HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1937

Large Class Receive Diplomas, Zephyrhills News, June 11, 1937

A fine commencement program enjoyed by audience at the auditorium.

Every one in attendance at the 25th Commencement exercises of the Zephyrhills High School, last Friday night agreed that it was a simply beautiful occasion, absent from frills and furbelows, but impressive in its simpleness and genuine good spirit.

The stage had been prettily but not lavishly decorated in the class colors of white and red and foliage, with the class motto displayed across the front of the stage, “Out of Life of School into the School of Life.”

The auditorium was filled to its capacity when the curtain raised at 8 o’clock, all noise hushed as the orchestra number sounded out. The 20 class members, forming the largest class in the 25 years of the school, gowned in academic caps and gowns of white and grey, a new procedure here, made a fine appearance and impression, as they slowly stepped down the aisle into their place on the stage.

Without announcement the following program was finely and delightfully presented:

Invocation—Reverend Frank E. Hartman
Salutatorian—Jacqueline Sjoblom
Vocal Solo—Mrs. Marion Walthall
Commencement Address—Dr. Barnett of Lakeland
Valedictory—Estell Delk
Presentation of Diplomas—Superintendent Fred O’ Revels
Presentation of Awards—Professor J.T. Campbell
Invocation—Reverend H.E. Murkett

The addresses by the honor girls, Miss Delk and Miss Sjoblom were most clever in text and they “were different” in presentation as the class was unique to say the least.

The Professor Barnett of Southern College at Lakeland can go the honor of making one of the very finest addresses ever given in Zephyrhills, but sorry that crying babies and the inability to have his voice carry out to the entire audience, deprived many of his fine message. Dr. Barnett is a man of wide travel and study and observation, and his presentation of his topic, “Spending Money” was novel. He set forth many of the qualifications that he seemed necessary to make a young person’s life a success. The talk was especially helpful and encouraging to the student class to whom he was primarily speaking.



Commencement Week Opened Last Sunday, Zephyrhills News, Friday, June 4, 1937

Large Audience Heard Marterly Discourse by Reverend Paden, Class in Caps and Gowns.

Sunday morning at the Baptist Church was devoted to a union service of all the churches for the annual High School Baccalaureate sermon, and the auditorium and gallery were filled with an interested audience.

The church had been perttely decorated with seasonable flowers, and a choir from the various churches furnished some special musical selections, under the direction of Miss Clarinell O’Steen. The High School Orchestra also contributed several selections to the musical program.

At the sounding of the march, the members of the graduating class, wearing caps and gowns marched into the reserved section and they made a most beautiful and impressive group of young people as they entered and left the church.

Reverend James Peden, the pastor, took as his subject of the day, “Proving the Best.” It was an unusual discourse in its text and application. His text was “And Jesus arose, took up a towel, and girded it around him.”

He told the story of the prevailing custom in Palestine at the period of the ministry of the Master, of how a servant washed and dried the feet of a guest or member of the household before they entered the home, or how on some occasions the host to show that he was the servant of the guest, performed the menial duty.  Dr. Peden stated that the towel was the emblem of service and when Christ started to wash the feet of the objecting Peter, he was placing himself in the position of the servant, which later was an important part of his program.  


One Hundred to Graduate From the Hi Schools in Pasco, Zephyrhills News, Friday, June 4, 1937

The Senior and Junior High Schools of Pasco County this month, are graduating around 100 young people from their ranks and the Board of Public Instruction are furnishing the diplomas for them. The Zephyrhills school will graduate 20, and Gulf High of New Pt. Richey 18, on this Friday nite, and Dade City will graduate 35 on next Monday night, while on Thursday night of this week, the Junior High at Laccoochee granted diplomas to a class of 26 pupils.

Mr. Revels, the county schools, states that all the upper schools have done excellent work the past year, and have made much progress in improving the course of study. He expects at least two of the schools not now on the state accredited list to be there for next year, namely Zephyrhills and Drexel.


25th Annual Graduation To Be Friday, June 3rd, Zephyrhills News, Friday, May 28, 1937

The twenty-fifth commencement of the Zephyrhills High School will begin next Sunday with a union service of all churches, the baccalaureate sermon to be preached by Reverend James P. Peden of the Baptist Church at 11 a.m. with special music. The senior class of twenty will be the largest in the history of the school, will receive their diplomas the following Friday at the commencement program in the school auditorium at 8 p.m. A class night program will be held Thursday night, June 3.

A prominent speaker is being engaged for the commencements program. In addition to the award of the diplomas, there will be medals awarded to the seniors who have been most outstanding in Scholarship, Activities and Athletics, and the Stevens Cup will be given to the senior as “most worthwhile.” It is expected that county Superintendent, Fred O. Revels will award the diplomas

Estelle Delk will have the honor of being First Honor Student and Valedictorian. Her scholastic record gives her a standing of 8.32 honor points out of a possible 10. Second Honor student and Salutatorian is Jacqueline Sjoblom with an honor point average of 7.04. The recipients of the medals and cup mentioned above will not be revealed until the prizes are given out the night of commencement.

Representing the first graduation class of the school in 1912 at the commencement, there will be Mr. Don A. Storms, who is still connected with the school as a member of the county board of public instruction from Zephyrhills.


Record Class to Graduate At Local Hi School, Zephyrhills News, Friday, May 28, 1937

Twenty young people will receive their diplomas of accredit.

The Zephyrhills High School will graduate the largest senior class in its history on June 4 when nearly 20 boys and girls will receive their diplomas. Those who are scheduled for graduation provided they pass the final examinations next week are: Raymond Cook, Esther Chilson, Estelle Delk, Mildred Delk, Robert Emery, Florence Frisbee, Ouida Griffin, Mildred Lynch, Margaret Slater, James Mott, Robert Mott, Willette Phillips, Jacqueline Sjoblom, Minnie Slater, Marguerite Snider, Flora Duncan Stark, Norma Stone, Charlotte Taylor and Henry Wheeler.  Margaret Branch is also in the class and will be eligible just as soon as she completes make-up work which resulted from a semester of illness.

A prominent speaker will be engaged to give the commencement address on the evening of June 4th, when the class will receive their diplomas. A class night program will be held the evening of June 3, while the baccalaureate sermon will be delivered at the Baptist Church by the Rev. Peden, Sunday morning, May 30. Most of the churches of Zephyrhills are expected to join in the service.

All pupils are beginning to prepare for the final examinations which will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, according to a bulletin issued this week by the principal, Mr. Campbell. Classes will continues as usual through Monday. Pupils will finish with their examinations on Wednesday, and will be excused from school Thursday while the teachers grade the papers and work on the final reports. School will convene for the last time for the year at 10 o’clock Friday morning at which time the pupils will receive their report cards and be dismissed after a brief session.


High School Students Hear Safety Talk, Zephyrhills News, Friday, May 28, 1937

Mrs. March Gives Interesting Address of Importance on Safety Observance.

At the request of the city officials, Mrs. Wilma J. March, gave an address on “Safety” and “Better Homes,” Tuesday morning, at the local high school prior to the closing of the school term. Stressing the importance and value of individual cooperating in both instances, the speaker gave the dismal facts that last year as many Americans died through accidents as were killed during the World War, the sum of each being close to 36,000. Safety from disease and the prey of avoidable circumstances resulting in fatalities was stressed too. Statistics show that nearly 10,000 more Americans died of disease, than from all other forms of death during the World War.

People must become safety-minded through education, and not depend upon laws to force them to care for their own protection and that of others. The automobile and industrial companies and the railroads spend much time and effort and money to warn and protect the public from dangers of negligence.

The Atlantic Coast Line in this instance sponsored the talk on Safety for the pupils of the city. Each day we read of promising young lives being struck down in the flower of their youth by sheer disregard of safety rules. The success of youth today greatly depends upon the education they receive in safe-guarding their health and protecting themselves from being a prey to circumstances causing injury or death. This is an individual responsibility, one in which people must become safety-minded or suffer the cruel and bitter consequences.

The safety-minded person is the one who helps to make Better homes also. This city has wound up its “Better Homes Campaign” and in the very near future sends its reports to Purdue University, which sponsors the national project. What we have attained this year will be a foundation upon which to lay our work for the future.

Zephyrhills has entered into a more extensive and cooperative program in the National Better Homes Campaign, this year than any other town in the entire county. For the first attempt that, at least, was a record worth striving for. What the future holds depends upon the will of our individual citizens.


Board Selects Balance of Faculty Staff, Zephyrhills News, Friday, May 14, 1937

Miss Sarah Parsons to Join the Elementary Teaching Group.

The Zephyrhills school directors along with the school principal and Mr. Storms, county director, held a meeting the past week to make choice of faculty members for the local school for the year, 1937-38.

The action of the board will mean that the following grade teachers will be recommended to the County Board for 
employment during that period at salaries to be yet determined: Mrs. Helen Hamilton, Miss Lillian Kirkland, Mrs. Nellie Price, Mrs. Paulline Higginson, Mrs. Hazel D. Hardee, Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, Miss Sarah Parsons, the new member of this group, is a local girl who will receive her degree at Woman’s College at Tallahassee, this coming June.

The faculty members recommended for the High School Division are: F. M. Mounts, Miss Edith Plank, Mrs. Bertha McKillips, Miss Orilla Driggers. Miss Claire O’Steen, Musician and Girl’s Coach; Miss Sara Krentzman, the efficient librarian and dramatic coach, both of whom have done excellent work in their departments were not applicants for re-election, as they are expecting to take up school work elsewhere next fall. Mr. Nelson, the efficient commercial department instructor, will also have directional work in another city.

The local board had previously recommended the appointment of Professor James T. Campbell, as principal for the coming year.


Professor Campbell To Be Retained As School Principal, Zephyrhills News, Friday, April 30, 1937

Professor Theodore Campbell, who is soon to close his first year as principal of Zephyrhills High and Elementary Schools, has been unanimously chosen to fill that position again this coming year, such action having been taken at the meeting of the district trustees, the past week. The board composed of Mrs. J. F. Hammett, William M. Hamilton and F. B. Ames, will now make this recommendation to the County Board of Public Instruction.

Mr. Campbell, a home town boy, and a former faculty member of the school, has made a very good and competent showing the past year as principal and his retention was deemed to the best interests of the school for another year, as well as a reward for faithful services rendered. Patrons of the school will gladly concur in the action of the trustees.
The trustees, in connection with the principal, are now considering the selections of teachers for the high and grade schools for next year, but these recommendations will not be ready until later. The faculty and staff as composed the past year as a whole has been very satisfactory to the trustees and patrons, and it is not likely there will be many changes, unless requested by the instructors by their own volition.

The local trustee board has elected W. M. Hamilton as it’s’ chairman, and F. B. Ames as secretary for the coming term. The board during the summer vacation will act upon and carry out a number of plans for the improvement of the schools.


Junior Class Gives Amusing Farce, Zephyrhills News, Friday, April 23, 1937

The Junior Class of the Zephyrhills High School gave a very clever comedy farce play entitled, Safety First, at the auditorium, last Friday night, before a fair sized audience. The cast had been very well coached in the rather difficult parts, but they all covered themselves with much historic glory.

It was one of those mixed up situation plays, where one began to lie to the other, and the preposterousness of the limit they went to cover up the first lie and make things finally square was the fun of the play. The audience apparently liked the situations, for giggles were heard all over the hall. For lack of space, we refrain from making personal comment as to the individual members of the cast, beyond the fact that they all did well. Miss Plank was the director of the play.


Zephyrhills Teams Win Over Brooksville in Two Games, Zephyrhills News, January 29, 1937

Well, our High School basket ball teams, accompanied by their coaches, Mr. Mounts and Miss O’Steen, journeyed over to Brooksville last Saturday night, to stack up against the Brooksville teams. They found an outdoor court that was in anything but good playing condition and greatly handicapped them in their speed and playing in the games that followed.

Professor Mount’s protégées came out the victors in a loosely and roughly played contest with the Brooksville five, the final score being 21-20. It was a nip and tuck game all the way thru and our lads were fortunate to come out on top.
Miss O’Steen’s girls found a good foe in the Hernando girl aggregation, but they pounded away and won out by a score of 18-16.

Our junior boys stacked up against the Brooksville juniors, and in this contest, the Brooksville team won by a small score. 

Our senior teams will play the Bushnell teams there on Saturday night.


Drinking Fountain Completed, The Orange And Black—The School Paper of Zephyrhills High School, January 27, 1939

The drinking fountain, which was a gift from the Senior class of 1937, has been completed. It is certain that all of the students are grateful for this gift which took care of one of the school’s needs. It is an added attraction for the building also.


Basket Ball Schedule for Local Hi School, Zephyrhills News, January 15, 1937

Superintendent J.D. Campbell and Coach F.M. Mounts of the Zephyrhills High School, have completed the schedule for basket ball games for the boys and girls teams of the local schools, some having been approved by the Gulf Coast Conference, last Saturday.

The schedule as at present arranged is as follows:

January 15, Friday, Gulf High or New Port Richey at Zephyrhills
January 19, Tuesday, St. Leo boys only here
January 22, open date
January 23, Saturday, Brooksville here.
February 5, Friday, Gulf at New Port Richey
February 12, Friday, Gulf Coast Tournament at Wildwood
February 16, Tuesday, St. Leo, boys only, there
February 19, Friday, Dade City there
February 26, Friday, Dade City here
March 5, Tournament at Zephyrhills, in which New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Brooksville and Zephyrhills teams will be the participants. Losers and winner to play each other.
March 12, Friday, Tarpon Springs there, boys only
March 19, Friday, Tarpon Springs, here, boys only.

Local schoolmen hope to have the new basket ball court ready for the local tournament date.


Rhuel Platt to be Chairman of School Board, Zephyrhills News, January 8, 1937

Closes Up Business of School Year and New Members Take over Their Terms.

The new members of the county board met again on Tuesday morning, for the purpose of reorganization with Mr. Rhuel Platt, of Dade City, entering upon his own elected term, after serving three months on Mrs. Margery Otto’s term, Mr. Richard Stephenson who succeeded.  Mr. Thomas Hill, also took his seat. The board also organized by electing Mr. Rhuel Platt, as chairman of the board; and Superintendent Fred O’Revels, as secretary and Dr. R.L. Nall as the school board clerk.

The law firm of Dayton, Dayton and Dayton were retained as legal advisors of the board. Each board member made short talks.

Arrangements were made to have the Wesley Chapel school yard fenced so as to make it pig and cattle proof. This on petition of the patrons of the school.

The Board has allowed Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Cochrane, the sum of $225.00 for the canceling of a certain real estate deal which the board desires abrogated, as the land included count not be secured for the colored school house.

The board recently borrowed from the Ocala National Bank, of Ocala the sum of $35,000, and already the sum of $10,000 has been repaid. The balance will be repaid as funds come in from taxes. This amount was secured in order to pay instruction and transportation and janitor salaries up in full to December 23rd.

Mr. Hill filed with the board a schedule of children hauled on the Hudson-Aripeka route, and showed conclusively that the board was justified in buying the new Ford truck for the route.


Zephyrhills High School Alumni news of era

The Fifth Grade 38 Years Ago, Zephyrhills News, February 29, 1968

The teacher of this charming group of 5th graders was Miss Bertha Messick, left now, Mrs. Harry McKillips, a supervisor at Pasco High School; the principal of the Zephyrhills school was D.C. Cripe, right, now retired as a Pasco County educator and residing north of Zephyrhills on Ft. King Road. Pupils, many of whom are now area businessmen and housewives, are left to right in the front row: Bruce Dowell, Pearl Snider, Loraine Chancey, Altha Mott, Walter Vogel, Charles Thomas, Phillip Guy and Robert Daniels; second row: Jimmy Bass, Charlie Sante, unknown boy, Alene and Florence Ryals, unknown boy, Chicken Overstreet, William McDaniels; third row: Warren Williams, Roy Holt, unknown girl, Helen Lefler, Lucille Daughtery, Helen McGuire, Dorothy Newman, and Helen Baggett. 

–Photo courtesy of Mrs. Earl (Josie Lee Newman) Boyette.

ZHS Principal Doc Cripe with his wife and daughter at left



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……

Prizes were awarded to the alumna present who had come the longest distance for the reunion: Ms. Donald A. (Altha Mott -1937) Baldwin of Jacksonville.


Nostalgia, Memories Focus of Alumni Reunion July 29, Zephyrhills News, June 19, 1986, by B.Y. Wickstrom

Many graduates of Zephyrhills High School in by-gone years look forward each year to the annual Alumni and Friends Reunion, held each June…..

Among those who have expressed an intention to attend are Herbert Fletcher of St. Petersburg, who came to Zephyrhills at age six in the city’s first year, 1910, and Mrs. R.G. Smith of Lake City, class of 1937. She is the former Flora Duncan Stark and wrote the News to learn when the reunion would be.


The second ZHS School was damaged seriously by fire in 1935. The renovated school, Zephyrhills High School was dedicated in 1937 and here is how it appeared:

….source: Zephyrhills News, March 7, 1985


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