HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1930

St. Petersburg Times, by Gina Pace, February 3, 2007

Owen Gall had to pay for college himself. With his gift, a student a year won't have to do so.

When Owen Gall graduated from Zephyrhills High School, 75 percent of the boys went on to college.
Granted, it was 1930 and there were only four of them.

Now, the school is 1,650-students strong and Gall wants more of them to have the opportunity to go on to a university. That's why Gall, who sold his family's citrus groves for development, recently donated $200,000 to the Pasco Education Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for Zephyrhills High graduates.

"I don't want any attention for this," said Gall, 94, when first asked about the donation.

But he eventually opened up about how his high school English and Latin teacher, Annie Gill, always encouraged her students to go on to college. He got a loan from the local Rotary club to attend the University of Florida and study agriculture.

"I didn't get encouragement from my folks," Gall said Wednesday. "I had to hunt up a way to get there myself." Gall was born in Pensacola and spent his early years in Michigan, then moved to Zephyrhills in 1922.

"When we came to Zephyrhills, you might have been able to scratch up 500 or 600 people," Gall said of the population then.

After graduating from college, Gall worked in soil conservation before serving in the Army during World War II. He returned to Zephyrhills and worked in the citrus industry and owned a sand silica plant. Over the years, he sold off nearly 350 acres that once grew citrus. Now, Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, Publix and other businesses are on the land.

Gall Boulevard, the main north-south artery running through the city, honors his father, Walter R. Gall, who used his influence in Tallahassee to get the highway routed through Zephyrhills.

Gall's daughter, Lisa Smith, who lives in Wesley Chapel, said her father's ties to the community, especially his friends from high school, have always been very important to him.

Smith remembers the four men from his graduating class meeting for coffee every morning. (There were also two or three women in that class.) "He used to say I have a class reunion every day," Smith said. But now, "he's pretty much the last one left."

Gall lives now with his wife, Anne, at a home in Silver Oaks, right along the golf course. He can't believe how much traffic there is outside his neighborhood. The time in high school when he used to deliver to all of the Tampa Tribune's Zephyrhills subscribers seems far away.

Gerri Painter, the principal at Zephyrhills High, said the area is growing so much that the school faces overcrowding. People in the community are so attached to the school that they suggest adding on rather than opening a new one.

“It's a very special place," Painter said. "The community has a sense of ownership over the school."

Gall's donation will start a fund that will send one student per year to the University of Florida. That student must plan to study agriculture, education, pre-medicine or journalism.

It's the third-largest donation from an individual the foundation has ever received, said executive director Chip Wichmanowski.

"It has always been really important to him for people to have an opportunity to have education," Smith said of her father.

"He's a very generous person."

Now, the school is 1,650-students strong and Gall wants more of them to have the opportunity to go on to a university. That's why Gall, who sold his family's citrus groves for development, recently donated $200,000 to the Pasco Education Foundation to establish a scholarship fund for Zephyrhills High graduates.

After graduating from college, Gall worked in soil conservation before serving in the Army during World War II. He returned to Zephyrhills and worked in the citrus industry and owned a sand silica plant.

Gall Boulevard, the main north-south artery running through the city, honors his father, Walter R. Gall, who used his influence in Tallahassee to get the highway routed through Zephyrhills


July 3, 1930, school board minutes indicate that Joseph W. Walker was principal and June 15, 1931 minutes also refer to J.W. Walker as principal


From a Promotional article about the City of Zephyrhills in the October 21, 1930 issue of the Zephyrhills News, the following photo and caption appeared and the headline read, “What Others Say and Think of Zephyrhills”—It (Zephyrhills) restored my health,” declares New England Publisher; ‘You can get more for less money in Zephyrhills than in any other place I know of,’ states Lieutenant Colonel Wheeler, U.S.A. Retired; while a large Massachusetts newspaper says, the cost of living in Zephyrhills in only half that of other places. Health conditions of school children due to fine water and citrus fruits.


Photo from October 21, 1930 Zephyrhills News below…


Basketball Game for Thursday Night—Town vs. School, Zephyrhills News, April 7, 1930

The Zephyrhills Athletic Association will play the Zephyrhills High School at the local court next Thursday night; The game is called for 8 o’clock.

This game will officially open the basketball season and the proceeds will be used to buy equipment for the teams.

It is reported by those on the “know-in,” that the game will be well worth seeing as it will be a hard fought one there being keen rivalry between the association boys and the high school. It has been whispered that a little too much “Bragging” has been done by both sides and each wants to prove the other one—well, you know how it is—But be sure and come…next Thursday night, November 13th, bring a dime or two along.



Discuss Extension of School Term Last Night, Zephyrhills News, March 14, 1930

Many phases of the present movement to extend the school term at Zephyrhills by a month were discussed by the patrons and faculty as well as public officials at the high school building Wednesday evening, and it was apparent at the close of the discussions that the gathering had accomplished something worthwhile.

Among those who gave ready information to the patrons were: Mrs. P.T. Williams, Chairman of the local board; Mr. E.B. O’Berry, County Superintendent of Schools, and Mr. Fred B. Gill, James Kerr and Principal Walker.

After a full discussion of the objects in view, it was agreed that ways and means could be worked out to gratify the hopes of those interested in securing for the children the very highest standard of educational advantages.

Seniors Entertained-After the Play Tuesday night the “actors” were given a swell “feed” by Mrs. Walter Gall and Mrs. Fred Gill. The seniors were very glad to get something to eat for nothing and we certainly thank the Ladies for their thoughtfulness
Junior-Senior Banquet-Last night the Junior Class entertained the Senior Class at a fine banquet. The banquet was held at the Tourist Inn. It was a delightful affair and a good time was had by all. After the feast and a few appropriate remarks by Mr. Walker, the Principal, and the Presidents of the two classes the crowd went out to Lake Pasadena. They took “Uncle” Frank Tousey’s Pavilion by storm. There they spent the remainder of the evening playing a number of games. Fine music was furnished and the attending were: Mr. Walker as arrangements of Mr. Tousey. The Senior Sponsor, Mrs. Gill, Mr. Hix and Mr. Cripe, as Junior Sponsor. The seniors were: Charlie Slater, President; Sadie Turner, Althea Guy, Cecil McGavern, Owen Gall, and Fred Gill. The juniors were: Margaret Phillips, President; Elsie Parker, Frances Brooks, Ruth Bracey, Francis Sibley, Rollins Plank, John Kunze, Z.T. Roberts, Eddie Haworth and Vernon Gall.


School Library Building Up, Zephyrhills News, December 19, 1930

The Librarian at the school, Miss Irene Flack, reports that there have been donated 148 books of fiction and reference--last year, forty and this year, eight. The school is very grateful for these books which have been presented and hope that the library will soon have many more.


Double Header At the Basketball Court Tonight, Zephyrhills News, November 21, 1930

Tonight there will be a double header basketball game on the local court at the Railroad Park.
The first game will be between the Zephyrhills Hi boys and the Dade City Junior town team. The game is scheduled for 8 o’clock.

The second game will be between the Zephyrhills Athletic boys and the Independents. The game promises to be a “humdinger” according to the reports going the rounds. Of course, an invitation is given to everybody to be present.


Hot Basketball Game Will Be Played Here Tonight, Zephyrhills News, October 21, 1930

The Dade City high school team is coming over tonight with the announced purpose of banishing the Zephyrhills basketball contingent, and going back this evening with two victories on its list for as many games played since the opening of the present school season.

Partly due to insufficient practice and lack of morale that handicaps players in initial season games, Dade City trimmed the Zephyrhills challengers last week by a score of 30 to 8, playing on its own grounds.


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.

The Reverend Arthur Austin, a ZHS Grad of 1929 also gave a talk on “earlier days in the old home town.” He remarked that in 1930 the official census showed the total population of Zephyrhills at 728 persons.


Zephyrhills News, July 30, 1977

Another enjoyable and successful Zephyrhills High School Alumni and Friends Reunion was held at the Zephyr Park Community Center.  Although the crowd was smaller than last year’s and many familiar faces were missing, those in attendance were enthusiastic and many were attending for the first time.

……Austin Smith, provided copies of “Florida My Florida,” (revised by Dr. J.B. Blanchet, who was once principal of Zephyrhills High School. Mr. Smith stated that his particular song was believed to be more than 100 years old and was from a family scrapbook.

The combo provided the accompaniment and led by Mr. Clark, the group gave a rousing rendition of the special song. “Happy Birthday” was sung to Sam Craparo, husband of Dena Royal of Tampa, who was celebrating his birthday Sunday.
Recognition was also made of the 52 years of marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John Stephenson and 54 years for Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Daniel of Dade City.


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.

All six members of the honored Golden Anniversary Class of 1930 were present. They are the Reverend Cecil G. McGavern, Owen Gall, Mrs. Robert (Althea Guy) Sibley, Fred W. Gill, and Charles F. Slater, all of Zephyrhills and Mrs. G.C. (Sadie Turner) Rogers of Crystal River.


Gala 1980 ZHS Alumni and Friends Reunion is Sunday, Zephyrhills News, 1980

This Sunday, June 29, 1980, the annual ZHS Alumni and Friends Reunion will be held from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the Community Center of Zephyr Park. This gala get together is not only for graduates of ZHS and their families, but for all those who have attended school in Zephyrhills and for any other interested parties as bus drivers, faculty members, homeroom parents, lunchroom workers, etc. hence the title, Alumni and Friends. There will be a family-style buffet picnic lunch at 1 p.m. All those attending are asked to bring one or two dishes or more if you wish and table service for your family. The association will provide ice, tea, coffee, bread, butter and napkins

---In years past families noted for their groups at the Reunion have been the Don Storms, the Geigers, The Jack Greenes, and J.H. Motts, the Forbes and Clardys. The latter made news last year when all eight children of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Clardy journeyed from near and far back to the old hometown for the first get-together in 25  years.

---This year the honored Golden Anniversary class of 1930. It includes five well-known Zephyrhills residents, the Rev. Cecil McGavern, Owen Gall, Mrs. Robert (Althea Guy) Sibley, Fred Gill and Charles Slater and the only one to leaver our fair city, Mrs. G.C. (Sadie Turner) Rogers of Crystal River.  


ZHS Faithful Attend Reunion, Zephyrhills News, July 5, 1990

Over 300 ZHS Alumni and Friends attended the 21st annual reunion which was held June 24 at the Zephyrhills Lions Club on Dean Dairy Road. President Cecil McGavern Jr. gave a welcome and announced the ZHS ROTC Color Guard to present the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of God Bless America. Arthur Austin gave the invocation and everyone enjoyed the covered dish luncheon. The meeting was called to order and recognition of special class years were noted. The Class of 1930 (60 years) with six graduates and all six in attendance were introduced: Cecil G. McGavern Sr., Fred W. Gill, Owen E. Gall, Charles Slater, Althea Guy Sibley, and Sadie Turner Rodgers.

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