Zephyrhills High School – 1941


Highlights of 1941

Five Boys and Five Girls Graduate From the Zephyr High School, Zephyrhills News, Volume XXX, May 1941

Graduation functions for the Class of 1941 began Sunday evening, June 1st, at the high school auditorium with the baccalaureate service having the following program:

Processional by the Glee Club; Invocation—Rev. John Maynard; “God Bless America”—Congregation; Baccalaureate Sermon—H.E. Murkett; Saxophone Solo (Lost Chord)—Corabelle Storms; Benediction—Rev. F.H. Hartman and Recessional—Glee Club.

Class night followed on Tuesday night. Program was opened by a talk by President Norris Mott, followed by Walter Higginson. A Farewell to Teachers was given by Dolly Phillips, followed by talks by Jack Booth and Joan Cook, star athlete and dramatic student respectively. The presentation of medals was as follows: Jack W. Booth Jr. received a cup and medal as the most outstanding student of the senior class. Norris Mott received medal for leadership in activities. Marion Cherry, medal for most dependable girl and Walter Higginson, medal for most dependable boy.

All the awards were presented by Principal Burch Cornelius. The evening’s program was concluded by a short skit in which the entire senior class took part. Commencement functions were brought to a conclusion last Thursday evening at the school auditorium in which the following graduated: Genevieve Seaberg, Joan Cook, Jean Bailey, Marion Cherry, Dolly Phillips, Jack Booth, Jr., Claude Branch, John Saunders, Walter Higginson and Norris Mott.

The commencement program was as follows: Processional—High School Band; Invocation—Rev. R.B. Womack; Vocal Solo; Commencement Address—Judge O. L. Dayton, Jr.; Presentation of Diplomas; Congratulatory Remarks—Mr. Walter C. Craig, Superintendent.

Presentation of the American Legion’s medal and certificate to the outstanding boy and girl in the eighth grade was made by Mr. Don Storms to Barbara Hammett and Billy Hamilton. The benediction was by Father John, O.S. B. Principal Burch Cornelius is to be congratulated upon the progress the pupils have made under his supervision the past year.

Annual Jr.-Sr. Banquet Follows Hawaiian Theme, Zephyrhills News, May 23, 1941

The Juniors, Seniors, Faculty and guests of Zephyrhills High School enter the G.A.R. Hall to strains of Hawaiian farewell song, “Aloha Oe,” last Friday night for annual Junior-Senior Banquet and dance.

To the strains of the Hawaiian farewell song, “Aloha Oe,” the Juniors and Seniors, faculty and guests of Zephyrhills high school entered the G.A.R. Hall Friday night for the annual Junior-Senior banquet and dance.

They were met at the door by four Hawaiian natives—Irene Lefler, Dena Royal, Ruby Jane Snider and Uldine Davidson, gaily dressed in colorful skirts, satin blouses, leis, and flowers. Each guest was given a lei to wear through the evening. The hall was transformed to suggest the Paradise in the Pacific by flower decked embankments of palmettos around the walls. Overhead the ceiling was concealed by a hanging mass of orange, yellow and green crepe paper and balloons.

This color motif was carried out on the table by six attractive arrangements by spring flowers of those colors and green and yellow candles placed between them. The centerpiece was a miniature lake with sand and palm trees bordering it and a canoe in its center. From this orange the streamline came the length of the table as a base for flowers, candles and additional palm trees “growing” on a mound of sand. The place of each guest was marked by his name on a thatched hut which contained the program. Hawaiian hula girls decorated cups which held mints, nuts and dates. The toastmaster for the occasion was the president of the Junior class, Thomas Dowell.

School News—News items of Interest Written by the Teachers and Students of Zephyrhills Public Schools, published in the Zephyrhills (Florida) News, April 18, 1941

Senior Skip Away Day-The members of the Senior Class of Zephyrhills High skipped away to Clearwater Monday, April 14. We met at the drinking fountain and left at 7:30. Arriving at our destination at approximately 9:30, some of the class donned bathing suits and played touch football on the beach, while others gathered shells and made an audience for the football players.

After the games everyone enjoyed a good swim and are now suffering form sunburn.

A good lunch was served consisting of potato salad, potato chips, sandwiches, cake and cookies. Later they danced and walked along the beach taking pictures. After an enjoyable afternoon, the class ate supper and then danced until 8:30 when they left for Tampa and visited the State Theatre, which was featuring Betty Davis in “The Great Lie.” After the show they were homeward bound, arriving in Zephyrhills late that night.

The party was a great success, as all had a wonderful time. The members present were: Jean Bailey, Marion Cherry, Joan Cook, Walter Higginson, Laura Mayor, Norris Mott, Dolly Phillips, John Saunders, Genevieve Seaberg and the class sponsor, Miss East.

Operetta Coming Soon- The school is to present the operetta, “White Gypsy,” soon. The story is about a king who was held prisoner by his brother, The Kink. The Kink also held the princess as prisoner. Kom found the princess lying in some bushes in the gypsy camp. The gypsies stained her face and hands and clad her as a gypsy. The king finally escaped and he and the princess went back to their realm. The main characters are Lorraine McGinty, princess and John Chapin, prince. There will be three dances: a tambourine dance, a scarf dance and a skeleton dance.

6th Grade Easter Egg Hunt-Room mothers, Mrs. Lippincott and Mrs. Mundy gave the sixth grade an egg hunt on Thursday afternoon.


School News—News items of Interest Written by the Teachers and Students of Zephyrhills Public Schools, published in the Zephyrhills (Florida) News, April 25, 1941

Senior Class News-Candidates for graduation June 5th are: Joan Cook, Jean Bailey, Genevieve Seaberg, Marion Cherry, Dolly Phillips, Jack Booth Jr., Norris Mott, John Saunders, Walter Higginson and Claude Branch. The Seniors have ordered their caps and gowns and they are maroon. They have already received their personal cards, and their invitations will be coming soon.

We are getting terribly impatient waiting for the Junior-Senior banquet and prom. We hope they have turkey and dressing and a good floor show. The faculty has decided upon the dates of the Senior Commencement exercises. Baccalaureate

sermon—June 1st, Class night—June 3rd, and the graduation—June 5th.

Fifth Grade Assembly Program-The fifth grade presented the following program at chapel on Thursday morning.

Announcer, Correne Godwin; Bible Reading—Alice Skinner; flag salute led by J.T. Neal; two stanzas of “America by the school; reading, “The American Creed,” by Junior McGinty; a patriotic play, “Hail Columbia,” presented by fifth grade pupils.

Then followed “Columbia,” Betty Jo Turner; Betsy Ross, Sara Gunnoe; Immigrant Boy, Leonard McDowell; Colonial Boy, Jimbo Burley; Star Girl, June Kerr; Truth, Christine Rogers; Loyalty, Lillian Levinar; Flag bearers, George Kemp and Colen Collier; flag boys, Leon Drake, Fred LeHeup, Dolen Arnold, Wallis Warmack, William Tilley, Jack Green.

Sophomore News

The Sophomore class regrets the loss of Fritz Boyette, a former student of Zephyr-Hi, who recently returned to Dade City.

The sophomores welcome Newton Mays as a member of our class.

The Biology class of Zephyr-Hi, under the direction of Mr. Jackson, went on a field trip to Crystal Springs Tuesday, April 22. Very interesting sights and amusements were awarded to everyone by Mother Nature.

School News—News items of Interest Written by the Teachers and Students of Zephyrhills Public Schools, published in the Zephyrhills (Florida) News, May 9. 1941

Senior News-The seniors were sorry to see Laura Mayor go. She left for her home in Berkshire, New York, last week. She is planning to attend Tampa University next fall.

Genevieve Seaberg is planning to attend Stetson. WE wish them both all the luck in the world.  

Jack says he’s not going away to school but I’ll bet he will.

Dolly Phillips has already received a graduation present. Ask her about her ring the next time you see her.

Norris and John are having to do little odd jobs around the school house lately for leaving school.

The senior graduation announcements are here and the seniors are all busy making out their mailing lists. Joan went to the beach and a show last Saturday.

Seven A News

Frances Douglas, a 7A pupil, who has been sick for seven weeks came back to school Monday.

All the high school pupils saw a silent picture on the new projection machine. The picture was, “Mobilized for Mercy.”

4th Grade News-The fourth grade ordered some silkworms’ eggs. They came on Tuesday. Half of them had hatched. When they are young they eat mulberry leaves. When they grow up they are three inches long. They shed their skins four times. When they get tired of eating they stop and spin a cocoon around them and go to sleep and change to a moth and then the moth lays eggs and goes off and dies.

8th Grade News-The eighth grade is planning to have a party. A committee has been appointed to decide the date and where the party will be held. The students on committee are: Mary Eloise Pollock, Eveyln Dorman and Carl Lippincott.

In our history class we are now studying about Abraham Lincoln and his life. Last wee we had an interesting study about

Greenland and why it is so necessary factor in our defense.

Isabel Baggett spent Wednesday night with Barbara Ann Hammett.

Normanel Clardy went to Spring Lake to attend the meeting of the Methodist Hill Top Union.

6th Grade News-On Friday and Monday the 6th and 8th Grades had a softball game. The eighth grade won by a score of 18 to 9. Players were: Eighth grade—Emerson Arnot, David Tyre, Craig Duey, John Lacey, James Chapin and Carl Lippincott.

Sixth Grade—Merle Greene, Dickie Lippincott, Bill Jenne, Richard King, Douglas McGinnis, Arlo Jensen, Junior McMundy, Eugene Miller.

We regret to say that Theodore Mayer has left our grade to return to his home in Berkshire, N.Y. He was a leader in our class, and we miss him very much.

The fifth and sixth grades enjoyed a movie in sixth grade room Tuesday morning entitled, “Mobilized for Mercy.” It showed the work of the Red Cross. The children enjoyed it and some said it was the best movie they have had in school.

We were all very much excited to learn that Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius have a baby girl. She was born Saturday morning and her name is Catherine. We are all anxious to see her.

The Health play by the fourth grade last Friday was very good. Good health habits and bad health habits had a tug of war to see which would get a boy on their side, and good habits won, even though “stay up late” and “desserts only” tempted him.

Public School Songs, Zephyrhills News, March 27, 1941

Public School Songs–Dr. Kimm has furnished this week’s issue of the News a couple of school songs for the boys and girls of Zephyrhills schools, one of which he dedicates to the bus drivers:


Dedicated to the bus drivers—Tune Mola, Mola Shaving Cream)

Away! Away! We’ll sing a round delay,

While our buses go rolling along.

Every morn, just to warn, we foot the auto horn,

While the busses go rolling along.

Then shout, boys, shout for our drivers brave and stout.

Who never let the racket stop our song.

For they always let us sing,

Till we make the country ring,

As our buses go rolling along. –S.C. Kimm


(words by Kimm—Music, “Home on the Range”)

We sing of a school, where the teachers all rule.

In a building of brick and so grand.

Whose corridors long, often echo with song.

Or the notes of a musical band.


School, school of a kind.

Where the pupils are neat and refined.

Where the teachers with joy, give each girl and each boy,

The good that centers the mind.

The land of the strong in which story and song

Tell a tale of brave men of renown.

Who ventured after, as they followed their star,

To reside in our beautiful town.


From this people sprung such a band of our young,

Whose broad-thinking is now the world’s rule.

And years ago, when that furnished the men

For they gave us this beautiful school.


Juniors Present “For Pete’s Sake,” Thursday, March 6, Zephyrhills News, February 28, 1941

Laughs, chills and romance will be in evidence when the Junior Class presents “For Pete’s Sake” at the high school auditorium on Thursday, March 6 at 8:00 o’clock.

You will enjoy Thomas Dowell’s interpretation of Peter Pepperdine, a young college student who never tells a lie, but yet upsets the whole play with his prevarications. The trouble all starts when Pete’s Aunt Sarah, played by Mildred Warnook, cancels his passage to the Holy Land as punishment for his past misconduct in college. Much to Peter’s disgust, Aunt Sarah leaves Pete under the strict care of Thorndyke (Muggsy) Murglethorpe, a bookworm, well played by Vernon Shafer.

Peter with his forbidden friend, Bill Bradshaw, alias Laurence Ferguson, rents Aunt Sarah’s house for the summer to Mrs. Georgiana Clakston, the social climber—the part is well taken by Alice Ryals. Complications arise when Peter Bill and Muggsy don outrageous costumes to disguise themselves as servants and at the same time spy on their girls, Nadine and Peggy Clakston, whom they believe to be two-timers.

In the language of Zephyrhills, Nadine is Corabelle Storms, and Peggy is Eloise Green. The whole situation becomes tense. While the dignified dean of Elwood College, Merriel Cherry and Muggsey’s counterpart and heart interest, Malvina Potts, interpreted for us by Marjorie Sanders, become suspicious and start for the police. Jasmine Jackson, the colored cook, our

Alice Jenkins, utters blood-curdling screams when two ghosts are seen running around the mansion.

We can’t tell you any more but we think you’ll like the ending so come and see “For Pete’s Sake.”

2nd Annual Boys’ State At Tallahassee From June 14 to 21, Zephyrhills News, May 9, 1941

Tallahassee, May 8 (FNS)—The second annual Boys State will be held June 14-21 at Tallahassee, sponsored by the American Legion.

Boys selected from the senior and sophomore classes of high school throughout the state for their outstanding qualities in scholarship, character, courage or leadership and a basic understanding of the social sciences, will assemble here to elect a Governor, cabinet, and house of representatives and a senate, and will virtually take over the state government, performing all the functions of the office for which they are selected for a week’s period.

The Governor and high state officials will advise and help the boys in their problems and the experience will help materially to develop those youngsters as good citizens and prepare them for the leadership in later years. Managing directors are M.L. Montgomery and H.G. (Kit) Carsen.

First Football Team, Zephyrhills News, November 1969

First Football Team Honored—Eleven of the 1941 football team at Zephyrhills High School—were on hand Friday night for “100 years of Football”—the pre-game awards ceremony during which they were presented certificates and medals by John F. Clements, ZHS athletic director. Bulldog team members, coaches and several citizens who have contributed to the success of the football in Zephyrhills also were presented the medal-certificates. Adding beauty to the ceremony and handling the trays of certificates and medals as Clements presented them were Miss Joy Reutimann, reigning Miss Pasco County, and Miss Debbie Boan. Members of the 1941 team who attended were B.J. East of Birmingham, Alabama; Dick Green of Dade City; Maurice Humphries, Dick Tucker, and Carl Lippincott, all of Zephyrhills; Merle Cherry of Lake City; Thurman Clardy of Daytona Beach; Nat Storms of Brandon; Judge Richard Kelly of Zephyrhills; Bill Parsons of Orlando; and Odis Jones of Zephyrhills.

ZHS – First Football Team, 1941-42

In 1941-42 the first football team at Zephyrhills High was organized under the direction of Principal, Thomas Burch Cornelius and Assistant Coach, W.W. Jackson. The Team played a ten game schedule and had a perfect record—“No Wins.”

The team practiced in a sand-spur covered field on the eastside of the school now named Raymond B. Steward Middle School. There was a small wooden structure behind the school where the players changed into their one and only uniform, the same uniform for practice and games. The building had no showers or toilets, so you can imagine how smelly it was.

The helmets were poorly constructed of leather, no face masks or mouth pieces, with very little protection for the players.

The team was made up of 15 to 20 players, from freshmen to seniors, depending on who was eligible and who showed up for practice on game day.

The games were played away because there was no football field at ZHS. The coaches, players, band director and 25 band members all rode the same bus. Some of the football team played in the band so at half-time they changed from football uniforms to band uniforms, marched with the band then changed back into football uniforms for the second half.

After the 1941-42 season was over, the team split in many ways. Several members joined the Armed Forces even before graduation. Some joined after graduation. World War II caused severe shortages in gasoline and tires for buses. ZHS did not again have a football team for several years.

1941-First ZHS Football Team. The principal, Thomas Burch Cornelius, was the first coach and was then principal as well. The items above are posted at the Zephyrhills Depot Museum and reflect the players in the photo below of the first team.

The first Letter award given to the Captain of the first football team, ZHS Student and Football Captain B.J. East. It is dated for the season of 1941 and signed by the principal who was also the football coach, Burch Cornelius.

Note: In putting together this anthology, Dr. Catherine Cornelius, daughter of the first ZHS football coach, consulted and shared the following memoirs regarding the first ZHS football coach, Thomas Burch Cornelius, in December of 2007. She related the following:

My family had wonderful memories of their time in Zephyrhills. It was during World War II. My father, Thomas Burch Cornelius, served on the Draft Board (after volunteering to enter the military service and being refused because the military board said Mr. Cornelius would be more valuable to the war effort by continuing to serve as ZHS Principal.) My mother (the wife of Mr. Cornelius) said that she remembered pilots being trained near Zephyrhills and the sky literally full of airplanes nearly all the time. Also there were often many soldiers on the streets of Zephyrhills and nearby when the soldiers had time off from their training. Both Mom and Dad served as Boy Scout leaders during this time frame in Zephyrhills as well. The Pasco County School Board could not afford a coach so Dad volunteered to serve at no salary. (He had coached at Haines City High School before coming to ZHS as well.) Everyone was excited and literally EVERYONE came to both the practices and the games…students, parents, townspeople. There was always quite a turnout to support the team even though, in their first year they went winless! Due to the gas rationing during World War II, my parents remembered walking to most of the places they needed to go in town and saving the little gas available for emergencies. Just about everyone did and it drew them closer as a community.

Shortly before Dad (Mr. Cornelius) died at age 91 in February 2001, I asked him about his early days of coaching and he could still name all of the teams they played against and many of the player’s names as well.

Epitaph for a Public Servant, Tampa Tribune, October 24, 2005

(Graduate of ZHS, Member of first football team)

As a Florida public relations counselor, I’ve worked political campaigns with candidates for city council, state legislature, Congress and governor. They’re all different; they’re all the same. They are fun; they are nightmares. They are, I suppose, as bedrock American as you can get, although, contrary to Hollywood scripts, the charlatan often wins and the most qualified candidate frequently loses.

Remember the Abscam scandals in Washington in 1980, when a hidden camera revealed Congressman Kelly stuffing his pockets? Well, he had been a client. I’d worked to elect him during his last campaign.

Kelly was curiously appealing. He was tall and handsome with a body hardened from regular exercise. His Marine Corps-trained voice resounded, but to spend more than a few minutes talking to Kelly was discomforting. His words sounded friendly, but they were not truly conversational; you were listening to his personal credo disguised as small talk. Then the realization came that this man was tiptoeing down a fine line between brilliance and mania.

One day in Washington, lunching on bean soup in the House dining room, he began telling me about a meeting he’d attended.

His story of how he had won the day seemed overly dramatic for a routine committee meeting, and I sensed he was honing and filing his version of the morning’s congressional activity in some private and ethereal library of his mind.

When Kelly ran for Congress from Florida in 1974, he pulled into the camp by his campaign manager, R.Z. “Sandy” Safley, who later became a state legislator in Pinellas County. A few weeks into the campaign, we realized that we had a problem.

Kelly seemed to agree to our plans and strategy, but out on the campaign trail, he marched to the rhythm of a drummer we never heard. For instance, there was his “sanity certificate.”

Kelly had been a circuit judge, and some of his foes had tried to unseat him with charges he was mentally unbalanced. In rebuttal, Kelly had himself tested by psychiatrists. Several years later in the campaign for Congress, Kelly would pull the doctor’s affidavit from his pocket and read—to the crowd’s bemusement—that he was one of the few certifiably sand people in the state of Florida.

Frustrated, Sandy and I walked before our own sanity was questioned. A few months later the voters of his district, in their wisdom, elected Richard Kelly to Congress.

Enticed Back: Several terms later, Representative Kelly was still in office, and surprisingly, called me one day and asked if we could meet. He was soon going to be up for reelection and it would be a tough race. He wanted me to handle public relations.

He said he had sufficient money and he thought he would have newspaper endorsement. He sounded so confident, knowledgeable and well, sane, and I was impressed. Perhaps, I thought, Congress has been his therapy.

So I signed on. Congress was in session, and Kelly would fly down each weekend and move through the district speaking and attending functions…..November came and the election finally came and Kelly won.

….In February 1980, leading all the TV news shows, there was the judge, caught in an elaborate sting operation conducted by the FBI. The dimly lit video was like a homemade movie and showed Kelly tucking bundled money into his navy blazer.

And not just one pocket, either…

Kelly said he was merely collecting the Abscam money as evidence to turn over to the Justice Department…Kelly served time at a federal minimum-security prison and his name faded away. The last I heard of him, he and his wife were living in rustic isolation in Montana. He was one with nature.

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