Archive for December, 2009

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 6

By , 30 December, 2009, No Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Relaxing at NeukomsElsiesTrucks at KrusenChildrens PlaygroundC.A. Hart's Buckeye HouseCamphor Tree in Zephyrhills, Florida

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Recollections From a Few Miss Zephyrhills

By , 29 December, 2009, No Comment

As a continuation of our ‘Founder’s Day’ theme coverage of school news, we would like to share some additional recollections of this event.  Founder’s Day has encompassed the Miss Zephyrhills pageant throughout most of its 99 year history.  It was a privilege for all 49 of the gals who held the title.  We contacted as many as we could locate to ask them to share the year’s experiences and here are some of the reflections that we received:

Diana Kennedy, Miss Zephyrhills of 1978: “Zephyrhills- the place where I grew up…I will always love Zephyrhills and the community environment. I was very proud to represent Zephyrhills and I know the experience made me feel like Miss America.  I remember being involved in the community throwing out the first baseball and attending parades. Of all the titles I held, representing my hometown was the most rewarding.  I started competing at the age of 11 or 12 and stopped at age 17.  My pageant wardrobe was not expensive…we borrowed dresses and my mother sewed many of my outfits.  Some were from Goodwill…my mother would go to the store and buy an old dress, do her magic with beads and sequins and ‘Voila, my new dress!’  At first I was embarrassed because so many of the girls had fancy expensive party dresses and mine were homemade, but later I realized it did not matter where the dress came from!

My mother was a majorette so I wanted to be one too!  Some of my cherished memories at ZHS was Friday night football games and marching with the band. I played the saxophone and was a majorette.  C. Paul Steuart was the ZHS Band Director; we were awesome!  My mother was the director of the Miss Zephyrhills pageant for five years and I directed it in 2008 and 2009.”

Note that Diane had a modeling career with the Dott Burns Modeling Agency and did several print ads for department stores, TV commercials and a role in a training film for the U.S. Army.

Diane added, “I kept all the trophies for many years in the attic at my father’s house. Recently my sister and I went through them, laughed about our experiences and the dilapidated condition of our once prized trophies and then we took them to the dump!”

Lynn Nichols and Coach Wilson's son

Lynn Nichols and Coach Wilson's son

Lynn Nichols, Miss Zephyrhills of 1960: Here are my memories of the pageant night … “Since the contest was a bathing suit contest, I had NO desire to be a participant, being very shy and parading in front of a crowd in a bathing suit did not seem like a good idea to me! Some community organizer of the event, tried to convince me to run. Originally I said no, but I was a USF student at the time and my roommate encouraged me to be a contestant, telling me what a great experience it would be and she offered me her beautiful white and black bathing suit. With that offer, I couldn’t resist. After my walk across the stage, I shook for at least 5 minutes. ZHS Coach Wilson and his little son were at the event. His son and I were “buddies”, so after I was crowned and left the stage, he ran to me and someone snapped the photo. I was shocked that I had won, but it was a great night! I was sorry that I never took advantage of the prize of a modeling course that went to the first place winner. I was too busy studying!”

A couple of historical columns…many veteran Zephillians will enjoy the many businesses of year’s past…

Nineteen to Compete for Miss Zephyrhills, Zephyrhills News, March 1961

Nineteen girls will compete for the title of Miss Zephyrhills in the beauty contest to be held during the 1961 Founders’ Day festival. Included are: Miss Margaret Ann Johnson, sponsored by Kaylor Hardware; Miss Bonnie Rannald, Neukom’s Drug Store; Miss Sandra White, Pasco Oil Company; Miss Delores Braxton, Scotty’s City Drug Store; Miss Barbara Higginson, Zephyrhills Garden Club; Miss Melissa Lippincott, Zephyrhills Junior Women’s Club; Miss Dena Shannon, Siesta Motel; Miss Delores Jones, Hotel Zephyr; Miss Susan Nichols, Bank of Zephyrhills; Miss Vera Griffin, Cunningham’s Furniture Store; Miss Carolyn Maddux, Thriftway; Miss Brenda Daughtery, Griffin’s 66 Service Station; Miss Ann Fazio, VFW Auxiliary; Miss Susan Gill, Zephyrhills Home Demonstration Club; Miss Bobbie June Chambless, Rainbow Girls; Nell Odom, Sibley Lumber Company; Oleta Price, Zephyrhills Freezette; Linda Loysch, Reutimann Chevrolet; Mary Ann Bialik, Florida Trailer Estates. Mrs. Robert Ahrens is chairman of the beauty queen contest.

Founder’s Day Leaders Named to Crown Queen, Zephyrhills News, March 1956

P.H. Murphy, Jr. is chairman of the Founder’s Day celebration. Founder’s Davis is sponsored by the Zephyrhills Lions Club.  An innovation at the Founder’s Day will be a beauty contest, at which “Miss Zephyrhills” will be selected and crowned. Serving in various capacities included: Charles A. Moore as master of ceremonies, F.H. Gupsolus as parade marshal and Vincent Peel, finance. The winners were Queen: Lenore Lincoln and two princesses, Virginia Edgeman and Wanda Hazelwood with ladies in waiting being named as Elizabeth Cutshall, Mary Ann Hodges, Delilah Johnson and Shirley Potter.

One final note about royalty…

There have been several ZHS students, who have held the crown of ‘Miss Pasco’, many of whom were first Miss Zephyrhills. We want to make sure and trace this historical lineage as well and would not want to exclude these terrific ZHS alumni.  Notably, ZHS students, Debby Bacon and Lorna Riopelle, who held several titles, come to mind.  Debby is quite well known for her musical recordings in the Tampa Bay area, and Lorna directed pageants and served as a pageant coach for many years. Here is our list of historical ‘Miss Pasco.’ .

1948-Marjorie Baldwin

1949-Louise Allen

1950-Lula Mae Nix

1951-Joan Johnson

1952-Ann Futch

1953-Mary Louise Gasque

1954-Kathryn Louise Seltzer

1955-Mary Jane Cheek

1956-Mary Lane

1957-Martha Jackson

1959-Carole France

1960-Jeannette Whitaker

1961-Diane Pike

1962-Judy Clark

1963-Evie Green

1964-Jean Lindsay

1965-Jo Ann Roberts

1966-Ann Harris

1967-Diane Tsacrios

1968-Sheila Glavich

1969-Joy Reutimann

1970-Helen Walters

1971-Terri Ann Rickard

1972- Bonnie Sue Sabo

1973-Dawn Donald

1974-Karen Marie Milton

1975-Janice Mary Notaro

1976-Paige M. Brown

1977- Susan Eldridge

1978- Debby Bacon

1979-Leigh Ann Edwards

1980-Charlotte Moore

1981-Joyce Stover-Staats

1982-Leslie Diane Herrmann

1983-Angela Ann Helm

1984-LaWanda Wilson

1985 & 1988- Dallas Wheeler

1986- Julie Greenless

1987- Lorna Riopelle

1989-Jennifer Cunningham

1990- Darlene Johnson

1991-Leslie Michelle Nikolai

1992-Aleda Kruse Henry

1993- Tammy Myers & Tawnya Booker

1994-Michelle Harrelson

1995-Heather Vierling

1996-Becky Friedman

1997 & 2001-Jennifer Feeney

1998-Cristina Bermudez

1999-Kristeen Tiffanee Hendricks

2000-Jennifer Feeney & Shannon Schambeau

We would, again, welcome recollections and additions to our history. Enjoy the memories!

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on March 19, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Miss Zephyrhills Throughout the Years

By , 28 December, 2009, 5 Comments

With Zephyrhills Founders Day approaching, the authors of ‘Countdown to Centennial,’ hope to capture a bit of the historical culture of the historical Zephyrhills Founder’s Day.

The Miss Zephyrhills Pageant was a very celebrated and festive happening for many years in the Zephyrhills High School history. The queen and her court were given a prominent place in a multiple-page spread in the ZHS Annual (now known as yearbook) and Miss Zephyrhills and her court were always on hand for christenings of new businesses, Chamber of Commerce events, fundraisers and of course, all parades. The year’s reign was quite festive and in the event that the queen moved or perhaps married, the runner-up proudly assumed the reins of the honor.

The pageant was in many ways a rite of passage for teens in the Zephyrhills community and is remembered fondly by many.  
The Zephyrhills Lion’s Club was the sponsor of the pageant for most of its years of operation.  The pageant was also a fashionable and well-attended occasion with often attendance of over 500 guests.  Participants often numbered 40 contestants or more and considering the school membership was 300 to 400 in the 50’s and 60’s, this was a significant number. Zephyrhills News Editor, Bernie Wickstrom, proudly displayed photos of the contestants, their sponsors and news coverage of the pageant and coronation line-up.

There have been 49 Miss Zephyrhills that we were able to document.  There may have been some additional ones unaccounted for, and we would welcome reader input on this.  The pageant has traditionally been a highlight of Zephyrhills Founder’s Day and with rare exception, always occurring as a culmination or opening highlight of Zephyrhills Founder’s Day.  Founder’s Day however, did occur at other times of the year and we found that it coincided with a type of school homecoming in the 20’s and 30’s. The modern Miss Zephyrhills contest as we know it today began in 1956.

The first documented Miss Zephyrhills was Lucile Ryals in 1927.  She was selected through a community vote. The Zephyrhills Colonist (Sept. 29, 1927) is filled with information about the contest, coronation and parade. The total number of votes polled for all candidates in the 1927 contest was 996,450 (obviously they did multiple voting).

There have been many noteworthy gals to have the title and several have held other titles such as Miss Pasco or even more prestigious titles. Nancy Wise (1974) held the title of Miss Florida Teen in 1975.  Some of the most recognizable names include: Lois Ann Wells (1970) who became a New York City Rockette in 1981. Anna Jo Davis in 1963, wife of recently retired city councilman and long-time educator, Clyde Bracknell, was splendid in one of the most spectacular gowns.

We had the occasion to chat with her recently about that beautiful cherry colored hoop-skirt formal gown that looked as though she could have stepped out of a Scarlet O’Hara role in Gone With the Wind. Joyce Ann Stover-Staats (1980) will be remembered for her unusual talent. She was a ventriloquist with her partner (dare we say, dummy), Wesley. Joyce Ann was called upon to introduce and entertain throughout her reign.  Another quirky fact of the historical Miss Z’s is the case of Kelly and Kimberly Bishop who are two of a threesome of identical triplets who held the title in the year’s 1986 and 1987. The two sisters wore the same lovely violet sequined gown that must have been quite a good luck charm.  The first and only African American Miss Zephyrhills was Laryssa Sherman (1996).

Another dedicated educator who wore the crown was Lynn Nichols in 1960, who held several other local titles.  Lynn was on hand with several other ZHS alumni for the ground-breaking ceremony of the USF campus in Tampa in 1958.  We have included a photo of Lynn with the high school basketball coaches’ young son who was enamored with her charm in 1960.  The photo captures the spirit of the Miss Z competition and the fondness given to this role in the community and school history.

LaWanda Wilson (1983) and Diane Kennedy (1978 ) assisted with the research about the pageant over time and continue to be involved in the coordination of the event today. Diane has served as the pageant director, a role that both she and her mother have held over the years and Lawanda served as the photographer for the event. In the 1990’s the interest in beauty pageants waned a bit and there were several years in which the pageant was not held. It was however reinstituted in 2007.

It has also changed to reflect more of a scholarship emphasis and a springboard for the Miss Florida event. Recently, the Miss Z pageant has been opened up to a more diverse participant base and does not always represent only ZHS students. The current Miss Z is Brittany Monbarren whose parents are ZHS grads.

A list of the queens over time includes:

1927- Lucile Ryals

1951-Barbara Sabin

1952-Joan Johnson

1956-Billie Jane K’Lapp

1957-LeNore Lincoln

1958-Alice Hutchinson

1959-Linda Cavin

1960- Lynn Nichols

1961- Deloris Jones

1962-Judy Goulding

1963-Anna Jo Davis

1964-Linda Sabo

1965-Sandra Clark

1966- Gloria Kinnard & Mary Stanley

1967-Sharon Lee Sabo

1968- Joy Ellen Reutimann

1969- Deborah H. Forbes

1970-Lois Ann Wells

1971-Mary Diane Tyre

1972-Syble Marie Ferguson

1973-Deborah Ann Woolfolk

1974-Nancy Diane Wise

1975-Jacqueline Marie Wallick

1976-Jackie Hood and Tina Martin

1977-Jamie Suzanne Walker

1978-Diane Kennedy

1979-Jennifer L. Wilson

1980-Joyce Anne Stover Staats

1981-Gwendolyn Irene Nance

1982-Holly Ann McLeod

1983-LaWanda Dee Wilson

1984-Janna Loraine McKell

1985-Kelly Regan

1986-Kelly Lyn Bishop

1987-Kimberly Kay Bishop

1988- Tammy Rene Swetland & Suzette Lynn Summers

1989-Scarlette Leigh Rogers

1990-Angela Shannon Krueger

1991-1992- Jennifer Anne Roys

1993-Brandi Renee Pattie

1994-Andrea Celeste Dimitri

1995- Terrie Leigh Smith

1996- Laryssa Sherman

1997-Leah Sandor

2007-Devin Brooks

2008-Brittany Monbarren

Miss Zephyrhills Throughout History

Miss Zephyrhills Throughout History

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on March 12, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 5

By , 23 December, 2009, No Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Opening Tourist's Park in Zephyrhills, Florida, December 1932Don RobinsonGroups of Zephyrhills PeopleFirst School BusBank of ZephyrhillsGrove Post Card

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Music Over Time

By , 22 December, 2009, No Comment

School days, school days, dear old golden rule days. Reading and writing and ‘rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick. Many adults might remember hearing the ‘School Days’ song, perhaps sung by our parents or grandparents. ‘School Days’ was composed by Will Cobb and Gus Edwards and first heard in 1907.

Zephyrhills School History, like educational history throughout the USA, is full of song. Today the song may be found on the student’s iPods or other electronic devises. School music lives on as the ZHS Band and Chorus with teachers, Russell Schmidt and Luan Gore infuse music into the school’s culture.  For those of us who are products of the 1960’s era, we may have participated in some folk song experiences around a peace rally or built camaraderie and good humor in our various songs.  When we call up the memories of our school days, songs enter into our recollections.

We thought it would be fun to share some songs with you for this week’s countdown.  The school song that we have in the records is the “We are the…” song.  Does anyone know who penned the lyrics and when the song first became popular?  For the graduates of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the lyrics are quite imprinted.  At the 2006 open-house of the demolition of the 1926 ZHS building at the site of what is now R.B. Stewart Middle School, the DVD created by Steve Turner, has some episodes of alumni singing this nostalgic song as they reminisce about the times they spent in high school.

We are the girls/boys of old Zephyr High,

To her, we’ll ever be true,

Where the girls are the fairest,

And the boys are the squarest of any school we ever knew.

We will be true to old Zephyr High,

Down where the old Bulldogs play,

In all kinds of weather,

We’ll all stick together,

For Z.H.S. all the way…

The fight song that has been commonly chanted since the 1960’s is as follows:

Hoorah for Bulldogs, Hoorah for Bulldogs

Someone’s in the crowd yelling Hoorah for Bulldogs

1-2-3-4 who you going to yell for…

Bulldogs – that’s us.

In researching Zephyrhills Schools, it is impossible to capture the significance and the range of songs and music.  Every graduation program is infused with songs from the various eras. The early school years that included weekly chapel, offer an array of religious songs. Soloists are often featured in the PTA programs. A Glee Club, annual community musicals and seasonal events provided song after song.

We particularly enjoyed a March 27, 1941 Zephyrhills News article about some songs which were unveiled that year to be sung on the school bus.  The article said, “Public School Songs–Dr. S.C. Kimm has furnished this week’s issue of the News a couple of school songs for the boys and girls of Zephyrhills schools, one of which he dedicates to the bus drivers written to the tune of Home On The Range. Students were encouraged to sing while riding the school bus.”


(words by Kimm—Music, “Home on the Range”)

We sing of a school, where the teachers all rule.

In a building of brick and so grand.

Whose corridors long, often echo with song.

Or the notes of a musical band.


School, school of a kind.

Where the pupils are neat and refined.

Where the teachers with joy, give each girl and each boy,

The good that centers the mind.

The land of the strong in which story and song

Tell a tale of brave men of renown.

Who ventured after, as they followed their star,

To reside in our beautiful town.


From this people sprung such a band of our young,

Whose broad-thinking is now the world’s rule.

And years ago, when that furnished the men

For they gave us this beautiful school.


Dedicated to the school bus drivers—Tune Mola, Mola Shaving Cream)

Away! Away! We’ll sing a round delay,

While our buses go rolling along.

Every morn, just to warn, we foot the auto horn,

While the busses go rolling along.

Then shout, boys, shout for our drivers brave and stout.

Who never let the racket stop our song.

For they always let us sing,

Till we make the country ring,

As our buses go rolling along.

We also found in the historical archives a note from an alumni celebration in 1977.  It said that alumni, Austin Smith, provided copies of the then state song, Florida My Florida, which Smith stated had been revised by well-known ZHS teacher/scholar, Dr. J.B. Blanchet.  Mr. Smith stated that his (Blanchet’s) particular song was believed to be more than 100 years old and was from a

Smith family scrapbook.  The former state song was officially written in 1894 by Reverend C.V. Waugh, a professor at then Florida College in Lake City. We can only surmise that the scholarly ZHS teacher, Blanchet consulted on the song. Does anyone know?

What other information might our alumni members have about songs and ZHS?

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on February 26, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Colloquialisms & Stories

By , 21 December, 2009, 2 Comments

For those of us who are working on the 100th anniversary of Zephyrhills Schools to plan events and commemorations, we share an interest and appreciation in the culture of past-times and the behaviors and activities of each generation.  Rarely do we have a meeting of our committee, in which we do not share a story or tale from days gone by.  It is clear that there was a great deal of colloquial expression and unique Zephyrhills culture over time that radiated from the school building.

One of our goals in developing the anniversary celebration of 100 years of education, is to preserve some of these great stories.  For this week’s article, we would like to share some examples and INVITE our readers to send us their own examples that we might add to the collection:

Cecil McGavern recalled the first basketball team to go to the State Tournament in 1929 with great pride.  They won in the first game over Brandon in the morning but for the second game, they competed against St. Petersburg. The Bulldog five had a lead at halftime, but fell behind in the second half after one of its stars, Louie Evans, broke out with chicken pox during intermission. Cecil as Captain had to go ask the St. Pete team is they could trudge on with four players which was agreed. The team won every game that year (including a 32-2 victory over Dade City), losing only that last State Tournament battle to the St. Petersburg Green Devils. The team included: John Loomis, Vernon Gall, Fred Gill, Julian Craig, Coach Major Reed, Charles Slater, Captain Louis Evans, Arthur Austin, John Pennington, Owen Gall and McGavern.

• Beverly McNeese reported a 1978 Alumni story told by Estella Hougaboom Russell of the class of 1927: “While at Zephyrhills School, we had lots of fun… Like the time the boys thought they were real smart and put my lunch in my desk and I opened the desk (they had a top that raised up back then) and there was the possum. I screamed and the teacher chased that ole possum out with a stick.”

Craig Miller of the class 1955 reminisced about the school building which was demolished in 2006. “I got a skunk out from under the building… a crawl space there. I came to school and it was smelling like a skunk. And Mr. R.D. McPherson, the principal, asked me…, Craig, if you can go up underneath there and get that skunk out from under there, I’ll give you two days off from school. And so I went under there and worked it and got the skunk out. I didn’t get sprayed but it sure was stinking. The skunk ran off and the principal gave me two days off from school.”

Dedi Anderson, class of 1960 reports that her mother, long-time ZHS teacher/librarian, served as the school’s basketball coach for a few years beginning in 1933. The principal, Mr. Campbell, recruited Mrs. Anderson to coach the basketball team. Dedi said her mom reported that she had never played basketball so she located a book and coached for several seasons from the ‘book, quite successfully’!

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on February 19, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills Historical Photos: Week 4

By , 18 December, 2009, No Comment

Each week you can get a glimpse into Zephyrhills history through photographs provided by Madonna Jervis Wise. Click any image for a larger view!

Gall BoysBridgeAlice HallAt African American School in ZephyrhillsSecond School PhotoPeople Strolling

Images of America: Zephyrhills Book Cover

Photos courtesy Madonna Jervis Wise
Author of Images of America: Zephyrhills
Scheduled to publish Spring 2010!

All rights reserved. Photo © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: An Interview with ZHS’ 1st Principal’s Daughter

By , 17 December, 2009, 2 Comments

Leadership is essential to any organization.  Zephyrhills High School has had a total of 31 school principals. Until the late 1950’s, the ZHS principal was considered the ‘supervising principal’ of the community .

Setting the tone was Judge James Wilton Sanders who was the first Zephyrhills Principal at the very young age of  23.  He went on to be elected Pasco School Superintendent at age 25; his photo and proclamation are proudly displayed at the Pioneer Museum in Dade City.  Go to: to see photos and information on all of the Zephyrhills principals throughout time.  You will see the principal of the Zephyrhills African American School, Bessie F. Barefield; the two longest tenured ZHS principals, Dr. Charles Henderson and Raymond B. Stewart.  In the weeks to come, we hope to research/interview some other principals or their descendants and tell you more about these community leaders.

Johnnye Mae Sanders Entz

Johnnye Mae Sanders Entz and Madonna Wise

Clereen and I were fortunate to interview James Sanders’ only surviving child, Johnnye Mae Sanders Entz on Saturday, January 31st.  Many thanks to the Dade City Pioneer Museum who allowed us to take along the official proclamation which they possess, to photograph with Mrs. Entz.  A ZHS alum, Susan Gill Holt, arranged for us to check out the proclamation from the Museum’s Little Red School House exhibit.

Talking with a family member really gives you a feel for an individual’s character, integrity and passion for their work.  Here are some examples of what Mrs. Entz shared with us about the first Zephyrhills School Principal who was her “Daddy.”

James Sanders was a large man in stature—six foot two with a stern demeanor and the heart of an outdoorsman. He loved to hunt and fish.

His daughter also related that her parents both learned their parenting skills from their many students (her mother was a teacher as well). She confessed that they had seen it all—every excuse and story known to man from their assorted pupils, so unfortunately the Sanders’ kids could not get by with much in regard to antics around the house.

Mrs. Sanders told us that James Sanders was appointed judge in 1927 by the then Florida Governor Martin and went onto serve three terms as a Judge.  She told us that until his death however, he was a fearless supporter of education (his true calling) and worked to consolidate the schools in central Pasco—hence Sanders was named for him.

Mrs. Entz related that time does soften that ideal image we have of our parents as ‘perfect,’ but even with the experience of some 91 years, she still acknowledges that her father was a person of strong moral fiber and deep patriotism.  In those days of Zephyrhills School infancy in 1910 and after, educators were trained in the seminary and religion was infused into the school curriculum.

Clereen and I so enjoyed our wonderful visit with James Sander’s daughter. Two anecdotes she shared with us were particularly tender.  She told us that her father was a high energy and dedicated man with a strong work ethic; thus when he was stricken with an appendicitis attack and had to have an operation, they were grateful for Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s new book, The Yearling in 1938. She said Mr. Sanders was so engrossed in reading about the animals and rural Florida, that they were able to keep him in bed to recuperate from the appendectomy.

The other story she shared with keen enthusiasm was in regard to the ‘Judge’ Sanders, (after retiring as ZHS Principal). Typically he went home for lunch each day from his Judge’s office in Dade City in the 1920’s-30’s. She said, funny thing—there weren’t any restaurants in Dade City back then.  James always brought guests home for lunch, and the family was never quite sure who would adorn their dining room table.  How did those wonderful women do it back then?  They would just set an extra plate at the table for whatever guests he brought along and enjoy the lively and interesting conversation. His daughter  particularly related a time when her mother had doled out the last pieces of scrumptious fruit cake for desert and when the guest asked for a second piece, she graciously gave up her own, unbeknownst to anyone but her daughter who noticed the selfless act of hospitality.

This first principal of ZHS was undoubtedly a wonderful family man who had tremendous community and people skills. He knew the students and their families and opened the very first school in Zephyrhills.  He also had an impact upon Pasco County. His legacy lives on at ZHS.

Wording from the Memoriam which hangs at the Museum:

James Wilton Sanders was born September 7, 1887 in Hawthorne, Alachua County, Florida, son of Zedoo Munford and Carolyn (Dawson) Sanders. His father born about 1850, died December 8, 1916, was a farmer and cattleman.  James Wilton Sanders has three sisters and four brothers who survived him: Mrs. J.L. Carter of Fairbanks, Florida; Mrs. J.E. Byrd and Mrs. John Touchton of Jacksonville, Florida; Mr. A.P. Sanders of Fairbanks, Florida; Mr. H.M. Sanders of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Mr. G.A. Sanders of Leesburg, Florida and Mr. D.A. Sanders of Eugene, Oregon.

James Wilton Sanders attended the public schools of Orange Lane and later went to Godwin Seminary. Later he became a student at Florida Seminary (now connected with the University of Florida) where he prepared himself for teaching. He began active work in his profession in 1906 as a teacher in Alachua County. In 1908 and 1909 he was Assistant Principal at Florida Central Normal Institute then situated in Dade City, Florida. He taught in Levy, Marion, Sumter and Pasco Counties in the years that ensued and performed a work of value in his profession. He had positions as principal of schools at Linden and Davenport as well as Zephyrhills High School.

In 1912, he was elected Superintendent of Pasco County Schools, an office that he held until 1920 when he resumed his teaching activities as Principal of Dade City Grammar School. In 1926 he left the teaching profession and turned his attention to business and to other matters that interested him in the sphere of public life. Real Estate and general merchandising activities constituted his major commercial undertakings during this period.

In 1927, Governor Martin appointed him to the County Judgeship left vacant for the remainder of an unexpired term and until 1935, Judge Sanders served in that capacity. In September 1935, he was forced by the condition of his health to retire from his active endeavors. He purchased a grove in Denham where he devoted himself to managing the citrus fruit production business be established there.

Judge Sanders married Essie Burkett on April 11, 1909. The union was blessed with the following children: Carolyn Elizabeth, Alberta, Johnnye Mae, Christine, Anna Claire, James Wilton Jr., and James.

Judge Sanders died November 25, 1938, in Tampa, Florida.

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on February 12, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Curriculum Innovations

By , 16 December, 2009, No Comment

The Zephyrhills area schools hosted a wonderful celebration on January 29th entitled, “Learning For A Lifetime.” They brought together folks from the five community schools to discuss teaching and learning.  Superintendent Heather Fiorentino’s staff was on hand and demonstrations of the latest scientific research in teaching were given to show learning at each developmental level from kindergarten through high school.  Their learning communities relate subject areas such as math, science, history and language arts to real-life technologies or businesses.

In Zephyrhills however, curriculum innovation began many decades ago.  In the historical archives, we would like to illustrate two of these inventive approaches to education: a flying curriculum and a year-round school year.

On February 14, 1946, the ZHS Senior Class purchased and presented to the school a BT-13 Vultee Trainer airplane for the purpose of teaching aeronautics to both girls and boys of the upper classes. The plane was purchased from the War Surplus Board and was flown to the Zephyrhills airfield by Mr. William Krusen, a local pilot.  Upon arrival of the plane a dedication program was held with Congressman J. Hardin Peterson giving the dedicatory address and Mrs. Mildred S. Mozena, on behalf of the Senior Class, making the presentation. An aeronautics class was then organized with Mr. William Krusen, of Pan American Grace Airways, willingly giving his time as instructor and Dr. O.H. Ellmaker serving as assistant. Interest spread fast and twenty-three pupils enrolled, getting off to a good start on Civil Aeronautics Authority Rules and Regulations, Meteorology, Navigation and other fundamentals of flying followed.

To address the burgeoning school growth, a year-round school system, an extended school year, came in the fall of 1973.  A committee was appointed by the Pasco Superintendent Rodney Cox and the committee – which included the News editor, Bernie Wickstrom –  were sent to visit Romeoville, Illinois where they implemented something called ’45-15.’ Upon return from their visit, the group was convinced that a year-round school would answer the enormous issues of student population growth. Schools started double sessions in 1971 with 1000 students at the high school (up from 854 students enrolled the previous year), and the county was desperate to find some relief. In 1973, the 45-15 extended school year program began. It was a system in which students attended school within one of four geographical tracts on a 45 day attendance/15 day vacation interval with three of the four tracts in school session at all times, rotating among the four. The program served to educate students at a time when school buildings to house them were just not adequate. It had some inherent implementation problems at the high school level causing several teachers to leave the school and eventually becoming quite unpopular with school stakeholders.  By 1977 at the conclusion of the 45-15 extended school year, ZHS Principal Stewart congratulated the seniors of 1977 on their accomplishments in the four years they attended the School. Stewart commented that times had been tough for them because of 45-15. He said, we will not miss 45-15 but we will miss the class.

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on February 5, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: School Daze Columnists

By , 15 December, 2009, 5 Comments

The Zephyrhills News has always been a supporter of education. The News featured a student-written column entitled, School Daze, between 1954 and 1986. A high school senior wrote a weekly news column for the local newspaper as the roving school reporter. These news articles gave a real flavor of school life in each era. The writing styles and expertise vary from year to year. The student reporters assumed the responsibility for the weekly column for the year and took responsibility for selecting and reporting the school news to the community. Throughout time student reporters included: 1954-Shirley Dixon; 1955-Susanne Coolidege; 1956-George Trebour; 1958-Margie Braden; 1959-Dedi Anderson; 1960-Sandra Pricher; 1961-Judy Surratt; 1963-Bobbie June Chambless; 1964-Jere Alston; 1965-Susan Bucey; 1966-Sandra Clark; 1967-Marcia Deming;1968-Jannette Dunnigan; 1969-Kathy Shannon; 1970-Lynn Murphy; 1971-Valerie Wickstrom; 1978-Darlene Roman; 1979-Sharon Hasting; 1980-Nancy Deboe; 1981-Bruce Sofinski; 1982-Lynn Thompson; 1983-Tracy Dunlap; 1984-Jill McDougall; 1985-Kim Kagey; and 1986-Jennifer Sibley.

Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, the Zephyrhills News also printed the Zephyrhills School Newspaper.To give you the flavor of the School Daze, we have included a few excerpts:

Lynn Murphy wrote on March 19, 1970: “Lock, Stock and Lipstick” promises to be one of the funniest and most exciting Junior Class plays ever performed on the ZHS stage.”

Sandra Pricher reported on January 27, 1961: “The film, Spirit of St. Louis will be shown to all students this week.”

Darlene Roman included in her School Daze on May 24, 1979: “The epidemic known as senioritis, characterized by a lack of interest in studies and extra-curricular activities, drowsiness, and acute apathy has spread throughout the school like wildfire…”

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on January 29, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise