HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1956


County Teachers, Zephyrhills News, September 14, 1956

Some Pasco County teachers emphasized the need for “old fashioned” methods of instruction while others defended courses such as “home making” at pre-school conferences during the last days of August.

Zephyrhills High School On August 20, teachers and principals began work in the local schools to classify pupils, to make plans and policies for instruction and to assemble books and related materials. Records of groups and individuals were examined. Monday, August 27, new teachers met in Dade City to learn about the Pasco County school system from X.L. Garrison and W.C. O’ Berry. The teachers took up retirement, insurance, payroll practices and county policies. The next day all faculties assembled at Pasco High School to consider common professional problems. A.J. Stevens, assistant to the executive secretary of the Florida Education Association, came from Tallahassee to address the group. Reports from Pasco County’s four delegates to the F.E. A. School of Instruction were made. Supt. Mark St. Clair and Superintendent-Elect Chester Taylor gave addresses.

It was on August 29th during panel discussions arranged by X.L. Garrison, general supervisor, that the presence of parents was most desired. In the forenoon the subject was “What the High School Expects from Elementary Pupils.” The afternoon panel subject was “What the Elementary School is Doing.” One problem in education is to find time in the busy lives of fathers, mothers and teachers for consultations necessary for the development of common agreements and understandings. The 10-month program has given time for faculties to come to such agreements.

Charles Henderson, principal of Zephyrhills High School, noted that in March of this year for the first time the State Board of Control approved standards for the admission of high school graduates to Florida’s state institutions of higher learning.
“The capacities of these institutions further restrict entries, he said, Many demands are voiced for higher standards more strictly adhered to by high schools. Parents and teachers must consider the question, can our young people successfully compete with other young people of the world in science, engineering, government, trade and diplomacy?” said Henderson.


Special Awards Given Seniors As 42 Get Diplomas, Zephyrhills News, June 1, 1956

Commencement exercises, theme of which was “As Tomorrow Dawns,” and at which 42 members of the 1956 Zephyrhills High School class received diplomas, were held at the Home Theater last night.

“March of the Priests” was played as the processional by Miss Doris Gorrecht. The Rev. Charles W. Greene, pastor of the First Methodist Church, gave the invocation.

James Jones, salutatorian, chose as his subject “Today Ends—Tomorrow Begins” and Miss Sarah Peck used “America, Our Heritage” as the theme for her address.  Donald Whitworth, class vice-president, spoke on “We Live in a Wonderful Age.”

Pasco County School Board Member Mrs. Margaretta C. Witt and Supervising Principal Charles A. Henderson presented these awards.

Miss Yvonne Cooper, Valedictorian; James Jones, Salutatorian; LeRoy Lincoln, citizenship; Richard Mattingly, school spirit and best all around boy; Lamar Massey, activities; Miss Ellen Heath, best all-around girl.

Other recognitions included Florida State University School of Journalism awards for outstanding work on the high school paper, The Bulldog Bulletin and annual, Zephilsco to James Jones and Miss Ellen Heath and a like award for work on Zephilsco to James Jarrett, Jr. Class president.

Miss Cooper, speaking as Valedictorian chose as her subject, “Onward to Greater Achievement.”

I.A. Krusen, chairman of the board of trustees, presented diplomas to graduates. James Jarrett and David H. Mattingly accepted those for their sons, James Jarrett, Jr. and Richard Mattingly, who have reported to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Army service; and William II. Carle accepting for his son Thomas Carle who has reported to work in Alabama.
“Pomp and Circumstance” was used as the recessional, following the benediction by the Rev. B. A. Oswald, pastor of first Baptist Church.

Junior class members decorated the theater and served as ushers. Baccalaureate services were held at First Baptist Church Sunday night. Miss Gorrecht, organist, played the processional and recessional. The Rev. Richard McLean, pastor of the First Christian Church, gave the invocation. For special music the Zephyrhills School Glee Club, directed by Miss Alice Zimmerman sang, “Halls of Ivy” and “God Be With You Until We Meet Again.” Prof. W.C. Hammontree of the Florida Christian College delivered the inspirational baccalaureate sermon and the Rev. Mr. Oswald, pastor gave the benediction.
Members of the Sophomore class, who had used the senior colors of silver and royal blue in the decorative theme served as ushers. Mrs. Harry L. Rice assisted with the decorations.


1956 senior class officers:

James Jarrett, Donald Whitworth, Carol Hughes, and Kay Crawford


Juniors Win Applause in Comedy Play, Zephyrhills News, April 6, 1956

The Junior Class presented their play, “A Boy Named Beulah,” to the enthusiastic audience in the High School auditorium Thursday.

Larry Hill as Corky Corcoran, played the part of a self confident young man of 19, who had a bad habit of telling whoppers. The audience howled as Larry appeared dressed in very feminine costumes, masquerading as a girl. He aimed to mislead his rich Aunt, Beulah, whom he had never met before, into thinking he really was the niece she supposed him to be.

Drena Hampton, as Polly McBride, was Larry’s girl friend, who was having troubles of her own, concerning an old farm left her by her Uncle.

Odell Dees and Fred Holt made a pair of very authentic looking “Health-Opractors,” as they took their pars as Polly’s brothers, Hank and Ted McBride, who were masquerading as a pair of twin medics, the Kayo Brothers.

Jerry Lee Fisher and Mary Francis Gill as Ava and Nanelle Dushane, two glamorous sisters, added to the already hilarious plot, by coaxing their simpering health faddist stepmother, Aime Dushane, played by the very talented Barbara Streeter, into spending the summer at “Happy Haven Health Farm,” thus enabling the flirtatious sisters to be near their boyfriends, Hand and Ted.

The roll of Cory Corcoran’s rich old Aunt Beulah, Lady Casselton fresh from England was very aptly acted by Norma Jean Baker.

Glenn Miller drew many laughs from the responsive audience as he acted the part of Bertie Castleton, Aunt Beulah’s deceased husband’s nephew. He had come along with her to America for the express purpose of marrying her darling niece, whose photograph he had immediately fallen madly in love with.  Grant Goldstone, a handsome bachelor, who was in love with Polly, and constantly vying with Corky for her affections, was played by Lee Cumble.   Gerald Price played an excellent performance as Grant’s rich and pompous banker uncle Clifford Goldstone.

Captivating her many applauders completely, Jackie Massey as Marmalade Jackson, the colored Maid, literally stole the show as she acted her part of a young girl who was deathly afraid of “haunts.”

Ada Austin as Nora, made a prefect Irish cook, complete with accent. Joe Thorn was simply frightening as Tongo the leopard man and he gave the audience as well as the cast, many a scare, as his mournful howls were heard in the distance throughout the play. Mary Ann Mattingly was the mighty woman wrestler, “Beulah Zubysko,” who was madly in love with “Scat,” Kats, a promising young chemist, played by James Kearse, whom she pursued throughout the play.

Intermission entertainment was provided by George Neukom, Jr., at the piano. Mrs. Constance Kaylor and R.R. Nichols, sponsors, were presented gifts from the class as a token of appreciation for their guidance. Proceeds from the play amounted to $294.


Basketball teams, 1956


First ‘Miss Zephyrhills’ of 20 Years Ago Will Attend Pageant, Zephyrhills News, February 26, 1976

One of the features of the 1976 “Miss Zephyrhills” contest to be held in connection with the Lions Club Founders Day will be the presentation of the first “Miss Zephyrhills”, Miss Billie Jean K’Lapp.

Miss K’Lapp won the title in 1956, the first year the contest was held, and currently is residing in Cocoa Beach.

Mrs. Carlton Kennedy, director of the pageant, has announced that all past winners of the title “Miss Zephyrhills” are being invited to attend this year’s contest as special guests.  The sixteen young women who will be competing for the title of “Miss Zephyrhills 1976 are: Rhonda Bem, Dawne Buchanan, Jackie Hood, Charlotte Knapp, Janis Lauderbaugh, Deanna Bishop, Delia O’Neil, LaNell Emery, Hettie Hauck, Vicke Herrick, Kathy Ziegler, Tina Martin.


Margaretta C. Witt, School Board Member from Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills News, September 28, 1956

Mrs. Margaretta C. Witt, Zephyrhills member of the Pasco County Board of Public Instruction representing District Two, has handed the News a copy of “a School Board Members Creed,” as found in the recently printed Handbook for Pasco County School Personnel. It reads as follows:

As a member of a board of education, I hold a great public trust. I am responsible for providing the means whereby our American way of life is to be improved and to endure; I am responsible for the education of our people and particularly youth.

“that each person may become what he desires to become and is able to become; that he becomes intellectually and spiritually competent, economically and socially successful and happy; that he becomes a responsible citizen, home member, learner and worker, I freely give the necessary time to this great service. Most important, and knowing the responsibilities vested in me, I give and use my best judgment in considering and deciding the welfare of the schools. As a lay citizen, representing the people, I do not know, nor do I need to know, the complex details of education or administration. I am not expected to do this work but I am responsible for seeing that the work is done. My work as a board member consists of choosing competent personnel to do the work; deciding, within the provisions of the law, what is to be done and appraising the work to see that it is done competently and economically. I believe in lay control but in professionally competent teaching and administration.

My foremost specific responsibility as a board member in Florida is to recognize the superintendent as the executive officer and to hold him generally responsible for the entire school system. I look to him for leadership; I expect him to keep me informed as to the needs and accomplishments of the schools, based upon the facts in the case. I must make my own decisions.

I do not assume authority not granted by the board, such as offering a position, asking for a resignation, or promising a contract to anyone. I abide by majority decisions of the board. I carefully consider petitions, resolutions and complaints and I dispose of them in the best interests of the school. I do not seek special privileges for myself, my relatives, or friends. I do not criticize school employees publicly. I desire to provide such conditions as will increase and reward competent service to the schools. I desire to see that the people of the community shall have an education that is as complete and adequate as is possible to provide.

With dignity and honor I serve the people; with humility and to the best of my ability, I discharge my great public trust.”


FFA Convention, Zephyrhills News, October 5, 1956.At FFA convention—Future Farmer, Elmer Hinsz, left above and Gerald Griffin, right, are pictured with their instructor, Robert C. Brown, as the trio left for Kansas City, Missouri and the national convention of Future Farmers of America. Hinsz is president of the Zephyrhills Chapter and Griffin won the Chapter’s State Farmer Award for 1956.


Three-fourths of Class of 1956 Back for Reunion, July 3, 1986

There were just 42 members of the ZHS Class of 1956 and 30 of them made it back for the group’s 30th reunion Saturday evening. The event was celebrated at the Alice Hall Community Center, Zephyr Park. Those who arrived early gathered at the Omaha Cattle Company Friday Night for a preliminary party. Saturday they enjoyed a tour arranged by Curtis Craig, a member of the class. He took them through the Raymond Stewart Middle School, which was the high school at the time they graduated, to view the many changes there. Class of 1956 grads then boarded a rented bus for a tour of the city, viewing the numerous changes that have occurred in the past 30 years. Saturday night prizes were awarded as follows: Farthest traveled—Linda Gomez, Arizona; Away the longest without coming back—Melba Adkinson, Tampa; Most Changed, Bobby Nelson; and Least Changed—James Jones.

Margaret Seppanen Plummer was chairman of the reunion, assisted by Nathan and Gail Geiger, Curtis Craig, and Gerald Griffin, who videotaped the reunion and interviewed each returned graduate.

Photo caption of attendees: Melba Adkinson, Kay Crawford McPhee, Lillian Cone Cotton, Voncell Clardy Braswell, Ellen Heath LeDuc, Gail Smith Geiger, Margaret Seppanen Plummer, Carol Sibley Wideman, Nancy Miller Bacon, Ruby Hill Butler, Pearl Rowe Barrentine, Nancy Lee Whitworth, Carol Hughes Whitworth, Linda Williams Gomez, Curtis Craig, Gerald Griffin, Olivee Jones DeLavina, Neil Locke Nesbit, Bobby Nelson, Mary Sawtelle Norman, Richard Mattingly, Eunice Ryals McElveen, Lamar Massey, Robert Lane, Donald Whitworth, Cam Matthews, James Jarrett, Nathan Geiger, Natescha Betterman Tripp and James Johnson.




Zephyrhills High School Ernest Kretschmar was the only Assistant Principal in 1956. Although there have been many APs at ZHS, Mr. Kretschmar was in the position for over 25 years and is the longest standing AP. He was known for his phenomenal scheduling ability and did the master schedule for the high school by hand year after year. Photo is from 1956.



New ZHS Agriculture Building constructed in 1956




Work Advances On Farm Shops At High School, Zephyrhills News, February 24, 1956

Construction of a new vocational agricultural building for the Zephyrhills Schools is underway. Storch and Singletary, San Antonio, contracted the job for $23,007.94 and were given 100 working days in which to complete it.

The building of concrete block construction will house a large classroom with office and work space, restroom and a shop.

The show will have one section for machinery and wood-working and another for welding. Plans for the structure are so drawn that its size may be increased as the department grows. Located directly back of the new cafeteria on a half-block owned by the school, the new Vo-Ag set-up also will include a plot of ground for laboratory work. Robert Brown is the vocational agriculture instructor.

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