HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1953

Junior-Senior Prom and Banquet, School Newspaper-Bulldog Bulletin, May 15, 1953

Congratulations Juniors, on a wonderful Prom and Banquet. You may be sure everyone enjoyed themselves. Festivities began with the banquet at the school lunchroom. The place was so well decorated that it was barely recognizable. Master of ceremonies was Norman Pricher, junior class president. He explained the theme of cotton. It keynoted the following talks by Coaches Clark and Clements, Neva Jean Sellars, Joan Lefler and George Neukom. Special guests were Mrs. Witt of the school board and the Junior Home Room mothers, and their husbands.

The meal was cooked by Mrs. Allen aided by several mothers and served by the Sophomores.

The “Old South-Cotton” theme extended to the Prom where music was provided by the “Solid-Aires” from Lakeland. Nearly everyone participated in the dancing. Refreshments were served by the Sophomores. The occasion will be long-remembered and certainly set a high standard for the juniors of next year to try to live up to.



FFA Boys Win Again, School Newspaper-Bulldog Bulletin, May 15, 1953, by Floyd Cherry

The F.F.A. boys of Zephyrhills High School went to Wauchula last Friday, May 8, to compete in the District 5 Contests. Zephyrhills entered their quartet which had recently won first place in the sub-district contest. They won first place at Wauchula.

In the event, the boys competed against three other sub district winners. The boys won sang were: Lamar Massey, Jimmie Daughtery, Henry Nesbit, and Aubry Sapp. Margaret Hill accompanied them on the piano.

Zephyrhills, along with the winners from five other districts will compete for the state honors at state convention during the week of June 15. Mrs. Kelly, the boy’s director, worked very hard and long with them practicing for the contests. I’m sure everyone feels that Mr. Kirton and Mrs. Kelly have done a swell job with these boys.


Joan Braden To Receive FSU Award, School Newspaper, May 15, 1953

As was announced two weeks ago, Joan Braden is one of the recipients of the Florida State University journalism awards. Fifty-seven such awards are presented in the state, 30 of them to students of newspaper staffs, or for school magazine staffs.

Joan was the only one in the state to receive two awards, both for newspaper and yearbook work.
Dean Lawrence R. Campbell of FSU issued the awards. The award will be presented to Joan on the night of graduation.


Seniors To Journey to Tallahassee, School Newspaper, May 15, 1953

Monday, May 13—the lucky, lucky seniors of ZHS will leave for Tallahassee to begin a tour of our state capitol.
Enroute to Tallahassee, the seniors will stop at the university of Florida in Gainesville to eat lunch and visit the campus. They plan to reach their final destination at 5:00 p.m. The Seniors will bunk in the new eleven story dormitory of the Florida State University. Entertainment is to be provided for the Seniors the first night there. Tuesday is the big day. They are to visit the Legislature while it is in session and also will be introduced there. A tour of the city will follow.

During our stay we hope to visit Wakulla Springs. On the return trip, more sight-seeing is hoped for.


Bulldogs Whip Citrus 39-32 by Floyd Cherry, School Newspaper-Bulldog Bulletin, January 16, 1953

The Bulldogs opened their 1953 basketball season by beating Inverness 39-32. It was a hard-going battle for the Bulldog five, all the way because of no practice. The score at half-time was 16 to 14 in favor of Inverness but the Bulldogs came back with plenty of determination and racked by 25 points to eat the Citrus Hurricane 39-32. Roger Whitworth was high scorer with sixteen points and Sebron Thomas was second with 14

Name—Position—Points
Whitworth—F—16
Thomas—F—14
Miller—G—5
Cherry—G—3
Welsch—C—1


Class History, Zephilsco-1953

On a very eventful day in September 1941, nine eager little boys and girls, who were to finish their schooling at ZHS, trudged to Mrs. Helen Hamilton for their first year. The group included: Patty Smith, David Vestal, Roger Whitworth, Tobey Smith, Wanda Williams, Robert Jones, Neva Jean Sellars, Beverly Bolt, and Margaret Hill. They advanced to the second grade under the direction of Mrs. Essie Mae Blitch. In the third grade after some moving around, Raymond Geiger decided to join the happy band. Mrs. I.A. Turner led the group. On to the fourth grade and Mrs. Travis and Hazel Dukes joined the jolly little demons and Lyndall Wheeler came up from Miami. And now the fifth grade. That was the year we had two teachers, Miss Martha Barnes and Mrs. Turner. Two more members joined, Gerald Miller and Mary Kate Witt. It wasn’t long before we were in the sixth grade with Miss Hodges. Mary Lou Richards and Jim Kennedy came in.

Junior High, the seventh grade and Mrs. Alice Atwater for our overseer proved an exciting experience. Ginger Sawtelle rejoined us and decided to finish school here. We advanced to eighth grade. We had five new additions that year, Sebron Thomas, Joan Braden, Jim Welsch, Bill Sabin and Meriene Nelson.

What a time we had in our Freshman year! We were in high school and Mrs. Matthews was again our sponsor. We had only one addition that year, Mildred Mattingly, from Alabama. The class officers were: President, Joan Braden; Vice President-David Vestal; Secretary, Margaret Hill and Treasurer, Merlene Nelson.

In our sophomore year, Patricia Trebour joined us from New Jersey. Mr. Bill Moore was class sponsor and our officers were: President, Joan Braden; Vice President, David Vestal; Secretary, Margaret Hill and Treasurer “Bunt” Massey.
At last we were juniors. It wasn’t long before we realized we had a lot of hard work before us as many of us tested our acting ability in the class play, “Henry’s Hired Aunt.” Soon after this we began making plans for our Gala Pirate Banquet, which was held at Hotel Zephyr and Prom at the American Legion Hall. It was declared a success by all who attended. Shirley Lanham came in that year. Our class officers were: President-Margaret Hill; Vice President-Gerald Miller; Secretary—Merlene Nelson; and Treasurer-Mary Lou Richards. Mr. Dave Boatwright was our able guide through that year. Under the leadership of Mr. John Clements we advanced to our Senior year only to realize that our school days would soon be over. Dorris Whitworth came down from Tennessee to graduate with us. Our class officers were: President—Neva Jean Sellars; Vice President—Joan Myers; Secretary—Beverly Bolt and Treasurer—Patty Smith. The Comedy, “Act Your Age,” was our production of the year. We will long remember the banquet and prom which the Junior class gave in our honor and especially Class Night, Baccalaureate, and finally Graduation on June 2nd at the Home Theater.


Local Teachers Listed for New School Year, Zephyrhills News, August 14, 1953

Teachers in the Zephyrhills schools began their pre-school conference Wednesday morning under the supervision of D.G. McPherson, school principal.

McPherson stated that besides the conferences held in the local school, the teachers will join the county-wide conference to be held in Dade City next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Registration day for the Zephyrhills schools has been set for Friday, August 28 and McPherson urges all students in grades 1 through 12 who plan to enter here this year to register on that day. The school buses will not run until Monday, August 31, the first day of the new school term.

Listed as teachers for the coming year and the grades or subjects which each will teach are as follows:

First Grade—Mrs. Esther Austin, Mrs. Faith Coe, Miss Lois Johnson; Second Grade—Miss Peggy Padgett; Mrs. Helen Hamilton, Mrs. Pauline Higginson; Third grade—Mrs. Mabel Campbell, Mrs. Vianna Gall, Mrs. Loveta Garrison; Fourth grade—Mrs. Willie Mae Ellmaker, Mrs. Ruth Lamb, Miss Jannie Looney; fifth grade—Mrs. Muriel Gorman, Miss Jane Maxwell, Mrs. Maxine Webb; sixth grade—Mrs. Isabel Barnes, Mrs. Hettie Jane Price.

Miss Alice White: Physical Education, Mrs. Celia Anderson, Librarian; Miss Lavonn Benson, English; James Brantley, science, Mrs. Frances Brown, junior high math; Stewart Brown, junior high science; Robert Brown, agriculture. John T.V. Clark, band; Johnny Clements, coach; Miss Jane Evans, math; Mrs. Alpha Gill, commercial; Mrs. Frances Kelly, music, Miss Mariann Morgan, physical education; Mrs. Marjorie Parantha, home economics; Mrs. Rose Marie Trottman, Junior High English, Thomas Webb, social studies and assistant coach.


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….gathering before noon at the Zephyr Park….

Mrs. Hazel Dukes Sessoms of Zephyrhills was the member of the 25th anniversary class of 1953 present. Mrs. Hazel Dukes Sessoms remembered that her favorite subject while at ZHS was basketball.


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 Reunion was directed by VP John F. Clements of the ZHS faculty for the past 31 years, who was assisted by his wife Beanie, Mrs. Anna Greene Farmer, Class of 1954….


Class of 1953 Hears: “Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren,” Zephyrhills News, July 7, 1983

Eighteen members of the 27-member Zephyrhills High School graduating class of 1953 enjoyed reminiscences at their 30th reunion June 25 during a buffet supper at Rustic Oaks restaurant.  

“But when it came time for each one to stand up and tell what he or she has been doing, we mostly heard about everybody’s grandchildren, a member of the class said. High humor was the order of the evening as a comparison between the Last Will and Testament and what really came about in each graduate’s life was made, and in an “I Remember” session some long-forgotten embarrassing moments and high jinx were recalled.

On hand were the 1953 Homecoming King and Queen, Joan Myers White and Raymond Geiger. Neva Sellars Duffield, President was emcee for the program. Mrs. Duffield and Mrs. White were assisted with arrangements by Mrs. Lyndall Wheeler Lee of Tampa.

Photo caption…members of the ZHS Class of 53 laughed and reminisced at the 30th reunion…Marlene Nelson Wheeler, Edgewater; Lyndall Wheeler Lee, Tampa; Neva Sellars Duffield, Class President, Zephyrhills; Joan Myers White, Vice President, Zephyrhills; Beverly Bolt Rhinesmith, Secretary, Dade City; Mildred Mattingly Heath, Zephyrhills; Mary Lou Richards Massey, Zephyrhills; Frank “Bunt” Massey, John F. Clements, Senior Sponsor, Donna McGinnis Neal, Zephyrhills; David Lee, Tampa; Hazel Dukes Sessoms, Zephyrhills; Margaret Hill Wackendorfer, Houston, Texas; Robert Jones, Brooksville, Patty Smith Bazzell, Zephyrhills; David Vestal, Tampa, Raymond Geiger and Sebron Thomas, Zephyrhills; and Joan Braden Sheppard, Casselberry.


Return to front page