Zephyrhills High School – 1961


Highlights of 1961

Fifty-Five Seniors Receive Diplomas and 8 are Cited for Special Honors, Zephyrhills News, June 9, 1961

Graduation exercises for the 55 members of the senior class of Zephyrhills High School were held Friday evening in the Municipal Auditorium.

The capped and gowned seniors filed in to reserved seats as Miss Doris Gorrecht played “March of the Priests” as a processional following an organ prelude. At the conclusion of the ceremonies they left the auditorium to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The Rev. B.A. Oswald gave the invocation and Rev. Henry L. Kinnard Jr. the benediction.

Salutatory Address

In welcoming the large audience David Smith, salutatorian, used “The Challenge of the Future” as his topic. He said, “Our challenge is to check the onslaught and forward march of the godless evil—Communism—and then destroy it as one would destroy a disease-spreading plague.”

Smith said, “The American Communist is no more American than Khrushchev is” and that the Communist Party USA has the only one objective and that is to undermine and destroy by any means, legal or illegal, peaceful or revolutionary, the democracy of our great nation.

“We and all other graduates must prepare to lead the way, carrying the olive branch and the dove of freedom and peace in one hand and the fire and sword in the other….when we can see that all men of every nation have the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and only then, will know that we stood up, accepted our challenge and triumphed,” Smith stated.

Class President Speaks-Using “Human Destiny” as his topic Class President Richard Miles told the audience, “Man’s only goal should be the search for human dignity with all its implications.” He said, “To progress we must fight ourselves. In order to fight ourselves, we must know ourselves. If we really know ourselves we learn indulgence and the barriers which separate us from our neighbors crumble little by little. There is no other way toward human solidarity but this search and the respect for individual dignity.”

Valedictory Address-Miss Elizabeth Witt, valedictorian, concluded her address with “We are glad that we survey a changing world before us—that we shall not live our lives in a static era and that our day will demand of us strength and effort…it has ever been the goal of each age to build a finer and better world, a greater and enduring civilization. We know that we can contribute something to this age being ushered in and that understanding by the nations of their common problems will work for greater development of those things we consider worthwhile and of lasting benefit.”

C.P. McCabe, San Antonio, chairman of the Pasco County Board of Public Instruction and Principal Charles A. Henderson made awards presentations. I.A. Krusen, president of the Pasco County Board of School Trustees, presented diplomas to the graduates.

Awards Listed-Miss Elizabeth Witt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. V.E. Witt, received the valedictorian medal and a $25 savings bond, presented by Zephyrhills Rotary Club as an award for scholarship achievement. David Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Smith, was recipient of the salutatorian medal, the scholarship medal and the school’s activities award. He also received a $25 savings bond form the Rotary Club for scholarship achievement.  President H.C. Douglas Jr. presented the Rotary Club’s awards. Miss Alice Wintersteen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Wintersteen, received the citizenship award and Miss Sandra Pricher, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Otis Pricher, the school spirit award.

Woody Cone, son of Captain and Mrs. W.W. Cone, won the athletic award. Best all-around award went to Arthur McKendree, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. P. McKendree. Best all-around girl award went to Miss Ann Fazio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fazio. Miss Barbara Higginson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Higginson was awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma $100 scholarship. Delta Kappa Gamma is an honorary sorority of leading women teachers. Funds for the scholarship were raised by the presentation of a New York stage play at the several schools in Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter counties. The recipient will attend Florida State University with music as her major.

Members of the junior class used palms and a basket of lavender gladioli, white chrysanthemums, silvered foliage and sparkling lavender carnations as stage decorations in the auditorium.

Ushers were Wayne Reutimann, Ralph Chamberlain, Stevie Smith, Judy Surratt, Mary Ann Bialik and Leslie Davis, all juniors.

Elizabeth Witt, David Smith Lead Class of 57 Seniors, Zephyrhills News, May 12, 1961

Zephyrhills High School will graduate a class of 57 boys and girls in the 61 commencement exercises Friday, June 2, beginning at 8 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium

Miss Elizabeth Witt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. V.E. Witt has been named class valedictorian. David Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Smith, is salutatorian.

Other members of the class include Richard Adams, Linda Allen, Ronald Anderson, Merrily Baggett, Alice Bembry, Chris Bergschneider, Owen Blackden, Wayne Brundson, Marion Canaday, Judy Carlsen, Wayne Carter, Woody Cone, Judy Deen, Sarah Downs, Don Dunford, Ronald Eskelund, Ann Fazio, Janet Fisher, Mary Alice Gill, John Goodrow, Linda Graeber, Vera Griffin, Barbara Higginson, Margaret Ann Johnson, Keith Johnson, Bob Johnson, Randy Lane, and Melissa Lippincott. Also, Carolyn Maddux, May McCallister, Faye McCallister, Richard Miles, Frances McKee, Arthur McKendree, Glenda Nichols, Nell Odom, Fred O’Brien, Lola Padgett, Mary Pattie, Mollie Pope, Beatrice Pringle, Sandra Pricher, Betty Sanford, Doris Stewart, Donnie Stokes, Ronald Tanney, Shirley Temples, Curtis Tucker, Wayne Turner, Connie Waldron, Enzell Ward, Judy Williamson, Alice Wintersteen, Sharon Wolancevich, Terry Wright, and Paul Yebba.

Seven members of the 1961 graduating class are honor students with a B of higher average.

They are Owen Blackden, Mary Alice Gill, Connie Waldron, Janet Fisher, Barbara Higginson, and Elizabeth Witt, and Alice Wintersteen.

Events Listed-Ushering in a series of graduation events will be the Junior-Senior Prom Friday evening in the Municipal Auditorium. Miss Barbara Russ is prom chairman. Faculty advisors are Norman Field and Mrs. George Swing.

Baccalaureate services will be held Sunday, May 21, beginning at 8 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Methodist Church. Plans for the service, for which Miss Doris Gorrecht will be organist include songs by Mrs. P.H. Murphy, Jr. Dr. Leon M. Gambrell of Tampa will give the baccalaureate sermon. The traditional Class Night will be held May 26, beginning at 8 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Wayne Turner is class night chairman and Mrs. Jesse Kaylor is faculty advisor.

The program includes a solo, America The Beautiful, by Miss Barbara Higginson; last will and testament and prophecy by the senior class; and the crowing of Zephilsco royalty. The Junior Class members will sing the traditional “Halls of Ivy” and “Aloha.”

Staters Will Report, Zephyrhills News, July 14, 1961

Sam Gross and Barbara Russ, 1961 delegates to Boy’s State and Girl’s State will report at the American Legion and Auxiliary sponsored sessions at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Legion Hall.

The reports will be given at the joint session of the Legion and Auxiliary, according to Post Chief Carl D. Lippincott, who said the public was also welcome to attend.

Barbara Russ Presented 1961 Leadership Award At Florida Girls State, Zephyrhills News, July 14, 1961

A Zephyrhills Girls Stater for the first time has won top honors at the American Legion Auxiliary sponsored girls State in Tallahassee.  Miss Barbara Russ, representing Zephyrhills Unit 118 was presented with the Maxine Bentley Leadership Award at commencement exercises held in conjunction with the closing of a week of intensive training in American citizenship.

Col. Ed. R. Bentley, Lakeland, long prominent in American Legion circles at the district, state and national level, personally made the presentation of the award honoring his late wife’s memory. He also invited Miss Russ and the newly elected Girls State Governor, Miss Diane Roland of Winter Haven, to be his guests at the forthcoming Rotary Club event in Lakeland where they will be principal speakers.

Miss Russ, who was elected city councilman of Okeechobee City in Homosassa County in the mythical state of Seminole, and who served as editor of the “Seminole Girls State,” will give her formal report to the sponsoring organization, Zephyr Unit 118, at a joint meeting of the Legion and Auxiliary next Wednesday evening when Sam Gross, 1961 Boys Stater, also will report.

Gobblers Top ZHS, 7 to 0; St. Leo Tilt Tonight; Final Game Here Tuesday Night, Zephyrhills News, May 5, 1961

The Zephyrhills High School baseball team was eliminated from the Tampa Bay Conference tournament when it was handed a 7-0 whitewashing by the Turkey Creek Gobblers.

Starting pitcher Frank Kersey loaded the bases on three successive walks in the first inning. Bill McGavern took over with the bases full and none away. He forced the next batter to lift a high fly to short left, but the runner on third scored after the catch. McGavern fanned the next two batters.

He held the usually hard-hitting Gobblers at bay until the fifth, allowing only a single unearned run in the fourth. The winners capped it off with two more in the sixth.

The Bulldogs were able to manage only three scratch singles off winning pitcher Jimmy Mabry. Clyde Bracknell lofted a block single to left in the first frame. McGavern had an infield hit in the third and Don Zundel beat out a slow roller in the sixth.

The Gobblers didn’t do a whole lot better with the stick as they were able to pick up only five clean hits. Three Bulldog errors proved very costly.

St. Leo Here Tonight-The Bulldogs will meet the St. Leo Lions tonight (Thursday) at 8 p.m. at Krusen Field. The game was originally scheduled for Friday night but was moved up one day because of conflicting engagements. Next Monday night the ZHS nine will be at home for the regular season finale when they entertain the South Sumter Rebels. This one had originally been set for last Tuesday night, but was also moved because of conflicts with other events.

Pupils’ Musicale Well-Received by Many Who Attend, Zephyrhills News, Friday, May 5, 1961

The musical festival presented by primary and elementary grade pupils under the direction of Miss Alice Zimmerman at Zephyrhills High School auditorium Friday evening met with an enthusiastic reception from a large audience.

In the operetta, “Dream Bags,” pupils of the first, second and third grades sang, some of them performing on stage in pajamas and going to sleep on the floor with small pillows under their heads.

Joan Thompson, as a fairy, brought bags of dreams which she placed by each sleeping child as she did a ballet dance. David Krystofiak, cast in the role of “the sand man,” put sand on the dreaming sleepers to awaken them.

Fourth, fifth and sixth grade pupils presented the cantata, “When I Grow Up.”

Particularly outstanding were Shirley McClellan and Fleeta English, playing a clarinet duet; a ballet dance by Sue Ellen Thompson, a tap dance and song by Nancy Turner and jitterbugging led by Ruthie Quick and Diane King.

Several New Records Established, Zephyrhills News, March 24, 1961

Zephyrhills High School has lowered the curtain on its 1960-61 basketball season; a highly successful one during which several new records were established. Highlights of the campaign were a Tampa Bay Conference championship in the school’s first year of conference play coupled with a second successive Group 7 tournament championship and the subsequent State Tourney trip.

The Bulldogs’ second shot at the State Class II championship ended in the tourney’s first round when a cold shooting performance resulted in a 49-43 loss to Citrus of Inverness. Citrus crushed Pinecrest of Fort Lauderdale in the semifinals but bowed to a fired up Malone outfit in the finals.

Perhaps the two most noteworthy record shattering performances were the 138-13 slaughter of Pinecrest, which established a new TBC and school single game scoring mark (erasing the old school mark of 92 set last year against Crystal River), and the 21 victories garnered in a single season. The previous single season win mark was set in 1956-57 with a 19-5 slate. [The St. Petersburg Times article at the time gave the 1961 score as 138-18.]

The season ended with Coach Jack Wilson’s charges sporting a nifty 21-8 mark hung up against almost entirely Class A and Class AA opposition. The regular season schedule included only one Class B and one Class C team.

Other records re-written during the course of the season were: 1) 22 free throws made against Pinecrest. Old record was 20 set against both Lake Wales and Pasco last year, 2) Field goals made in a single game (59) verses Pinecrest. The old mark was 42 against Crystal River last year. 3)1769 total points in a single season, breaking the old mark of 1676 set last year. The 1769 points scored during the season represented an average of 61 points per game compared to the 1284 points which figured out to 44.3 for the opponents. This shows an average differential of 16.7.

No new individual marks were set during the season, although several were seriously threatened by the extremely well-balanced Bulldog combine. Woody Cone paced the team in scoring with a 15 point-per-game average. He was followed by Clyde Bracknell with a 12.4 average per game.

Players: Woody Cone, Donnie Stokes, Clyde Bracknell, Bill McGavern, Norman Weaver, Sam Gross, Mike McGinnis, Johnny Clements, Frank Kersey, Hilliard Burress, and Larry Kearse.

School Daze, Zephyrhills News, March 3, 1961

Congratulations to the Senior Class play cast. Their production of “No Boys Allowed,” was a huge success. Each member of the cast should be congratulated for a splendid performance.

Orchids to Miss Sue Snider and Miss Harriet Morton, who were crowned Queen and Princess for the 1960-61 basketball year. They reigned over the Basketball Victory Hop Saturday night at the American Legion Hall.

The Friday night the Bulldogs travel to Lake Placid for the Class B District Tournament semi-finals. If the Bulldogs win, they will play in the finals Saturday night. Good luck team, we’re with you all the way.

Last Friday is a day that will be long remembered by the juniors. Class rings were distributed.

The FFA boys are sponsoring a barbecue chicken supper Saturday night. Tickets are on sale and may be purchased from any FFA member.

Six week exams were held this week and report cards will be distributed in two weeks.

Delegates to Boys and Girls “States” Will Give Reports, Zephyrhills News, July 15, 1960

Zephyrhills representatives to Boys State and Girls State will report to their sponsoring organizations at a joint meeting of the American Legion and Auxiliary at 8 o’clock Wednesday evening at Legion Hall.

Richard Miles, who was sponsored by the local post and Miss Barbara Higginson, sponsored by the auxiliary, will give first hand information on the 1960 citizenship training events which they attended at Florida State University.

School Daze by Sandra Pricher, Zephyrhills News, October 14, 1960

This Thursday and Friday, October 13 and 14, Delmar Studios will be at the school to take student pictures.  

We should like to congratulate the football boys on the game Friday night. Even though ZHS lost by a close score, it was an exciting game and you all did a good job. The game Friday night is against New Port Richey. This is another conference game and promises to be a most exciting one. Good Luck.

Football Interviews

To start off this week’s interview is Dick Prowant, a junior who plays the position of tackle. Dick, who is 5’11” tall and weighs 160 pounds has been playing ball for two years. Dick says he feels that after the game this week, the Bulldogs will have a 2-2 record, because the boys are really fired up for this game. Gulf has always been a rival and ZHS wants to come out in front for once.

Next is John Goodrow, who is a Senior and plays center on the team. John has been playing football for two years. He weighs 187 pounds and is 6’1” tall. John better known as “Tiny,” says he thinks the boys have more desire to win than last year and that is helping a lot.

ZHS Cagers Begin Tourney Action at Brandon, Zephyrhills News, February 17, 1961

Another fantastic shooting percentage—this time 51%–was the determining factor Friday afternoon as the Bulldogs of Zephyrhills High School issued an 86-39 plank-walking to the Gulf High School Buccaneers of New Port Richey.

The Orange and Black will see first-round action in the Tampa Bay Conference tournament Thursday (today) afternoon, again meeting Gulf, but this time at Brandon at 3 p.m.

If the ‘Dogs get past Gulf, they will meet the winner of the Tarpon Springs-Turkey Creek game, in the semi-finals at 7 p.m. this Friday.’ The finals will be played at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Tuesday night the local combine is slated for a return match with Brewster Tech at the Hillsborough High School Gym in Tampa. Zephyrhills massacred Brewster 69-32, here three weeks ago. Game time is 8 p.m.

Gulf Game Detailed

The Bulldogs, after rocketing to a 19-3 first period lead over Gulf were in full command from start to finish. Junior Forward Clyde Bracknell contributed 15 points to a one-sided, 39-15 halftime margin.


W L Pct.
Palmetto 7 1 .875
Tarpon Springs 6 1 .857
Zephyrhills 6 1 .857
Brandon 6 2 .750
Brewster Tech 4 4 .500
East Bay 3 5 .375
Gulf High 2 6 .250
Turkey Creek 1 7 .125
Pinecrest 0 8 .000

Note—Zephyrhills and Tarpon Springs will play Friday of next week to complete the eight games for each which count in the standings of the conference. Whichever team wins will be tied with Palmetto for the top spot. The official conference championship is determined, however, by the tournament being played this week.


W L Pct.
Tarpon Springs 13 5 .733
Zephyrhills 14 6 .700
Brewster Tech 8 5 .615
Palmetto 12 9 .572
Brandon 10 8 .556
Gulf High 5 7 .417
East Bay 4 8 .333
Turkey Creek 3 9 .250
Pinecrest 0 10 .000

In the third quarter, with Bracknell and Woody Cone firing 14 tallies between them, Zephyrhills continued to increase its ever-mounting advantage. At the third stop, the local five was on top, 57-30.

Donnie Stokes found the range in the final period for four field goals and Bracknell contributed three two-pointers to set the pace as their mates poured 29 points through the hamper, limiting the Buccaneers to 11.

Bracknell was the big gun in the winning attack with 28 points. He operated smoothly underneath the hoop to pick up a large majority of his points off the boards. Four other ‘Dogs hit in the two-figure column. Stokes and Norman Weaver had 12 each. Cone had 11, and Gross picked up 10.

Zephyrhills connected on 39 of 76 shot attempts for their fabulous 51% figure. The TBC win gave the Bulldogs a 6-1 conference slate and a 14-6 overall mark.

Box Scores

Zephyrhills (86)   FF   FT   F   Pts.

Cone   5   1   2   11

Kersey   1   0   0   2

Bracknell   13   2   3   28

Stokes   6   0   2   12

Gross   4   2   3   10

Weaver   6   0   1   12

McGinnis   0   0   0   0

McGavern   4   1   1   9

Clements   0   2   0   2

TOTALS   39   8   12   86

Box Scores

Gulf (39)   FF   FT   F   Pts.

Oxedine   4   3   2   11

Slater   2   1   1   5

Sibo   4   2   5   10

Tellas   1   0   2   2

Webb   2   1   1   5

Sivley   0   0   0   0

Park   3   0   0   6

Lepisto   0   0   0   0

TOTALS   16   7   9   39

Bulldogs Come Back Over King, Zephyrhills News, February 10, 1961

After dwelling in mediocrity for more than a quarter the Bulldogs came to life and literally ran the outclassed King Lions of Tampa off the court Tuesday night in the Hillsborough gym, 76-34.

With that necessary factor, self-confidence, evidently absent, the local cagers managed only a 13-10 first quarter lead and were match bucket for bucket in the first three minutes of the second canto. After leading by only 20-18 at the 4:45 mark, the Dogs uncorked 12 straight points before King could counter with a lone free throw just before the half.

The halftime count read 32-19.

Billy (The Kid) McGavern stepped into the picture in the third period and staged a one-man offensive show that had the entire Lions team in distress. McGavern moving like a cat on both offense and defense, effected numerous interceptions and drove for the basket like a true professional in racking up seven field goals for 14 points during the quarter. The Dogs outscored their opponents 22-8 during the contest into a complete rout, 54-27.

In the fourth canto, with substitutes seeing most of the action, the Zephyrhills offensive machine remained in high gear to amass another 22 points while limiting King to 7. Senior center, Donnie Stokes collected five field goals for 10 points in the final eight minutes.

McGavern topped both teams in scoring with 26. Cone had 16, Stokes had 13, Sam Gross had 9 and Clyde Bracknell had 8.

The Bulldogs staged another college-type shooting performance by connecting on 32 of 63 attempts for a 49% figure. 

Coach Bob Waller’s junior varsity won its fifth game in its last six starts 34-28, over the King Jayvees. Hilliard Burress again paced the jayvee scoring with 13.

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