Archive for January, 2010

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Letter to the Editor

By Gregg, 28 January, 2010, 12 Comments

To the Editor,

I am writing about the big Camphor tree near Richland that was featured in the July 16 edition of The Zephyrhills News. I owned my own tree service from 1950 until 1986. During 1959, I got a call to remove a tree limb from this Camphor tree that had been killed by a bolt of lightening and I did the job.

a Mr. Renfroe that was living there told me his ad had planted that tree the day Mr. Renfroe was born and that he was 69 years old at that time (1959) and he and that tree were the same age. I measured that tree at that time and it was 27 or 28 feet around the trunk and the limb spread was about 160 feet from the tip of the limb pointing north to the limb pointing south.

I took measurements of that same tree several times since 1959 and the measurements got bigger both around the trunk and the limb spread. The last time I measured it three or four years ago it was 30 feet around the trunk and had a 164-foot limb spread.

There is a Camphor tree in or near Darby, northwest of Dade City, that some claim is bigger than the one near Richland. The owner of the one at Richland and I talked about going to see the one at Darby but we never did.

The Camphor tree is a native tree of Japan but not of the United States. SO there are probably older and larger Camphor trees in Japan.

I think there was an article about the Camphor tree near Richland in The Zephyrhills News in 1990 when it was 100 years old. I am mentioned in the book ‘Zephyrhills From A to Z.’ The book tells how I did work on this tree. It is the biggest tree I ever worked on.

Arthur Fish, Jr.

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 July 23, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: The Camphor Tree

By Gregg, 28 January, 2010, 18 Comments

At 119, Zephyrhills’ signature Camphor tree is still remarkable.

In addition to water, parachutes, and friendliness, Zephyrhills has a signature tree-the Camphor tree, northeast of town. Doing some research at the Depot Museum recently, we discovered news coverage has been compiled about our signature camphor tree which majestically adorns the area.

Captain James Polk Renfroe, a Florida Pioneer who engineered the first railroad locomotive from Fernandina Beach in Tampa and whose descendants still live around Zephyrhills, planted the tree 119 years ago. Captain Renfroe brought his wife and three sons  to south Florida in 1881 from Blakshear, Ga. The family came first to Tampa near his railroad business and later moved to Plant City.

After he saw the hills of Pasco County, he and his wife decided to build their home near the small town of Richland. He ordered some trees and shrubs from Washington, D.C., and in the shipment was a small camphor tree (about 12 inches) which Mrs. Renfroe planted on March 3, 1890, the day before her daughter, Mrs. Agnes Roberts, was born.

The signature camphor tree

The signature camphor tree

In 1972, Zephyrhills News reporter Valerie Wickstrom said, “This camphor tree has the record of being the largest in the world. The girth of the trunk is 27 feet, 5 inches.” In 1972, the Pasco County Commission attempted to dedicate the tree as the ‘county tree.’ A Dec. 20, 1989 Tampa Tribune article reported the Zephyrhills camphor was then the second largest camphor tree in the United States. Stan Weston nominated the tree in 1971 for the National Forestry Association’s Listing of Big Trees in the U.S.A.

Capt. Renfroe was a hearty pioneer in Zephyrhills and one of the first to develop the land.  Samuel E. Nyce wrote in his Rise and Progress of Zephyrhills about his visit to Zephyrhills Colony on Nov. 23, 1911. In addition to a detailed description of what the town looked like with the old buildings of the Colony Company, Hennington’s Department Store and three Railroad houses, he talked of having dinner with Capt. Howard Jeffries and then taking an excursion to see a real ‘orange grove’ at Capt. Renfroe’s. He described it as the ‘turning point’ of a pioneers visit because it showed what could be done with the wilderness! (You can read the full account here)

He must have seen the camphor tree in its infancy. What a truly remarkable tree it is at 119 years of age!

What stories are out there about our camphor tree?

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 July 16, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Scotty’s City Drug Store

By Gregg, 27 January, 2010, 35 Comments

Isn’t it fascinating that a building can so often evoke memories for us?  Walking into the home of your grandparents or a former school room can bring to mind the sounds, smells, feelings and experiences of different times in our development. As a part of our centennial reminiscing, we have asked alumni to share their favorite locations in Zephyrhills of years past.  It is not surprising that many listed Scotty’s Drug Store as just one of those extraordinary locales.

A bit of research on Scotty’s City Drug Store reveals that this particular building was a bit uncommon in its own right.  The location on the north side of 5th avenue was built in August 1911 by Waldo M. Francisco who built the structure completely on his own with self-crafted blocks. The drug store by the same name opened in 1911 on the location. It has housed several different businesses: Napier Drug Store in 1919; Allen Bickford Drug Store in 1926; City Drug Store in 1930 and Scotty’s City Drug Store through its closing in 1970.

The teens of the 1960’s and 70’s will remember the Scotty’s proprietors who were Scott and Edna Jordan whose children were Randy, Jan and Vicky.

Scotty’s was the first Zephyrhills business to feature a drive-thru window for dispensing prescriptions.  A drive-thru bulletproof window, originally used at a bank, was positioned in the alleyway on the west side of the building.  The drive-thru enabled customers to pick up their medicines without leaving their cars, quite a boom for elderly people and mothers with babies. Mrs. Jordan was also a teacher at ZHS and later served as a guidance counselor at Zephyrhills Junior High School. After leaving Zephyrhills in 1970 the Jordan family had additional adventures. They moved to Inverness and a few years later, they became missionaries to Haiti.  While in Haiti, Scott improvised a system he called “pharmacy on horseback,” enabling doctors to operate clinics and provide much-needed medicine to remote mountain villages.

Here are some local reminiscences of the ambiance of Scotty’s:

“Before it was Scotty’s Drug, it was Bill Skinner’s City Drug and I worked for 50 cents an hour. My routine was to go in before school and fetch 25 pounds of ice from the ice house. I then used a hand machine to crush the ice to be used that day,” said Bill Baker, Class of 1954

George Neukom, Class of 1954 said he recalled the friendly competition with Neukom’s Drug Store.

Ann Brooke Smith Neukom, class of 1958 was a babysitter for the Jordan’s in 1958 and also helped in the drugstore.

Lynn Nichols Timmons, class of 1960 shared that her first job was at Jordan’s, manning the soda counter—selling drinks and ice cream. “I made a whopping fifty cents per hour at age 15,” she exclaimed.

“Daddy would take my brother, Johnny and I there for great hamburgers and milk shakes,” said Diane Clements Vilas, class of 1965

“They had the most wonderful sundaes and shakes in town and town dentist, Dr. Mann would always give his patients a free ice cream cone coupon when you left his office,”  said Suzie Hill Pippin, class of 1973

“It was a great teen hangout and they put real vanilla flavoring in the cokes,” said Clereen Morrill Brunty, class of 1973

“I remember going there many days after school with my friend, Vicki Jordan,” said Jackie Hood Grant, class of 1977

“They had a live radio show and my Grandma Geiger worked at Scotty’s,” said Sharon Geiger Reeves, Class of 1980

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 July 9, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Colonist Article about 4th of July

By Gregg, 26 January, 2010, 26 Comments

4th of July Celebration A Grand Success, Zephyrhills Colonist-July 1912

Largest Crowd Attends Celebration that has ever been in Zephyrhills. Program began at 4:30 A.m. and Lasted until 10:30 p.m. Prof. Sanders and Col. A. S. Gangs Was principal Speakers of the Day.

The celebration at Zephyrhills, on the 4th, was voted by all who attended as complete a success as they ever witnessed, north, south, east or west and the person who was dissatisfied was not heard from. At early dawn, or just before, young American opened the days doings by marching through the principal streets, burning all the powder that he had been able to procure, and by the time he had the last grain fired, the people began to come in from all the country round, so as to be ready for the opening number of the program.

Judge Hunter’s Martial band, sounded the alarm on time, and the old soldiers firing squad, soon appeared with muskets on their shoulders, not quite so spry as they were fifty years ago, but just as proud. Commanded by Colonel F. R. Cox, that old hero of the Rapid Ann, they swung into line, closely followed by Major Charles E. Gibson’s squad of Florida National Guards with their latest improved implements of offense and defense and flanked by civilians, all marched to the G.A. R. Memorial hall, where the ceremony of hoisting “Old Glory” to her elevated perch at the top of their new 66 foot flag pole.

After the great crowd sang “America,” little Miss Gladys Geiger pulled the rope that raised the great symbol of freedom to its lofty heights assisted by Rev. E. F. Gray and President Sola E. Leekley of the W.R.C. This being complete, everybody went inside the great hall where patriotic songs and speeches were enjoyed until 11:30. Floyd A. Gibson acted as chairman of the meeting and Prof. J.W. Sanders and that old warhorse, Col. A.S. Bangs, regaled the audience with their usual silvery tongued oratory.

Dinner was announced and done justice to, and at 1:30 p.m. the sports under the supervision of C.H. McDonald and F.A. Gibson, was opened. The program was a long one and every number was carried out to perfection, lasting until 5 o’clock, when everybody went to supper. At 7:30, the orchestra opened the trouble, the first number being the Zephyrhills Cornet Band, 18 pieces, forming on the stage and singing, “Why don’t the band play Dixie, etc.” They have just received their instruments and were not yet in shape to play. The program was a good one and the house was filled to the doors. The day was ideal, the mercury not running above 82, and many was the assertions that a more pleasant day, both as to weather and program, had never been enjoyed.

When Zephyrhills starts out to do a thing, she never falls down.

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Girls & Boys State

By Gregg, 26 January, 2010, 2 Comments

With July 4th festivities at hand, it seems only appropriate to reflect on citizenship in our Countdown reflections this week.  During July, two ZHS students, Travis Bush and Dylan Moss will be heading to Tallahassee to take part in American Legion Boys State, a mock legislature. They will learn first hand about the multifaceted aspects of our American Governmental system.  Dylan and Travis will be part of a group of ZHS students that date back to 1948.  ZHS is  fortunate to have such a wonderful ongoing partnership with the American Legion Post 118 of Zephyrhills. Commander Keith Holz and Auxiliary Chairperson Cecille Looney have worked with the school in the past few years to select students to represent the school. A central goal of the programs has been to foster leadership skills. In years past, the delegates have given talks in the community and written news reports about their experiences.

The archives of the News are filled with the reports at the Legion and other civic groups.  While at the State Capitol, the delegates simulate an election, generate bills and pass legislation while running a working government. Students are selected competitively at the school by representatives of the Legion and Auxiliary, usually through interview. We thought you might be interested in a recap of the delegates throughout the centennial span:

2009: Travis Bush and Dylan Moss with alternate, Tyler Guy

2008: Brandon Minton, Randall Duffield, Brooke Jensen

2007: Ryan Alderman, Sara Smith

2006: Sederrik Cunningham, Matthew Thomas

2005: Brian Oneill, Brett Ross

2004: Michael Chin, Erik Dokendorf

2003: Alexander Boyle, Daniel, Burgess, Jr., Jacob Cimorelli

2002: Michael Hogard, Greg Mathis, Renee Yonkof

2001: Kristen Benedini [no boy was sent]

2000: Andrew Prilliman, Ashley McGavern, Mamie Wise

1999: Michael Pittman, Sarah Morphew

1998: Dean Collura, Melissa Strozewski

1997: Nick Peacock, Elissa St. Clair

1996: Ryan Dye, Cara Rodgers

1995: Brian Wood, Amanda Schwab

1993: Kamalii Louis “Ricky” Kaina, Mary Lee Going

1992: Daniel Husted, Lori Johnson

1991: Tommy McLeod, Emily Currington

1990: Mark Briggs, Adrian Johnson, Larry Weicht, Heidi Grimes

1989: Tommy Gregory, Doug Kraszka, Angela Riggs

1988: Tim McGavern, Jay Winter

1987: Edwin Amerman, Eric Smith, Christie Spurlock

1986: Steve Bright, Mark Brissette, Amy Williams

1985: Brian Crosby, Joseph Knight

1984: James Baker, John Roux, Pam Bartkowski

1983: David Harwell, David Seidel, Roy Wells, Chris Williams, Tracy Dunlap1982: David Bright, Russell Ellis, Dale Parker, Jimmy Williams, Carolyn Thompson

1981: Steve Kretschmar, Scott Natali, George Patton, Ronald Bryan Woodard, James Wyatt, III, Jodi Nutt

1980: Robert Briggs, Don Jernstrom, Chris Martin, Stan Stinson, Nancy Deboe

1979: Leonard Gehrke, Raymond LaCour, Loren Reed, Lance Alan Smith, Sharon Hastings

1978: Mark Barclay, Alan Corbin, Cliff Gehrke, Steve Spanger, Mona McIntosh

1977: Chris Bahr, Jeff DeWitt, Don Piatt, Fred Rhoda, Jeff Strout, Patricia Inman

1976: Scott Boyd, Ivan Corbin, Glen Howard, Kevin Pappan, Diane Bailey, Luan Gore

1975: Charles Back, Greg Mills, Eric Pirttima, Johanna Newton

1974: Hal Copper, Rodney Ferguson, Doug Lail, Kurt Malmquist, Cheri Wynne

1973: Gerald Eysaman, Jr., Armondo Maniscalco, Paul Regan, Brenda Kendrick

1972: Van McKenzie, Mike Walker, Mike Cox, Phyllis Jarrett (Mike Walker served as President of the Senate)

1971: Don Robinson, Jr., Bruce Vogel, Joni Palmer

1970: Jeff Brown, Larry McDonald, Andrij Neczwid Valerie Wickstrom

1969: Jeff Alston, David Krystofiak, Jim Simons, Julia Phipps

1968: Susanne Douglas

1967: Acie Ellerbe, Danny Pollock, Laura Eloise Hall

1966: Richard Kinney, Raymond Hodges, Jr., Alice Back

1965: Walter Achillich, Tom Porter, Janice McGuffey

1964: David Myers, Larry Turner, Diana Clements

1963: Ray Preston Bolt, John Wintersteen, Cletia Weaver

1962: X.L. Garrison Jr., Robert Johnson, Judy Goulding

1961: Sam Gross, Barbara Russ

1960: Richard Miles, Barbara Higginson

1959: Robert Campbell, Lynn Louise Nichols

1958: Bobby Hinsz, Margie Braden

1957: William McCallister, Glenn Miller, Ann Smith

1956: Barney A. Beach, Paul Canaday, Susanne Coolidge

1955: James Jarrett, Jr., Sarah Peck

1954: Cecil McGavern, Jr., Ruth Aldocosta

1953: Joan Lefler, Dale Vought

1952: Roger Whitworth, Merlene Nelson

1951: John Forbis, Barbara Smith

1950: Rex Gilbreath, Jack Lamb, Marilyn McClellan

1949: Billy “Jook” England, Nancy Skinner

1948: Jack Green, Joan Steve

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 July 2, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Alumni Celebration

By Gregg, 25 January, 2010, 28 Comments

How about some camaraderie, fellowship and laughter? Do you need some rejuvenation in the midst of the hot summer months?  Well…reconnecting with friends and classmates will do the trick!

39th Annual ZHS Alumni Event is June 28, 2009.

Our goal for Countdown this week is to extend a hearty invitation to ZHS Alumni and friends to attend the Annual ZHS Alumni Event on Sunday, June 28 , 2009 at the Zephyrhills Lion’s Club located at 5827 Dean Dairy Road at 11:30 a.m.

On Saturday, June 27 , 2009, many alumni will be gathering at the Zephyrhills Depot Museum on South Avenue for a wonderful day of fellowship and reflection!

In honor of this annual friendship celebration, we have chronicled the evolution of the alumni reunion process in our area.  The very first Zephyrhills Alumni gathering occurred in 1931 when graduates from the classes of 1928, 1929 and 1930 congregated at Sunset Beach at Lake Pasadena.  The News reported that music was provided by Uncle Frank Tousey, the genial proprietor of Sunset Beach, who was known for his one-man band entertainment.  A business meeting was held and the officers of the first group were Arthur Austin, President; Tillie Reutimann, Vice President; Edith Plank, Recording Secretary; Sadie Turner, Corresponding Secretary and Charlie Slater, Treasurer. No doubt the stressful years of  the Great Depression in the 1930’s ended the first alumni reunion efforts but it did re-emerge many years later in 1971.

The modern-day alumni group was spearheaded by Jaynell LeHeup Vickers and born out of her own ZHS class of 1950 which graduated 28 students.  At the 20th reunion bash of the class of 1950, several commented that they would enjoy reconnecting with friends and former classmates from other classes as well. Jaynell, known for her energy and willingness to take charge, engaged the challenge and became the organizer for just such a project. She worked for many years in coordinating the alumni event.  Jaynell also wrote a column in the Zephyrhills News for awhile and was a tireless supporter of ZHS. She passed away in 2007 and will of course, be missed at the event this weekend.  While at ZHS, Jaynell was a cheerleader, class secretary, a member of the cast of the plays, Fantasy in the Attic (which she and her classmates wrote) as well as a comedy, Boarding House under the direction of their teacher, Matilda Clement.

What were things like in 1950 in Zephyrhills?

The public school in Zephyrhills (the only one back then) opened that year with a ‘record’ enrollment of 673 of which 281 were high school students.  In Pasco County there were 19 total schools (before integration there were 14 schools for white students and five schools for colored students) with school attendance in the entire county at 3,900. A whopping total of 39 school buses transported children throughout the county (Source: Zephyrhills News, September, 1950).

ZHS alumni and friends are well aware of the tremendous growth of the school and county as many have lived these changes and endured the growing pains.  Throughout the time however, the school has been a source of constancy and regeneration.

This will be realized again at the upcoming weekend’s reunion.  By the way, the current alumni officers are: Phyllis Jarrett Denney – President, Class of 1973; Lenora Pollock Stokes – Vice President, Class of 1964; Linda Locke Arant – Secretary, Class of 1978; Clereen Morrill Brunty – Treasurer & Alumni Contact, Class of 1973 and Margaret Seppanen – Historian, Class of 1956.

The traditions live on!

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 June 25, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Centennial Street Signs

By Gregg, 24 January, 2010, No Comment

Sample Sign

Join the residents and businesses of Zephyrhills in celebrating the 100 Year Celebration taking place all this year. We will be erecting giant 7′ tall signs all the way along Main Street, each featuring a vintage photograph of the sponsors choice depicting the history of Zephyrhills (photos supplied by Madonna Jarvis Wise). Choose from 700 photographs and personalize your card with your own message to the community of Zephyrhills. Order now.

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Recollections of Miss Granger

By Gregg, 21 January, 2010, 1 Comment

The article about Miss Granger made me smile. A little tidbit: My brother and I both attended the kindergarten at the same time, in the fall of 1955.  We were terrors (Miss Granger’s words to my mom).  One Friday mom pinned the weekly fees to each of us when she dropped us

off. Miss Granger ran out the door stopping mom, returning the fees and asked that we not come back.  I think Billy & I were the only kids ever expelled from the school.  This made it impossible for my sister Diane to attend.  Diane still brings that up every now and then.  My mom was so embarrassed to have to explain to the mothers why we were expelled.

With that being said when Billy & I entered the first grade.  Miss Granger’s notes must have followed us, because the first thing the enrollment teacher told mom, was the school was going to separate us.  Under no circumstances were we to be in the same class (We both entered school the same year). I love the articles!

-From Carolyn Dean, Environmental/GIS Specialist for the City of Zephyrhills

I have some memories of Granger’s school.  I was originally left handed, writing and such. Miss Granger used to pass me when I was writing with my left hand and smartly wrap my hand with a wooden stick with a marble attached to the end…ouch! I do have a sloppy handwriting (I write with my right hand) due to her “conditioning” of my hand to not write with the left hand. I choose to believe I have been fortunate in that because of that, I am ambidextrous. I use both hands for a lot.

Another memory I have is that her little bathroom was outside the classroom in a white lattice covered room that had a toilet and a sink (only with cold water) and you only could be out there for a few minutes or she would come and get you. I personally got in trouble one time because someone had thrown their “snack” (a handful of Trix cereal) into the toilet and I got blamed with it… I got in trouble and got smacked with that stupid marble on a stick again.

She was a very forbidding looking woman who always dressed in dark clothes and rarely smiled at us. I figured she was going to always look like an old fashioned “teacher”.  I did learn ABC’s and learned to read at an early age. I just remember being afraid of her. I saw her handle a lot of boys by pulling their ears.

Remember, this was before the days of having fun in kindergarten. And she was very old to me. She might have been only in her 50’s at the time, but she always looked old to me.

-From Phyllis (Jarrett) Denney, Class of 1973

Clereen, Sam Surratt and I have a secret organization called “Granger’s Rangers”. There are only two members! We are looking for more. We sit around once in awhile and talk about Miss Granger. She ruled with an iron fist. Just; ask Jerry Pricher or Randy Jordan or Doug Kirk who use to run away every time she released him for playtime (which was not often). The refreshment was a cup of kool aid that held 2 ounces. I learned from Debbie Forbes how to write to a hundred, it took a couple of days copying! The playground was not great.  I loved being a Granger Ranger!

-From Terry Linville

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 June 18, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Miss Granger’s “Rangers”

By Gregg, 21 January, 2010, 1 Comment

The ZHS 100 Committee is working in collaboration with Zephyrhills Main Street, Inc. to plan celebrations for the Zephyrhills Centennial in 2010.  Our goal is to feature some glimpses of educational history over time. Please contact us to share your reactions to our vignettes at: Madonna Wise (mwise {at} hughes(.)net) and Clereen Brunty (clereen {at} tampabay.rr(.)com).

Have you heard of the creative teaching method known as Montessori? It is an imaginative approach for young children that was developed in the late 1800’s which infuses art, music and self-expression; and it has produced some great thinkers in our world.

Well, in Zephyrhills, a pioneer primary and uniquely creative educator was Mary Frances Granger who operated “The Child’s Garden of Learning” in her home on 11th Street just past 9th Avenue, for over 35 years.  The school taught many prominent citizens (i.e. Emil Reutimann, George Neukom, Emerson Arnot, Christine Douglas and many more.) We were encouraged to include “Miss Mary” (as she was known) in our historical tributes.

The spunky and sometime eccentric Miss Mary moved to Zephyrhills with her family in 1926 and opened what was first named The Merry Kindergarten. George Neukom told us that students who attended Miss Mary’s school for a few years at the kindergarten level were given an evaluation test when they entered Zephyrhills School and often skipped over several grades as was the case for George.

A 1947 Tampa Times newspaper article said, “Child’s Garden of Learning takes particular care to both physical and mental development that will cause the garden to burst forth with sweet flowers…the children! Natural and organized play, music, construction, dramatization, and art guide children in the accumulation of knowledge at various ages at this particular school.”

Miss Mary operated the only kindergarten in town.  She was a single lady who was known to always wear a hat. She was very active in the community. Jon Ferguson, one of her pupils said in an interview, “She was a small lady in stature but there was a huge monument of caring and tender love for students. She could handle quite a large number of students without help. She had that gift of gathering her little chickens under her wings yet was firm in discipline…just what the children needed.”

A 1956 Zephyrhills News report on the annual end-of-the-year ceremony may give you a feel for what it was like at the “Garden of Learning.” See if you recognize any names?

“The 1956 annual closing program of Miss Mary Granger’s School was held at the Woman’s Club Wednesday afternoon with a large audience. With youngsters singing Oh What A Beautiful Morning as a prelude, the curtain opened on an apple blossom garden scene complete with picket fences entwined with flowers and foliage… Group songs included Friends, April Showers, Singing in the Rain, In Apple Blossom Time, and Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing. A Rainbow Fairies novelty song and dance featured Donna Bales, Sandra Johnston, Betty Muse, Shirley and Gloria Rose, Judy Lane, Joey Chenkin, Mikie Barber and Linda Lippincott. Paul Hilson and Rene Geddes acquitted themselves nicely in the The Little Shoemaker and an alphabet song in which all the youngsters participated which was followed by a Flower Wedding number and a skit, Teddy Bear Picnic

Diplomas were awarded to Gail Chenkin, Ritchie Chenkin, Gay Ann Kirkland, Sandra Johnston, Betty Muse, Arthur Chadwell, Paul Hilson, Rene Geddes and Donna Bales. An interesting display of handwork completed by the pupils was shown.”

We also understand that any later years, Miss Granger became more eccentric. Terry Linville shared that he and Sam Surratt still tell tales of their days at the school and like to refer to themselves as ‘Granger Rangers.’ We hear that the school was operated with a strong fist and punishments could sometimes be composing long lists of numbers.  Terry shared that one of the alumni, Jerry Pricher, was known to escape when playground time came around. Please share your memories of Miss Granger or perhaps this has prompted you to remember another teacher and life experience?

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 June 18, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: ZHS in 1968

By Gregg, 20 January, 2010, 1 Comment

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

The ZHS 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 used 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 School Board who is retiring after 20 years of service, presented special awards.

John Neal, with a 486 score out of a possible 495, won the Scholarship Award and Ryan Gray won the Athletic Award. School Spirit awards were presented to Acie Ellerbe and Janette Dunnigan.  June Standland won the Citizenship Award. Riki McGinnis won the Best All-Around Boy Award and also was the recipient of the Jaycees Athletic Scholarship. June Standland also was recipient of the Best All-Round Girl Award. Ferd Renninger, President of Zephyrhills Rotary,  made the presentations of bonds from Rotary.

Chester Taylor, Superintendent, assisted by Principal Raymond B. Stewart, presented diplomas to the 93 graduates.  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.

Following the 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.

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!

Would you believe—Class Night was a success? Even with 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!

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 “ho

me” 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.

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 June 11, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise