Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: Salutatorians of the past and present

By , 14 January, 2010, No Comment

As graduation approaches, Zephyrhills Schools will acknowledge that it is celebrating its 95th graduation ceremony.  Although the school opened in 1910, the first official graduation was in 1914.  This is a time of great pride and joy for families and certainly a milestone in an individual’s life. At the ZHS 100 committee, members have enjoyed compiling lists and documenting history.  We salute the 2009 ZHS Salutatorian, Carl “C.J. Gennaro, III, and want to share some tidbits about salutatorians throughout the 100 years.

We found some interesting community patriarchs among the list.  Fred Gore, for example was the 1948 Salutatorian and gave a speech entitled, “Public Service,” which he has definitely exemplified in his life.  Bill McGavern, known for his basketball prowess as “Billie The Kid” was the 1962 Sal and an excerpt from his speech gives us a glimpse of this community leader as well:

“The work of our school years is completed but our education will continue so long as we live.  Assurances of the good wishes of our townspeople have meant much to us. Your interest and friendship have been an inspiration and comfort to us and we are grateful.

The 1987 Salutatorian, Missy Mikolajczak captured the spirit for many decades. Missy  was an accomplished female athlete at ZHS who later attended the University of Virginia, where she lettered all four years in softball and volleyball and earned her master’s degree in rhetoric and communications along the way. In fact, she played with the Colorado Silver Bullets, the professional women’s baseball team for awhile.  Here is how her graduation transpired. In a cue worthy of an MTV disc jockey, the salutatorian closed her speech noting that the graduation was a time “to say take care, to say keep in touch, to say God bless, but to never say goodbye,” signaling the loudspeakers in the school’s gymnasium to play rock band Bon Jovi’s nearly ubiquitous song of the season, “Never Say Goodbye.”  The class stood and rocked back and forth to the refrain, and the standing-room crowd of family and friends in the “Doghouse”- the Bulldog gym – chuckled appreciatively.  Mikolajczak likened the last night of school to the first day of school when she was filled with “A certain sadness that now that I think of it was mainly fear.” But she told her classmates to “strive foremost for happiness. No matter what one owns, it is the possession of happiness that makes one successful.”

ZHS has recognized the top two scholars of each graduating class throughout their history.  In researching archives, primarily microfilm throughout the school’s history to correctly identify the top-of-the class students, we painstakingly reviewed files at the Zephyrhills News and the Zephyrhills Library.  Various community members provided missing names, but there remain some 16 who have NOT  been identified.

Carl Gennaro

Carl "C.J." Gennaro, III- 2009 Salutatorian

Please help us locate the missing number ones! Congratulations Carl!

2009- Carl “C.J. Gennaro, III

2008 – Kristen “Abbi” Chaffin

2007- Josalynn Wireman

2006- Gregory Aaron Cole

2005- Chloe Elizabeth Estep

2004- Thomas Lee Lawson, Jr.

2003- Kyle Alex Pierson

2002- Tiffany Rose Stanley

2001- Carolyn Christina Young

2000- Michelle Leigh Krystofiak

1999- Laurie Ann Buccinna and Teresa Elaine Norris

1998- Nicholas Mark Peacock

1997- Tazia Kallenbach Stagg

1996- Amanda Ruth Schwab

1995- Hariharan Krishnaraj

1994- Matthew John Mohler, II

1993- Jennifer Ann Wooten

1992- Emily Lauren Currington

1991- Heidi Lynn Grimes

1990- Stacia Jean Familo

1989-  Rachel Marie Hughes

1988- Christie Lynn Spurlock

1987-  Melissa Dawn “Missy” Mikolajczak

1986- Ronald Maurice Miller, Jr.

1985- Cherié Rene Bylaska

1984- Tracy Rene Dunlap

1983- Dale Lee  Parker

1982- Ronald Bryan  Woodard

1981- Nancy Alla DeBoe

1980- Gabrielle T. Vincent

1979- Robert Alan Boyd

1978- Daniel R.Deaton

1977- James L. Whitacre

1976- Kathleen Flack

1975-  Steve Clark

1974- Armondo John Maniscalco

1973- Debra Jeanne Cowling

1972- Eric Lang Huber

1971- Marlies Gerber

1970-  Julia E. Phipps

1969-  Kathleen Mary Shannon

1968- Rene Arlene Geddes

1967- Joan Thompson

1966- Janice McGuffey

1965- Barbara Thompson

1964- David D. Kaylor

1963- Chere Crosby Brooks

1962- William E. “Bill”  McGavern

1961- David Smith

1960- Delia Margaret “Dedi” Anderson

1959- Margaret Ann Braden

1958- Barbara Peeples

1957-  Elizabeth Dell Cutshall

1956- James Hoge Jones

1955- Hazel Ruth Aldacosta

1954- Helen Wells

1953- Merlene Nelson

1952- Barbara Smith

1951- Nelda Rae Cook

1950- Jaynell LeHeup

1949- Patricia Lee Thomson

1948- Freddie Lee Gore

1947- Theodore Franklin Mayor

1946- Lois Ann Martinson

1945- David Tyre, Jr.

1944- Dorothy Gonzales

1943- Irene Lefler

1942- Alice Jenkins

1941- Norris Mott

1940- Irene Claire Hohenthaner

1939- Helen Lefler

1938- Mary Elizabeth Stapleton

1937- Jacqueline Sjoblom

1935- Frederick C. Wheeler

1934- Betty Childs

1933- Emerson Snider

1928- Edith Plank

1927- Ira Jones

1925- NONE

1921- Grace Cripe

1916- W. Gomer Krise

1914-First Official Graduation

1913-Eleventh Grade Graduation Only

1910-School Opened

Missing 1913-1915; 1917-1920, 1922-1924, 1926, 1929, 1930-32, 1936

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 21, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

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