Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Librarian or Media Specialist?

By , 12 January, 2010, No Comment

On Saturday, May 2, a retirement dinner for ZHS Media Specialist Ernie Wise was hosted at Zephyr Palms Events Centre by his wife, Madonna (one of the writers) and their three children. Randall Belcher, retired principal, emceed the event and all in attendance found themselves reminiscing about Ernie’s 35 years of service to Zephyrhills.  Ernie served twenty years as a biology teacher and fifteen as a Media Specialist at Zephyrhills High School.  He started teaching on the year-round school system known as 45-15 with an annual salary of $6,000.  The school campus was brand spanking new and the community was growing phenomenally in population.

The ‘Ernie Wise’ celebration caused us to reflect upon the Media Specialists (formerly known as Librarians) who have served ZHS throughout the school’s history.  For many alumni, we imagine that you may recall research papers you painstakingly slaved over or books you checked out from the school’s library. You may also recall that cumbersome card catalogue or those precious encyclopedias with their leather bindings and the quiet, somber atmosphere.  Many of the traditional resources we recall from the 50’s to 70’s or before, have been augmented or replaced by various technologies in the age of computers, but the necessity for carrying out research remains a vitally important skill (one tested on the FCAT) and needed by today’s workforce.

So who were the librarians of the past at ZHS?  Do you have memories of these scholarly folks that you might like to share with us for our 100th anniversary? Here are some facts that we uncovered!

A local school history report compiled for an annual open house celebration at the school in the 70’s, stated that the first ZHS library was established by Sara Krentzman who was also the school’s drama coach, in 1936.  Zephyrhills News articles however, mention that school librarian, Irene Flack obtained 148 donated books of reference and fiction for the school’s library in 1930, so we are inclined to believe that a ZHS librarian was in place in 1930.  The 1938 Pasco School Board minutes indicate that Grace Fogg was appointed librarian of ZHS, and the local history report also documents Blanche Hawkes as ZHS librarian in 1942.  Blanche was followed by Celia Linkey Anderson in 1944 who was a 1929 graduate of ZHS.

Perhaps one of the most well known of the group is Betty Hall who served for 25 years as ZHS librarian. In a May 1984 article for the Zephyrhills News, Betty recalled some of her memorable moments in the job.  Betty’s first ZHS library was in an unused classroom. In the early 1970’s a new library was built for the high school campus on what is today the Stewart Middle School campus and Betty took charge of moving the hundreds of books from the classroom location to the new building. Betty said, “Students carried the books by the armful and it went smoothly. We used Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts plus other children and moved all the books in two afternoons.”

In 1975, Betty was responsible for moving the library’s books again into the new high school building where it is located today. She engineered the move by using students who carried armloads of books on a school bus and made multiple trips.

Following Betty, Caroline Marlette and Ellen Palmer served as media specialists at ZHS.  Ernie Wise has served as Media Specialist at ZHS since 1993 along side Judy Norris.  The greatest change has undoubtedly been the influx of technology and research tools and equipment that revolutionize the classification of information.  At the retirement of Ernie, we cannot help but reflect on a career of service and dedication.  We thank you Ernie for all that you have given to the school and community.  We cannot help but also reflect on the many that have also held this position.

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 May 7, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

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