HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1965

Diplomas Presented to 81 at ZHS As Year Ends, Zephyrhills News, June 10, 1965

Municipal Auditorium was the scene Friday evening of commencement exercises for the 81-member 1965 graduating class of Zephyrhills High School, second largest in the school’s history. Miss Doris Gorrecht played a prelude of organ selections and the traditional “March of the Priests” as the processional for the white cap and gown-robed seniors.

At the conclusion of the program the organist played “Pomp and Circumstance” as the recessional, to the strains of which the graduates filed from the auditorium with their diplomas and with the burgundy and silver tassels changed from left to right positions on their mortar-boards.

The Reverend Millard D. Mount, pastor of the first Christian Church, gave the invocation and the Reverend Leslie C. Poe, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene, the benediction.

Awards Presented

Miss Linda Hayden, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Hayden was recipient of both the valedictorian and scholarship medals. She also was recognized for receipt of Florida Southern College and Florida State Teachers scholarships, was announced as winner of two Delta Kappa Gamma scholarships, and Bond, one of two awarded by Zephyrhills Rotary Club.
Miss Barbara Thompson, daughter for Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Thompson, received the salutatorian medal, a $25 savings bond from the Rotary Club and was recognized for earning a Florida State Teacher’s scholarship.

The Florida State Teachers Scholarships received by the valedictorian and salutatorian were the only two awarded in Pasco County this year, Principal Raymond Stewart announced.

Miss Kaye Henry, daughter of Mrs. L.Z. Henry and the late Mr. Henry, received the best all-around girl award and was recognized as winner of one of two scholarships presented by the Zephyrhills High School Student Council. Recognized as recipient of the other Student Council scholarship was David Myers, son of Mr. and Mrs. Patterson Myers.
Miss Lillian Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Johnson, won the citizenship award and also was recipient of a Delta Kappa Gamma scholarship, which is awarded to a graduate planning to become a teacher.

Larry Chauncey, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Chauncey, was awarded the athletic medal. The activities award was won by Ronnie Carroll, son or Mr. and Mrs. James M. Carroll. Ronnie Cherry, son or Mrs. M.J. Cherry and the late Mr. Cherry, received the best all around boy award and the school spirit award was won by Bob Winters, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Winters.

Jed Wilkinson, son of Dr. and Mrs. John E. Wilkinson, was recognized for a basketball scholarship he has been awarded by Brevard Junior College. Miss Susan Bucey, daughter of Mrs. Ann Bucey, was recognized as the recipient of a Cincinnati Conservatory Music Scholarship. Joe Maniscalco, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Maniscalco, and Sam Taylor, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Taylor, were given recognition for having received college scholarships presented by the Zephyrhills Rotary Club.

Principal Stewart recognized the scholarship honors. Mrs. Monroe Treiman, Pasco County School Supervisor, presented the awards and B.Y. Wickstrom presented the Zephyrhills Rotary club gift bonds. Mrs. V.E. Witt, Zephyrhills member of the Pasco County School Board, presented their diplomas to the 81 graduates.

Changing the Guard

Miss Barbara Thompson gave the salutatory address, using as her topic, “Image of Tomorrow.” Likening the graduation ceremony to the changing of the guards at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier she said, “The guards who are leaving hand over to the new corps the responsibility of guarding part of the tradition of the nation. Tonight our parents, teachers, and friends are handing over to us, the graduates of 1965, even greater responsibilities.”

The salutatorian said that those of the class who join the business world are accepting the responsibility of “guarding the democratic principle as applied to business and of making good use of our sense of fairness and our ethics.” She said those planning to further their education at institutions of higher learning are accepting the responsibility of “making the most of this opportunity which is a manifestation of the part of what America stands for” and “to all of us you give the responsibility of being an American…free to think, speak and participate.”

Miss Linda Hayden chose “What Can I Do?” as tropic of her valedictory address. She stated that while so far education for the class members has been broad, they must now commit themselves to specific interests and select a career.

Specific Careers Await

In developing her topic, she said, “This is an age of specialization and keen competition. We hope to find an interest which will be absorbing, one that can serve world needs. Each might think of an individual career as only one thrust out into the future, but history is directed by the combination of many such thrusts.” And the question before each graduate is “Along what line will my life be spent? What does the world need and what can I do about it?’

Needs enumerated included physical, spiritual, intellectual, solving problems in human relations, new achievements in education, effecting better understanding between nations, providing food for undernourished people of the world, scientific discoveries, something to make people live longer, cure and prevent illnesses and the like.

In conclusion the valedictorian said, “What will happen in our world in the future will depend in a large way upon what comes out of the minds of people who think, ask questions, and seize upon an idea to work into a career…Today is a high point in an important period in our lives. We are grateful to you for making our education possible,” she said.


Baccalaureate on Sunday, Zephyrhills News, June 10, 1965

Baccalaureate services beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of First Methodist Church will begin the final full week of activities for 1965 Zephyrhills High School graduating class members.

The Reverend E. C. Tyner of Deland, director of the Extension Division and Church Relations of Stetson University, will deliver the baccalaureate sermon and is to use “What Will You Do With Our World?” as his topic.

Miss Doris Gorrecht will be organist and special music is planned. Assisting ministers will be Reverend Henry L. Kinnard Jr. host pastor, who will give the invocation, and Reverend James F. Merrin, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, who is to give the benediction.  Graduation exercises will be at 8 p.m. next Friday, June 4 in Municipal Auditorium.

Yearbook Royalty

Sandra Kirkland and Reggie Brown were crowned as Zephilsco yearbook royalty when the senior class presented its annual Class Night program in the school auditorium Tuesday evening. Highlighting the evening was the distribution of the new yearbooks by co-editors Kaye Henry and Laurel Reitz.

The featured portion of the program was a take-off on TV, with Donnie Poe as narrator. A newscast and commercials laced “Tuesday Night at the Movies” and an Academy Award Ceremony with Joe Maniscalco as master of ceremonies.

Special awards presented to Mrs. Constance Kaylor as teacher with the most school spirit, to John T.V. Clark as teacher with the most talent, to Mrs. Edith Ward and Mrs. Page Renninger as most sympathetic, to Charles McKinney as easiest to get along with, to Betty Hall as most understanding, to John Geiger as most helpful to budding scholars and geniuses, to Lewis Wynne as most disciplinary, to Mrs. Alpha Gill as the greatest perfectionist and to Stanley Kendrick as the most popular teacher in the school. The seniors’ last will and testament was read by Marcia McGinnis, Susan Bucey, Scott Johnson and Mike Massey and Miss Reitz crowned the royalty. Other contestants for the yearbook queen were Miss Bucey, Lillian Johnson, Kaye Henry and Linda Sabo, and for king they were Russell Kirk, Ronnie Gross, Allen Carmon, and Larry Turner. Miss Henry and Carmon were runners-up for the honors.

The program closed with the traditional singing of “Farewell To Thee” by the Junior class, “Halls of Ivy” by the seniors and “Alma Mater” by both groups and the audience. Miss Henry dedicated the yearbooks to Earl Reitz of the faculty and Miss Reitz introduced next year’s Zephilsco’s staff.

Senior Trip Tuesday

Prior to the Class Night observance Tuesday members of the senior class, their sponsors, John F. Clements, W.R. Jeffries and Mrs. Jesse Kaylor and Miss Cora Jenson, guidance counselor, enjoyed a spend-the-day outing at Rainbow Springs. Mrs. Austin Smith and Cleo Bird drove the school buses in which the trip was made.


Awards Ceremonies Provide—For Deserving Students, Zephyrhills News, May 27, 1965

More than 275 students were given recognition for scholarship, perfect attendance, good citizenship, safety work, and proficiency in typing, essay writing, oratory, and the like at an awards assembly in Zephyrhills High School auditorium Monday morning.

There are still other awards yet to be presented at the school. Athletic honors, including letters, certificates, and jackets will be given at an assembly set to begin at 9 a.m. today (Thursday), while some of the major honors will be given out at Commencement June 4.

Bob Winters, Student Council President, conducted the formal opening of the assembly Monday, which was highlighted by the presentation of honor roll awards to 67 students by Keith Lane, President of Zephyrhills Junior Chamber of Commerce, and perfect attendance certificates to 130 students by Assistant Principal Lewis Wynne.

Recipients as follows:

Honor Roll—Seniors—Linda Hayden, Kaye Henry, Barbara Thompson, Susan Bucey, Sandra Kirkland, Sharon Toler, Lillian Johnson, Larry Chauncey, Mark Higginson, Russell Kirk, Marvin Reed, Larry Turner and Jed Wilkinson.

DCT—Noreen Krystofiak, Donald White, Charlene Breckenridge and Evelyn Howard.

Juniors—Lawrence Earle, Joe Higginson, Richard Johnson, Alan Murphy, Tom Porter, Joyce Allegood, Bonnie Durland, Mary Fish, Edith Jacobs, Janice McGuffey and Nathan Bleich.

Sophomores—Marcia Deming, Terry Alston, Charles Oswald, Alice Back, Pat Forbes, Joan Thompson, Suzanne Winters, Richard Kinney and Glennis Massey.

Freshmen—Danny Pollock, Richard McGinnis, Janette Dunnigan, Eloise Hall, Acie Ellerbe, Rene Geddis, and Lynn Lassiter.


Bulldogs in State Tourney; Meet Chattahoochee First, Zephyrhills News, March 11, 1965

For the fifth time in six years, the Zephyrhills High School basketball team will be returning to Gainesville for action in the finals of the State Class B basketball tournament.

The ZHS Bulldogs once again are among the select four teams—from among 64 who started action in Group tourneys—who will play in the university city.

Action begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday against Chattahoochee, the entry from Region l in the panhandle of the state. (A review of the Zephyrhills history in state tourney action will be found on page 19 of this issue).

After the Orange and Black dispose of Chattahoochee, they will meet the winners of a game between Oviedo and St. Cloud—to be played tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.—in the state Class B finals Saturday afternoon at 4:30.

For those who plan to take in the full weekend of tourney games, the schedule for opening day is:

9 a.m.—Cedar Key vs. Lake Placid, Class C.
10:30 a.m.—Zephyrhills vs. Chattahoochee, Class B.
1 p.m.—Grand Ridge vs. Hilliard, Class C.
2:30 p.m.—Oviedo vs. St. Cloud, Class B.
4 p.m.—Tate of Gonzalez vs. Apopka, Class A.
6:30 p.m. –Miami Beach vs. Tampa Hillsborough, Class AA.
8 p.m. –Plant City vs. Arcadia DeSoto, Class A.
9:30 p.m.—Jacksonville Paxon vs. Orlando Edgewater, Class AA.

Other Regional Finals

In Regional Class B finals, Chattahoochee defeated Jay, 68 to 62, Oviedo defeated Madison 93 to 62, and St. Cloud defeated Mt. Dora, 52 to 42, as Zephyrhills was winning over Jupiter 42 to 31.

Win Over Frostproof

The Bulldogs played one of their sloppier games of the season in defeating Frostproof in the opening game of the Region 4 meet at Riviera Beach, Friday night. They fell behind 13-10 in the first quarter but tallied 16 points to their opponents’ 12 to take a 1-point halftime lead at 26-25.

The Orange and Black widened the gap in the third period as they once again outscored Frostproof, 13-8, then held on for a 50-45 victory.


Bulldogs Win 3 More In Drive To Retain State Championship, Zephyrhills News, January 28, 1965

The Zephyrhills High School Bulldogs, defending state champs, took their 6th straight Tampa Bay Conference victory and their 12th win of the season as they whipped the Brewster Tech Rams at Tampa Tuesday night 62 to 42.

In other action, the past week Coach Charles McKinney’s dynamos dropped Mulberry 57 to 47 Friday night, and Saturday night notched their second victory of the season over one of the state’s best Class B teams, Ocoee, 63 to 51.

Friday night Fort Meade’s Miners will come to Dade City for a Zephyrhills “home” game in the National Guard Armory and again on Saturday night the Orange and Black will be hosts at the armory, this time to East Bay. The first part of next week is open with the next action a home game with the Pasco Pirates Friday, February 5.

Blessing Trims Mulberry

Brant Blessing’s 23-point total led the Bulldogs to their 57-47 win over Mulberry, as the ‘Dogs outrebounded the Panthers 41-28 in posting their 5th TBC victory.

Jed Wilkinson contributed 15 points to the Bulldog attack, while Frank Overhuls added seven more and Tom Porter and Ron Cherry hit six points each.

The Orange and Black cagers, having trouble finding their scoring range, made only 31 percent of their field goal attempts, their lowest percentage of the season and far off their usual 50 percent mark. The fans saw a nip-and-tuck first quarter, with the period ending with a 9-8 lead, but in the second stanza the ‘Dogs scored the Panthers 14-7 to take a 23-15 halftime lead. In the final quarter the McKinney-men outpointed Mulberry 20 to 18.

Ocoee Game Exciting

The crowd on hand witnessed a thrilling ball game when the Bulldogs met Ocoee at Dade City Saturday night. The lead changed hands regularly in the first half and the score was tied at 28 at the intermission.

By correcting their mistakes at halftime and tightening their defense, the Bulldog moved into a 46-33 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Wilkinson led scoring with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Cherry was close behind with 18 points and many key rebounds. Porter also contributed in a big way with 16 points. In an excellent preliminary game Coach Will McRaney’s boys bested a much older and more experienced Ocoee Jayvee team to make it a double-header victory night.

Brewster Falls, 62-42

The Bulldogs jumped to a 12-3 first quarter lead in their game at Brewster Tuesday night, then watched the reserves handle most of the ZHS action in the remaining three periods, building a 20-point victory margin. Wilkinson again was high scorer, netting 18 points and snarling 11 rebounds in protecting the winning effort. Larry Chauncey and Porter hit for nine points each. Overhuls added seven, Cherry and Blessing six each, Bob Price four and Ron Carroll three. The Jayvees were defeated by Brewster’s B team in the curtain-raiser.


Auxiliary Chooses New Girl for Girls State, Zephyrhills News, April 15, 1965

Miss Janice McGuffey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William McGuffey and a junior at Zephyrhills High School, will attend the 1965 session of the American Legion Auxiliary sponsored Girls State June 11-18 in Tallahassee on the Florida State University campus.

She will represent Zephyr Unit 118 at the statewide event instead of Miss Gloria Kinnard, as previously announced, following Miss Kinnard’s withdrawal after her election as an officer of the Florida Future Homemaker’s of America organization.

Miss McGuffey is a native of Akron, Ohio, who came here nine years ago with her parents. Her hobbies are water skiing and swimming. She is a member of the Beta Club and Bulldoger staff.


Tom Porter, Walter Achillich Named Legion’s Selections for Boys State, Zephyrhills News, May 6, 1965

Two Zephyrhills High School boys, members of the junior class have been selected to attend the 1965 session of the American Legion-sponsored Boys State June 27-July 3 in Tallahassee on the Florida State University campus.

Tom Porter, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Porter, will represent Zephyr Post 118, American Legion and Walter Achillich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Achillich, will represent the Civitan Club at the annual week-long citizenship training event.

Porter and Achillich were selected by a Legion committee composed of Max E. Cook, chairman, Lucy Mae Knox, Lester Bales, Jr., and Commander Walter E. Nuneman, ex-officio, from a group recommended by the faculty.

Porter is vice president of the Zephyrhills High School Student Council, president of the junior class, a member of the Beta Club and Zephilsco yearbook staff. He also has been active in baseball, basketball, track and currently is serving on the “prom” committee.

Joe Higginson was named alternate to Porter.

Walter Achillich is secretary of the Senior FFA Chapter at Zephyrhills High School and is very active in affairs pertaining to Future Farmers of America. The two Boys State delegates will be joining several hundred boys from throughout Florida for the 1965 Boys State Session.


Bulldogs Defeat Rebels 78-58 on 3rd Frame Rally, Zephyrhills News, December 23, 1965

The Zephyrhills Bulldogs went to a pressing defense and scored 35 points in the third period Friday night to stump the South Sumter Rebels 78 to 58.

Tom Porter scored 26 points for the Bulldogs and Timmy Barnes 18 for the Rebs. This win was the fourth against one loss for the Bulldogs. South Sumter captured the Jayvee game 53 to 39.

Red Hot in Third Quarter

The ZHS crew was cold in the first half and trailed throughout as the hard-fighting Rebels built a 27-23 halftime margin. The amazing performance by the visitors at the free-throw line saw them hit 14 of 17 attempts while the Orange and Black were being whistled for numerous fouls.

But in the third period the “Dogs got red hot and out-scored the Rebels 35 to 17.”

Brant Blessing added 17 points and Bob Price 13. Don Woods hit 12, Randy Sperry five. Richard Kinney four and Roy Hutto one for the balanced Bulldogs. Next game for ZHS will be January 7 at Turkey Creek; it will be the first Tampa Bay Conference game of the season and the first game under new mentor, Morris McHone.


Champions of Another Era, Tampa Tribune, February 8, 2006

A reunion brings together members of Zephyrhills’ great basketball dynasty of the 1960s.

By Joey Knight, Columnist

For the sake of full disclosure, I acknowledge to personally knowing many of those who collectively form the subject of this column. 

Some I have been acquainted with for 30 years of longer. They are friends of my parents, parents of my friends, or both. There’s even a common denominator with those whose names are unfamiliar. We are all Zephyrhills High Graduates.

I never imagined I would be writing about these men, most of who now are on the cusp of 60 or slightly older. A few I have been told, had played for one or both-of ZHS’ state championship basketball teams from the early 1960s.

Enlightenment arrived Saturday evening, at a modest brick community center near the banks of Zephyr Lake. To that point, I incorrectly assumed my alma mater’s basketball success had been confined exclusively to a pair of championship seasons- 1961-62 and 1963-64-from bygone generation, with nary a sniff of a state title before or since.

I learned that night this collection of profound childhood influences—my little league coaches, assistant principals, teachers of subjects ranging from biology to Sunday School-formed the greatest basketball dynasty this county has ever known.

Back when belts held up game shorts and rain held up the start of home games, these guys were giants. Ironically, it took a “Little Man” to bring them together.

The 30 or so teammates who gathered to take snapshots and recall set shots were mainly reunited by the efforts of indefatigable ZHS sports booster, Eddie Smith who grew up with most of Saturday’s honorees before graduating from Plant City High School himself in 1961.

With the help of a local committee, Smith organized a hearty Southern dinner buffet not to mention a smorgasbord of black and white photographs immortalizing this prosperous pre-integration era in Bulldog athletics. Some of the ads nestled amid these clippings –like the nineteen cent burgers and shakes at the Freez-Ette Drive-In were astounding.

So were the scores.

From 1960-1966, Zephyrhills reached the Class B (equivalent to today’s 2A) state tournament every season except one.

The 1961-62 team, coached by the late Jack Wilson, lost its season opener by four points to Wauchula, and then won 30 in a row. It rallied from a 10-0 deficit for a 58-45 win against Ocoee in the semi-finalist, and then avenged a one-point loss to Blountstown in the 1960 title game with a 60-58 triumph at the University of Florida.

Following a “rebuilding” 14-12 season the following year, the 1963-64 team, coached by a man barely older than his players—went 30-4 defeating Mount Dora, 33-29, in the state final. The final slate would have been 31-3 had Hernando not stolen one from the Dogs on a half court Hail Mary in the final minute.

“It was the heart of the kids, I really believe that’s what made the difference,” said Charlie McKinney, all of 21 years old when he replaced Wilson in 1962. “A lot of talent, too. We weren’t big, we weren’t strong, but we did have a lot of desire.”

Just not a lot of amenities. This generation of Dogs possessed grit, camaraderie, resilience and character-but no gymnasium. Practices, and the three or four home games played each season, were held on a concrete slab of Stewart Middle School.

“Wilson wouldn’t play on that outdoor court,” said Bill McGavern, a member of the first state title team. “If the other team had a gym, we would play there.”

Typically they would bring the entire town in tow. Players insisted away games created a scene reminiscent of “Hoosiers,” where a caravan of vehicles followed the team bus to opposing burgs.

When the Dogs reached their destination, they often found the opposing facilities were not much of an upgrade. Clyde Bracknell, now Zephyrhills longest-serving city councilmember, recalled playing in one rural outpost on a piece of pasture with a gopher hole in the middle.

Others recalled playing on a stage at Gulf High School, where a chase for a loose ball could result in a fall of several feet.

Maybe that venue was fitting, in a way.

For the diverse professional and personal successes these men would later encounter, this era remains one of the grandest states of their lives.  “Everybody remembers how good it was being together,” said Mike McGinnis, who played on both championship teams. “I wish I could tell you better than that, it was just one of those things.”

Playing Tight-If this assemblage produced a bona fide star, it was McGinnis, who went on to play at Florida, got involved in college coaching, then became a Southeastern Conference football official.

Fellow Dogs alumnus Richard Kinney recalled seeing McGinnis dunk a ball in “hard shoes.”

“I didn’t do anything special,” said McGinnis, who now manages a municipal golf course in Ocala. “I just knew I could jump.”

But even McGinnis’ number was hardly Kobe caliber, and aside from a few rangy presences such as 6 feet 5 inch Jed Wilkinson, the “Dogs” were far from imposing. It is not sanitizing the era to suggest continuity carried these “dogs to heights that have not been approached by other ZHS boy’s teams since.

There was such a closeness of ballplayers, said 1965 graduate Ron Cherry, among those who worked diligently with Smith to pull off the reunion.  “I think it was a learning experience that affected our lives forever.”

The Bulldogger, the ZHS School Newspaper, published this photo of the 1964-65 basketball team on January 22, 1965. Many of the players were members of the ZHS’ state championship teams in 1961-62 and 1963-64.

Zephyrhills basketball players gathered Saturday at Alice Hall Community Center for a ZHS Roaring 1960s basketball reunion. Among them were: Nelson Spoto, from left-Mike McGinnis, Jed Wilkinson, Coach Charlie McKinney, Tom Porter, Ron Cherry, Brant Blessing, Jack Bentley and Athletic Director/Coach, Johnny Clements.

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