HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1968

School Days for 93 Graduates, Zephyrhills News, June 6, 1968

The Zephyrhills High School gymnasium was the scene last evening of commencement exercises for the 93-member senior class. Jimmy Simmons played an organ prelude, then “March of the Priests” as the processional during which the white capped and gowned graduates filed into the hall and took their places.

The Rev. James Smith, pastor of Double Branch Church of which the class president is a member, gave the invocation.
Acie Ellerbe, president of the 1968 graduating class spoke on the topic, “Using Our Education.”

Class Salutatorian, Rene Geddes uses as her topic, “The Value of A True Teacher” and H. Daniel Pollock, valedictorian, chose the class motto, “Today’s Challenge is Tomorrow’s Quest” as topic of his address.

Mrs. V.E. Witt, longtime member of the Pasco County Board of Public Instruction from Zephyrhills who is retiring after 20 years of service, presented special awards.

The salutatorian medal went to Rene Geddes and the valedictorian medal to Danny Pollock, who also was the recipient of the Activities Award.

John Neal, with a 486 score out of a possible 495, won the Scholarship Award and Ryan Gray won the school’s Athletic Award.

School Spirit awards were presented to Acie Ellerbe, Class President and to Janette Dunnigan. June Standland won the Citizenship Award.

Riki McGinnis won the Best All-Around Boy Award and also was the recipient of the $100 Jaycees Athletic Scholarship. June Standland also was recipient of the Best All-Round Girl Award.

$25 US Savings Bonds were presented by Zephyrhills Rotary Club to both the valedictorian and salutatorian. Pres. Ferd Renninger made the presentation.

Chester Taylor, Pasco County Superintendent of Public Instruction, assisted by Prin. Raymond B. Stewart, presented diplomas to the 93 graduates. Principal Stewart also gave recognition to winners of scholarships which had previously been announced.

The Rev. Leslie C. Poe, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene, gave the benediction and Simons played “Pomp and Circumstance” as the recessional to which the graduates filed out of the gymnasium. Ushers were members of the junior class including Sue Douglas, Melanie Massey, Cathy Muse, Barbara Rooks, Sue Thompson, Joe Ahrens, Richard Back, Rodney Price, Jerry Pricher, and Doug Prowant.

Reception Follows-Following Conclusion of the commencement exercise a reception for the graduates, their dates and parents was held in the gymnasium. Mrs. Owen Gall, in charge of decorations, used a white lace cloth over French blue on the refreshment table to carry out the seniors’ color scheme. Red and white roses, class flowers, also were featured in the motif, as were figurines of boy and girl graduates.


May 30, 1968


Speeches by Top Grads at Commencement, Zephyrhills News, June 13, 1968

Salutatorian Speaks

Miss Rene Geddes, class salutatorian, used as her topic, “The Value of A True Teacher.” She lauded encouragement and support from parents, family, friends and fellow classmates.

Excerpt-“A true teacher’s philosophy is not to instruct a class but rather to create an individual, teaching the individual the fundamentals of society and how to cope with society itself…and understanding the vital role the teaching profession plays in the preservation of our democratic way of life.”

Valedictory Address

The class motto, Today’s Challenge is Tomorrow’s Quest,” was the topic chosen by H. Daniel Pollock as his outstanding address as valedictorian.

“This phrase not only applies to the young men and young women who tonight enter a new world but to all people everywhere. A challenge is beneficial to all, but where is the utility of a challenge if it be not met with acceptance and enthusiasm” The hope of the class of 1968 is that we will always be ready and willing to answer the challenge of the adult world, our peers, our enemies as well as our friends,” he said, and continued.

“High school has provided facts and principles to serve as the building blocks for our thoughts …which must be timely and appropriate to be of any usefulness.”

Pollock went on to say he believes the foremost and most formidable challenge that will inevitably face students of today when they become adults is the problem that has dogged men’s progress from the very beginning of the history of his coexistence with his neighbor—the harmful and useless fear of other people, distrust of the stranger, and the inevitable attempt or desire to remove the fear by destroying the stranger.

“The past decade has been marred worse by the mistrust and fear among men than any other period during recorded history. This problem has been the most shameful encountered in those 10 years, yet the human race proudly points to its achievements in the areas or outer space exploration, transplantation, of the core of the human being, and explanations of the infinite and the infinitesimal, while citizens of the same city fight each other with whatever weapons, humane or insane, are available at the time. The problem of feeding the billions of starving people throughout the world must take a back seat to the research and manufacture of sophisticated weapons by the most advanced civilizations ever to show their faces on this earth, for the sole reason that as one nation dies, it may not be alone in oblivion,” Pollock said.

He went on to say some of the challenges faced by the 1968 graduates are to accept critically, yet practically and readily, the heritage given by ancestors including that of the advancement of the technical knowledge of mankind. “Some of these graduates perhaps will have their names and deeds mentioned in headlines…but the majority will settle back to become members of the general public, the backbone of America—average men and women, husbands and wives, faithful to their country and their fellowmen. These are people who give America her name as the most wonderful country in the world. To continue to deserve this labeling, these are the people who must throw off their apathy and indifference, speak up and give their private thoughts voice, make and modify the governments,” said Pollock.

The valedictorian added that it is well to remember that each man has a dream, a goal to reach which if set sufficiently high and pursued honorably pride can be taken in its attainment or even the success present in the failure, and quoted, “Aim for the stars—if you fall short, you will have the moon.”

Pollock said, “We newcomers to the world face the responsibility of maintaining the honor of America which includes preserving the motion of the political mechanics of the country, providing for and protecting the general welfare of the people of the United States. Currently we are faced with the unpleasant yet very real threat of a civil war between the races in this country. Before the threat becomes any darker, we of all races must fight to prevent it rather than to prepare for and win the war when it does come.”

In conclusion Pollock asked those in the audience to accept and welcome each of the 93 graduates “as you would any person in whose hands rests the future nation and the world.”

Addressing fellow graduates, he said, “tonight we accept a share of the responsibilities of a society with many wounds and illnesses. We join the elders who have lived here and endeavored to improve the surroundings for our efforts. Let us respect, hear, care for them and profit from their experience and errors. Let us, with their help, heal those wounds and cure those illnesses. With these graduation exercises let this nation, under God, have a new birth of freedom. Let us insure that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. “The challenge is presented: it is time for the quest to begin.”


Graduation Activities Den With Commencement June 5 For Largest ZHS Class: 93, Zephyrhills News, 1968

Baccalaureate services for the 93-member 1968 graduating class, largest of record for Zephyrhills High School, will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of First Methodist Church.

The organ prelude is to be played by Mrs. Nancy Braswell, who also will play, “March of the Priests” as a processional.
An invocation is to be given by the Rev. Charles Roesel, pastor of the First Baptist Church, and Jerry Pricher is to sing a solo.

The Rev. Floyd W. Cooper, pastor, will deliver the baccalaureate sermon using as his topic, “The Days of Thy Youth.”
After the benediction by the Rev. Richard Pollard, Vicar of the St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, Mrs. Braswell will play March Pontifical as the recessional. Ushers are to be members of the sophomore class including Lynn Murphy, Debbie Hambright, Sabra Cooper, Patty Hayden, Shirley Rose, Keathel Chauncey, Cliff Brown, Doy Smith, Jimmy Simmons and David Krystofiak.

Commencement--June 5

The Zephyrhills High School gymnasium will be the scene Wednesday evening, June 5, beginning at 8 o’clock of Commencement exercises for the seniors, whose president is Acie Ellerbe. Other officers of the class are June Standland, vice president; Sharon Jefferson, secretary; and Donna Bales, treasurer. Sponsors are John F. Clements and Mrs. Constance Kaylor. Mrs. V.E. Witt, longtime Zephyrhills member of the Pasco County Board of Public Instruction who is retiring this year, will present special awards.

Diplomas to the 93 graduates are to be presented by Pasco County Superintendent Chester Taylor, assisted by Principal Raymond B. Steward who also will make scholarship announcements.

Miss Rene Geddes, class salutatorian, will speak on “The Value of a True Teacher” while Danny Pollock, class valedictorian, has chosen as his topic, “Today’s Challenge is Tomorrow’s Quest.”

Acie Ellerbe, class president, will speak on “Using our Education.” The Rev. Jimmie Smith, pastor of Double Branch Baptist Church of which the class president is a member, is to give the invocation and the benediction will be given by the Reverend Leslie C. Poe, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. Sandy Simons is to organist for the commencement program and members of the junior class will serve as ushers.

Reception to Follow

Immediately following the commencement exercises a reception will be held in the gym for the graduates, their dates and parents. Mrs. H.D. Pollock is in charge of arrangements for the reception and Mrs. Owen E. Gall, co-chairman, will use the class colors, French blue and white, in decorations.




School Daze by Janette Dunnigan, Zephyrhills News, 1968


Oh my goodness: I have graduated. And just last night. Where has the year gone? Into the past—and very swiftly at that.

Well, that is what I said just yesterday that I –oh, I’d better not get started on that. I’d be talking for a year! (That’s a long time, too!).

Would you believe—Class Night was a success? Of course, it was even though all the censors, we still came out with a pretty decent Class Night Program. It seemed to be a combination of the “Smothers Brothers Show,” and Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In,” two very popular television series with our generation! I hope there weren’t too many hard feelings for you Juniors. When you get to be a Senior, you will have to have someone to “cut” and that will be the Juniors of ’69. So, don’t you take it so hard—we love ya!

Speaking of success and also of Juniors—wow! That’s about all I can say about the Prom. The theme was “Gone With the Wind,” which was carried out beautifully with “home” made,” fantastic murals relating to the novel and it’s been a long time since the Municipal Building looked so good. Even with the rainy weather once you got inside the entire mood changed and it was as if you were back in time. Extra special congratulations go the Mighty “69ers”. That was one beautiful job!

To top the Prom off to a tee, the 1968 Royalty were crowned. No one even knew who was nominated for the honors, but the president himself, Dale Palmer. About halfway through, he introduced Mr. John Geiger, who did the honors of crowning Cliff Cooper as King and Laura Achillich as Queen. Laura and Cliff looked great, proving that the Juniors do have good taste even when it concerns us Seniors.

Well, students, final exams are over and we finished the scholastic year like a hurricane—in more ways than one.
Baccalaureate was held in the Methodist Church Sunday and Commencement in the gym last night. There were big crowds for both. After all, there are 93 graduating seniors and most have two parents, that’s—let’s see—186 people. If all 93 seniors have two sisters or brothers or cousins or whatever that would make 372 people attending while if all 93 people attending were to invite two guests that would make 558 guests and if those guests were to bring two more people—oh forget it! I can’t count that high! We all did appreciate the interest shown by so many unrelated adults in attending our graduation activities. Thanks for reading this column through the school year. Now I’m off to make my mark on the world. In fact, watch for News of all 93 seniors of 1968—we plan to make it.


Ferd Renninger Enrollment Tops 1600, Almost 725 at High School, Zephyrhills News, September 5, 1968

Zephyrhills’ three public schools had a combined opening day enrollment of 1636 students as classes for the 1968-69 term began Friday.

Of this number 721 were enrolled at Zephyrhills High School, 435 at East Elementary School and 480 at West Elementary School Principals Raymond B. Stewart, James Walker and Ferd Renninger of the three schools, respectively; anticipate an appreciable increase in the enrollment figures as students return from vacation trips.


School Daze by Jannete Dunnigan, Zephyrhills News, January 2, 1968

The Beta Club is hitting the spotlight. Last Friday, they had their annual tapping ceremony. This is a supposing solemn ceremony where the old members go into the group of students and “tap” the new qualified members, bringing them into the club. It looks as though the Beta’s will have an outstanding organization working next year. Convention time is here again. 

The Beta Club will send its newly elected officers to their state convention Thursday through Saturday.

And I have the honor of announcing the 1968-69 officers. For the highly honored office of President, we have the well experienced and qualified Jerry Pricher. Vice president is another experienced gentleman, Cliff Brown. Now that the council has two secretaries, Brenda Hughes as corresponding secretary and Valerie Wickstrom as recording secretary, all the work can be done efficiently and expertly. Handling the money and expenditures will be Frankie Hall and parliamentarian is the re-elected Doy Smith. Sounds good, doesn’t it? With that group, it has to be.

The Future Homemakers of America held their International Dinner Tuesday evening in the Home Economics building. As usual it was a wonderful success. Who’s president-elect for the coming year? She sure is going to have a tough time to out-class President Weesie Hall.


The 1968 Track Team, Zephyrhills News, April 18, 1968

The 1968 Track Team members are Herbert Farrell, Larry Lindsay, Ruben Odom, Jerry Pricher, Dennis Hartley, Jim Streer, Dale Eady, Mike McCreadie, Ryan Gray, Ed Chadwell, Ulysses Alexander, John Mullin, Wally Reeves, Rocky Stanley, Mark Penny, Skip Stewart, Billy Poe, Doug Prowant, David Krystofiak, Cliff Brown, B.B. Lane, Richard Back, Richard McLellan, Alvin McKenzie, Clarence Odom, and Coach James Davis.  


Two Chapters of Future Farmers Hosts Friday at 3-County Sub-District Tests, Zephyrhills News, April 18, 1968

Municipal Auditorium will be the scene tomorrow of the annual Future Farmers of America Sub-District Contest in which representatives of chapters of Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas Counties will participate. Registration is scheduled from 8:30 to 9:00 am in the foyer and refreshments will be served by the host chapters, Zephyrhills Senior and Junior, whose presidents are Ryan Gray and David Brown, respectively.

Panels of competent judges from the Dade City-Zephyrhills areas are to evaluate competition in public speaking parliamentary procedures, string band, harmonica, and quartet. There will also be tractor driving contests.
FFA chapters expected to have representation in the contests include Brooksville, Dade City, Mickens, Largo, Largo-Seminole, New Port Richey, Parkland, and Zephyrhills senior and junior groups. William G. Turk III and Marcus Shackleford, Vo-Ag instructors and sponsors of the host groups, are in charge of arrangements for the event, which is expected to attract widespread attendance from the several area chapters.


Filming of Football Games Is One Quarterback Club Project, Zephyrhills News, September 5, 1968

All home games of the Zephyrhills High School football team will be filmed this fall, thanks to a contribution voted Monday night by the Quarterback Club at the year’s first organizational meeting.

Members voted to pay $300 of the $500 asked by the school as a donation to pay for the filming, and two members of the club indicated that they personally will come up with the other $200 required.

Coach Bob Alwood explained that the films are invaluable training aids to coaches and players, and he promised that showings for citizens at a downtown location will be arranged for the Tuesday following each home game.
Harold Mains, presided over the first meeting at which a budget of $1375 was adopted. The budget presented by secretary-treasurer Bernard Wickstrom included $30 for administration, $830 for payments on the $1250 press box debt owed by the club, $400 for the annual spring sports banquet and trophies and $25 for the club’s Miss Zephyrhills contest entry.

Members amended the proposed budget to increase the total amount the club will give varsity and jayvee players as spending money on their trips to Gator grid games from $60 to $90, increasing the spending money gift from $1 to $1.50 per player.

Members also voted to pay $200 toward the school’s football insurance costs. The annual membership drive, headed by Vincent Peel and C.A. MacDonald was kicked off and a report by noon on September 16 was asked by the co-chairmen. Peel also told the group, meeting at the Bank of Zephyrhills lobby, that the membership of 163 last year was second only to one year when 165 were signed. “This year the goal is 200 members,” he said. MacDonald said the club could have 300 members with little efforts. “Our purpose is noble; our effort should be greater,” he told the sports boosters.

Art Fish was named chairman of the concessions committee for this year, to be assisted by Carl Lippincott and last year’s chairman, Dennis Desmond. A public relations committee was named by President Mains with Alice Hall as chairman and Madeline Sigmund, Bob Artabasy and Wickstrom as members.


Danny Pollock, ZHS Valedictorian, Awarded 4-Year College Scholarship, Zephyrhills News, April 18, 1968

Harmon D. “Danny” Pollock, Jr. 17, of Zephyrhills is the recipient of a 4-year college tuition scholarship under the American Can Company Foundation grants, it was announced today.
A certificate of the award, one of 14 such scholarships offered yearly by the American Can Company was presented to Harmon by Richard Steele, plant manager of the American Can’s local manufacturing facility located at 22nd Street and Adamo Drive, Tampa.


Bill’s Night Out, Zephyrhills News, April 18, 1968

Here is the cast of the Junior Class play, to be presented Friday evening in the auditorium at Zephyrhills High School. This year’s 3-act comedy, again directed by Miss Marion Ditter, is entitled, “Bill’s Night Out,” and will feature, Donna Sansom, Joe Wells, Joe Ahrens, Susie Overhuls, Craig Palmer, Anna Doerr, Ann Howard, Jerry Pricher, Linda Martinson, Mary Grimes, Ingeborg Hennessy, Raymond Bohannon, Carol Burnside, Kathy Muse, Richard Miller, Sue Ellen Thompson, Gail Connolly and Gloria Gavin.


Spelling Bee Winners, Zephyrhills News, March 26, 1968

Betty Greene, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Greene, takes the center seat as winner of first place in the annual Zephyrhills High School Spelling Bee. Betty is an eighth grader, as are the second and third place winners: Pam Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Bryant and Lynda Perry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Perry. Carol Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Brown was fourth place and Debra Clark, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford C. Clark was fifth place.  Phyllis Jarrett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Jarrett was sixth place. The girls will compete in the Pasco County Junior High Spelling Bee to be held in the Zephyrhills High School Auditorium April 5th at 7:30. Winners will go to the Sun coast Bee May 3 in St. Petersburg.


School Daze, by Kathy Shannon, Zephyrhills News, 1968

Homecoming 1968 is behind us and now all that remains are the memories. No one can dispute the fact that this year’s Homecoming was one of the best and most successful for ZHS. There was something for everyone to participate in whether it was sticking a pin into the “Voodoo Ram” or cheering the team on at a pep rally. The week ended perfectly with the team winning. During halftime of the game the Bulldog Marching Band formed a heart and as they played the royalty candidates were escorted down the center to the front of the field. Everyone held their breath as Mr. Bill Brown (emcee) opened the envelop containing the final results.

Sue Douglas, a Senior at ZHS, was crowned as the 1968 Homecoming Queen by last year’s queen, Donna Bales. Johnny Braxton also a Senior was selected by the entire football team to reign with her as Homecoming King. Two very deserving Juniors, Sabra Cooper and Keathel Chauncey, received the honored titles of Homecoming Princess and Prince. Completing the Royalty Court were Lois Wells as Sophomore Maid and Martha Padgett as Freshman Maid. Juniors captured first place honors with their float, “Darn the Rams.” Second place honors went to the Freshmen with their float, “Whip the Rams.” Third place was awarded to the Senior Class with their float, “Dam the Rams.” The Sophomores placed last with their float, “Knock Out the Rams,” but they received the honor of burning the “Voodoo Ram” at the bonfire and were recognized for decorating the halls with the best posters.

Alumni were recognized at half time by being asked to stand. Mrs. Angie Skinner and Frank Sellars received a gift for being the earliest graduates of ZHS present at the game. Following the game was the annual Alumni Homecoming Dance which was turned into a victory celebration. This was the final event of a very wonderful Homecoming Week. Two Student Council officers are in Homau, La., this week to participate in the Southern Association of Student Councils Convention.

Representing ZHS at this big convention are Jerry Pricher and Cliff Brown.


Sparkling Song Stylings, Zephyrhills News, March 14, 1968

Sparkling Song Stylings by the Young’uns and Company delighter “Comedy Tonight” audiences. Members were Larry Miller, Laura Achillich, Eloise Hall, Patty Hayden, Paul Woodruff, Lynn Murphy, Linda Duckett, Cliff Brown, Terri Rickard and Jerry Pricher. Mrs. Pat Murphy directed the unit.



School Board’s Position on Teacher Strike Outlined by School Director, Zephyrhills News, February 29, 1968

Pasco County Superintendent of Schools, Chester Taylor, emphasized the necessity of teachers abiding by their contracts in an address to the Zephyrhills Women’s Republican club at the covered-dish luncheon Tuesday in Municipal Auditorium.
He told the group the Pasco County School Board has adopted a ruling making it mandatory for any teacher who walked out in compliance with the Florida Educational Association-called “strike” wanting to return to the county school system to apply as a beginner.

“If accepted the teacher will receive a beginning teacher’s salary and if he or she has 10 years of experience they will be credited with only five years,” he said.

All continuing contracts have been voided. Taylor struck out at the unionistic tactics of the FEA and said SB77X passed in a special session of the Florida Legislature, has not been fully explained to teachers by the association and that teachers who walked out feel the bill is “totally unacceptable” strictly on the say-so of the FEA.

The superintendent charged that the FEA is not getting full information to teachers and further that it is preventing the school board from getting full information to them. “Even Dr. Phil Constans now admits there is more money allocated under the bill than he told teachers was allocated,” Taylor said.

Supt. Taylor said the FEA did not wait for legislation adjusting taxes to implement SB77X to be passed before calling for the teacher walkout.

Urges Letters to Kirk

“While SB77X doesn’t do everything I might want it to do for education, it’s an improvement over what we had and I hope all of you will write Gov. Kirk and ask him to veto this bill. It is very beneficial to Pasco County, he said.

Supt. Taylor quoted Jack Morgan, president of the Pasco Classroom Teachers Association as having said, “Salaries in Pasco County are not the problem since the county rates 12th statewide in teacher pay.”

Explaining some features of the new education bill, Taylor told his audience Pasco County has no public kindergarten now but under the new bill would be able to put in this program. Also “this bill would enable us to enlarge on and improve the present program for exceptional children,” he said.

Taylor told the group each text book is programmed to last five years. “However,” he said, “I feel junior and senior high school pupils should purchase their own books; then they’d take better care of them.”

On the subject of taxes, Taylor said, “The school board had a reminder last November as to how the citizens felt. We asked for 9 mills and they voted 6 mills.”

The speaker said emphatically he could not see eye-to-eye with teachers in the county, saying they walked out to benefit the children and added, “I am happy to tell you the substitutes we have hired are fully qualified and a majority of teachers actually are on the job, contrary to what the FEA says.”

Supt. Taylor also emphasized that schools in the county were closed Thursday and Friday merely to reorganize. “We couldn’t complete work for the year without re-Planning,” he said.


Nineteen From Zephyrhills Faculties Leave Positions, Zephyrhills News, February 29, 1968

With Gulf High School at New Port Richey on double sessions, and with all other schools of Pasco County “operating smoothly” with the aid of substitute and citizen volunteer teachers, citizens sat back this week to await developments in the statewide teacher strike. A major dividing point was reached Saturday afternoon when the school board, meeting in special session, unanimously accepted and approved 148 resignations. Following a tabulation of teachers missing from classrooms, and a comparison with letters requesting withdrawal of resignations, the office of County Superintendent Taylor came up with a total figure of 143 teacher resignations, plus those of two supervising personnel. The county has employed 407 in education.

The board drafted resolutions to Gov. Claude Kirk and legislators who serve Pasco County, stressing that the veto of the educational package then lying on Kirk’s desk would “change the situation from crisis to chaos.”

The resolution aimed at members of the legislature asked that they call themselves into session and override a veto if it should be forthcoming.

The 148 resignations accepted Saturday were delivered to Supt. Chester W. Taylor shortly after noon by Mrs. Carolyn Dudley and Elmo Collins, both of Dade City. The resignations were those submitted on a form apparently signed by many in October. The forms had been altered, changing the effective date to “immediately” instead of the next regular board meeting.

It was not made clear why another phrase in the resignations had been crossed out on each. It read: “I believe this fact constitutes good and sufficient cause for this request for release from contract of employment.” The changes had been initiated by each individual teacher.

In taking the action, the board did not include any punitive measures against the teachers.

Taylor said any of the teachers could reapply and would be given equal consideration with new applications but added that all who were on continuing contracts had now automatically lost that status. The board approved salary schedules giving substitutes with a high school diploma $15 a day; all with some college work $20 a day; those with a college degree will be paid $25 a day.

The board made the salary schedule effective for the duration of the emergency and retroactive to February 19.

“The basic foundation of the society we live in is the respect of a contract,” Taylor said. “We’ve suffered wounds that will be a long time healing.” He said.

Taylor read from the teacher contracts: “That the teacher agrees to teach the full period of service for which this contract is made, to comply faithfully with the school laws and with all rules and regulations…” and from the teachers’ own Professional Practices Commission statement of ethics:

“We regard the employment agreement as a solemn pledge to be executed in both spirit and in fact in a manner consistent with the highest ideals of professional service. Sound personnel relationships with governing bodies are built upon personal integrity, dignity and mutual respect.”

He remarked that if the School Board “had suddenly announced we could no longer use the services of 54 teachers in mid-year we would have been surrounded by an army of lawyers.”

Taylor said he was distressed that many fine teachers were led to believe there would be no lasting problem in resigning and that in the final analysis they will be excused and rehired. “I am afraid this will be impossible,” he said. The die is cast.”

Kitzmiller Resigns Too

The two supervisors who resigned were Mrs. Alta Gray, visiting teachers on the west coast and Robert Kitzmiller, math-science coordinator and a Pasco employee for 20 years. Kitzmiller read a formal statement at the opening of the meeting in which he predicted that the $1.5 million coming to Pasco County in the new education bill will be used up in short order. It will take a half million just to maintain the current program I n the face of growth in the next two y ears, and the other million will go thereafter as the schools grow at an accelerated predicted rate of 15% per year, he said.

“There are those who say the teachers of Florida have left the classroom over salaries. Let’s set the record straight. The salary program requested by the Florida Education Association is in the package passed by the Legislature. The program we have requested for the children is not.” Kitzmiller told the board.

Kitzmiller bemoaned the use of “unqualified” persons filling classroom jobs and said the “sight of public rushing to replace teachers is disgusting.”

He charged that others were filling personal vendettas with certain teachers, and referred to “public officials grasping funds.” In maintaining “an illegal 38% assessment while other counties have tried to live within the legal rate.” He warned the board not to count on the legislature to do more for education in 1969, asserted the county has taken a “giant step backward” in returning to an era when the only qualification to teach is a high school diploma, and said he was resigning for reasons of conscience.

The protesting coordinator then placed his locker and desk keys before Supt. Taylor.

“Where’s the photographer?” asked Taylor. “You’d think with a production like this you’d have a photographer.”

As Kitzmiller turned to leave the room, Supt. Taylor called after him. “Hey wait a minute, where’s your resignation: all you’ve left is a handful of keys.” Kitzmiller called back that his resignation would be found in the stack of others delivered that day to Taylor. When Taylor asked for a copy of Kitzmiller’s statement, the coordinator refused, later giving the copy to the reporter for St. Petersburg Times.

About Double Sessions

With regard to double sessions for Gulf High School, the board observed this is the first such program ever for Pasco County, and that Hillsborough County had more students on double sessions prior to the strike than the total school population of Pasco County.

The board revealed it is seeking legislative permission to refloat the proposed 2-mill Buildings and Buses Special levy which voters rejected last year, hoping to put it back to a vote yet in 1968.

Supt. Taylor emphasized other points:

-Parents need to be told their children are under certified personnel, and reminded to tell their children to do their best to help keep the schools orderly;

-That starting Monday (February 26) the schools will begin to process attendance violations under the state compulsory attendance law for all students under 16 “as rapidly as we can get to them.”

-That when he announced early in the strike that “Gulf High was hit worst of all” he had reference to the damage to about-to-graduate seniors rather than the percentage of missing teachers;

-That police were around and about schools Feb. 19 and 20 at Supt. Taylor’s request when he became alarmed over incidents in Tampa schools on those days, and not because they were needed in Pasco County. Our students are to be commended in every way, he said, and this statement was seconded by Professor O.K. Mickens, principal of Mickens High School, who observed that his students had been “just about perfect” in the face of the loss of half that school’s faculty;

-That ways will be sought to prevent striking teachers from “working on those still teaching, after Mrs. Margaretta C. Witt of Zephyrhills indicated that this is a problem and that many parents have expressed concern and displeasure about such incidents:’

-That striking teachers can apply for a refund of money they have paid into teacher retirement programs, and that except in cases of disability and pregnancy incurred prior to the strike, all insurance was cancelled when the resignations were accepted.


Four Zephyrhills Teachers Back on Job, Zephyrhills News, Thursday, February 29, 1968

Four teachers in Zephyrhills schools who joined the original walkout February 19 have now returned to their classrooms. All four obtained their resignations back prior to action on them by the Pasco County School Board.

Back to honor their contracts at the high school are Miss Eugenia Moshonas, guidance counselor, and James Davis, mathematics instructor and track coach. The resignations of six others have been accepted. Additional substitutes at the high school the past week have been Julius Williamson, Leon Andrews and Mrs. Beulah Kelley.

Returning to duty at East Elementary were Garnard Martin, fifth grade. The resignations of eight others have been accepted.

Helping out as substitute teachers at East this past week have been Mrs. Ezelle Robinson and Mrs. Marjorie Loomis. In addition to those persons listed last week.  Back in the classroom at West Elementary is Mrs. Patricia Eikeland, third grade, leaving a total of five teachers there whose resignations have been accepted. New substitutes this week are Mrs. Louisa Buche and Mr. and Mrs. Dale Powers.


Absent Teaches Have Broken Tenure Contracts, Board Rules, Zephyrhills News, February 22, 1968

Striking Pasco County teachers have lost their jobs.

Although they haven’t been fired, when the absent teacher’s resignations arrive from the Florida Education Association they will be accepted by the Pasco County School Board.

And any who say they are sorry, had made a mistake and apply for reinstatement, will be told to make application like any first year teacher, and if rehired will be hired under an annual contract and at a beginner’s salary.

In other words, any striking teachers who are rehired will have lost their continuing contract tenure an accumulated wage raises. The school board tackled the knotty problems created by the striking teachers at its meeting Tuesday and passed a motion which states:

1.   All teachers who are willfully absent from their classes, have violated their contracts, resignation or not;

2.   Supt. Chester Taylor Jr. may accept any written resignations since those in FEA hands are not being delivered, and may fill vacancies as they are created;

3.   Any teacher willfully absent from duty but who wishes to return to employment will be placed by Superintendent Taylor under suspension until the next meeting of the board; and

4.   At its next regular meeting the board will consider suspension of all such teachers who have not resigned.

The board agreed to move slowly on the issue of suspension, since such action requires the hiring of additional lawyers and the holding of hearings on charges, and could mean 141 “trials”, any or all of which could be appealed.

The board also refused to put into motion its plan to rehire all teachers who have broken contracts only on an individual basis and only under new starting-salary contracts, but made its intent clear.

Striking teachers have “broken continuity of service” and must be rehired, the board said, emphasizing it plans to treat all of the strikers alike with favor toward none, or undue punishment toward none.

YES, You Can Help!

You can help the children of Zephyrhills. If you are qualified to help out in the classrooms of Pasco County, please step forward. Volunteer your services for either limited or extended service during the current educational emergency. If you have a college degree or some college training in the correct field, or have been previously certified or have classroom experience in Florida or some other state or are a retired teacher, you are needed.

And will be paid up to $26 per day for your services. Principals may not have a place for you immediately, but under instruction of the School Board they are developing lists of qualified citizens who may be called upon to keep the school doors open.


Laura Hall Wins Homemaker Prize By Betty Crocker, Zephyrhills News, February 8, 1968

Because she ranked first in a written homemaking knowledge and aptitude test given senior girls in Zephyrhills High School December 5, Laura E. Hall becomes the 1968 Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow for her school. It has been announced. Registered for the test, now in its 14th year, were 603,798 girls in 15,079 of the nation’s high schools, a new record for the program sponsored by General Mills.

Laura, usually known as Eloise or “Weesie” is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Hall, 2107 3rd Avenue, remains in contention for awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 and will be awarded a specially- designed silver charm to mark her local achievement.

A State Homemaker of Tomorrow will be selected from winners in high schools of the state in the programs’ next step. The State Homemakers of Tomorrow, together with a school advisor, will join winners and advisors from each of the 49 other states and the District of Columbia in an expense-paid educational tour of Washington, D.C., Colonial Williamsburg, Va.
And Minneapolis, where the trip will climax with naming the 1968 Betty Crocker All-American Homemaker of Tomorrow.

(Note that in 2007, Laura E. Hall, is a buyer for the prestigious Berbery Department Store and lives in London, England. She has made a career in the fashion industry).


 Second Three Tough Contests In Row For Dogs, Winners of First 2 Games, Zephyrhills News, December 12, 1968

The 1968-69 ZHS Bulldog Varsity—(Winners of their opening game of the season and preparing for their first home game here Friday night), are the members of the Zephyrhills High School basketball squad: Keathel Chauncey, Terry Linville, Richard McLellan, Doug Prowant, Rodney Price, Coach Carroll Phillips, Bob Geddes, Dale Palmer, David Krystofiak, Bill Porter, Richard Back and Manager Frankie Hall

Victorious by 63-52 in their second game of the season the Zephyrhills High School basketball team is preparing to unveil its new “V” offense for hometown fans Friday night against Brewster tech.

Mrs. Witt Tells Her Intent to End School Board Job, Zephyrhills News, January 4, 1968

Mrs. Margaretta C. Witt, Pasco County School Board Member from Zephyrhills for the past 19 years announced Tuesday that she does not plan to seek reelection in the May Primary election.

Mrs. Witt, who has served five consecutive 4-year terms, told fellow board members that she believes “It is time that I stepped aside in order that the voters might choose a younger and perhaps more progressive board member.”

Occasion for the announcement was a discussion during the regular School Board meeting on progress made for the schools in the past several years. Supt. Chester W. Taylor Jr. noted that the board had been more or less intact for several terms, then observed Mrs. Witt would be back one more year and hopefully more after that.

Mrs. Witt told the board, “My years on the School Board have been most interesting, and I have enjoyed every minute of my service.  It has been a big challenge but I feel no board member should ever feel he or she has permanent possession of a job, and that others too should have a chance to serve. I will continue to work all I can for our schools, and to contribute my services where they can best be used, but perhaps a younger person, one with children in school, would be more responsive to the immediate needs of the Zephyrhills area,” she said.

In her five terms on the board Mrs. Witt was opposed for the office only once; she defeated Mrs. Frank Fernandez in a closely-contested balloting four years ago.

Has Seen Vast Changes.

Mrs. Witt, who has served terms as vice chairman of the board, has seen vast changes in the school system in Zephyrhills, as well as in other areas of the county.


School Daze by Janette Dunnigan, Zephyrhills News, February 1968

Monday started out as a pretty normal day until—a number of the classes were found to be roaming around in bewilderment. What were they looking for? Their teachers, would you believe? With the completion of the Home Economics Department-Library Building (which I finally had a chance to see) all the roving teachers were at last given their permanent rooms. All they had to do was locate their students and bring their classes to order. I’m sure they were all pleased to do so!

The seniors were asked to fill out schedule cards this week to allow Miss Moshonas, our guidance counselor, to average our grades in order to rank the students in their placement in the senior class. When she finishes and will let me have a copy I will try to get the names of the top 10 students in the 1968 class.

All students were given the opportunity to hear a fine lecture Tuesday by Dr. Luther Arnold. Dr. Arnold better known to some as “Mr. Science Fair Himself,” has for 10 years been executive secretary of the Florida Foundation of Future Scientists. His main topic was the value of the science projects. He also spoke of the qualifications needed and the profits in majoring in science education. A quite interesting and profitable assembly.

Although Wednesday was a holiday for students, the groups still met in organized places. The Junior and Senior High bands were bused to Dade City to participate in the Pasco County Fair parade. Our band was honored to lead the parade.
The Student Council sponsored two student buses to the WFLA-TV “Hi-Time” program in Tampa. ZHS will be the host school this week. The program was taped Wednesday night and is to be played back this Saturday afternoon. Don’t miss it.

I think we made a shining example—one which other schools will find difficult to beat.

A student bus has been obtained for the Ft. Meade game Friday night. A number of students have asked for a bus, but when it comes down to actual purchasing of tickets—there’s no one around. If the tickets are not sold by today noon; no other attempts will be made to take student buses to away games, including tournaments.


Below are photos of new school additions in 1968 at the ZHS campus: home economics building, new library and outdoor restrooms.

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