HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 2006-2007

Graduation News, St. Petersburg Times, June 24, 2007
Kristen Beville, Valedictorian of the 2007 Class of ZHS, said that giving her speech at the Graduation Ceremony on May 25 was the scariest thing she’s ever done. She thanked her parents and grandma and said that the Serenity Prayer always helped guide her. Amanda Fisher received a special award from Assistant Principal Kathryn Leeper. Graduate Cory Sommers was recognized by Principal Gerri Painter for earning his AA degree from PHCC and graduating from high school at the same time. Josalynn Wireman, Salutatorian, encouraged her fellow classmates to have a direction and try new (good) things during her speech at the Graduation Ceremony. … Senior Class President Joshua Fletcher told his classmates to not make snap judgments about people, to keep an open mind about future possibilities, and to make good choices. Matthew Thomas and Hailey Ray performed “I Hope You Dance” during the ceremony. Sederrik Cunningham displayed some audience-entertainment antics as he received his diploma and was honored for being Pasco County’s SAC Male Athlete of the Year.

The Pasco Education Foundation and the District School Board of Pasco recently announced the 2007 Excellence in Academics Awards at a ceremony held at River Ridge High School's Center for the Performing Arts. Outstanding Senior awards at the school level went to John Thornton, Zephyrhills High. Receiving Scholarships from ZHS were: American Educational Assistance Corporation: Brittany Peacock, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union scholarship: Jordan Kimbell, Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship: Cannellios Ansley, and Take Stock in Children scholarship, Katelyn Fern.


Pasco Senior Scrapbook, 2007, The Pasco Tribune, The Tampa Tribune, May 11, 2007
Zephyrhills High is about to graduate 334 seniors on Friday, May 25 at 7 p.m. in the Activity Center. Valedictorian is: Kristen Beville and Salutatorian is: Josalynn Wireman, while class president is: Josh Fletcher.

Zephyrhills received a $200,000 donation to its scholarship fund from former student, Owen Gall. In that same spirit of philanthropy, students and staff raised $1,700 for the American Cancer Society by participating in the Relay for Life. The football team won the district championship, while six boys from the track team qualified for the state finals. Academically the Algebra II Team placed third in the district math bowl and about $2 million in scholarship money was awarded to seniors. Several students from the Future Business Leaders in America placed at a recent competition. Zephyrhills was given the Golden School Award for its many volunteer hours.


Honors, Fun keystones of Area Celebrations, by Leslie Farrell, Tampa Tribune, May 11, 2007
With almost 3,000 seniors graduating from Pasco County high schools this month, there is a lot to celebrate—and celebrate these seniors will. From trips to Disney World to picnics to a community-sponsored all-night party, Pasco County seniors are living it up.

Students with stamina at Zephyrhills high will appreciate the all-night extravaganza that parents and supporters have put together on graduation night; Project Graduation, an overnight event lasting from 11 p.m.., May 25 to 5 a.m. May 26. “It’s just one last hurrah for them to do together and they really seem to enjoy it,” said parent/former graduate, Vicky Ogilbee Burgess, coordinator.


He Could Be Top Scientist by Paul Catala, Tampa Tribune, September 16, 2007
He's one step closer to becoming recognized as "America's Top Young Scientist of the Year."
Joshua Hammer, a Zephyrhills High School freshman, was notified Tuesday he's one of 40 finalists for the Discovery Channel's "America's Top Young Scientist" title. For the prize, 400 middle school students from 44 states - 37 from Florida - originally were selected. With a focus on the environment and sustainable development, 40 students were chosen from that pool as finalists and will work on teams with Earth's environmental challenges, called Operating Green.

A grand-prize winner will be picked Oct. 21-24 in Washington and will be awarded a $20,000 college scholarship. Hammer will receive $500 and the all-expense paid trip for being a finalist.

According to the Discovery Channel, the contest identifies and honors those who "best demonstrate leadership, teamwork, scientific problem-solving and the ability to be an effective science communicator."

Hammer's research project is on the effect of magnetism on the body's CD4 helper T-cells. He is studying the effects of magnetism on an organism's immune system, specifically the T-helper cell that plays an important role in establishing and maximizing the capabilities of the body's immune system.

Hammer, 14, a member of Zephyrhills High's marching band, said he was coming off the field from band practice when he got the news. "I was kind of grumpy that night and my dad wouldn't tell me who was on the phone," he said Thursday. "I got on the phone and they told me, and I was really excited. I was shocked, and I started dancing around the field."
Hammer leaves for Washington on Oct. 20 and returns to Tampa on Oct. 25.

During the competition, he will have his project judged as well as compete in some team problem-solving exercises. He hopes to become one of the top three winners, who will receive scholarships of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. The recognition came just five days after his uncle, Ken Donovan, founder of The Crusader newspaper, died at 58. Hammer said Donovan was one of the inspirations who fostered his interest in science.


Seniors Ready to Cap High School Experience, St. Petersburg Times, May 25, 2007
Among the many lessons Cassandra Wirth learned throughout her years of education was this one, courtesy of her father:
"Your grades are your paycheck."

Turns out he was right.

Wirth, 18, a member of the Zephyrhills High School Class of 2007, will head to the University of Central Florida in the fall with 75 percent of her tuition paid for through a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship and an additional $500 paid for by a Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce scholarship.

She also has 20 college credits from Pasco-Hernando Community College through a dual enrollment program that allows high school students to take college classes tuition-free.

"I've been working a lot, and it's paid off," said Wirth, who will join about 270 classmates tonight for the high school's graduation ceremony.

The annual cap-and-gown ritual also will happen either tonight or Saturday at Pasco County's eight other public high schools. Zephyrhills, Gulf, Hudson, Pasco, Ridgewood and River Ridge high schools will have their commencements tonight, either on their campuses or at other venues within their communities. On Saturday, Land O' Lakes, Wesley Chapel and J.W. Mitchell high schools will conduct theirs at the University of South Florida Sun Dome in Tampa.

The seniors spent several hours this week rehearsing for the big moment and hearing last-minute instructions such as dress appropriately and don't text message during the ceremony.

Arsenio Roberts, 18, is another Zephyrhills High senior who racked up college credits in advance, taking six dual enrollment courses at PHCC. He plans to finish his associate's degree there, and then head for the University of Central Florida in Orlando to study psychology.

"People tell me I'm good at helping out people and solving problems," Roberts said. "I think that's my calling."
Roberts said he won't miss rising at 6:15 a.m. each day to make it to high school on time. He will miss - desperately - the Hot Pockets served every couple of weeks in the cafeteria.

Students choose among pepperoni, meatball and cheese Hot Pockets.

"Pepperoni is the best," an unhesitant Roberts said.

Kristen Beville, 18, the Zephyrhills valedictorian, is bound for the University of Florida and looks forward to learning about life in Gainesville. She has lived in Zephyrhills since she was 4.

"I want to experience a new town," Beville said.


Zephyrhills High School Commencement, St. Petersburg Times, May 23, 2007
Zephyrhills High School Commencement will be at 7 p.m. Friday in the school's activity center.

Kristen Beville, Valedictorian with GPA: 4.4318 weighted.

Clubs/extracurriculars: National Honor Society (president), Interact Club (secretary), Math Team, Brain Bowl, varsity basketball (captain); varsity golf (captain of second team All-Conference), work at Bright Beginnings Day Care, volunteer for the Zephyrhills Youth Basketball League.

Favorite place on campus: The basketball court.

Future school: Attending the University of Florida and majoring in biology. Maybe pre-med.

Ideal Career: Research or Teaching

Favorite book: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Most inspirational people: My mother, father and grandmother because they have supported me every day of my life. They are the most important people to me.

Best advice/quote: The Serenity Prayer - "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Josalynn Wireman, Salutatorian with GPA: 4.0

Clubs/extracurriculars: National Honor Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, work at least 30 hours a week at Quail Hollow Animal Hospital.

If you could, what would you change about your high school? Nothing! I love my school just the way it is. Future school: I will be attending the University of South Florida majoring in veterinary sciences/biology.

Ideal career: Veterinarian.

Favorite book: "The Stephanie Plum" series by Janet Evanovich.

Most inspirational person: My mom. She always encouraged me to succeed.

Best advice/quote: "Life is a game and success lies within how you play that game. Once you know how to make the right moves, you can win in life." -Mr. Palmer, my world history teacher.


2007 Football Team

Bottom Row: Eric Frampton, William Shepler, Westley Thornton, Josh Ringo, Jordan Smith, Tyler Smith, Phillip Robichaud, Dannellios Ansley; row 2: Lawrence Reno, Adrienne Beasley, Alex Sampson, Mychael Floyd Sedderick Cunningham, William Murphy, Taylor Doerr, Jonathan Bice, Chris Henry; row 3: Jason Badia, Joe Maldonado, Jesus Castenada, Ben Contrell, Michael Hensley, Michael Posey; row 4: Andrew Smith, Louis Ferguson, Chris Ferraro, Quentin Amos, Tyler Guy, Sean Gray, Joey Lyman, Beau Barnes, Michael Willey; row 5: Coach Troy Hochstetler, Coach Tom Fisher; Coach Cutler; Coach Cimmorelli; Coach McDermott; Coach Meza


Now the Jersey Fits Quarterback, St. Petersburg Times, November 3, 2006

Sederrik Cunningham wasn't always No. 1.

Three years ago he stood in line at Zephyrhills, another scrawny, nameless freshman, hoping Tom Fisher hadn't already handed out the jersey he was destined to wear - good old No. 1.

Fisher has seen plenty of promising players in 17 seasons as head coach.

Bulldogs fans surely talk proudly of the stars who wore orange and black, guys like Ryan Pickett, an NFL lineman for the Green Bay Packers, and Bryan Thomas, a defensive back at Florida.

Fisher could rattle off plenty of success stories that never made headlines. And he probably lies awake at night wondering about the few who never bought into his philosophy.

Most of those guys never wore No. 1.

Asking for No. 1 was like begging for an extra helping of criticism, even more so for a yet-to-be-sculpted freshman.
Cunningham admits he was a cocky son-of-a-gun, still learning and growing those first two seasons. But wearing, No. 1 wasn't simply his way of saying, "Hey, I'm the best, now watch out."

No one in that locker room, he thought, deserved No. 1 more than himself. His family, he felt, had rights to that jersey the way early settlers claimed territory.

Two of his brothers - Terrell Smith and Torey McKay - wore No. 1 when Fisher could still count wins and losses on both hands.

Unfortunately for Cunningham, No. 4 would have to do that first year because No. 1 was hanging in another locker. When Cunningham finally got his hands on No. 1 as a sophomore, he was still far from the embodiment of it in Fisher's eyes.
He was a third-string quarterback and second-string receiver.

Yet, on Zephyrhills' roster he was the top dog. And as it turned out, No. 1 proved to be his lucky number. Cunningham was promoted to starting quarterback midway through the season after failed experiments with Joe Burgess and Kyle Sizemore.
Fisher went with Cunningham because of his mobility and promise. The cocky sophomore quarterback was quickly humbled by endless varsity pass rushes that would have made most his age quit. Few have paid their dues more than Cunningham.

Believe me, I witnessed his pain.

I told Fisher on several occasions he had "thrown him to the lions."

Now we know why. I'm as guilty as anyone about overlooking arguably the best quarterback in Pasco County. Land O’ Lakes senior Joe Weatherford and Gulf senior Alton Voss have snared most of the attention. They are great in their own right and definitely deserving.

But Cunningham almost led a Class 3A team to an undefeated regular season, which included wins against the Gators and Buccaneers. He used his arm to defeat the Gators and shock the county in Week 1, then intercepted a key pass against the Buccaneers to spark a come-from-behind victory.

Last Friday, with the district title at hand at rival Pasco, Cunningham raced the opening kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown, then recovered a key fumble in the second half to snuff out any hint of a comeback. The once cocky Cunningham has evolved into a humble leader in his final season. He has guided Zephyrhills to the playoffs a second straight year and validated Fisher's decision to start him as a sophomore. The skeptics - beginning with me - now see Zephyrhills could indeed succeed without Thomas. So when you consider the most valuable player in Pasco County, don't forget the guy wearing No. 1.


Mid-Season Report, St. Petersburg Times, September 26, 2006 by John Cotey

The Bulldogs stunned the county - they always knew they could do it - with a 14-7 win at Land O’ Lakes on opening night and have not let up. Plenty of people deserve credit for the 5- 0 start: the coaching staff, running backs Cannellios Ansley and Phillip Robichaud, linebacker Beau Barnes, quarterback Sederrik Cunningham, the offensive line, and perhaps most deserving is receiver Mychael Floyd. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder has made key plays in every game from touchdowns to two-point conversion, from interceptions to blocked punts. That said, coach Tom Fisher will probably cringe reading this with his biggest games yet to come.

Seriously, very little. One minor criticism might be the Bulldogs' failure to put away Land O’ Lakes in the opener with more offense, but we would be nitpicking.

The season really comes down to three of the next four games with a huge Class 3A, District 8 title at Gulf on Friday. The Bulldogs follow that up at home against Hudson and Wesley Chapel, and then travel to next-door rival Pasco in a game that could hold the key to consecutive playoff appearances.

Here’s What Pasco Marching Bands Have in Store for the Coming Season, St. Petersburg Times, August 23, 2006
Zephyrhills High

"Traveling' in the U.S.A." is the theme of the Marching Bulldogs' halftime presentation that will be performed by 81 band and color guard members. Selections include America the Beautiful, Sweet Home Alabama, New York New York, Georgia and God Bless America.

Staff: Director Russell L. Schmidt, assistant director Scott Leahy, auxiliary sponsor Jamie Cross.

Trips/Special performances: To be announced, but most likely an in-state venture with the jazz band, possibly playing at the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Daytona.


With Wesley Chapel's Cameron Knight out of the way, Zephyrhills’ Zeke Kinsman and Rick Briggs may put the Bulldogs in position to win conference and district championships. St. Petersburg Times, Aug. 29, 2006.

Zephyrhills golfers Rick Briggs, left, and Zeke Kinsman
eye the green during a match last week at the
Pebble Creek Golf Course in New Tampa.

By STEVE LEE

ZEPHYRHILLS - Cameron Knight's three-year stranglehold on the Sunshine Athletic Conference and district titles is over now that the Class 2A state champion from Wesley Chapel has graduated.

That leaves a wide-open field vying for those crowns and Zephyrhills could have an advantage over other schools with two solid returners in the running.

Senior Zeke Kinsman and junior Rick Briggs are slated to tee-off first and second, respectively, in this season's matches.

Coach Chuck Lail, however, prefers to label them No. 1 and 1A.

"They're neck-and-neck," Lail said. "We've got a good 1-2 punch."

Last season, Kinsman made first-team all-conference and Briggs was a second-teamer. Both were honorable mentions on the Times All-Pasco County team.

Kinsman is atop the Zephyrhills lineup for the second straight year, having moved up from No. 2 as a sophomore and No. 5 as a freshman. His goal, as it was last season, is to make state. Team-wise, Kinsman believes the Bulldogs can make a run at conference and district titles.

"We have some support," Kinsman said. "As long as a few of the other players can bring in decent scores, then we should be competitive."

Kinsman's competitive fire took a hit last season when he came within two strokes of qualifying for state.

After shooting a 78 in the conference tourney, he finished with a 75 at regionals with two strokes lost on a double-bogey from the bunker on the 18th hole.

"That was kind of rough, but that's alright," Kinsman said. "Every shot counts. I should have played it more carefully."

As the most experienced and accomplished Bulldog, Kinsman relishes the leadership role.

"I try to help everybody out, because I am the oldest," he said.

Kinsman also is a formidable putter, something he began working on as a 5-year-old in his family's home.

"I'd take a putter cut down to his size and practice around the house," Kinsman said. "From my room to the hallway to the living room, I'd putt (the ball) into a green cup."

Apparently that skill is not lost on his teammate.

"He's a great putter," said Briggs, adding, "I'm trying to get better. I want to be the best."

For his part, Briggs, who before last season moved with his family from Staten Island, N.Y., has overcome a year to get used to the Bermuda grass laid by most Florida courses.

"I had to get used to the grass," Briggs said. "It's a little thicker."

Briggs said he gained about 15 yards on his drives last season. Still, he favors consistency over length.

"As long as I can keep it on the fairway I can keep it on the pins," he said.

[Note: Donald Carl Kinsman III was subsequently named the SAC male athlete of the year in golf.]

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