HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Highlights of 1932
Seniors above are: Victor Johnson, Elsie Grant, Mrs. F.B. Gill, Edythe M. Bishop, Cecile Geiger, Myron Naber, Bob Howarth, Wilbur Veazey, and Esther McGavern.
Graduation Address by Professor C.S. Cox, Zephyrhills News, May 27, 1932
Feature of High School Commencement; Eighth Grade Gives Program.
The commencement exercises concluding last Friday night graduated a class of eight from the Zephyrhills high school and advanced a class of eighteen boys and girls from the Eighth grade into the Freshman class of the high school.
The feature of the commencement program was a scholarly address by Professor Carl S. Cox, Dean of Southern College, Lakeland who spoke on the subject, “The Age of Things.”
Professor Cox said that different ages of the earth receive different and significant names, such as the Stone Age, the Dark Age, etc. We wonder what our own age will be called in history. “Sometimes,” he cited, “Some of the times,” he said, “I think it will be called the Age of Things.” He cited some of the “things,” that enter, into everyday life today—the automobile, the radio, the electric heater, and many other electrical divices, the vacuum cleaner, etc. These things, he said, are all made for our convenience, but in some instances people allow these “things” that are made for convenience only to complicate their lives. For instance, they get into an automobile and drive a hundred miles or more with no particular objective, merely to be traveling. A thing that is designed for convenience is allowed to dominate their lives and steal time and valuable opportunities from them.
Every four years the American people have what they term an inauguration. The President-elect places his hand on a “thing”—a book, and is inducted into office. Why this thing, a book? Because in it is “the Way of Life.” If the hand were placed on the open book, instead of the closed book, it would be more significant, because within the book, are the words of wisdom, the foundations of literature, and the “things” worth while. For, after all, the “things of importance in life are the things that make character.
Professor Cox closed his eloquent address with an admonition to make this Age of Things into an Age of Character.
Preceding Professor Cox’s address were music by Skogstad’s orchestra, invocation by Dr. E.H. Curtis, and a vocal solo by Mrs. John Harrison.
Following the address, Athel Thomas and Carroll Thomas rendered a duet, “Simple Aveu,” after which Principal J.W. Walker presented diplomas to eight graduates—Cecil Geiger, Elsie Grant, Esther McGavern, Edith Mott, Robert Haworth, Victor Johnson, Myron Naber, and Wilbur Veazey. Benediction was pronounced by Dr. E.H. Curtis, and orchestra played a final selection
Eighth Grade Program Graduation (what was to become the class of 1936)
Of scarcely less interest to pupils and parents and friends generally was the Eighth grade program given in the school auditorium Thursday evening, May 19, when a class of eighteen from the grade school formally became Freshman in the high school.
The program opened with a welcoming song by the whole class, after which Robert Seaberg, one of the class leaders, introduced each member of the class in turn with witty and descriptive remarks applicable to the particular individual introduced, including himself. The Class Prophet of his graduating class is expected to give Robert a place in the Hall of Fame among the orators.
The salutary address was delivered for eighth grade by Mary Skevakis, one of the honor students of the class who is expected to continue in that position through her high school course.
The Class Creed and the Class Poem, clever compositions well rendered, were given respectively, by Laura Rogers and James Mott. This was followed by a piano duet by Mark Skevakis and Mary E. Stapleton.
“Advice to the Seventh Grade,” words of wisdom and wit, was delivered by Hilda Bracey, and was received in a “response,” almost equally as wise and witty by Oliver Lester of the Seventh grade.
“Class Toasts” were done up brown by Helen Grant and Jack Parsons.
Reggie Grant gave an effective reading, which was followed by a duet by Margarite Reutimann and Robert Seaberg.
“Class History” gave Clifford Wilson an opportunity to tell numerous things, known and unknown, about the individual members and the class as a body.
Glenn McDowell, Ruth McCoy, Iona Skinner, Gilbert Lawrence and William Arnold each entertained with readings suited to the occasion. These were interspersed with a solo by James Mott, a musical number by Mark Skevakis, Laura Rogers,
Carroll Thomas, and Athel Thomas, and a duet by Margarite Reutimann and Laura Rogers.
In the “Class Will,” Elena Ryals disposed of some of the most precious possessions of the class in a manner apparently satisfactory to everybody.
The “Class Prophecy” gave Isabelle Austin an opportunity to place each member where he or she belongs—whether or not such member will “stay put.”
Margarite Reutimann rounded out the program with the “Valedictory Address for eighth grade,” after which the class gave its “Farewell Song.”
Diplomas were then presented by Principal D.C. Cripe, and the class became high school Freshmen.
Commencement is Feature in Zephyrhills this Week, Zephyrhills News, May 20, 1932
Eight pupils graduate from high school; class day exercises Wednesday, Eighth Grade, Thursday.
This is commencement week of the Zephyrhills schools culminating tonight (Friday) with the graduating exercises of the Senior class of the high school in the school auditorium at 8 o’clock. The class members are the Misses Cecile Geiger, Elsie Grant, Esther McGavern, and Edith Mott and the Messrs. Robert Haworth, Victor Johnson, Myron Naber and Wilbur Veazey.
Class Day Exercises
Class Day exercises were held Wednesday night in the school auditorium. The program, enacted to a large and appreciative audience, was as given below.
The class prophecy was in the form of a very clever playlet which transported the class to the year 1944. The scene was laid in a large hospital or sanitarium in Zephyrhills, over which Miss Edith Mott, a professional nurse, presided as proprietor. A terrific hurricane had just wrought great havoc in Zephyrhills and Dr. Wilbur Veazey, an eminent physician of Birmingham, Alabama, hearing of it, dropped in at the sanitarium to see if he could be of assistance. His visit made almost a complete class reunion as other members of the class were there at the hospital, and those not there in person were brought into the group through conversation of the other members.
Cecile Geiger was a prominent school teacher in Zephyrhills. Elsie Grant Sellars was a housewife. Esther McGavern was the wife of a wealthy Los Angeles business man. Myron Naber was a business man and aviator of Jacksonville; Robert Haworth, a radio expert and Victor Johnson, a noted electrical engineer.
The class will, read by Wilbur Veazey, was equally entertaining and mirth provoking, disposing as it did, of the various class members’ conspicuous possessions or attributes to the junior members of the school, in ways that appealed to their other school mates as most appropriate. The musical numbers likewise were most catchy and appealing
Invocation—Dr. E.H. Curtis
Song—Mrs. John Harrison
Address—Professor Carl S. Cox, Dean of Southern College
Duet, “Simple Aveu”—Athel Thomas and Carroll Thomas
Presentation of Diplomas—J.W. Walker
Benediction—Dr. E.L. Wesson
Class Day Program
Piano Solo, “Il Trovatore”—Wilbur Veazey
Class History—Cecile Geiger
Class Poem—Victor Johnson
Song, “The Little Red School House”
The Prophecy—A Playlet
Address to the Undergraduates—Myron Naber
Duet—Edith Mott, Esther McGavern
Reading of the Class Will—Wilbur Veazey
Presentation of the Key—Esther McGavern
The baccalaureate or school sermon was delivered in the First Baptist Church Sunday Morning, May 15th by Reverend E.L. Wesson, whose subject was “The Human Foundation of All That is Worth While.” The girls of the Senior class appeared in white dresses and big picture hats. Misses Grace Mott and Jean Sante, Junior class girls, acted as ushers. The high school faculty was represented by Principal J.W. Walker and Mrs. F. B. Gill.
Frank Rys sang a solo, “Our Best,” and special music was rendered by a choir composed of members of the Junior and Sophomore Classes, assisted by members of the Baptist choir, with Mrs. M. M. Alsobrook as pianist.
Graduating exercises of the Eighth grade were held in the school auditorium on Thursday night and were attended by a large and appreciative audience. The Program was as follows:
Eighth Grade Graduation Program
• Welcome Song—Class
• Class Introduction—Robert Seaberg
• Class Salutatory—Mary Skevakis
• Class Creed—Laura Rogers
• Class Poem—James Mott
• Piano Duet—Mary Skevakis, Mary E. Stapleton
• Advice to the Seventh Grade—Hilda Bracey
• Response—Oliver Lester
• Class Toasts—Helen Grant, Jack Parsons
• Reading—Reggie Clark
• Duet—Margarite Reutimann, Robert Seaberg
• Class History—Clifford Wilson
• Reading—Glenn McDowell
• Solo—James Mott
• Reading—Ruth McCoy
• Reading—Iona Skinner
• Music—Mary Skevakis, Laura Rogers, Carroll Thomas, Athel Thomas
• Reading—Gilbert Lawrence
• Duet—Margarite Reutimann and Laura Rogers
• Class Will—Elena Ryals
• Class Prophecy—Isabelle Austin
• Valedictory Address—Margarite Reutimann
• Farewell Song—Class
• Granting of Diplomas—Mr. D.C. Cripe
Commencement Week to End on May 20th, Zephyrhills News, May 13, 1932
Professor C.S. Cox of Southern College to Deliver The Address Next Friday.
Commencement week of the Zephyrhills high school will be inaugurated next Sunday, May 15th, First Baptist Church at 11 a.m. detailed announcements of which appears elsewhere in this issue. Class-night exercises will be held in the school auditorium on Wednesday night, May 18th, 8 o’clock. The graduation exercises of the Eighth grade will take place in the school auditorium on Thursday evening, May 19th, at 8 o’clock. Every one is cordially invited to be present. The program is published below. The concluding event will be the graduation exercise to be held in the school auditorium on Friday night, May 20th at 8 o’clock. The speaker for the evening will be Prof. Carl S. Cox of Southern College, Lakeland. Members of the Senior class of the Zephyrhills high school are the Misses Cecile Geiger, Edith Mott, Elsie Grant, and Esther McGavern and the Messrs. Wilbur Veazey, Victor Johnson, Myron Naber and Robert Haworth.
Spelling Contest at Crescent Monday, Zephyrhills News, April 29, 1932
A high school spelling contest, according to Manager H.G. Moore, who first thought of this novel and instructive entertainment, will be held at the Crescent Theatre on Monday, 2, beginning at nine o’clock.
Participating in the contest are the following high schools of the county: Gulf High, of New Port Richey; Zephyrhills; Pasco High, of Dade City; Trilby; St. Leo Prep College, St. Leo.
In keeping with the forthcoming event, Manager Moore has transformed the front window of the Arcade, adjoining his office into an imaginary old fashioned district school. The only thing missing is the school master and pupils. They most likely, will appear in time for the contest.
On the master’s desk, you will see several objects, commonly called “switches,” a red apple, supposedly given by teacher’s pet, and the globe, showing North and South America, without which no country school, is complete. Some of the pupils, it would seem, are fond of eating during school hours, others in throwing “spit” balls. The screen will feature Joe E. Brown, famous comedian, in “Fireman, Save My Child,” “Sizzling” comedy containing the laughs of a lifetime.
Banquet of Seniors and Juniors Held, Zephyrhills News, April 22, 1932
Five course dinner at Hotel Zephyr, with addresses, music, dancing.
The annual Junior-Senior banquet of the Zephyrhills high school took place Friday evening April 15 at the Hotel Zephyr, and was, as usual one of the happiest and most-to-be-remembered affairs of the school year.
The tables of the hotel dining room were decorated with roses and ferns in a color scheme of yellow and white, and favors were yellow and white baskets.
A five-course dinner was served with a program of toasts interspersed. Principal J.W. Walker of the high school acted as toast master.
The Juniors acted as hosts to the Seniors. Miss Winnie Wingate, president of the Junior class, delivered the address of welcome, and Wilbur Veazey, president of the Senior class, made the response. Four sophomore girls—Misses Elsie Turner, Vivian Lawrence, Dorothy Oldham, and Mary Emory, served the five-course dinner. Menu cards were the clever work of a class member, Myron Naber, a drawing in black and white of an old-fashioned young lady in hoop skirt and costume to match, around whose bare arms was tied a yellow ribbon. The card was cut to the outline of the picture, and an attached sheet of paper, cut in the same outline, contained the menu and the program. The menu was as follows: fruit cocktail, waldorf salad, chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, peas and rolls with ice cream, cake and coffee.
Music for the banquet and program was rendered by the following orchestra: Miss Grace Mott, pianist; George Neukom, saxophone; Marshall Corbin, violin; Wilbur West, violin; Robert Sibley, banjo. Seniors present at the banquet were Cecile Geiger, Edith Mott, Elsie Grant, Esther McGavern, Wilbur Veazey, Victor Johnson, Myron Naber and Robert Haworth.
The juniors were: Winnie Wingate, Vera Slater, Fern Williams, Lina Felts, Grace Mott, Ruth Baxmann, Jean Sante, Lillian Skogstad, Emerson Snider, Charles Chilson, and Roger Sibley.
Teachers present were Mrs. L. Tucker, Mrs. F.B. Gill, Miss Alpha Sechler, Principal J.W. Walker, and D.C. Cripe. After the banquet and program a dance was enjoyed at Zephyr Lake, a town orchestra played.
Senior-Junior Banquet Tonight, Zephyrhills News, April 15, 1932
The annual Junior and Senior banquet of the Zephyrhills high school will be held tonight (Friday) at the Hotel Zephyr, beginning at 7:30 o’clock. It will be concluded with a dance at Lake Zephyr.
Junior Class Play Coming Friday, March 4, Zephyrhills News, February 26, 1932
“Fickle Fortune,” Comedy in Three Acts to Be Given in G.A.R. Hall.
The “Fickle Fortune” stickers that may be seen darting about the streets on automobiles, or reposing on store windows, mean that the Junior class play of the Zephyrhills high school is soon to be staged in Zephyrhills, and that pupils and teachers who are working to produce the play hope that Fickle Fortune will smile on their efforts with a shower of cash to further the school activities expected to be financed by this means.
“Fickle Fortune” is a comedy in three acts which will be presented in G.A.R. Hall, Zephyrhills on Friday night, March 4, beginning at 8 o’clock. The proceeds are to be sued partly for the Seniors-Junior banquet, and the balance, if any, to finance the graduation exercises next year. The cast of the play will be as follows: Mrs. Samuel Warren—Ruth Baxmann; Miss Gloria Warren—Winnie Wingate; Roxanna Blossom—Lillian Skogstad; Antoinette (“Tony”) Warren—Grace Mott; Brant Allen—Emerson Snider; Lilly (Maid)—Gene Sante; Maggie (Maid)—Lina Felts; Cuppers (Butler)—Robert Gall; Emerson Hawley—Roger Sibley; Sadie Tweed—Ferne Williams; Mrs. Merry—Vera Slater and Stevens (Butler)—Charles Chilson.
Act 1, Scene 1 opens at the Warren home about 10 a.m. and Scene 2 is at the same place about 7:30 in the evening.
Act 2 takes place at Aunt Eliza’s Riverside mansion, eight months later, in the morning.
Act 3 takes place in the same place as Act 2, but four months later, in the evening.
The class members have been working and practicing on the production for some time under the direction of D.C. Cripe, Mrs. Josephine Tucker, and Miss Alpha Sechler. Class members are also attending to the various business details in connection, such as advertising, printing of programs, sales of tickets, etc, deriving considerable business training from the experience.
August 16, 1932, school board minutes indicate that C. D. Johnson was named principal
Alumni news of the era—
Happy Memories Abound As ZHS Alumni Enjoy Reunion, The Zephyrhills News, July 2, 1981, by Jaynell LeHeup
…Among first timers at this year’s ZHS reunion were: Emerson Snider of Tampa, Class of 1932….
Alumni and Friends Reunion Was Gala Zephyrhills Event, Zephyrhills News, by Jaynell LeHeup, July 1, 1982
Another Zephyrhills High School Alumni and Friends Reunion is now history….During the buffet lunch, accordion music was provided by a guest, Herb Sutherland of International Falls, Minnesota, who was visiting Mr. and Mrs. Odis Hill, Class of 1950…Following the lunch, special recognition was given to the Golden Anniversary of the Class of 1932 and the Silver Anniversary of the Class of 1957. Four members of the Golden Anniversary Class of 1932 attended Sunday’s merriment. They were Wilbur Veazey, Elsie Grant Sellars, Victor Johnson, and Kenneth Higginson…..
….Three Generations of Johnsons attended the reunion, including two members of honored classes, Victor Johnson, Class of 1932; with his daughter, Janet J. Cruver, Class of 1957; his son, Keith Johnson, Class of 1961; and Vivian Johnson, a 1982 graduate.
Photos below from the Depot Museum are marked: at left, freshmen of 1932 and at right, sophomores of 1932. There are no names provided, but both identify the group as ZHS students of 1932.