At the D. W. Waters Career Center, 2704 N. Highland Ave., Tampa
The photos of the D.W. Waters Career Center and the museum are the exclusive property
of the photographer and and may not be used without the owner's permission.

After Jefferson High School closed in 1967, the history of the school was practically forgotten.  By 1993, the old building had some offices but was in dire condition. At that time, through the efforts of Kay Moore Morse and Wynelle Davis Gilbert, a museum was started.  Through the great generosity of Jefferson alumni, items were donated for the museum.  Ample space for the museum was provided in what used to be Mr. Waters office and the secretary's office.  To raise funds, a flea market was started in part of it, selling to all who came there.  Coffee was sold when meetings were held there and a snack bar was opened for the workers who had to leave the premises to eat. The funds raised were used to buy a computer and desk for the Alumni Association and to pay for the historical marker out front, among other things.
During the 2003 building renovations,  a big trailer across the street was set up to house the museum.  Set up by Wynelle Davis Gilbert, Class of '44, it was much smaller than the museum space in the building and had only enough room for one showcase. The flea market ceased to operate, but they retained the snack bar sales. May Young, Class of '45 and Olga Quintana, Class of '43, spent all summer working on the HHS annuals to alphabetize them. May Young created digital lists of each class in order to keep track of alumni.

The museum now occupies the old library space from Hillsborough and Jefferson High Schools, which also serves as the D. W. Waters Career Center reading room.


Museum curator Wynelle Davis Gilbert  and Hillsborough HIgh School historian Rex Gordon

The museum is open for visitors all school days during regular hours except holidays after signing in at Main Office. The Alumni workroom adjoining the museum, for sale of annuals and to give information, is only open the first Tuesday of each month 10am-1pm. Waters is a 12 month school. In the summer they are open MON-Thurs. Closed Fridays.


Entrance to the museum is on the 2nd floor from the main hallway.




A view from the north end of the reading room looking southeast toward the museum exhibits.

Beyond the windows seen along the back wall is the Alumni workroom adjoining the museum, for sale of annuals and to give information.

A view from the museum (south) end of the media center.

The wall on the left is the back (west) wall of the original building before the 1923 expansion by M. Leo Elliott.


The glass showcases in the center were donated by Manuel Tamargo, Class of '63, and the classes of 1943, 1944 and 1946. The one between the standing cabinets was found at an auction by Al Rosello for only $75.  West Tampa Glass put glass doors on the center one for no charge, as Link Elozory was a JHS graduate.  

A view of the showcases that are off camera to the left of the above photo, the south end of the room.

The showcases on the left were originally open-fronted bookcases from the old JHS library.  They were enclosed with locking glass doors for use in the museum.

See these bookcases in the library in 1962.



On top of the showcases above are the principals who served in this building when it was Hillsborough and Jefferson.

Ernest L. Robinson
1909 to 1925

Frederic H. Spaulding
1925 to 1933

David W. Waters
1928 to 1939
1939 to 1949

Ateo Philip
1949 to 1956

Lucille D. Sumner
1956 to 1958

1958 to 1962 TJHS

Frank R.
1962 to 1964 TJHS

Jack S.
1964 to 1965

1965 to 1967 TJHS


The tall showcases were specially made  for the museum by the school system and are double sided. The one on the left is Old Jefferson and one on right is the  New Jefferson.

The museum has a small section devoted to items related to Hillsborough High School and George Washington Jr. High.

The star attraction is the contents of the building's cornerstone which contained a copper box time capsule from 1911.  All the items found inside were archivally protected by the University of South Florida when first removed from the copper box and up-to-date information was placed in a newly constructed box before resealing and replacing the cornerstone.

New items placed in the time capsule before replacing the cornerstone circa 2004:

  • Dedication of the Historical marker and return of the time capsule to the cornerstone, program.

  • List of the 1st graduating class of D. W. Waters Career Center.

  • Invitation to the Baccalaureate Service for first class at Waters.

  • Commencement exercises program for Waters - May 26, 2003

  • Invitation to the Rededication of the Waters Center. Hillsborough County School Board 2003-2004.

  • Newspaper articles: Re: Saving the School by the Preservation Committee of the Thomas Jefferson HS Alumni Assn.: Sept. 15, 2002 March 30, 2003 April 27, 2003 June 29, 2002 Nov. 13, 1997 Nov. 20, 2002

  • Copy of Dragon Tales, TJHS Alumni Assn. newsletter - April, 1998 issue

  • Jeffersonian school paper - Dec. 3,1943 edition.

  • Roster of the lst graduation class from TJHS - 1942 Rededication ceremony April 4, 2003 - program.

  • Rededication Guest Book 4/4/03 TJHSA Assn. Charter TJHSAAssn.

  • Board of Directors 1989-2004

  • Student handbook 2004-2005 for Waters

  • Compact Disc of the rededication program.

  • Photo of Willie Strawter, Class of 1964, the first African American to integrate Hillsboroiugh County high schools.  Jefferson was chosen to be the first integrated school in the county. Strawter came in 1962, was an excellent student, was well-liked by all and there were no problems as a result of the program.

Read more about the contents of the cornerstone time capsule.

Original 1939 ROTC banner, hand-cleaned by Royal Cleaners

This National Junior Honor Society banner was found in a closet.  Royal Cleaners hand cleaned it for no charge. 


This showcase exhibits some Jefferson Junior High items, which were the years 1928 to 1939. When the concrete paving was removed from the front yard, many artifacts from that time period, which you see at the perimeter of the case, were uncovered by the De Lotto Construction Company and donated to the museum on behalf of all the workers who made this building the beautiful school it is today. The can is "U.S. Aqua, Drinking Water". There is an inkwell, some milk bottles, salt/pepper shakers, and a brick from the old Hillsboro Hotel..








The first annual published by Jefferson High School was for its first graduating class--1942. 

At the right is a typing stand and Underwood typewriter from the typing class, the one used to type the annual.



More equipment from the typing class: a Monpop tabulating machine and another Underwood typewriter



Above, the contents of the center shelf from the cabinet at left.  Various letter jackets, band music books and photos of Mr. Robert Scott, the much loved band director at Jefferson from 1946 to 1960.


Second shelf up from the bottom:

A baseball sweater donated by Ray Perez, Class of 1962, and a football game program from Robinson Knights vs. Jefferson Dragons football game, 1962.

A 1959 City Champs manager's football jacket donated by Billy Polk, Class of '61.





Various JHS class rings and student I.D. cards donated by JHS Alumni.






Glass showcase donated by the Class of 1946
The yellow bloomers on the bottom shelf were part of a cheerleader costume in the 1940's.





Jefferson Dragons who served their country well
In addition to the photos, there are 461 names listed.








Original seats from the auditorium.  The new ones that were installed during the renovation were styled after these, but are wider to accommodate today's larger "student body."







1946 cheerleader's megaphone donated by Jimmy Jones, Class of '48.


2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
John Cuesta, Jr. c/o 1952, Hugo Menendez c/o 1950, Robert F. Garcia c/o 1955, Alice E. Russo accepting for her husband, Louis Russo c/o 1945, Dr. Raymond Fernandez c/o 1960, Anthony Garcia accepting for his father, Tony Garcia c/o 1943.




The football schedule was found behind a blackboard during the restoration by the DeLotto Construction men who were very interested in finding items for the museum. The majorette's baton belonged to Nell Lewis Rosier, '44. Her photos are in background.   On the left is a photo of Wynelle Davis Gilbert and Nell during the 50th reunion. Nell went by Louie Nell in school and passed away not long after the reunion. Her husband, Pat, donated the baton and photos.



Leather helmet donated by Co-captain Indy Cuesta, Class of 1950.  Cuesta was a teammate of Rick Casares and drew the cartoon of the Dragon sitting on the HHS terrier seen at right.



Rick Casares
July 4, 1931 - Sept. 13, 2013


Left to Right:  Junior class VP Andrew Puleo, Secretary Gloria Gonzalez, and President Richard "Rick" Casares

This is the javelin used in field events, in track meets, from 1948 to 1950.   In 1950, Rick Casares and Ernest Urso used this javelin in every track meet.  They came in first and second in every meet.  Rick Casares set a high school record for the state of Florida of 198 feet at the state meet in Gainesville, Florida.  The javelin as a field event was disallowed after 1950, being considered too dangerous for a high school track event.  In 1951, the football throw replaced the javelin.


Jefferson Dragons track team

Rick Casares, back row, 5th from the right.  Ernest Urso, back row, 4th from the left.



As the saying went in his high school years, Rick Casares really "took the rag off the bush."  He excelled in every sport he participated in and thereby put Jefferson High School athletics on the map.

Ricardo "Rick" José Casares was born in Tampa on July 4, 1931 to José and Eleanor Casares.  In the 1930s,  Rick's father was a barber and Eleanor worked as a waitress; they lived at 2807 10th Street. 

Rick's paternal grandparents, (José's parents) Ricardo and Concettina Casares, where cigar makers who came to the United States in 1888. They were from Spain and Italy, respectively, and lived on Laurel Street near downtown, Tampa.  José  lived with them, along with his brother Faustino, and sisters Amalia, Aurora and Manuela, until 1930 when he married Eleanor. 

Rick's mother, Eleanor, was a daughter of Francesco and Tillie Liachizzie (or Lachizzi), both natives of Italy who settled in Paterson, New Jersey where Eleanor was born.  Rick's maternal grandfather (Eleanor's father) Francesco, was a hod carrier in the 1920s to 1940--a skilled laborer who carries supplies to brick layers and masons.  Eleanor lived with her parents and sisters, Angelina and Cecelia, and brothers George and Carmen, in Paterson, NJ, up until 1930 when she married José Casares. 


On Dec. 22, 1939, when Rick was 8 years old, his father José was killed in a gang-style murder.  Eleanor quickly moved back to Paterson, New Jersey by the spring of 1940 with her son and daughter (Vivian) to live with her parents, Frank and Tillie Lachizzi, at 28 Redwood Ave.




White text below is from "Tampa's NFL Hero" by Paul Guzzo, Cigar City Magazine:

Rick and his neighborhood friends in Paterson would regularly meet in parking lots throughout the city to do battle with other groups of neighborhood kids. Guns and other such weapons were never used, only fists. These fights were not fueled by hatred, but simply competition; they wanted to see who the toughest neighborhood was, and the large and athletic Casares never lost a fight for his crew.

At the age of 15, he took his fighting ability from the streets into the ring when he won New Jersey’s Diamond Gloves 160-pound division, the state’s version of the Golden Gloves tournament. To do so, he had to defeat men in their early-20s, as there was not an age limit in the tournament, only weight classes. His performance was so impressive that it caught the eye of Lou Duva, who has trained numerous boxing champions over the years, including Pernell Whitaker and Evander Holyfield. Duva wanted to begin training Casares immediately, offering his mother a contract paying her $100 a week until her son turned 18 and could turn professional. This was a lot of money at the time, but Casares’ mother said no. She did not want her son fighting for a living.

Casares rebelled against his mother. He began fighting in the street more. He stopped going to school. If his attitude did not change, his life would go nowhere. His mother, unsure how to handle her disobedient son, shipped him back to Tampa to live with his father's family on Ivy Street, (José's brother Faustino Casares and wife Violet.) Tampa had turned into a safer city than it was when they left and provided a more tranquil atmosphere for a teen to be raised.

Information about Rick Casares from Wikipedia:

At Jefferson High School in Tampa, Rick's teachers introduced him to high school sports as a way to keep him in school.  The Jefferson coaches discovered the 190-pound, six-foot-one-inch freshman when he picked up a javelin for the first time and threw it.  Casares played football, basketball, and baseball for the Jefferson Dragons, and he was also a track and field athlete. He was an all-state football and basketball player, and the Dragons won the city football championship in 1948 and 1949.  In 1949, he was given the Guy Toph Award, which was awarded to the best player in Hillsborough County.  “Rick was the best high-school athlete to ever come out of the state of Florida,'' Jefferson coach Dick Spoto once said.  The Tampa Tribune recognized Casares as one the Tampa Bay area's 100 greatest athletes of the previous century in 1999.  In 2007, fifty-seven years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized him as one of the thirty-three all-time greatest Florida high school football players of the last 100 years by naming him to its "All-Century Team.



Rick Casares Junior year photos



Jefferson Dragons baseball team

Rick Casares on back row, 3rd from left.



Jefferson Dragons basketball team, Rick Casares back row, 3rd from left, #32


Rick Casares, #32, Center


Jefferson Dragons football team - Rick Casares, front row, 4th from left, #60.

In 1947, Jefferson beat the mighty Hillsborough High Terriers for the first time, 6 - 0, in front of 16,000 fans at Tampa's Phillips Field (where the Dragons played their home games.)   The game's only score was a touchdown pass from Rick Casares to Johnny Alonso.


At right, the final score on the Phillips Field scoreboard.
Read more about Phillips Field, here at TampaPix.

Wilson (41) leads with blocking for Casares, (60).

Against Plant City, the Dragons fell beind 6-0 early in the game on a touchdown pass by the Planters.  Marino of the Dragons blocked the extra point attempt.  The second half was played in a downpour.  Late in the game, Casares took a punt return to his own 25 yard line, and after 10 plays, Sam Puleo knifed into the endzone for a Dragons touchdown to tie the game.  Because of the rain, the Dragons opted to kick for the extra point.  Instead, the ball was given to Rick Casares who plowed through the line for the extra point, giving the Dragons a victory.


Casares vs. Orlando

Casares uses his physical strength and determination to plow for yards with two defenders on the tackle.

Rick Casares, 1950 Jefferson Dragons
Photo from
March 2008 article by Paul Guzzo in Tampa's Cigar City Magazine:
"Tampa's NFL Hero"

Casares with Coach Woodruff
Photo from Gator Sports Forum

After graduating from high school, Casares received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and he played fullback for coach Bob Woodruff's Florida Gators football team from 1951 to 1953.  Casares quickly became the star rusher of the Gators' backfield.  As a 210-pound, six-foot-two-inch sophomore in 1952, he scored the first touchdown of the Gators' first bowl game, a 14–13 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the January 1, 1953 Gator Bowl, and was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection and an honorable mention All-American.  In 1953, he was a team captain.  Woodruff ranked Casares as the Gators' best back and one of their three best kickers of the 1950s. Casares was also a member of coach John Mauer's Florida Gators basketball team, and led the team in scoring and rebounding with 14.9 points and 11.3 rebounds as a sophomore in 1951–52 and 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds as a junior in 1952–53.  In basketball, he was a third-team All-SEC selection in 1952; as basketball team captain in 1953, he received second-team All-SEC honors. Casares' college career was cut short when he was drafted into the U.S. Army after his junior year. He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great."  As part of an article series for The Gainesville Sun in 2006, he was recognized as No. 37 among the top 100 players of the first 100 years of Florida Gators football.

Rick Casares as a Chicago Bear
The announcer incorrectly states that Rick was from North Jersey. This film is rare because George Halas, Bears coach, did not want his players filmed up close without their helmet on. He didn't want any player to be publicized as an individual star.

Photo from Gator Sports Forum

Casares was selected in the second round (eighteenth pick overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears,  and, after fulfilling his military service obligations, he played for the Bears from 1955 to 1964.  Casares led Chicago in rushing from 1955 through 1960. In 1956, Casares led the NFL in rushing with 235 carries for 1,126 yards.  At the time, this was the second most yards gained in a single season in the NFL.  Behind Casares' hard-nosed rushing, the Bears advanced to the 1956 NFL Championship Game. However, the Bears' championship game opponents, the New York Giants, completely stifled Casares and crushed the Bears, 47–7. During the following 1957 season, Casares again led the NFL with 204 rushing attempts, but his 700 yards was eclipsed by Jim Brown's 942 yards on two fewer carries.  After ten seasons with Chicago, Casares was the Bears' all-time leading rusher with 1,386 carries, 5,657 yards, and forty-nine rushing touchdowns.  His Chicago Bears rushing records weren't broken until Walter Payton shattered them in the 1980s, and he remains the third all-time rusher in franchise history, immediately behind Payton (16,726 yards) and Neal Anderson (6,166 yards), and immediately ahead of Gayle Sayers (4,956 yards). 

Casares as a Washington Redskin, 1965





Casares finished his professional career with the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1965, and in 1966 with the AFL's Miami Dolphins, receiving only limited carries in his final two seasons.






July 27, 1960 - St. Petersburg Times:  Rick Casares, as corporation president, showing an artist's rendering of his new Brunswick-equipped bowling facility to White Sox catcher Sherman Lollar. 

Plans were to build the million-dollar facility at the northwest corner of Elmhurst and Dundee roads with a snack bar, lounge, a pro shop, meeting rooms, a nursery, a family recreation area, and a 250-car parking lot.  The Rick Casares Pro-Bowl was a 24 lane facility in Buffalo Grove, near Wheeling, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, at Dundee and Buffalo Grove Roads. The alley was open until 4 a.m. and was a big draw, with league standings appearing in the paper.  The bowling alley was also known for late-night carousing at its "Huddle Lounge" - within limits, of course, since the old police station was next door.  In 1963, George "Stardust" Green, a jazz musician and singer, recorded his album "For all we know"  live in the Huddle Lounge of Rick Casares' Pro Bowl club, in Buffalo Grove.

Rick Casares, 1971
Photo from eBay

Rick Casares, 1965 press  photo
from eBay

On Nov. 23, 1969, Casares married Polly Cleary, widow of the late Tommy Cleary of the Weaver family, owners of the Derby Lane Greyhound Track.  At the time, Rick was the owner/operator of the Huddle Lounge in Tampa, which he sold a few years later.  Their reception was held in the Garden Room at the International Inn and was attended by some 500 guests.  See article.

Photo at right shows Casares in 1971 with a knee injury he received while coaching the Dolphins of the Peewee Football League.  He was so excited when one of his players broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run that he followed him along the sidelines until Casares ran into a concrete bench.





Rick Casares in 1998 at a party celebrating Jefferson High School retiring his #60 jersey.  Photo from Tampa Tribune article




Mr. Casares passed away on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.  He was 82.

See this Jan. 31, 2007 article by Tom McEwen about Rick:
"Rick Casares Picks the Bears, Who Else?"

Don't miss this March 2008 article by Paul Guzzo in Tampa's Cigar City Magazine:
"Tampa's NFL Hero"

Tampa Tribune Online:  Former Jefferson HIgh, NFL Star Rick Casares Dies

Photo from above cited Tom McEwen article.



The Alumni Workroom

At the south end of the museum is the Alumni workroom where one can look at and purchase past HHS and JHS yearbooks.
The workroom, for sale of annuals and to give information, is only open the first Tuesday of each month 10am to 1pm.

On the other side of the wall of t-shirts is a computer room that was originally part of the workroom but was separated from it in the renovation.  The room was originally part of the book bindery.

The Class of 1942, the first graduating class of JHS, donated all their leftover funds to the museum in the amount of $1,000.00 when they planned no more reunions.  Tables, chairs and file cabinets were purchased with the funds.  Up until then the museum had a mishmash of furniture so with this generous gift they bought everything new when they moved into the newly restored school.

Lost your yearbook, or wish you had bought one? The Jefferson High School Alumni Museum has yearbooks from both Hillsborough and Jefferson for sale. The JHS-Cypress ones on hand are brand new as follows :1974, 1975, 1976, 1979.1981, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006. $45.00 each.  The proceeds are split between the museum and the school.  From the old Jefferson they have as follows: 1942, 1943, 1945, 1953 at $40. each.  Anyone looking for these years should contact Alice Prida at 813-223-9693.

They also have for sale three Chamberlain Totems - 1968, 1969 and 1971. One HCC Satori, 1974, and one East Bay Warrior, 1983

The annuals in the photos at right and below are for viewing purposes only.






Diploma of Alice Louise Schneider, Class of 1920, signed by Principal Ernest L. Robinson, Chairman of Board of Public Instruction Philip Shore, and Superintendent of Public Instruction J. E. Knight.  This is a VERY big diploma (the streak is a reflection).




The Eight Homes of Hillsborough High School
Cornerstone history of Hillsborough High School

Jefferson High School and George Washington Jr. High School History and the D.W. Waters Career Center
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