George Washington Jr. High and the D. W. Waters Career Center
The 1978 photos of G. Washington Jr. High and the D.W. Waters Career Center are the exclusive property
of the photographer and and may not be used without the owner's permission.




Thomas Jefferson Junior High School, Jan. 1932
Burgert Brothers photo from the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

After Hillsborough County High School moved out of this building on Highland Ave., Thomas Jefferson Junior High School was founded here in 1928.  Under the guidance of principal  D. W. Waters, it transitioned into a high school in 1939 and its first class graduated in 1942. 


Jefferson High occupied this old building until 1966-67, when the school board decided that its location no longer met modern educational requirements.  The school was closed and Jefferson ceased to exist.


Students outside Jefferson High School, from the 1947 Monticello.  The school yard was paved over in concrete in the mid-1940s during the WWII years.

Robertson & Fresh photo from USF Digital Archives

In 1967, this building became the 2nd home of George Washington Jr. High.  Jefferson High School was reborn in 1971 with no building of its own, so it shared the A. P. Leto High School facility through June, 1973.  In the fall of 1973, the Jefferson Dragons moved into their new and current facility at 4401 W. Cypress St.

The paths of Jefferson High, Hillsborough High and George Washington Jr. High would ironically converge during the 1975-76 school year, while Hillsborough High School on Central Avenue was being renovated.  HHS 10th grade students attended George Washington Junior High for the afternoon session at the 2704 N. Highland Avenue location--the same facility built for them in 1911.  Eleventh and twelfth grade HHS students attended the new Jefferson High School building at 4401 W. Cypress St.  Jefferson students attended classes from 7am to noon, with an overlap period for some students needing extra credit from noon to 1pm. Hillsborough students attended the afternoon session from noon until 5pm.


D.W. Waters was born around 1899 - 1900 in Mississippi. He came to Tampa for a teaching job and soon married Leannah Susan Parker around 1921. They had a daughter named Wanda around 1923 and a son D.W. Jr. around 1931. In 1930 he was a public school teacher and by 1938, he had become Jefferson Junior High School principal when it transitioned into a high school in 1939. His son, D.W. Waters, Jr. became the principal of Miles Elementary. Both DWs were on the the board of the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union.  D.W. Sr. owned the property at the corner of N.Dale Mabry and Fletcher where the Publix is and across the street at Moran Rd. all the way down to where the lake is behind where the Japanese steak house was. (Info and wedding photo courtesy of Donna Waters.)

     D.W Waters, 1944 Monticello


Photos from the 1944 Monticello



Students in the library, 1943-44



Students in the cafeteria, 1943-44




The girls rifle team, 1943-44

The JHS marching band practicing on the patio, 1943-44


The Jeffersonian was the school's bi-weekly newspaper, published by the journalism class.


Photos from the 1946 Monticello


 The elf-like character was named "Tommy" and was used as a mascot for the yearbook.  He appears in many of the book's photos.

Credit is given to Mr. D. W. Waters for the vast accomplishments achieved by the school in the past five years, since becoming a high school:

"No one knows better than Tommy how much  of the credit for this achievement belongs to the skipper--our principal , Mr. D. W. Waters--for his willingness to lend a hand whenever needed; for his guidance and understanding; and for his love of Jefferson and each of its students.

Not a football, basketball, baseball game or track meet goes by but he is there, for, having played baseball for several years himself, he is a natural for all sports contests.  And usually with him are the members of Jefferson's first family--his wife, daughter and her husband and child, and his son--all are staunch Dragon rooters  even down to one year old Sharon.

He also likes to visit classes and when a substitute is not available, "pop" takes over, both to his and the student's delight.  He likes even more to play checkers and chess, and spends spare moments playing in a never ending tournament with the men teachers.  The "spares" are usually few and far between, for there's always something or somebody ready to claim the time and attention of Jefferson's top man--Mr. D. W. Waters.

Three and two on the boss

Principal caught peeking

Some championship advice


Tommy takes in a Jefferson show at assembly.
Notice the balcony at top left.

Tommy spends a quiet hour in the library.

Tommy shows the girls the proper way to primp.

Tommy gets taken for a try ride in the lunch room.


Photos from the 1947 Monticello


The 1947 Monticello had a Gasparilla pirate theme.

Girls basketball on the front patio

School's out for the day




Girls sitting in the shade


A stroll down the parking lane



ROTC marching on the front patio


Photos from the 1949 Monticello


The 1949 Monticello had a Middle Eastern literary theme.





On the list of every high school girl as a preparation for her future in the home is home economics.

The Home Economics department of Jefferson has the newest and most efficient equipment of any high school in Hillsborough County.  There are eight completely equipped modern kitchens including electric dishwashers and frozen food units.




The shop department with its new machinery is an efficient workshop for all types of manual training.





Among the new clubs that have been received with enthusiasm is the Art Club and the Camera Club sponsored by Mrs. Evelyn Dale.  Each of these clubs has a waiting list and an interesting program for next year.





Lunchtime on campus


Sophomore class President Victor Spoto, VP Louis Monteleone and Secretary Rosalie Durand



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

Read about Rick Casares and his multi-talented athletic accomplishments, along with photos, including the javelin he used to win the event in numerous track meets.  Here at the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum at TampaPix.


Jefferson High School, 1961-62


Photos from the 1962 Jefferson yearbook "Monticello"

This sign is now displayed at the school's current location on Cypress Ave. in Tampa



Jefferson hasn't always had a gymnasium.
In fact, up to 1953 we had none of about which to talk.


In that year under the administration of Mr. Ateo P. Leto, the principal of Jefferson at that time, the Jefferson gymnasium of today was built. It was an exciting year for all concerned for this was a big addition to our school. Everyone at Jefferson is proud of their gymnasium and they should be for it is one of the newest and best maintained in the city. In the gymnasium are also housed the band room, the locker room used by the athletes, and also both the boys and girls physical education locker rooms.

A. P. Leto as Principal of Chamberlain
High School, 1960.

Students in the Library.  This is now the location of the D. W. Waters media center and the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum.




Dancing the hully-gully, a new dance craze that is danced without a partner, students at homecoming dance get ready to kick to the left.

From the 1962 Monticello.







Student office assistants help Mr. Garcia keep his office running smoothly.  Working hard are Roy Carrasco, Dolores Garcia, Tony La Russa, and Lorraine Bascilio.

Tony La Russa
Class of 1962


Tony La Russa, Shortstop


1962 Jefferson Dragons Baseball, Tony La Russa, 2nd Row, 4th from left 

Anthony "Tony" La Russa, Jr. (born October 4, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball manager and infielder, best known for his tenures as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals. La Russa managed teams to six league championships and three World Series titles, and ranks third in all-time major league wins by a manager, behind Connie Mack and John McGraw.

As a player, La Russa made his major league debut with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963. After a shoulder injury the following off-season, he spent most of his career in the minor leagues. He spent parts of five other seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs. His final big-league appearance came in 1973 with the Cubs, but he continued to play in the minor leagues until 1977. Following the end of his playing career, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Florida State University College of Law.

Tony was inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame on July 26, 2014.  Read more about it and Tony at this Tampa Bay Times article by Marc Topkin:  Tampa upbringing crucial to La Russa's Hall of Fame career         Click plaque to see larger


Braulio Alonso (December 16, 1916 – June 5, 2010) was a high school and junior high school teacher and principal of Jefferson High School from 1958 to 1962.  He served as the first Hispanic president of the National Education Association.


Braulio's father, Braulio Alonso-Gonzalez, was from Oviedo, Spain and immigrated to Tampa in 1911, at age 22, from Havana, Cuba on the S.S. Olivette.


At right:  Braulio Alonso (Jr.) senior picture in the 1935 Hilsborean

Alonso, whose first language was Spanish, was born in Ybor City to Oviedo, Asturias, Spain native Braulio Alonso-Gonzalez and Luisa Corces, a Florida native whose parents immigrated here  from Spain.  Both Braulio Sr. and Luisa were cigar makers in Ybor City and members of the Centro Asturiano social club.  

Braulio (Jr.) went to work at the age of 10 in order to help support his family and graduated from Hillsborough High School as valedictorian in 1935.  In 1939, Alonso graduated from the University of Tampa, also as valedictorian.  Braulio married Adelfa "Bebe" Diaz, an elementary school educator, in August 1941. They had two children.

JHS Principal Braulio Alonso, 1962

Alonso began his teaching career as a chemistry and physics teacher at Plant High School before WWII. After the war, he returned to public education as director of Adult Education and On-the-Job Training for Veterans from 1946 to 1953.  Alonso pioneered the present-day Adult High School.  During the summers he attended the University of Florida where he earned a Master's and Ph. D. At the time, he was providing also for the college education of his two younger sisters, Teresa and Zoraida, as well as supporting his family.

Braulio entered the US Army in October 1941 as a private and was immediately sent to Officer Candidate School.  He served with the 85th infantry Division in North Africa and the Italian Campaign as Battery Commander in the 328th Artillery Battalion and was in the first group of allied officers to enter Rome. Major Alonso was discharged in November 1945. He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Cluster.

One of Alonso's lifelong passions had been to improve the schools and champion the teachers. In pursuit of that mission, he served as president of the Hillsborough Education Association (1951–1956) and then as President of the Florida Education Association in 1957.  He was especially proud of his role as one of the educators who contributed toward desegregating the FEA.  Braulio was elected president of the National Education Association and took office in July, 1967. In 1968 masses of Florida teachers resigned in protest over budget cuts. Braulio ended his teaching career by resigning as principal of King High School in solidarity with the teachers. The county refused to rehire him after the protest.  Braulio later became the NEA's director of international relations and traveled the world representing the NEA.  He retired his post at the NEA in 1983. In 2001, Braulio Alonso High School was opened in honor of Dr. Alonso.

Alonso being honored at the school named after him, 2001

Braulio Alonso's Obituary    Photo from Alonso High School Website     Portrait and Memorial



Notable alumni
  • Ferdie Pacheco (1944) Personal physician for Muhammad Ali

  • Rick Casares (1950) AFL/NFL football player

  • Bob Martinez (1950) Former Tampa mayor Florida governor

  • Tony La Russa (1962) Major league baseball player/manager

  • Joe Lala (1965) Musician & Actor

  • Tony Zappone (1965) Author, photojournalist, broadcaster

  • Fred McGriff (1981) Major league baseball player

  • Oscar Smith (1981) NFL football player

  • Luis Gonzalez (1985) Major league baseball player

  • Tino Martinez (1985) Major league baseball player

  • Coleman Bell (1988) NFL football player

  • Torrance Small (1988) NFL football player

  • Kirby Dar Dar (1989) NFL football player

  • K. D. Williams (1990-91?) NFL football player

  • Keith Newman (1995) NFL football player

  • Reche Caldwell (1997) NFL football player

  • Tarence Kinsey (2002) NBA Basketball player

  • Andre Caldwell (2003) NFL football player

  • Prechae Rodriguez (2003) CFL football player





The image above was created from the photo below.

After Jefferson High School was closed, George Washington Jr. High School moved here in 1967.  George Washington Jr. High had first started operating at 707 E. Columbus Drive in 1915 at a newly built building which was identical to Woodrow Wilson High School. Within several decades that George Washington Junior High became overcrowded, forcing the school to move into the larger, and abandoned former Hillsborough and Jefferson High School building on N. Highland Ave.  The school lasted 14 years here, closing its doors for good in 1980 due to an enrollment drop to just under 1,000 students.

George Washington Jr. High School B & W photos from 1978



The dates on the banner represent the starting and ending years that GWJHS existed at the original 707 E. Columbus Drive location.


Directed by James Leone
Photo provided by Rick Garcia



Photo descriptions of students below are by John Walker from his website
George Washington Junior High School - Home of the Fighting Tigers

The 1977-78 GWJH Tigers concert and marching band members with director James Leone

Music and Choral Director James "Jim the lion" Leone did it all, directing the bands and choruses, while maintaining a high level of musicianship within his ensembles. He was a dedicated music educator who demanded the best from his students.  Mr. Leone was much beloved, although he was known for having a temper when it came to his band and chorus students "not measuring up" to what he expected. Mr. Leone remained the Music and Choral DIrector, until GWJH closed in 1980.

James Leone was a Jefferson High School Dragon from the proud class of 1955 and went on to attend the University of Florida and Florida State University where he received his Bachelors in Music Education in 1959.  Mr. Leone returned home to the Hillsborough County Public Schools as a teacher of band, chorus, orchestra, and general music at Orange Grove Elementary School.  He held his position until 1966 at which time he moved to instruct band, chorus, and orchestra at George Washington Junior High School until 1980 when the school closed,  Mr. Leone finished out the rest of his 38 year teaching career, teaching chorus at two other junior highs. During all of his years of teaching, Mr. Leone was working toward his Masters in Music Education, which he received from Florida State University in 1984.

This band jacket was found in the attic by construction workers during the 2003 restoration of the old building.  It was very faded and moth-eaten but Royal Cleaners donated their services to clean it up.  The jacket is on display at the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum at the D.W. Waters Career Center.



The 1977-78 GWJH Tigers chorus members with director James Leone


Duplication technology of the times--cutting a stencil on a typewriter and running off duplicates on a mimeograph machine.

The Fighting Tigers football team


The GWJH cheerleading squad


GWJH Principal John Alfano and cheerleaders


Along with other items, this display board of GWJH past student council presidents was found in a closet by building custodian Jerry Werner. It is on display at the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum at the D.W. Waters Career Center.  On the right is Janet Bates, 1977-78 Student Council President.

This National Junior Honor Society banner was found in a closet by custodian Jerry Werner, along with other items.   Royal Cleaners hand cleaned it for no charge.  It is on display at the Jefferson High School Alumni Museum at the D.W. Waters Career Center.



The following information by John Walker was excerpted from his website  George Washington Jr. High School - Home of the Fighting Tigers


In 1992, the building served as the operational headquarters and as a shoot location for numerous scenes in the movie “Cop & a Half,” directed by Henry Winkler and starring Burt Reynolds and Norman Golden, II.  Burt Reynold’s character “Nick McKenna” was supposed to be a Tampa Detective who graduated from HHS and FSU.



Opening scene from the movie

The main building provided office spaces for the administrative, payroll, and production staffs.   It played a key role in meeting the production needs of the directors--to set up a sound stage; to accommodate Burt’s apartment set; and to provide the classrooms and exterior locations that fit the “on screen look” they were aiming for, which was eventually portrayed on screen in the film.  The movie was shot all over the interior and exterior of the school.








The entire interior of Burt Reynolds’ apartment seen in the movie and the hall outside it was all built onto the auditorium stage at the former George Washington Junior High. A lighting grid was rigged above the set on the stage, and the daylight seen coming in Reynolds' window in the movie was directed from out in the seating areas of the auditorium.  None of the scenes of the interior of Burt’s Ybor apartment were shot in Ybor City because the rooms and hallways in those buildings on 7th Ave. were too narrow for the talent, cameras, crews, and boom operators to work and still get the shooting angles and shots they wanted.

Many of the sports photos on the wall in Reynolds' apartment were borrowed from Hillsborough High School. They used the now famous school pictures of HHS’s varsity baseball teams; from the ’81 State Sectional squad of “Doc” Gooden, to the ’80 State Finals’” team led by Vance Lovelace and Floyd Yoemans.  They even hung the HHS football teams ‘80 District Co-Champ photo and possibly the ‘81 State Decathlon Championship team photo as well.  All of the photos were blended in amongst the FSU memorabilia, which were from Reynolds' personal collection.

The old cafeteria was converted into the interior of the police station headquarters and the bathroom across the hall in the police station scene still had the same old  soap dispenser from the school. 

Cop and a Half trailer on YouTube

The first home of George Washington Jr. High School

In 2001, the Hillsborough County School District sold the abandoned, original 1915 building of George Washington Junior High at 707 E. Columbus Drive to the FDOT for $380,000. In August of 2004, the original 1915 George Washington Junior High School building was finally demolished to make way for I-4 expansion, despite public outcry, and to the dismay of many of the schools alums.  HARTline used some of the bricks and architectural accents to erect a nearby bus shelter on the northeast corner of the original Washington school site. They mounted a plaque dedicating the bus stop as a tribute to the old school building.


The first George Washington Junior High School was historically significant as one of the first two junior high schools constructed in the nation. The school helped change the organizational structure of schools throughout the United States. It was architecturally significant as an example of the Mediterranean Revival style as adapted to academic architecture in Tampa. An architectural style most intimately linked with the 1920s Florida Land Boom, the Mediterranean Revival style was adapted to many early Tampa schools built in the 1910s-1920s. Although often clad in the traditional red brick, these schools exhibit arches, shaped parapets, brackets, pendants, contrasting brickwork, and other details associated with the Mediterranean Revival style.

See 40 photos of the old GWJH School on Columbus Drive
See 5 architectural drawings of the old GWJH on Columbus Drive



Special thanks to Wynelle Davis Gilbert, JHS Class of '44, for information and comments about the building on Highland Avenue and its restoration, the Jefferson Alumni Association Museum, and her years at Jefferson High School at this location.

This portrait of David Willoughby Waters hangs in the career center's office.


In 1993, seven Jeffersonians went to bat to save their old building on Highland Avenue, which at the time only housed some offices and was in dire condition.  It took almost 8 years of fighting downtown but in the end they were successful. On April 24, 1994, due to the their efforts, the school was renamed the D. W. Waters Career Center (for Jefferson High School's first principal), a County Public Schools center for 11th grade and 12th grade students focusing on occupational training and in 2003 the building benefited from a major restoration.  On May 15, 2007, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. 





The front of the school faces east and is the original portion of the structure completed in 1911.  It consists of three floors, with the first floor partially below ground level. The second floor is the school's main floor.  When you enter the building, there are stairs to go up to the main floor on the 2nd floor, or down a half flight to the 1st floor.  During the Hillsborough and Jefferson years, the first floor was often referred to as "the basement" and the second floor as "the first floor."



A view looking east towards Highland Ave. from the front entrance


The Rally Around the Flagpole Memory Walk was begun in April of 2002 and was a huge success. Almost 700 bricks were sold. Rebuilding of the brick low walls which once surrounded the school yard long ago was special request of the Alumni Association when the building was restored. As part of the restoration project, the concrete paving installed on the yard during WWII was removed and the yard restored.  At this time, numerous artifacts from before the paving were unearthed by the workers and donated to the museum.


The ceiling at the front porch of the building

The floor at the front porch of the building.   It formerly had "H.H.S." but was changed to "J.H.S." after Jefferson High School was founded here in 1939.  The color shades of the brick red and pine green tiles were used in the building's interior.


On the south face of the building you can see the original 1911 structure on the right and the 1923 addition on the left. This satellite image shows the original 1911 structure outlined in yellow and the 1923 addition to the left of it.



Looking south from the elevator, this is the patio situated on the 2nd level between the old and new structures.  The 1911 portion is on the left, the 1923 portion in the background and on the right.  On the left is the door to the museum-media center.  The blue arrow below shows the vantage point of the photo at left. (Note: This floor plan is rotated from the normal view of north at the top to correspond with the photo at left.)

Originally, the patio was an open atrium at ground level with a fishpond where one could sit outdoors and eat lunch but when the restoration was done in 2003, the ground level was enclosed with a floor and ceiling and a floor was built on the roof of the space to create the 2nd floor patio.  The patio serves as a lunch spot for teachers and as an overflow when meetings or reunion parties are held in the museum. For the rededication ceremony, this area was set up with tables and chairs, flowers, cloths and a lovely array of finger foods - all catered by the Jefferson-Cypress culinary department. Their students were dressed in black pants and white shirts and did the serving. Close to 200 attended and almost the entire School Board.



The photo above is a view of the main hallway,  marked with a blue arrow on the 2nd floor plan at right.  The opening on the right side of the hallway leads to the stairs down to the front doors of the building.  On the left side of the hallway, in the center of the photo, is one of the entrances to the Museum/Media Center.

The floors are original to the 1911 building, having been beautifully restored.  The interior colors are also true to the old high school color scheme.


Stairs from the 2nd floor down to the 1st floor front doors

The bronze plaque in the main hallway is a replica of the original which is displayed at the entrance to the Education building offices downtown. 
See the plaque larger

Rex Gordon on  well-trodden stairs. The windows are exact copies of the originals.

In order to function as a school again, the building had to have an elevator installed to make it handicapped accessable.  It was added in the patio space along the north hallway. Back in 1993 when the Save Our School Project first started, the windows were broken, pigeons and birds were roosting there, and the roof was leaking.  It was in sad shape.

Looking west along the north hallway from the original 1911 building into the 1923 addition.  The lengthwise floor boards and the smooth wall beyond the brick wall mark the start of the addition.  On the left can be seen the entrance to the elevator vestibule.

The door to a long-inoperative dumbwaiter system in the south hallway.  Hallways in the building have names such as Black Hall, Gold Hall, Cheetah Hall, etc.

Access to possibly a coal chute, furnace-related equipment or plumbing.


The Kay Moore Morse Auditorium
The seats are arranged in straight rows; the apparent curvature of this photo is due to wide angle lens distortion.

The auditorium has around 600 seats that were made in the style of the original seats which were not able to be restored at reasonable costs.  The only difference is that the current chairs are wider to accommodate today's generally larger students.

Kay Moore Morse, Class of 1943, who founded the Alumni Association, worked diligently to get the building on the National Register.  She started the "Save Our School Project" to rescue the building, the museum, and sales of bricks around the flagpole as a fundraiser.  The auditorium was named for her in honor of all her work and years of service to keeping this building in the system.

    Portrait by Philip Rosseter, Jr., JHS '46.

Behind the stage are dressing rooms and restrooms. Back in the 40's the boys and girls played their basketball games on the large stage and dances were held.  With only 3 feet beyond the court end lines, players would often run into the walls.

The auditorium seating originally featured balcony seating, but  unfortunately, the decision was made to convert the space into classrooms instead of restoring the balcony.



The bookstore on the first floor of the D.W. Waters Career Ctr. was the original location of Ed's snack and school supplies counter during the Hillsborough years.  Read more about Ed and his store.

The handicapped entrance on the first floor.  The original terrazzo floors were restored and refinished to shine like glass.

A showcase on the first floor


A view through the window of a classroom on the second floor

A view through the window of the culinary arts department


The boys restroom

The boys restroom


HHS historian Rex Gordon, JHS Alumni Museum curator Wynelle Davis Gilbert, and the D.W. Waters Career Center principal Veronica Knight Morgan.

The D. W. Waters Career Center provides quality performance based career preparation programs and training facilities for at-risk youth. They serve students who are not succeeding academically at one of the district’s comprehensive high schools, or who are over-aged middle school students. Students are given a second opportunity to graduate high school at an accelerated pace while getting started with training in a career of their choice. They combine academic and technical training that will assist students in entering college, an advanced technical training program, the workforce, or the military.

Visit the D. W. Waters Career Center website.


 The Eight Homes of Hillsborough High School    Cornerstone history of Hillsborough High School scan of original document

Jefferson High School Alumni Museum

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