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

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