Zephyrhills High School – 1943


Highlights of 1943

Seniors Enjoy Chicken Barbecue at the Home of Mrs. Hall, Zephyrhills News, May 21, 1943

“Having a wonderful time, surely glad we’re here.” That was what the seniors were saying not ten minutes after their arrival at the home of Mrs. Melvin Hall on the Fort King Highway on Tuesday evening.

The odor of barbecue chicken filled the air, and it was not long until they formed chow line and filled their plates with chicken, potato salad, stuffed eggs, cabbage slaw, ice tea and cookies.

When everyone had eater as much as they could hold, they formed a circle in the parlor and enjoyed a variety of music. Sanford and Newton with their harmonicas; Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Fryer, the accordion; and recorded music on the


We only regret that more evenings like this cannot be spent together, but our time to part shall soon come. However we shall always look back upon this evening with pleasant memories, because everyone enjoyed the affair immensely and left with smiling faces.

Those attending were: Alice Bryant, Frances Kerce, Dena Royal, Lucille Mayor, Irene Lefler, Sanford Delk, Otis Jones, Newton Mays, Bill Duey, Mrs. Fryer, Mrs. Hall, and Mrs. And Mrs. McKillips.

Commencement For Seniors Tonight, Zephyrhills News, May 28, 1943

Graduation functions for the class of 1943 began Sunday evening, May 23 at the high school auditorium with the baccalaureate sermon. Class night followed on Thursday evening, May 27 and commencement tonight will be brought to a close with the presentation of diplomas to the following seniors: Alice Bryant, Lucille Mayor, Dena Royal, Irene Lefler, Frances Kerce, Newton Mays, Vernon Poehner, Sanford Delk, Otis Jones, and Willa Smith.

Friday, May 28 at 8:30 p.m. Processional—High School Band

Invocation—Reverend R.B. Womack

Special Music

Address—J. Morgan Davis

Presentation of Diplomas—Walter C. Craig

Benediction—Father John, O.S.B.

Recessional—High School Band

Class Colors: Red, white and blue; class flower: red rose; class motto: “We Finish to Begin.”

Class Sponsor: Mrs. McKillips.

Commencement Program for Zephyrhills High Schools, Zephyrhills News, May 21, 1943

The time is drawing near when our local Senior Class will march down the aisle, clad in caps and gowns, to receive their diplomas, and each go his own way in the wide world.

The ten graduates have been working for the past two weeks in order that their commencement exercises may be both inspiring and interesting to the public.

Baccalaureate sermon will be held at the High School auditorium at 8:30 o’clock the evening of Sunday, May 23. Reverend Mathis will deliver the baccalaureate sermon. Reverend McGavern the invocation and Reverend Hartman the benediction. Music will be furnished by the High School Glee Club.

Class night will be on Thursday night, May 27, at 8:30 p.m. at the High School auditorium. “The Class Trip,” a play revealing the class will, history and prophecy, will be presented by the graduating class. The band will play an intermission after which a play, “No Greater Love,” will be given. It is a patriotic play, displaying the change of heart that takes place in a bitter old woman when a young girl tells what democracy means to her.

Graduation exercises will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 28 at the High School auditorium. Mr. G. Morgan Davis will be the speaker of the evening. His address will be delivered with a view to young people and the subject will be “Eyes That See.”

Reverend Womack will give the invocation and Reverend Father John the benediction. Music will be furnished by the High School Band.

School Year Closes—Honors Given The Outstanding Students, Zephyrhills News, June 4, 1943

Highest scholastic awards for seniors were Vernon Poehner and Irene Lefler. Also Dena Royal and Sanford Delk received the awards for Student Activities.

The Senior Class of Zephyrhills High School, 1943



A comedy by Charles Quimby Bardette

Directed by Clarice Swink Munson

Character Student Actor
Mary Early Mary Hart
Randolph (Ranny)


Nathaniel Storms
Delphie Mary Neal
Hope Early Dorothy Gonzales
Bob Early William H. Duey
Dick Early James Richburg
Richard Early Frank Sellars
Emily Early Roberta Branch
Miriam Walker Bettie Lashley
Jack Milford James Hammett
Mrs. Forester Arizona Arnold
Jenny Malloy Ada Mansfield
Sanford Wells William Parsons
“Buzz” Daily William Hamilton

Synopsis: The entire action of the play takes place in the living room of the Early’s, at their home in a Chicago suburb.

ACT I—Eight o’clock on an evening in early October.

ACT II—Scene 1-Two weeks later, Saturday morning at 9 o’clock

Scene 2—One o’clock that night

ACT III—Scene 1-a week later, about 6 p.m.

Scene 2—About two months later at 8 p.m.

Produced by special arrangement with Row, Peterson and Company, Evanston and New York

Business Manager—–Robert Kersey

Assistant Business Managers—William Womack and Charles Krusen

Make-Up—Alice Sullivan

Staging—Robert Kersey, Nathaniel Storms, Ragna Rasmussen, and William Womack

Properties—Margaret Karppe

Ushers—Leola Gessner, Alice Sullivan, Margaret Karppe, Ragna Rasmussen, William Womack, and Robert Kersey.

Music Between Acts by Mrs. Harold Emery.

Zephyrhills High School

Zephyrhills P.T.A. Will Hold Reception for New Principal, Zephyrhills News, October 8, 1943

Meeting To Be Held At the Women’s Club Tuesday Evening.

The Zephyrhills P.T.A. will hold a reception Tuesday evening, October 19 at the Woman’s Club building in honor of the new principal, Mr. Joel Nally, and the School Faculty who wish to meet and become acquainted with parents and friends of their pupils.

Mrs. Mildred Hart is in charge of the musical program, and Mrs. Geraldine Kerr, hospitality chairman, will have charge of the refreshments.

The new teachers this year are: Mrs. Annice Fernandez, 4th grade; Mrs. Grace Keiner, 5th grade; Mr. R.T. Cornelius, 7th grade; Mrs. Elise Bailey, 8th grade and music; and Mrs. Marchman, 10th grade; Mrs. Claire Munson, 12th grade, Mr. Joel Nally, principal and Mrs. Grace Emery, school secretary.

Teachers we all know are: Mrs. Helen Hamilton, 1st grade; Mrs. Essie Mae Blitch, 2nd grade; Mrs. Blanche Turner, 3rd grade; Mrs. Vera Geeting, 9th grade; Mrs. Bertha McKillips, 11th grade.

All parents and friends are cordially invited to attend this reception.

Public Schools Begin Monday September 6th, Zephyrhills News, August 27. 1943

Joel Nally of White Springs is New Principal.

Joel Nally comes here from White Springs, Florida, where he has been principal for the past five years. He comes very 

highly recommended. We welcome him into the community.

Mr. and Mrs. Nally and their small daughter, Martha, will live in the Home Economics house across the street, west of the school.

Besides Mr. Nally there are several new teachers. They are. Mr. R. T. Cornelius, the father of Mr. Burch Cornelius who comes from Nashville, Tennessee. He has been teaching at the Montgomery Bell Academy; Mrs. A. L. Munson who comes from New Mexico and Texas and has many years of successful teaching to her credit. She fills the vacant post left by Mr. Frank Blocker. Mrs. Elenor Marchman of Plant City will fill the place left vacant by Miss Charlotte East. Mrs. Marchman is an experienced teacher, and the school is fortunate in securing her.

The music teacher to fill the place of Mrs. Bird has not yet been secured.

The other High School teachers are the same as last year—Mrs. Harry McKillips and Mrs. Geeting.

The new teachers in the elementary grades are: Mrs. Inez Fernandez who comes her from the Drexel School and fills the place of Miss Brown. Mrs. Blanche Turner, who taught the last five months of last year, will teach third grade again this year.

The fifth grade vacancy left by Mrs. Mary Koontz who is on a year’s leave of absence, has not yet been filled. The other elementary teachers will be the same as last year—Mrs. William Hamilton, first grade; Mrs. Essie Mae Blitch, second grade; and Mrs. Nellie Price, sixth grade.

Some strife at ZHS in regard to principals….see excerpt from board minutes regarding principal change and teacher dissatisfaction:

Zephyrhills, Florida

May 3, 1944

Board of Public Instruction

Dade City, Florida


In order to clarify any misunderstanding which may have arisen because we withdrew our applications for recommendations for the coming year from the local trustees, we wish to offer the following explanation:

We withdrew our applications when we learned that the local trustees had recommended the reappointment of Mr. Nally as principal. We had talked with the trustees, and they knew that we did not wish to teach under him again. We feel that Mr. Nally is incompetent both as a teacher and a supervisor. Both students and patrons are so dissatisfied that no spirit of cooperation will be possible under Mr. Nally’s regime.

If another principal is appointed, we shall be glad to accept reappointment to the teaching staff of the Zephyrhills School.

Very sincerely yours,

Nellie F. Price

Elsa P. Bailey

Bertha M. McKillips

Member of Class of 1943 Elected New ZHS Alumni and Friends President, Zephyrhills News, June 30, 1977, by Jaynell LeHeup

Another enjoyable and successful Zephyrhills High School Alumni and Friends Reunion was held at the Zephyr Park Community Center. Although the crowd was smaller than last year’s and many familiar faces were missing, those in attendance were enthusiastic and many were attending for the first time.

Among the first timers present were members of the popular Royal family, sisters Adele from Atlanta, Georgia, who took a plane down especially for this event. Dena, and brothers, Albert and Gus, all from Tampa; Dottie Gonzalez and her husband; James and Roberts Branch Richburg; three of the Mundy family; one brother and two sisters; Johnny Partridge and family; George McGavern, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Johnson and Mr. and Mrs. David (Lyndall Wheeler) Lee.

Due to the absence of the president, Dr. Emerson Arnot, Class of 1947, and vice president, Mrs. Nick (Mary Lefler, Class of 1940) Mangin, Belleair, the meeting was conducted by the treasurer, Mrs. Axel (Jean Lefler, Class of 1950) Munch, Brandon, and Mrs. Emerson (Joan Johnson, Class of 1952) Arnot, Secretary.

Mrs. Arnot had been in charge of arrangements for the annual get-together and was assisted by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Greene, Mr. and Mrs. John Stephenson, Miss Jaynell LeHeup, Mrs. Larry Rickard Jr. and Harold Bryant. (Please excuse if any others’ names were unintentionally left out as all help was appreciated). Special music was provided by a combo including Mr. and Mrs. John W. Johnson of St. Petersburg, John T.V. Clark and his son, Bruce Clark, of Zephyrhills.

Austin Smith, provided copies of “Florida My Florida,” (revised by Dr. J. B. Blanchet, who was once principal of Zephyrhills High School. Mr. Smith stated that his particular song was believed to be more than 100 years old and was from a family scrapbook. (Please note that records indicate Dr. Blanchet may have collaborated on the first state song but archives do not list him as the author of the song-M.Wise).

The combo provided the accompaniment and led by Mr. Clark, the group gave a rousing rendition of the special song. 

“Happy Birthday” was sung to Sam Craparo, husband of Dena Royal of Tampa, who was celebrating his birthday Sunday. Recognition was also made of the 52 years of marriage of Mr. and Mrs. John Stephenson and 54 years for Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Daniel of Dade City.

The invocation and salute to the flag were led by Major George McGavern, Class of 1955 of Lompoc, California, who was the graduate who had come from the farthest distance. The Class of 1955 with George McGavern; Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Parttridg, his wife and daughter who are leaving soon for three years duty with the Air Force in Athens, Greece; Mrs.Earl (Peggy Smith) Davis of Memphis, Tennessee, and Mrs. Jim (Arnetta Howard) Ferguson, husband, Jim Ferguson of the Class of 1951, daughter, Syble Ferguson, Class of 1973 and Rodney Ferguson, Class of 1975 and Rhonda Ferguson, Class of 1980 and faculty members: John Clark and John Clements, shared honors with the Class of 1951 for having most class members represented.

Others from the Class of 1951 besides Jim Ferguson were Miss Martha Mae Keller, also of Zephyrhills, Mrs. Robert (Barbara Sabin) Bandermeir, husband and three children of Miami; and Mrs. Junior (Mary Greene) Alford, husband and five children of Lakeland and faculty members: Clark and Clements, and Terry Kirton, now of Tampa. The three gentlemen and popular faculty members at ZHS were all accompanied by their wives. Also Bruce Clark, a combo member and ZHS student, a Kirton daughter and the Clements’ daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Bill (Diane Clements) McGavern attended the reunion. The latter two are ZHS alumna also.

A rising vote of thanks was given to Bernard Wickstrom, editor of the Zephyrhills News, not only for the help and publicity given to the Alumni and Friends Reunion but also for all the support given to Zephyrhills High School, past, present and future. Mr. Wickstrom acknowledged the ovation by stating that in his 17 years in Zephyrhills he had come to feel closer to ZHS and its alumni than he now does to his Illinois high school where he had graduated in 1946. Several in the audience reminded others present that they keep track of their dear ole ZHS by subscriptions to the Zephyrhills News and watch for the stories concerning the Alumni and Friends Reunion, which is held the last Sunday of June, each year.

New officers elected are: Mrs. Sam (Dena Royal) Craparo, class of 1943, Tampa, President; Mrs. Wayne (Irene Leffer) Fausset, Class of 1943, Brandon, Vice President; Mrs.Bryon (Anna Greene) Farmer, Class of 1954, Zephyrhills, Secretary; and Albert Royal, Class of 1946, Tampa, Treasurer. They will be in charge of the 1978 Reunion and will be assisted by interested alumni and friends in Zephyrhills.

The Golden (50th) anniversary Class of 1927 was represented by Mrs. Alva (Stella Houggaboom) Russell and her husband. Mrs. Russell said she and her family had moved to Zephyrhills from New York state and she had enjoyed her years at ZHS so much she had remained a resident here. There were five girls and boys in the Class of 1927, Houggaboom stated. While she was the only class member graduate present, she pointed out several other schoolmates of that era in the audience.

The Silver (25th) anniversary Class of 1952 was represented by Mrs. Emerson (Joan Johnson)Arnot of Zephyrhills and Mrs. John (Jeanne McGavern) Johnson of St. Petersburg. Mrs. Johnson is married to Mrs. Arnot’s brother. There were 36 members of the graduating class of 1952.

Former teachers and the number of former students present were: Mrs. Bertha McKillips of Dade City, 16; Mrs. Pauline Higginson, eight; Terry Kirton, Tampa, six; Mrs. Mae Trottman, none; Mrs.Edith Plank Morris, Tucson, ten; Mrs. Esther Plank Austin, two; Mrs. Grace Cripe Dew, one; Mrs. Marge Darby Witham Finch, five; John T.V. Clark, eleven and John F. Clements, twenty, the winner.

The latter two gentlemen, who both became faculty members at ZHS in the fall of 1948, are still active faculty members, Clements at ZHS in driver’s education and Clark, as band director at Zephyrhills Middle School.

Clark, in answer to a former student, stated that he started the ZHS Band in 1948 with 18 or 20 students and now has 220 band students a day with 70 in Middle School Band.

A total of $62.45 was taken up in donations to add to the treasury and it was voted to put $50 in a bank savings account.

Mrs. Rosemary Wallace Trottman was recognized as the earliest graduate present. She was with the Class of 1919.

Simon Geiger of Knights, 85, who helped haul the lumber to build the Zephyrhills school in the early 1900s, was a student at ZHS in 1911 completing the 11th grade. He has been retired for some years from long service with the Seaboard Railroad.

Another retired Seaboard man, J.H. Mott, who has served on the Pasco School Board, was present with his daughter, Grace, and her husband, Harold Emery of Lake Wales., Mr. and Mrs. Nat (Alice Jenkins) Storms of Valrico asked that members of their classes, 1942 and 1944, please plan to attend as each year they are disappointed by not having more of the former classmates and school friends at the reunion. Anyone having names and addresses of those from out-of-town who they believe would like to be reminded of the reunion are asked to get in touch with the new secretary, Anna Greene Farmer. Zephyrhills area residents are not sent cards but are reminded through articles in the News.

Each person present was asked to stand and introduce himself and relate the connection to ZHS. A number of very interesting and humor and sentimental ones were related. Time does not permit their inclusion in this article, but those who missed them, just plan to attend next year’s ZHS Alumni and Friends Reunion for more of the same!

One of the many comments made was that of the Reverend Arthur Austin, Class of 1929, who said he had recently been accused of being a tourist in his own hometown. He noted that Zephyrhills had grown so much in the past few years that now it would no longer be possible to hear Gus Royal’s famous laugh all over town. Gus countered that since he had moved to Tampa, he had to learn to whistle. The Reverend and Mrs. Austin are preparing to leave soon for another tour of duty in the Orient as missionaries and teachers. They hope to be back for his Class 50th anniversary in 1979.

CAPTION—Saluted Sunday at the Alumni and Friends Reunion are: Mrs. Rosemary Wallace Trottman, earliest graduate, Class of 1919; Mrs. Stella Russell, only graduate present from the 50th anniversary 6-senior Class of 1927; and Mrs. Joan Arnot and Mrs. Jeanne Johnson, the only graduates present from the 25th anniversary 36-senior class of 1952.

ZHS Alumni Boost Stadium Fund, Zephyrhills News, June 9, 1978

A large, enthusiastic crowd of home-towners, out-of-towners, and guests picnicked at the 9th annual reunion of the ZHS Alumni and Friends….gathering before noon at the Zephyr Park Community Center. Mrs. Sam (Dena Royal) Craporo of Tampa, President, Class of 1943, was in charge of the meeting.

ZHS Alumni Boost Stadium Fund, Zephyrhills News, June 9, 1978

A large, enthusiastic crowd of home-towners, out-of-towners, and guests picnicked at the 9th annual reunion of the ZHS Alumni and Friends….gathering before noon at the Zephyr Park…..

Picture Caption: “Boys” reunited with their old buddies and Gus Royal, Class of 1946, Thurmond Clardy, Class of 1943, Al Royal, Class of 1946, Bill Tilley, Class of 1949 and Ernie Peeples, Class of 1955 enjoyed cutting the fool just like in their school days.

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