HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Highlights of 1928Graduation of High School, Zephyrhills News, April 27, 1928
The graduation exercises of the Class of 1928 were held at the high school auditorium Monday evening, April 23 at 8 o’clock.
The stage was beautifully and artistically decorated with class colors, green and white, and the class motto stood out in bold relief of dazzling white from a background of evergreens—“Onward Ever.”
The classes presented a beautiful picture of young girlhood and manhood as they were seated upon the stage amid the beautiful arrangement of flowers. The evenings exercises were as follows:
Salutatory Address—Edith Plank, Salutatorian
Piano Solo—Luceal McCoy
Address—Dr. H.O. Enwall
Vocal Duet—Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Geiger
Valedictory Address—Theodore Campbell, Valedictorian
Delivery of Diplomas—James L. Geiger
The class was presented a beautiful hand-woven, hand-painted basket of Easter lilies and white sweet peas by Mr. F.D. Cosner of Dade City. The class thought so much of the gift that it was placed on display the early part of the week in Neukom’s Gift Shop window.
Those graduating were: Theodore Campbell, Robert Campbell, Clarence Darby, Nelson Naber, Robert Gill, Edith Plank, Edle Vandygriff, Luceal McCoy, Tillie Reutimann, and Beryl Forbes.
The Nabers who are prominent in the school news of the day in the 1920s and 1930s…namely, Myron and Nelson Naber, were part of a Zephyrhills business that was widely known. The following Tribune article from February 27, 2001 profiled their family business…
School Closing Program, Zephyrhills News, April 20, 1928
The following are the school closing programs for this week:
Monday night the High school graduates will have their commencement exercises which will terminate this year’s work.
On Friday, April 20th at 8 p.m. the Eight Grade will give the following program:
Class Introduction—Gordon Blanchard
8th Grade Salutatory Address—Susie Spanards
“Sunday Explanation”—Jessie Mae Sharpton
Instrumental solo, “The Shepherd”—Hazel Wyatt
Class Presentation—Esther McGavern
Class History—Marshall Corbin
“A Boy’s Opinion”—Myron Naber
“My Sentiments”—William Lester
Instrumental Solo, “Swinging”—Edith Mott
Class Poem—Earl Reynolds
Class Prophecy—Ceceile Geiger
Address to Seventh Grade—Charles Ahrendt
Class Song—Class (Seventh Grade)
Class Key—Elmer Fisher
“the House By the Side of the Road”—Edith Mott
“A Visitor”—Dr. Wiseguy
Instrumental Solo, “Glistening Pearls”—Wilbur Veazey
Class Will—Audrey Garriques
Parting Song—Eva Reynolds, Thelma Womble and Edith Mott
8th Grade Valedictory Address—Elsie Grant
Address—Members of the School Board
Presentation of Diplomas—Professor L.D. Geiger
Mrs. Ann Love Guy is a teacher of the class.
Commencement sermon will be delivered by Dr. E.L. Wesson, pastor of the Baptist Church in the High School Auditorium on Sunday evening, April 22, at 8 o’clock. All churches are requested to unite in this service.
At eight o’clock Monday evening, April 23, the following commencement program will be given
March—High School orchestra
Invocation—Reverent Everett Lewis Pierce, pastor of the Methodist Church
Salutatory--Edith Plank, Salutatorian of Class of 1928
Piano Solo—Luceal McCoy
Commencement Address—Dr. Hassee O. Enwall, Professor of Philosophy, University of Florida
Vocal duet—Mr. M. Small and Mr. Geiger; Mrs. Smithson, accompanist
Valedictory—Theodore Campbell, Valedictorian of Class of 1928
Delivery of Diplomas—Mr. James L. Geiger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Schools Closing Exercise To Begin Thursday, April 19, Zephyrhills News, April 13, 1928
Faculty Invites Public To All Programs, The Commencement Night Will Close Term Monday Evening, April 23rd.
Supervising principal, L.D. Geiger and faculty of Zephyrhills Public Schools invite the public to attend the several events of Commencement week.
The dates follow:
Senior Class night—Thursday, April 19th, 8 p.m.
Eight Grade Commencement—Friday, April 20, 8 p.m.
Commencement Sermon, school auditorium—Sunday evening, April 22, 8 o’clock
High School Commencement and final close of term—Monday evening, April 23rd, 8 o’clock
All of the exercises will be held in the school auditorium and will be open and free to the public. All are cordially urged to be present. Program for Senior Class Night, Thursday, April 19th at 8 p.m. will be as follows:
Selection—High School Orchestra
Class History—Robert Campbell
Mixed Quartette—Tillie Reutimann, Beryl Forbes, Robert Campbell, Theodore Campbell
Class Poem—Edith Plank
Boys Quartette—Bob Gill, Theodore Campbell, Nelson Naber and Robert Campbell
Class Will—Tillie Reutimann
Vocal Duet—Beryl Forbes and Eedie Vandygriff
Key ceremony—Clarence Darby
Miss Marjorie E. Whiteside is the Senior Sponsor.
Seniors to Present Play Again, Zephyrhills News, February 10, 1928
The Senior class has been requested to repeat their play, “Crooks for A Month,” which will be given February 17, 1928 in the G.A.R. hall at 8:00 p.m.
The characters in order of their appearance are as follows:
James Bentwood—Theodore Campbell
Winifred Bentwood—Robert Campbell
Doris Bentwood—Tillie Reutimann
Mrs. Bentwood—Edith Plank
Jack York—Robert Gall
Marty Copping—Nelson Naber
Eunice Cassels—Beryl Forbes
Hilda Fields—Luceal McCoy
This is a merry, fast-moving comedy of irrepressible youth, full of pep and laughter. Come and see the Great Rajah at the Temple of Occult. Tickets will be on sale by students of the school.
Tampa Tribune, February 24, 2009
Mittye P. Locke taught in the Zephyrhills School (Elementary) from 1928 to 1935, and then returned to Elfers to teach.
To Hold Health Conference, Zephyrhills News, February 10, 1928
There will be a Health Conference for preschool children at the school
auditorium in Zephyrhills on Thursday afternoon, February 16th from 2
to 4 o’clock.
Wee babies and children up to six years of age are urged to attend.
Each child will be weighed, measured and receive a free physical
The members of the Parent-Teacher Association and physicians are
cooperating with Miss Beulah Hieber of the State Board of Health
Department to make the conference a success.
It is urged that mothers of children at the above ages come and bring them as it may mean a great deal to their future health.
Zephyrhills Schools Win First Honors At Pasco Fair, Zephyrhills News, February 3, 1928
The school exhibit at the Pasco County Fair was the outstanding feature
of the Fair. Both for variety of subjects covered and for excellence of
the work done, this showing was the best ever given. Judges said that
was almost a case of “Shut your eyes and pass the ribbons
on.” Zephyrhills won first for best and most complete exhibit by
a high school; Gulf High School of New Port Richey winning second
place. The other awards are as follows.
Best and most complete exhibit by one and two teacher schools, Darby,
first and Slauther, second and for one teacher schools; Blanton, first
and Hudson, for two teacher schools; Lacoochee, first and Elfers,
second for three and four teacher schools. Best exhibit for primary
work, New Port Richey, Dade City second; best exhibit for best 4th,
5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade work, New Port Richey, first.
In drawing for the best exhibit any and all grades, Jack Johnson of
Dade City, first, Myron Nabor of Zephyrhills, second. Map
drawing—best map of the United States, Robert Brenner, Gulf High,
first Lottie May Gaskin, Pasco High for second; Best map of North
America, Philmon Krissman of Dade City, first and James Mott of
Zephyrhills, second. Best map of South America, Paul Hines of Blanton,
first and Ernest Hahns of Trilby, second; Best map of Florida, Betty
Milligan of Dade City, first, Ellen Hanen of Port Richey, second.
PTA News, Dade City Banner, September 7, 1928
With a large number of patrons and teachers present, Mrs. Hazen Price,
President, called the P.T.A. to order at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday,
September 4th. After routine business was transacted, the following
committees were elected to serve for ht ensuring year:
Ways and Means: Mrs. F.B. Gill, Mrs. Major E.V. Reed; Program: Mrs.
W.R. Gall, Miss Nell Rutherford; Child Welfare: Mrs. B.A. Thomas, Mrs.
Irene Flack, Miss Ella Castaing;
School Building: Mrs. W.W. Guy, Mrs. M. D Price, Mrs. H.
Skogstad; Playgrounds: Mrs. V.K. Darby, Mrs. J.A. Mounts, Miss
Lorena Sellars; Hospitality: Mr. S.S. Ronco, Mrs. J.L. Geiger, Mrs.
Dallas Geiger, Miss Mittie Walker Pierce, Miss Lena Hutchinson.
The Principal, Mr. Reid, spoke of the need of laboratory
equipment. Major E.V. Reed made a plea to the parents to play a greater
interest in school activities. He stressed the value of athletics. A
unanimous vote was taken to exclude candies from the lunchroom.
While new members were being enrolled, Mrs. Hazen Price who is
operating the lunchroom, served light refreshments
Zephyrhills—The City of Pure Water Column by Mrs. A.D. Penry, Reporter, Dade City Banner, July 20, 1928
Zephyrhills, July 18—Patrons and pupils of school district No. 5 are to meet Monday, July 23 at 9 a.m. at the school building where a twenty-day course in sight singing and music reading will begin. The course will be under the direction of Professor Thorpe and Bunting, who are conducting a class at the Baptist Church also. There will be no charge, the purpose of the course being primarily to give those of school District 5 opportunity to become better versed in the art of music.
Something for nothing is not often to be had, and a 20-day course in music is worthy of earnest consideration. Professor Thorpe and Bunting will give the musical program Friday evening at 8 at the Baptist church. The public is invited to come and enjoy the evening.
School Notes—by Robert Campbell, Editor, Tillie Reutimann,
Reporter and Celia Linkey, Reporter—printed in the Zephyrhills
News (weekly), December 9, 1927
Junior and Seniors in charge of Chapel.
Last Friday afternoon the Senior and Junior classes were in charge of
the chapel program for the higher grades. The program was a
presentation of different months of the year as the artist sees them.
Those taking part in the program were: Arthur Austin, Artist; Margaret
Kunze, January; Edith Plank, February; Clarence Darby, March; John
Pennington, April, Beryle Forbes, May; Angie Geiger, June; Robert
Campbell, July; Clarence Darby, August; Julian Craig, September; Ellen
Curtis, October; Nelson Naber, November; and Theodore Campbell,
A poem appropriate for each month was read by Miss Celia Linkey.
Basketball Teams Victorious Friday-Both boys and girls came out
victorious in the games played with Dover last Friday night. The score
stood: ZHS boys, 17; Dover 16 and ZHS girls 9, Dover, 2.
Tuesday night a double-header was played at Springhead. The score
stood: ZHS boys, 19, Springhead 16; ZHS girls lost their game, the
score being 16 to 4 in Springhead’s favor.
Friday night we play our first official game with New Port Richey.
School Notes by Robert Campbell, Editor; Tillie Reutimann, Reporter and
Celia Linkey, Reporter—Published in the Zephyrhills News,
November 23, 1927
There will be only three days of school this week because of Thanksgiving vacation.
Examinations were held last Thursday and Friday. As a whole, grades were pretty good.
Because of the examinations last week, assembly was held at 10:00
o’clock Thursday a.m. with the fifth and sixth grades in charge.
After the Scripture reading, the whole assembly stood while the two
grades sang a prayer. The pupils gave a short comedy play entitled,
“How Columbus Discovered America.” The boys sang,
“Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” The girls sang,
“When I Was A Lady.”—a pupil in costume representing
each verse. Mr. Geiger gave the announcements.
Basketball-Both girls and boys have games scheduled with New Port
Richey for two weeks from this Friday (December 9th). They are to be
played at New Port Richey, since there is a meeting of the teachers of
that district at this time. These games will be part of the
Last Thursday some of the high school boys hauled clay for the basketball court.
Other news-County Superintendent O’Berry and Mr. Charley Smith, a
member of the county school board, paid the school a visit on Thursday
The freshmen held a wiener roast at the lake on Tuesday night.
The assembly program on Wednesday was by the third grade with Miss Feagle
in charge. The program was as follows: an acrostic, the hundredth
Psalm, song, Indian Dance, recitation by students, Gretchen Jurick and
Jimmie Sante; Thanksgiving Song, announcements by Mr. Geiger. We were
glad to see several visitors among the assembly.
School Notes by Robert Campbell, Editor; Tillie Reutimann, Reporter and
Celia Linkey, Reporter—Published in the Zephyrhills News,
November 11, 1927
Basketball practice is beginning in earnest and we hope to win many games this season.
A Girl Scout troop is being organized by Mrs. Gill.
Among those going to Lakeland Tuesday to see the circus were: Fred
Gill, Owen Gall and Vernon Gall. We are sorry to lose Rollin
Plank and Raymond Kiddo from high school.
Miss Stella Hougaboom was a visitor at the school Friday morning.
Reverend Pierce gave an interesting talk on “Bees” at our chapel program Friday afternoon.
A new member has entered the Freshman class, Miss Louise Dewey, of Lakeland. We are glad to welcome her to Z.H.S.
An Armistice Day program will be given Friday morning by the Freshman and Sophomore classes.
Last Tuesday evening members of the Freshman class and friends chaperoned by Mr. Geiger and Major E.V. Reed met at the band stand and from there went to automobile to Sand Pond, where a most enjoyable marshmallow roast was held.
Many new and pleasant games were played until about 9:30 after which everyone went home.
School Notes by Robert Campbell, Editor; Tillie Reutimann, Reporter and Celia Linkey, Reporter (photo at left)—Published in the Zephyrhills News, November 7, 1927
What price glory! A tired and sleepy school Friday; lessons unlearned for three whole days. We hope our gorgeous appearance and tuneful lays were a sufficient addition to the celebration Thursday to make the effort worthwhile.
Friday afternoon some of the Boy Scouts were off from school to take
their float to join the parade in Dade City’s celebration.
Paul Williams returned Monday after an absence of one week on account of a sprained wrist.
Last week the photographer was around taking pictures of our school. The results were very good considering the subjects.
Exam week has passed and by the looks on the faces of some of the
pupils, the exam storm struck pretty hard. However no casualties have
been reported to date.
The athletic association met Tuesday and selected officers and decided on dues. The officers elected were: Theodore Campbell, President; Julian Craig, Vice President; Beryl Forges, Secretary; John Kunze, Treasurer. A committee on making laws was appointed.
The date for the Tri-County Teachers Association has been changed to the 17th and 18th of this month instead of the 7th and 8th. This gives us two days off instead of one. Hot dog!
School Notes by Robert Campbell, Editor; Tillie Reutimann, Reporter and
Celia Linkey, Reporter—Published in the Zephyrhills News, October
Last week Dr. McGregor visited our school and gave us a talk on
diphtheria and its prevention. He emphasized the fact that all children
should take the test to see whether or not they are immune. This test
is given free by the state.
The Athletic committee held a meeting last Wednesday.
Last Friday our playground ball team played Dade City’s team and
were beaten by one point. The game was fast and interesting. The score
was 3 to 4 in Dade City’s favor. The winning run for Dade city
was on an error.
Exam week has arrived again and everyone is studying to beat the band.
The fear of poor grades seems to make everybody work harder the day
Everybody including the teachers are feeling good after two days out of school.
The Senior and Junior Classes gave the Chapel program last Friday which
was a rendering of collections written by Robert Burns. The following
songs were sung by the class as a whole: “Flow Gently Sweet
Afton,” “Coming Through The Rye,” and “Auld
Lang Syne.” The song, “Annie Laurs” was given by
Angie Gieger in costume. “Lizzie Lindsey,” an old Scotch
song, was acted out by Tillie Reutimann, Beryl Forbes and Theodore
August 6, 1928, school board minutes indicate that W. D. Reid was principal
Miss Lucile Ryals Winner in The Popularity Contest, Zephyrhills News, September 30, 1927
Crowned “Miss Zephyrhills at the Second Annual Homecoming Day held at Zephyrhills, September 29, 1927.
Miss Lucile Ryals, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Will Ryals, was chosen by a
majority of 6,810 votes to be “Miss Zephyrhills” at the
Homecoming celebration which was held yesterday at Zephyr Park.
The final vote casting centered around Miss Margaret Kunze, daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kunze and Miss Ryals, the successful candidate.
Saturday night count stood 235,130 for Miss Kunze and Miss Ryals had 136,530.
Monday fitful voting was done all during the day up until about 8
o’clock when the heavy down pour of votes started. The standing
was posted every fifteen minutes and first one and then the other of
the two popular young ladies was in the lead.
Promptly at 10 o’clock the judges closed the ballot boxes and Miss Lucile Ryals was proclaimed winner.
The contest from the financial viewpoint was a grand success for the
Homecoming committee. While perhaps the friends of the two young ladies
were a little harsh with words during the heat of the battle, the
successful winner, has the unanimous support and good will of all the
citizens and they pay homage to her as “Miss Zephyrhills,”
which was in great evidence at the coronation ceremonies yesterday.
Miss Ryals is the daughter of one of the oldest families of the
community and her father is classed as being one of the outstanding
progressive, successful farmers of the entire county. The Ryals home is
just a mile or so west of the city.
The total number of votes polled for all candidates in the contest was 996,450.
Tillie Reutimann Smith’s 90th birthday, Pasco News, by Mary Harman April 27, 2000
The celebration of Tillie Smith’s 90th birthday began when she thought she was going to a “Girls Night Out” with her Sunday School Class. However, when she went to John’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant on February 29, she found that the event was actually a surprise birthday party for her. Although her birthday wasn’t until April 14, her class knew they would not be able to pull a surprise party if it came near to her birthday.
The next get-together in honor of Ms. Tillie’s birthday was a coffee in her honor on Saturday, April 8, given by her daughter-in-law, Susan Smith, at her home, with friends from the area and from First Baptist Church. On her birthday, April 14, her immediate family held a dinner in her honor at Scotland Yards Golf Club to climax the celebration of her turning 90.
Tillie Reutimann Smith, the daughter of Emil Sr. and Amalie Reutimann, was born in Tampa Florida, four months after her father and mother settled in Tampa in 1910. When Mr. and Mrs. Reutimann came to Tampa from Switzerland, they brought their 5-year old daughter, Helena and Mr. Reutimann’s father, Johann Ulrich Reutimann (1812-1914), with them. Mr. Reutimann, a machinist, had previously visited America and had lined up a job with James Brother’s Garage in Tampa.
Ms. Tillie’s sisters, Helena Claypool, Gertrude and Marguerite Bamback, and brother, Emil Reutimann, Jr., are all deceased as are her parents and grandfather, Johann, leaving Ms. Tillie the last one of the family. Ms. Tillie moved to Zephyrhills with her family in 1915 at the age of 5. She says, “Zephyrhills was just a place out I n the country with streets of sand. I can remember Hennington’s Department and Grocery Store (Mrs. Hennington had the department store and her son had the grocery store) and Penry’s Department Store. They were both located in the area of East 7th Street and 5th Avenue.
At the time the Reutimann’s moved to Zephyrhills, Mr. Reutimann went to work for Mr. Greer doing machinist work on his sawmill, which was located on Wire Road and Highway 301. He also opened a small garage. Mr. Reutimann later opened a larger garage on Highway 301 and Mrs. Reutimann worked as the bookkeeper.
Upon moving to Zephyrhills, the Reutimann family lived in a home known as the Palmer House on 5th Street, the house currently owned by the Watsons. The Reutimanns later moved to a house near the garage. Ms. Tillie says, “My mother allowed me to go wherever I wanted even though I was just 5. I spent a lot of time with Edith Lean and her mother, who lived in a house nearby. I just made myself at home when we moved to Zephyrhills.”
When Ms. Tillie started to school, she attended the old wooden schoolhouse which later burned. She graduated in 1928 from Zephyrhills High School in a class of 10, when the high school was located in what is now Raymond B. Stewart Middle School. After graduating from ZHS, she attended Florida State Women’s College (currently FSU) in Tallahassee for a year and a half. “I was so homesick all the time I was there. I didn’t want to go in the first place, but mother wanted her girls to have a college education,” she said.
In 1933, Tillie Reutimann and Cullen Smith were married. She says, Cullen and I attended school together from first grade through high school.”
After their marriage, they lived in a home owned by Grandma Apple Smith. They became the parents of six children, Patty Bazzell, Cullen “Buddy” Jr., Brantley, Steven, Judy Hilton and Susan. Their son, Steven, who served as a Zephyrhills Councilman at one time, died at the age of 35. Their daughter, Susan, who is unmarried, lives in Columbia, S.C.
Ms. Tillie is proud of her grandchildren, Buddy’s children, Lance, Myra Amler of North Carolina and Shannon; Patty’s children, Petie, Stephen, and Michael; Brantley’s children, Mindy, Carrie, Julie, Jeff and Greg Reutimann; Judy’s children, Donna Durso, Tammy Ryman, Kevin, and Bobby Jr. and Steven’s children, Paul, Tracy and Raeann.
Ms. Tillie has been a member of the First Baptist Church in Zephyrhills for over 40 years. When Susan was small, Ms. Tillie worked with Eileen Smith in the Day Care Center at First Baptist.
Ms. Tillie may be 90 (although she certainly doesn’t look it), but she keeps young by continuing in her Sunday school class of young women, She says, “They insisted that I stay in the class with them. I guess I am kind of a mother to them.”
Cullen, Sr. and Tillie build the home in 1984, where Ms. Tillie currently lives. Through the years, Cullen bought small parcels of land until he accumulated 150 acres, which extended from Geiger Road to Fort King Road.
Cullen Smith died in 1984. In 1986, the Smith family built the Silver Oaks Golf Course, which was designed by Bob Simon. The golf course was followed by the Silver Oaks Subdivision, which was laid out by Lowell Steve. The Smith’s take great pride in the fact that local people were used in the development of their property. The latest phase in the development of the Smith property is Silver Oaks Village being developed under the supervision of Lance Smith. “I never did like the idea of building Silver Oaks Village. I didn’t think Zephyrhills was ready for Silver Oaks Village, but it is beginning to come to the front now and I am happy to see that. Happy for Lance. I’m glad to see it taking off and beginning to show promise. I was just dead set against it, she says.
Not only did the Smith’s develop the golf course, the subdivision and Silver Oaks Village, they also donated five acres of their valuable land to the City of Zephyrhills for a location of the YMCA, so it is enjoyed by so many.
An act of kindness of Ms Tillie was the donation of the clock on Time Square to Main Street Zephyrhills according to her grandson, Jeff Reutimann.
Promotion Certificate for 1928 shows photo of school at left with principal’s signature and School Board Members as well as Superintendent.