HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS HIGH SCHOOL

Highlights of 1989-1990

Gregory, Familo- Top ZHS Grads, Zephyrhills News, by Ellis Sandoz III, June 14, 1990

That nice young man who helped you locate the back pills at Eckerd drug store last week just might wind up as President one day. That’s his goal, and anyone who knows him wouldn’t bet against a While House berth for Tommy Gregory, Zephyrhills High School’s Valedictorian.

You saw it here first…The gentle young woman who volunteers at day care centers very likely will be working to keep youngsters healthy as a pediatrician in a few short years. That’s the career goal of ZHS Salutatorian-Stacia Familo.
There is certainly no shortage of ambition in these two graduates whose near-perfect grade point averages were so close that the results of a separate test had to be used to determine Valedictorian and Salutatorian. But that doesn’t mean the two engaged in a bitter battle, by any means.

“It was never like we competed,” said Stacia. “I felt like ever since Tommy and I have known each other, we helped with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ve just been there for each other.”

She said the close race for graduation honors merely “made us become better friends.”

Tommy, who is son of Tom and Linda Gregory, has garnered an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The position is worth $225,000 over four years because the Air force not only pays all education, lodging and meal costs for academy students, it also pays monthly wages since they are considered employees of the service.

He also was named ZHS’s outstanding student and received the Principal’s Leadership Award during ht ceremonies held last week at the school.

Last year Tommy was one of two representatives to the American Legion-sponsored Boys State program in Tallahassee. This year he was a Presidential Academic Award Winner, A Tandy Scholar and a Florida Academic Scholar as well as a Navy Honors Award Recipient.

Stacia, who is the daughter of Joseph and Agnes Familo, was presented with a $2,500 scholarship as a Florida Academic Scholar, recognized as a Tandy Scholar and given a Presidential Academic Award.

She also won a $1,000 Rotary Scholarship, a $500 Lions Club Scholarship, 1 $500 Junior Women’s Club Scholarship plus scholarships from Wal-Mart and the Zephyrhills Moose Lodge.

Tommy has been named to the Gulf Coast All-Academic Team for four years in addition to being named the school’s outstanding academic athlete for four years; he won seven varsity letters in cross country and track and was track co-captain for two years in addition to playing junior varsity soccer as a sophomore. He was voted most likely to succeed, best all-around, most dependable, most intellectual and the most outstanding student.

Stacia was the school’s Girls State alternate last year, named to Outstanding High School Students in America, won the award from the Surgeon General for “a Smoke Free Society” Program, was named outstanding band officer and served as band librarian and president of National Honor Society. She played on the girl’s varsity soccer team last year. A musical talent, she plays the piano, flute, timpani drums and marinba. In her free time, Stacia tutors elementary students, does liturgy readings at her church, volunteers at a day care center and works part-time at Dr. Jim Mason’s veterinary clinic.


ZHS Graduation Night Brings Miles of Smiles, Zephyrhills News, June 21, 1990

Smiles abounded and spirits roared Friday night as over 200 Zephyrhills High School graduates marched across the ZHS Activity Center stage to receive their diplomas.

Valedictorian Tommy Gregory who was also class president, garnered a roar of approval from his classmates who stood in ovation after his valedictory address, which urged graduates to challenge themselves and take risks to succeed in life.
Former Raymond B. Stewart Principal, James Davis, turned graduates tassels as they officially earned their new status as alums.

Stacia Familo graduated with the number two rank and gave the salutatory address. Class officers were Gregory, president; Scott Hicks, Vice President; Rakhee Patel, Secretary and Heather Grassie, Treasurer.


ZHS Salutatory Address by Stacia Familo, Special to the Zephyrhills News, June 28, 1990

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time, but I’m here to tell you there’s something else—the after world. Because in this life things are much harder than in the after world. In this life, you are on your own. These words are from the song, “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince. But we are not really on our own—we have our friends.

Our friends are those upon who we depend and with whom we silently find the strength and courage to move on. As George Santayana said, “One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.” They are the few people in this hectic world that we do not have to wear a mask or veil around. True friends accept us for who we are; they encourage us to reach our goals, and stand beside us when we travel life’s winding road.

I would not ask someone to walk before me, because I may not follow, or to walk behind me, because I may not lead. But only to walk beside me and be my friend. For without friends, we are alone and are searching for the after world. For in the after world we hope to find happiness. Each of us has had at least one person in our lives who has always been there at the appropriate time to encourage our endeavors or support us when the path before us seemed too dark to find our way. Each of those people has helped in many ways to shape the persons that we have become today. They are “the wind beneath our wings,” the moral sustenance to our survival.

In the past four years we all have grown emotionally, mentally and physically, some more so than others. And in these past few years, we have also increased our awareness of human nature and of the fact that we do not always receive what we would like. Our values have changed and our goals have become more defined. As we look back we see how much each of us has changed.

We may not be a part of the social crowd that we once were because of these personal changes. Our friends are those with whom we have similar interests or goals, the same attitudes, and similar personalities. None of us are exactly alike, but we entered the social circles of those that best met our needs, like pieces of a puzzle we could not force ourselves into the group. We had to fit in to be supported by those around us. That is what friendship is—support by those near to us. Without someone to stand beside us, we would all be alone, and scared.

As we leave Zephyrhills High and go to college, the military or into the work force, we may be afraid of what lies before us, but the memories that were made here will warm each of our hearts and will calm the wave of fear in us. Even though we are not capable of going back to those pleasant times, the memories will always be a part of each of us. As paper may crumble and ink someday fade, never the memories which we have made?

In a moment of desperation take the time to think of the various people that we were friends with here and how each of them is trying to become the person that he wants to be, and think of the times that we shared with each of them, not with regret because we can’t relive those moments, but with nostalgia because they bring warmth to our hearts and minds. Without friends, these memories would not have been possible and our high school years would have been lonely and uneventful but I do not believe that the Class of 1990 can honestly say that our time here was uneventful.

Together as a family, we have shared homecoming activities, senior skip day (some taking more than one day), fourth period tardy hall, sports events, weekend get togethers, ice skating and of course, senior pranks. Of just these few examples, many warming memories could flood our minds and brighten the paths that we must follow. Instead of having those familiar faces beside us for encouragement and support, the memories are there to take their place to give us the strength to move on when we feel that we cannot. None of us has ever been alone as long as we were willing to let others enter our lives and become a part of us.

A friend summed our leaving as this: We are all a part of each other’s lives here, and as we go our separate ways and meet new people and form new friendships, we grow apart from our older friends, but at the same time a large part of these old friends stays with us and is shared with our new group of friends. In this way we are like a small snowball that is rolling down a hill. Gaining speed as it goes, it increases in size and the original ball of snow becomes part of the whole. As we bring a part of our old friends with us into the new group, they too are bringing a part of each of their old friends into the group. This gathering becomes a harmonious unison, and all become touched by those with whom they have associated.

We all carry our various views of high school and of friendship; I believe that we have all learned the value of friendship and what it would be like to survive without it. No one is perfect; regardless of who we are, we all make mistakes. But friends understand and forgive; they listen and support us in times of need. They do not hold our shortcomings before us in disgust. They stand beside us and believe in us and our abilities and help us to find the right path toward our goals. As we leave here tonight we may not feel any differently, but the awareness of our separation is eminent. The class of 1990 is not saying goodbye forever—instead we are saying, See Ya at the reunion! Thank you all!


St. Petersburg Times, Pasco Times Editorial, Page 2 of Pasco Times, May 17, 1990

 The officials who determine policy for the Pasco County school system were provided an unexpected treat at their meeting Tuesday night.

They got to see close-up one of the system's success stories - Zephyrhills High School valedictorian Tommy Gregory. His articulate presentation must have given School Board members satisfaction.

Now school officials ought to give him and the other 214 graduating seniors at Zephyrhills High some satisfaction in return - honor their request to have graduation ceremonies at the football stadium.

Gregory, who also is class president, outlined his request to the School Board because he got nowhere with principal Larry Robison, who insists that the June 15 graduation ceremonies be conducted in the school gymnasium. Though that plan removes the weather as a factor to consider, it makes it impossible for the seniors to invite all their friends and relatives. Each senior is limited to eight tickets because of the gym's limited capacity.

At the 5,000-seat stadium, seating space will be no problem. And as School Board member Agnes Deal pointed out Tuesday, outdoor graduation ceremonies are common and every bit as dignified as indoor ceremonies.

Gregory could have brought the rest of the senior class with him to the board meeting, and there were many students who wanted that show of force. But he squelched the idea and instead offered a calm, intelligent presentation. He even explained how students had taken it upon themselves to form a committee that would prepare both the stadium and the gymnasium for the ceremonies in case of rain.

Graduation is a time for families to be proud of their children's successes in education. It is a time for teachers and administrators to reflect on all the energy they put into ensuring that these young men and women accomplished an extremely difficult and important goal.

But most of all, graduation is for the seniors. It is their moment of glory. And so c'mon, Mr. Robison, if they want it in the stadium, let them have it in the stadium


Girl’s Golf-Player of the Year, St. Petersburg Times, by Steve Persall, May 27, 1990

 Girls golf along the North Suncoast was an either/or proposition in 1990.

Either you played for Zephyrhills and Springstead High Schools - two of the best teams in Florida - or you struggled with developing programs at the other schools.

Even with this shallow talent pool, Erin O'Neil of Zephyrhills is a worthwhile choice as Player of the Year in a narrow decision over Springstead's Barb Finnmann.

O'Neil led the Bulldogs to a second place finish in the state tournament and was unbeaten in North Suncoast play with an average of 38.7 strokes per nine-hole round. Her game slipped a bit when the longer post-season matches began but O'Neil won the 18-hole Gulf Coast Conference tournament with a round of 77.

At the District 7 tournament won by the Bulldogs, O'Neil shot an 82 to place third, three shots behind champion Kristen Putnam of Lakeland High. The next week, she opened the Class 3A state tournament with a round of five-over-par 77 at Foxfire Country Club in Sarasota.

An 82 on the second day dropped O'Neil into seventh place, but the Bulldogs held on for the runner-up spot behind Coral Springs-Taravella. That gave another Coach of the Year award to Ann Crawford of Zephyrhills.

Her cool demeanor and smooth swing belied the fact that O'Neil is a freshman. With her family's background (a brother won the state championship in 1986), O'Neil should be a top challenger among for the next three years.

O'Neil will be in good company on the course for next year, at least. Two of her Bulldog teammates join her on the All-North Suncoast team and both will return in 1991.

Lisa Ezick was the All-North Suncoast Player of the Year in 1989 but O'Neil's presence pushed her back to the No. 2 position for Zephyrhills. There was no other drop-off for the junior, as Ezick averaged 40.3 strokes each round during the regular season. Ezick was second to O'Neil at the GCC match with an 81 and placed fourth in the District 7 match with an 84.

Karen Kennedy also earned an All-Conference patch after consistent play and a 101 at the GCC tournament in April. Only three golfers broke 100 on the tough Links of Lake Bernadette course in Zephyrhills.

Barb Finnmann turned in the most successful post-season play of any North Suncoast girl. The Eagles' No. 1 golfer finished as the District 5 titlist and then tied for fourth at the state match with a 79-78 for a 157 total. Finnmann's younger sister, Jean, made a late charge to clinch a spot on the All-North Suncoast squad. She turned in a round of 96 on the second day of the state tournament to boost the Eagles into tenth place overall. All-North Suncoast girls golf team

Player of the Year: Erin O'Neil, Zephyrhills Coach of the Year: Ann Crawford, Zephyrhills


Zephyrhills Wins Series, St. Petersburg Times, by Joanne Korth, April 18, 1990

Ridgewood High's Dave Doorneweerd appeared to have thrown the pitching gem of the day Tuesday in the Bush Clash baseball tournament at South Sumter High with a three-hit, 10 strikeout, 12-0 shutout of Ohio's Lakota, the defending champion.

But Zephyrhills' Billy Adams stole the spotlight, pitching perfect baseball against Hudson through 5 2/3 innings. Hudson's Tommy Quinlan, the No. 9 hitter, finally broke the string of 17 consecutive batters retired with a solid single to left center with two outs in the sixth. Adams struck out the next batter for his eighth of the game, but handed off to reliever Casey McClellan in the seventh inning.

The Bulldogs ended up with a 5-0 win over the Cobras.

Ridgewood (23-2) and Zephyrhills (12-11) will meet in the tournament final Thursday at 8 p.m.

The Bulldogs scored in each of the first three innings. Singles by Brian Higginbotham, Ryan Back, McClellan and Bubba Dunn led to two runs in the first inning. A third was added when Adams doubles with two outs in the second and later scored on a fielding error. A leadoff double in the third by Jay Johnson followed by a singles from Back and Dunn gave the Bulldogs their final two runs.

Ridgewood, in its win over Lakota, collected 12 hits, all singles. Eight Rams were awarded bases on balls as Lakota used five pitchers in seven innings. The Rams scored three runs in the third, two in the fourth, three in the sixth and four in the seventh cruising to an easy win in what was expected to be the tournament's best game.

In loser's bracket play, Crystal River eliminated Gulf 3-2 and Wildwood beat South Sumter 7-5 in nine innings. Crystal River (17-5) meets Hudson (6-16) today at 5 p.m. Wildwood (5-14) plays Lakota (7-5) at 8 p.m.


ZHS Boys State Reps Announced, Zephyrhills News, May 1990

Three Boys State Representatives for Zephyrhills High School were named Tuesday—Juniors Mark Briggs, Adrian Johnson and Larry Weicht—and the trio will be trekking to Tallahassee next month to take part in a mock legislative session.

Students Protest Polystyrene by Ellis Sandoz III, Zephyrhills News, June 7, 1990

About 180 students gathered around the flagpole Friday morning at Zephyrhills High School, refusing to go to first period classes in a quiet protest against the use of polystyrene lunch trays in the school’s cafeteria.

“We’re accomplishing something out here—getting people’s attention said Danny Jones, a 17-year old senior who was a primary organizer of the protest. This was the first such demonstration in at least two decades, according to Ron Cherry who said he has been at the school since 1970.

Eighteen year old Derek Harmeson pointed out the diversity of students taking part in the protest.

“You’ve got your preps, your hoods and your rednecks,” he said. Students want to try and convince the school system that it should not use the polystyrene products, such as lunch trays, plates and bowls because they are harmful to the ozone layer of the earth’s atmosphere by releasing chlorofluorocarbons (or CPCs). Over 600 are said to have signed a petition calling for the school to stop using the polystyrene materials in the cafeteria.

Come teachers who may have grown up amid the civil disobedience of the 1960s, backed the protest in their own ways. One came out and asked students why they didn’t have signs and how come they weren’t chanting and making racket. Another teacher had scheduled a test for first period during the protest but told students they could make up the test without penalty if they wanted….


Zephyrhills Has Shot at Winning State Championship!, St. Petersburg Times, by Kevin Thomas, May 3, 1990

Erin O'Neil sat in the shade by the Foxfire Golf Club pro shop and lamented that ``I kind of lost my swing the last three holes. I should do better. `` Still, she led her Zephyrhills team with a first-round 77 Wednesday at the girls state high school tournament.

Her coach, Ann Crawford, said she ``was relatively happy`` with her team's score, although the Bulldogs were below their average. ``You always come off and say you should have done better, `` Crawford said.

If Zephyrhills does better in today's final round, it could be a state champion. The Bulldogs are in second place with a 363, one stroke behind Coral Springs-Taravella. Springstead, led by Barb Finnman's 79, is ninth at 404.

At the boy’s state tournament at Misty Creek Country Club, Springstead, behind Dan Latoria's 77, is 11th out of 16 teams with 327 strokes. Orlando-Dr. Phillips leads handily by 14 strokes with a 298.

Hernando's Blane Brown, the District 5 individual champion, shot a 79. ``He played well at times, `` said Leopards coach Randall Lagedrost. ``He just couldn't get any putts to drop. ``

Miami-Country Day's Briny Baird, son of Senior PGA Tour player Butch Baird, leads with a 69.

In the individual girl’s race, Zephyrhills' O'Neil is in a tie for fourth, four shots from the lead, despite bogeys on two of her last three holes. O'Neil helped the Bulldogs lower their score by eight strokes from their District 7 win last week. Lisa Ezick, who shot an 84 last week, turned in an 81 Wednesday. No.3 golfer Christa Howell improved on her 52 nine-hole average, scoring a 99. Karen Kennedy completed the Bulldogs score with a 106.

Crawford isn't sure how the pressure of being in contention will affect her team. “We've never been there,” she said. Last year, Zephyrhills finished seventh.

The Springstead boys were “about eight strokes above our average,” said Eagles coach Richard Cote. “It's understandable with this kind of pressure. Hopefully, the scores will come down (today).”


Bulldogs and GCC Lifting Championship, St. Petersburg Times, by Joanne Korth and Tim Buckley, April 10, 1990

Zephyrhills won its second consecutive Gulf Coast Conference weightlifting title on Saturday, overpowering the 11-school field at South Sumter High.

The Bulldogs earned 45 points, including seven points apiece for three first-place finishes in the nine weight classes. No other school had more than one lifter place first, as Hernando High finished a distant second place with 26 points.

The Bulldogs' Tim Whitfield won the 123-pound class with a 435-pound total (235 bench, 200 clean and jerk). Jason Bourque topped the 132s with 470 pounds (240, 230) and Jerry Beinhauer won the heavyweight division with a 610 total (355, 255).


St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg, Fla. By Eric T. Pate, January 2, 1990

The 1989 football season was to Zephyrhills High School senior Reggie Roberts what a bull market is to Wall Street.

Roberts, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound middle linebacker and tight end, entered the season as a hot commodity to several NCAA Division I football programs seeking a quality student-athlete. Thanks to impressive numbers, Roberts' value has increased.

Over the course of 10 regular-season games, Roberts led the Bulldogs defensively with 114 tackles, three interceptions, three fumbles caused, three quarterback sacks, and three fumble recoveries. On offense, Roberts led Zephyrhills with 20 catches, four touchdowns and 18.4 yards per catch.

Zephyrhills went 9-2 overall, winning seven straight before a 24-6 playoff loss to Baker County-Macclenny in the Class 3A, Region IV game. Roberts was the focal point of a defense that did not allow a touchdown in the final 19 regular-season quarters.

Roberts' two-way play is one reason Zephyrhills won its first Class 3A, District 4 title. His accomplishments are why Roberts is the St. Petersburg Times' Suncoast Player of the Year. Before the season, Roberts was being recruited as a linebacker by several schools, including Clemson University, Florida and Florida State, but a good showing as a pass receiver has doubled his value.

“Now some teams want me to play tight end,” Roberts said. ``I run a 4.6 40. That's not bad speed for a tight end.”

Because of his successful senior season and solid academic standing, Roberts has been able to add Louisville, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and North Carolina State to the list of schools wanting to make him a collegiate student-athlete. Roberts - who earned a 3.5 grade-point average for the first quarter at Zephyrhills this school year - already has met NCAA Proposition 48 requirements for incoming freshmen: a minimum 2.0 GPA in high school and a 15 on the American College Test or 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Roberts has a 3.2 overall GPA and has scored 16 and 740 on the ACT and SAT, respectively. Rather take all the credit for his athletic and academic accomplishments, Roberts chooses to share the spotlight. “The coaches prepared me and put me in the right place,” Roberts said. “I'm not doing anything that anybody else can't do. I'm no better than anyone else. I've had coaches who told me what I could do.”

“Without the help of my ministers, coaches, girlfriend, parents and friends, I wouldn't have been able to achieve this. And in the future, I'm going to need them again.”

In the Bulldogs' 22-0 victory over Inverness Citrus on Oct.6, Roberts suffered torn ligaments in his left knee in the second quarter. Roberts reinjured the knee in the second quarter of Zephyrhills' 28-0 victory over New Port Richey-Ridgewood Nov.17.

Though the injury required surgery three weeks ago, Roberts did not miss a game. He wore a knee brace and looked elsewhere for protection. “I just prayed to God to make sure that I didn't get hurt any worse. Without him, I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have,” Roberts said.”He's got a very big heart and is an example for other players to follow,” Zephyrhills coach Tom Fisher said of Roberts.

Roberts is an example partly because he always is striving.

“I can never be satisfied with what I do on the football field or in the classroom,” he said. “Until I'm the best on the football field, the basketball court and baseball field, or until I get a 4.0, I'll never be satisfied.”

Ron Thompson; Caption: Bulldogs' Reggie Roberts of Zephyrhills High, the Suncoast Player of the Year, (ran CTI, CT, LT, NT, BT, TP); Bulldogs' Reggie Roberts of Zephyrhills High, the Suncoast Player of the Year, (ran color CI, HT, PT5, PT1).

Return to front page