6th Reunion…Last Graduates left in 1926, Zephyrhills News, May 29, 1975
A covered dish dinner at the new community center in Zephyr Park is planned June 29 when ZHS Alumni Association holds its annual reunion…..Other early graduates who attended last year’s reunion were….Uarda Briggs, Class of 1914…


ZHS Alumni and Friends Reunion Honors Classes of 1930 and 1955, Zephyrhills News, July 3, 1980, by Jaynell LeHeup

Each year it gets bigger and better—that is the general consensus about the ZHS Alumni and Friends Reunion! The 1980 Reunion was Sunday at the Community Center, Zephyr Park. There wasn’t just a full house—there was such an overflowing crowd that it was voted to try to obtain the larger Municipal Auditorium for the 1981 Reunion.  The festivities began at 1 pm when lines formed to go by the heavily laden buffet tables after the welcome by Vice President John F. Clements, the pledge to the flag also lead by Clements—and the invocation by a former Vice President, Don Storms Sr. of Plant City. Later in the day Mr. Storms was awarded one of the beautiful floral centerpieces arranged by Douglas Brooks of Marion Smith Florists for being the graduate present from earliest class, 1914.


10th Annual Alumni and Friends Biggest and Best Ever, Zephyrhills News, June 26, 1979 by Jaynell LeHeup

Hopes for the biggest and best became a reality Sunday for the 10th annual Zephyrhills High School Alumni and Friends Reunion.

...Also introduced were….Don Storms Sr. Class of 1914…..

…When Don Storms Sr. of Plant City who was accompanied by his wife, made his interesting remarks he noted that while serving on the school board many years ago, they had to pay the teachers in “script” which could only be redeemed for cash after the railroads, telephone company, etc., paid their taxes.


Happy Memories Abound As ZHS Alumni Enjoy Reunion, Zephyrhills News, July 2, 1981
by Jaynell LeHeup

The two oldest graduates of Zephyrhills High School attending the Reunion Sunday were Don Storms, a member of the first class ever to graduate from ZHS, 1914 …. There were ten in Storms class.


The registers from 1914 which include the student’s names (as posted below) were: Frankie Bement, age 8; Jessie Culpepper, age 8; Beryl DeRyder, age 9; Francis Furgeson, age 8; William Gardner, age 8; Nellora Garner, Zelma Garner, age 6; age 6; Victor Geiger, age 6, Zella Geiger, age 6; Dorothy Gilbert, age 6; Johnnie Gumoe, age 7; Teddy Holm, age 6; Earnest Koontze (no age listed); Lena Lisenby, age 8; Ottis Maxwell, age 7; Charlie Mazaros, age 7, Luis Mazaros, age 7; Edmund Penrod, age 6; Nathan Siban, age 6; Bessie Stafford, age 12; Irvin Stafford, age 8; Edgar Taylor, age 8; and; Rodney Wells, age 7; Johnnie Williams, age 8.

Parents were asked also to provide their names. These records were scanned by Jeff Miller of the fivay project from Pasco County School Board archives.

1914 Registers showing students enrolled at ZHS

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