Zephyrhills High School – 1981


Highlights of 1981

Graduating Seniors Await Baccalaureate Sunday Night, Zephyrhills News, June 4, 1981

Baccalaureate services for the members of the 1981 graduating class of Zephyrhills High School will be an inspirational occasion at First Baptist Church, Sunday evening.

The traditional worship service for graduates will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a processional into the church by the graduating class to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” played on the organ by Stanley Castor.

The Reverend Dan Gill, pastor of the First Methodist Church, will give the invocation, while words of welcome and other announcements will be by ZHS Principal Larry Robison.

Special music will include “Down the Road” by the “Entire Sounds”—an advanced vocal ensemble and a duet by two seniors, Katie Wilson and Joyce Stover Staats, “Let Them Know.”

The inspirational talk will be by the Reverend Wayne Kuusisto, retired Lutheran minister and father of the class valedictorian, Amy Kuusisto. His topic will be “Stand Firm in Your Life.”

Following a benediction by the Reverend Mr. Gill, the class will recess to “March of the Priests” played by Stan Castor on the organ.

Ushers for the service will be members of the sophomore class. They include: Susan Alexander, James Bacon, Chuck Brant, Roy Davis, Jim Ellis, Rex Forrester, Brenda Helm, Kim Klaus, Mary Kuusisto, Carolyn LaCour, Dale Parker and Sheila Stapp.

The Class of 1981 colors are red and black and the class flower is the red rose.

Officers are: Joey LaRussa, President; Kingston Lisk, Vice President; Laura Mester, Secretary; and Amy Kuusisto, Treasurer. Faculty sponsors are David Camper, Harry Mortner, Diane Nelson, Jesse Puggelli, Gail Reynolds, J.C. Steele and Ernest Wise.

Commencement for 230 Seniors Friday in ZHS Activities Center, The Zephyrhills News, June 11, 1981

It will be an exciting night Friday when the Class of 1981 at Zephyrhills High School is graduated in the commencement ceremonies in the School Activities Center.

Graduation was held in that building for the first time last year. It is described as a near-perfect setting for the formal program which climaxes 12 years of public education of the 230 member class.

Last year’s class of 234 seniors was the largest in the school’s history by just four, so this year’s class becomes no. 2 in rank. Now No. 3 is the class of 1979 which had 206 members.

Each member of the graduating class has received two tickets for reserved seating on the main floor but additional seating for other family members, guests and friends is plentiful in the bleachers and balcony where no tickets are required.

The processional opening the commencement at 8p.m. will be to “Pomp and Circumstance” as played by Rick Steuart on the organ, and the Reverend Dan Gill, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, will give the invocation. The Salutatorian address by Miss Nancy DeBoe will be followed by the traditional talk by Class President, Joey LaRussa.

Following presentation of special awards by Frank Kalinowski, Director of the Basic Education Program for the Pasco County School Board, the seniors will have Valedictorian Amy Kuusisto address the audience.  Presentations of diplomas will be by Agnes Deal, School Board Member fro District 1, assisted by Principal Robison. Following a benediction by the Reverend Mr. Gill, the class will recess to “March of the Priests” played by Rick Steuart.

Ushers will be members of the junior class, introducing Eric Goltry, Angie Helm, Debbie Hunt, Steve Kretschmar, Debbie LaRussa, Rosemary LaRussa, Melinda Meengs, Tammy Neukom, Roger Ogilbee, George Patton, Danny Schmitz, and Jim Wyatt.

Faculty sponsors are David Camper, J.C. Steele, Diane Nelson, Jesse Puggelli, Gail Reynolds, Ernest Wise and Harry Mortner.

ZHS Graduates 230 Seniors, Zephyrhills News

An unusually large audience—probably the largest ever to turn out for a Zephyrhills High School commencement—crowded into the new ZHS activities center Friday evening and occupied just about every available seat. The 230-member Class of 1981 entered the graduation ceremony to “Pomp and Circumstance” as played by Rick Steuart at the organ, and for the first time in a darkened auditorium with spotlights shining on the processional. The graduates followed by mentors—another first—a processional of academics led by visiting School District officials and Larry Robison, and including the head of each department within the faculty. The faculty members and stage dignitaries, including the Reverend Dan Gill, who gave both the invocation and the benediction, were gowned in black robes with colorful stoles indicative of their academic area. Principal Robison led the audience in the pledge to the flag and introduced the faculty and guests, as well as each of the three speakers for the evening whose remarks follow below. Awards were presented on behalf of the School Board by Frank Kalinowski, director of basic education and they included:

Valedictorian, Amy Ruth Kuusisto and Salutatorian, Nancy Alla DeBoe; Citizenship Award—Donald Leon Jernstrom II and Dana Lee Hilton; Athletics—Brenda Ann Henderson and Kevin Jay Bahr; School Spirit—Tracy Lynn St. Onge Hussey and Joseph Anthony LaRussa Jr; Activities—Joyce Ann Stover Staats and Donald Stanton Stinson and Best All-Around—Amy Ruth Kuusisto and Robert Garrett Briggs. Diplomas were presented to the 230 graduates by Dr. John Joyce of the District Staff, substituting for school board member, Agnes Deal, who has been hospitalized for back surgery earlier last week.

Senior advisor, J.C. Steele assisted Principal Robison while Angie Helm and Melinda Meengs were student assistants on stage in distributing diplomas.

The recessional, also played by Rick Steuart, was “March of the Priests.”

The class was demonstrative one, generous with its applause and rising to give Valedictorian Kuusisto a standing ovation.

Many threw their mortar boards into the air when Robison closed the program by formally presenting the class to the community and the hugs and kisses which follow an emotional experience ending 12 years of schooling continued outside for another half-hour after the commencement.

Selected portions of the three speeches follow:

Valedictorian Amy Ruth Kuusisto, “See Quality of Life”

Honored guests, faculty, family, friends, and especially, the Class of 1981—Good Evening and Welcome to the 1981 Graduation Ceremonies.

After tonight, each of us—the Seniors of 1981—will be entering into a new phase of our lives. We will begin to experience the independence—which is offered to us. Now comes the time when it will be our responsibility to direct our lives the way we wish to lead them. Throughout school, we have been encouraged to succeed in what we attempt. To no surprise, success is a goal we all have in common—although every description of success is different for each of us. For this reason, it is important to further examine this goal. What does success mean to us and by what means is it attainable? So often we may not even recognize it when it touches our lives. Let us now put aside the thoughts of success through instantaneous rewards and instead concentrate on this thought—quality—the definition of which means excellence of character; worth.

I will leave you with this final thought which I feel sums up the message I wish to convey to you tonight; Through the high quality we possess, so also will we possess success which will include happiness. I wish for every graduate of the class of 1981, happiness in the future.

Salutatorian, Never Settle for Defeat by Nancy DeBoe

The individual, who mentally visualizes himself achieving rather than failing and importantly, who is willing to pay the price of intensive study and sustained effort, advances toward his goal. That mental vision is vital, for what we become is closely related to our basic self-image. What we think and what we visualize are to a large degree what we are bound to become. People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. And those who have learned to have a realistic, non-egotistical belief in themselves, who possess a deep and sound self-confidence, are assets to mankind, too, for they transmit their dynamic quality to those lacking it.

The principle inherent in the phrase, “you can if you think you can,” implies that a person possesses within himself considerable potential. People do have within them more talent, more ability, more effective functioning than has been apparent. Thomas Edison was an exact scientist and certainly not in the habit of making loose and unsupportable statements. And Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” In light of this remark a rather significant question might be, “Have you ever in your lifetime astounded yourself? Well, you can if you think you can.

It cannot be overemphasized that myths always give way to facts. “It’s impossible” is a myth. “It can be done and you can do it” is a fact. So get with the facts. Bypass the myths. Reassert and reaffirm the fact that by application of creative thinking you can eliminate the impossible.

The great fact is that by right thinking, faith and courage the so-called impossible can be made possible. And the type of individual who accomplishes that achievement is the one who will never settle for defeat; who keeps fighting, working and above all, who never stops believing in God, in life, in himself. Thank you

Class president, Joe LaRussa, “We are the future.”

In the words of Jonathan Livingston Seagull—“Dream what you dare to dream.” Go where you want to go. Be what you want to be….Live.”

The quote also pertains to the messages I would like to convey to my peers. I believe there are three key words to the excerpt that relate well to this occasion. First—“Dream what you dare to dream”—Yes, dare—“to have courage.” To face what is unfamiliar. Don’t be alarmed with the possibility of failure—remember—The words of Oliver Goldsmith who said, “Our greatest glory consists not in never failing, but rising every time we fail.”—And dare—“to oppose and defy” –to face what is fearful and support your convictions.

Clutched deep in our memories will be a small town named Zephyrhills, Florida 33599. Along with many weekends about how “boring this place is.”—realizing with a smile that through all of our boredom we were forming close relationships and experiencing good times that may be gone but never forgotten.

“Probably in 50 years we will all be living here again, praising the excitement of the shuffleboard and trailer parks but that point in time is distant, yet here we stand: educated, thanking our teachers for tolerating as well as teaching us so much more than our grades reflect. Definitely more than our grades reflect!

As a final word I would like to express my appreciation to my fellow classmates for giving me the opportunity to represent them. I hope everyone had an exciting and fulfilling Senior year. I wish you all the best of luck and God’s blessings.

And now I unleash to you…the Class of 1981! Congratulations.

Boys State Delegates Achieve Honors, Zephyrhills News, July 9, 1981

Zephyrhills delegates to American Legion Boys State have returned from Tallahassee after a week-long intensive training session in American government, particularly the Florida brand and in old fashioned patriotism. They are James Wyatt III, Stan Stinson, George Patton, Scott Natali, Bryan Woodard and Steven Kretschmar.

ZHS Student Will Attend Youth Seminar, Zephyrhills News, April 23, 1981

Zephyrhills High School Sophomore Carolyn Thompson has been chosen to be that school’s representative at the 1981 youth Leadership Seminar scheduled for April 24-26 in Orlando.

New Zephilsco Arrives, The Zephyrhills News, April 23, 2981

A Yearbook signing party was enjoyed by ZHS students after the 1981 Zephilsco annuals arrived. Here Editor Amy Kuusisto seated, looks through a copy while her assistant, Sandy Border, looks on. The yearbook is dedicated to DCT teacher and athletic Director, J.C. Steele.

ZHS Golfers Finish Third in Girls District, The Zephyrhills News, April 30, 1981

The ZHS Girls Gold Team finished in third place in the district tournament April 15 on the Cleveland Heights Golf Course at Lakeland while two players finished in the top six.

Lakeland won the event at 418 while Lake Wales took second at 428 with the Lady Bulldogs finishing at 438 in the 3-team round.

Vicki Crawford tied for second place in the individual standing with a 90 but was moved the third after officials broke the tie by comparing the two girl’s scores hole-by-hole.

Lyn Thompson finished fifth overall with a 96 for the 18-hole tourney while Mary Weddingon fired a 122 and Jan Jernstrom followed at 130.

Records Fall as Dog Cindermen tie for Regional Track Crown, Zephyrhills News by Mike Kirby, May 7, 1981

The ZHS Bulldogs Boys Track team overpowering the long distance runs, lived up to pre-meet speculation and ran to first overall, tied with Hernando at the Regional 3A-11 Track Championship Thursday in Dade City.

Four individuals and two relay teams advanced to state level competition by qualifying in the top four final positions at the regional meet and will run tomorrow. At Showalter Field in Winter Park. Just missing the overall win alone, the Bulldogs nearly swept the mile run when Mike Riopelle took second at 4:29. Mike Klaus finished third at 4:31.8 and Jeff Broeders came in fourth at 4:32.

Setting a new school record at 1:58.2, Riopelle took second in the 880-yard run while Broeders claimed second in the 2-mile run at 9:45.

John Cicanese secured a berth at the state championship when he came in second in the discus with a 159’10” throw while Pat Black lost a chance for state when he stumbled and fell while holding down fourth place in the 440-yard event. He eventually went on to finish sixth.

In the only Bulldog first, the mile relay team of Black, Will Patton, Joe Galloway and Riopelle took the event in 3:26.7.

The mile medley relay team of Galloway, Black, Patton, and Klaus finished third at 3:39.6. The Bulldogs and Leopards tied at 44 while Sparr-North Marion finished with 32 points.

Boys State Delegates and Alternates, Zephyrhills News, May 14, 1981

Zephyr Post 118, American Legion with financial assistance by the Zephyrhills branches of Flagship Bank of Zephyrhills, Ellis First National Bank and the Bank of Pasco County, will again sponsor four members of the junior class to Boys State.

They are James Wyatt, Bryan Woodard, Scott Natali and George Patton, Picked as alternates are Eric Goltry, Daniels Schmitz, Stephen Kretschmar and Stanley Castor.

School Daze by Nancy DeBoe, Zephyrhills News, May 21, 1981

Chosen to reign as King and Queen of the Annual Junior-Senior Prom in the Activities Center Saturday night were seniors, Amy Kuusisto and Myron Seidel. It was a beautiful affair and one the seniors will long remember. And one of which the Junior class should be proud of having presented since it was the first in the giant Activities Center, a challenge to decorate.

Jodi Nutt, Tammy Neukom Girls State Delegates, Zephyrhills News, April 9, 1981

Jodi Nutt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Nutt and a junior at Zephyrhills High School will be sponsored by Zephyr Unit 118, American Legion Auxiliary to the 1981 session of Legion’s Auxiliary Girls State in Tallahassee; it was announced by Mrs. William Webster, president.

Tamara Neukom, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Neukom Jr and also a junior at Zephyrhills High School has been chosen alternate.

Selection of the students to represent Zephyr Unit 118 at the weeklong session of intensive training in American citizenship on Florida State University campus was by a committee composed of Mrs. Rocco Scarford, Mrs. Dewey Crippen and Mrs. Anderson Gay.

School Daze, by Nancy DeBoe, Zephyrhills News, January 15, 1981

When it comes to embarrassing people, the National Honor Society ranks No.! This week, 23 unsuspecting people are being initiated into the distinguished club. Before a student reaches the formal invitation he or she must have an overall 3.5 grade point average. Also students must humiliate themselves in an informal initiation.

This year’s program consists of the following: Monday an “H” was worn around the neck signifying National Honor Society along with a Donald Duck dunce cap with antennas. Tuesday a ridiculous speech had to be recited in unison during lunch on the commons area stage. Wednesday the alphabet had to be recited backwards every time a member instructed them to do so. The previous three activities were cumulative throughout the week.

Today was “Silent Day.” These students had to go through the day without speaking a single word except to their teachers.

Tape across the mouth helped them in achieving this goal. If a person just count not control himself, however, the following day they would have to wear a sign saying, “I can’t keep my big mouth shut.”

Friday the students will have to imitate owls by wearing huge glasses and fur on their ankles and wrists. If that isn’t enough, the poor souls must say, “Hoot, hoot, hoot,” every time a member passes them in the hall. If anything else, this week will prove that these students have a good sense of humor and can laugh at themselves. I’m sure they’re all relishing the day when they can take revenge on next year’s new members.

This Friday is the football game we have all been waiting for. Friday night at 7:30 the junior girls will take on the senior girls here at the stadium in a Powder-puff Game sponsored by Student Council.

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