HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Highlights of 1989St. Petersburg Times by Eric T. Pate, Sports Section—Page 1.c, October 17, 1989
Jimmy Campbell is a two-sport athlete with no fancy for professional sports. After graduation this spring from Zephyrhills High School, he plans to follow a significantly different beat. In rap music. “It's not as hard as playing football,” said Campbell, 18, who has been rapping for nearly five years, at school assemblies, at talent shows, for friends, whenever he can. ``All I do is sit down and concentrate I can usually make up a couple of raps in one night, when I put my head to it.”
On the football field, Campbell is a wide receiver and punt returner for Zephyrhills. He has six catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns and the Bulldogs are 5-1. In his living room, with two turntables, cassette players, speakers, a receiver and microphone, Campbell is rap artist MC Jimmy Lee. As the beat blares from the speakers, he gives a sample:
Hello everyone at ZHS, We're back once again to put you to a test. It's not about reading or the Cosby Show; It's all about drugs, so just say no. “All I really try to do is have a message,” Campbell said of the rap he performed for a “Just Say No to Drugs” program at Zephyrhills last May. “I think I'm a combination teacher and rapper.”
Campbell became interested in the musical form in 1982 when a relative, Gregory Garrard, visited him in Zephyrhills. At the time, Garard was a member of the Brooklyn-based rap group, “The Disco Four. “I really enjoyed the way he sounded, `` Campbell said. “He was fast and creative. Besides, I needed to do something else because break-dancing was getting old.
“In the beginning, the idea of having a rapper in the household didn't sit well with Campbell's mother, Katrina Garrard. “It used to drive me up a wall,” Garard said. “I'd hear it 24-7 (hours and days a week).” “(But) most of his songs have a thought pattern or plan,” Garard said, “like he was telling a story.”
Garard said her son has a “cult following in his Zephyrhills neighborhood.” Campbell also has won several talent shows in Dade City, Zephyrhills and Plant City. “I did a wedding in Plant City and made $50,” he said. “They just liked the way I rapped. Older people were coming up to me telling me that. They just went crazy.” Upon graduation from Zephyrhills, Campbell - who has a 2.8 grade point average - said he will attend college, hopefully on a basketball scholarship. (He was second-team All-Pasco County in 1988-89.) His long-range plan is a recording career. In all, Campbell said he has “eight rap tunes that he'd like to have released on an album someday.”
“I know I won't get discovered in Zephyrhills,” Campbell said, ``so I plan to leave after I graduate and go to New York (City).”
In the meantime, he couldn't resist creating a rap about Zephyrhills football:
We're the Bulldogs, you know that's great.
It's about time that we went to state.
It's the year '89 and we're lookin' fine,
We always stay ahead and never fall behind.
St. Petersburg Times by Bryanna Latoof, Section—Pasco Times, Page 8, June 3, 1989
Attempts at nonchalance fizzled into giddy excitement. Try as they might, there was really no way to hide it. This was a big night for the 222 graduating seniors at Zephyrhills High.
They giggled, yelled and did high-fives with one another all the way to the school's activity center, where they honored one another and paid tribute to their high school years.
Some grinned, some wept. Some just clowned around. A few talked about what's ahead, though some probably have no idea.
“It's going to be a big change,” said Eddie McKenzie, a fullback on the school's football team who won a scholarship to Evangel College in Missouri. “But I still have four years to play. The reason I say I'll be able to play around a little bit is because I won't have the 9-to-5 routine. I know I'll have to study real hard. I have a lot to learn,`` he said. McKenzie will major in criminal psychology to prepare for a career as a police officer. After graduation, he plans to return to Florida, but not to Zephyrhills. “I want to come back and visit,” he said. ``But this is not a place I want to live.``
Soft pops and poofs of light recorded every step of the accommodating seniors, who flashed smiles that could rival any flashbulb.
Senior class president Jason Back told his fellow students that theirs is indeed a special class. It is, after all, the last one in the 1980s.
He predicted that teachers will tell future classes how wonderful that class of '89 was, and how difficult it will be for others to compete with its accomplishments.
Honors were bestowed on those students who excelled in their specialties.
The salutatorian, Rachel Hughes, told her fellow students that by making the most of their lives, they will find happiness.
“Living should be a continual learning process,” she said.
Valedictorian David Lorenz urged the class not to waste their lives.
“We must assert our individuality and live productively,” he said.