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February 22, 2024 8 mins
The clock in the tower at Tampa's Hillsborough High School was dedicated in 1949. Students of the classes of 1946 through '48 raised thousands of dollars to build the clock in honor of those alumni who died in combat in World War Two.The clock stopped keeping time and chiming the hours several years ago. But it's being rededicated Saturday (2/24) after an alumni fundraising campaign. We speak with Darlene Fabelo, a HHS graduate who led the drive.
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Episode Transcript

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Gordon Bird Beyond the News. HillsboroughHigh School is the oldest high school in
Hillsborough County. It was founded inthe nineteenth century and its current building has
been around since the nineteen twenties.A part of that history and that historic
building has recently been restored and there'sgoing to be a dedication ceremony coming up

as we speak about this on thisfollowing Saturday. Darlene Fabello is an alumna
of Hillsboro High School and she hasbeen spearheading a drive to get the clock
in the tower at Hillsboro High Schoolrestored and working again properly after several years
of it being out of order.Darlene Fabello, good day and welcome to

Beyond the News. Thank you,Gordon, thanks for having me. Now.
This clock is obviously it's been arounda long time, but it also
commemorates an important part of the historynot just of the high school of Hillsborough
High School in Tampa, but ofthe nation. Tell us the story behind

the clock that is in the towerat Hillsborough High School. Okay, Well,
the clock was installed in nineteen fortynine for the one hundred and forty
three student terriers that died in combatin World War Two. It took three
years to raise funds for the clocktower, which back then costs five thousand

dollars. So the class of theforty six, forty seven, and forty
eight started the fundraiser and then byforty nine they finally had all the money
to do the installation for the fallenterriers. So the clock is a memorial.
And it's hard to fathom that onehigh school lost one hundred and forty

three of its alums in the SecondWorld War, but clearly that's the case.
In clearly that's what is commemorated inthat clock. And there came about
you became part of this effort tokind of restore the clock as it had
fallen into disrepair. Tell us aboutthat. Yes, so the clock had

not been telling time very well.It's been hit what lightning a couple of
times and you know, hurricane weather, so the time has always been off,
you know, not accurate. Andthen the chimes were not working,
the Carolin chimes, the Westminster bellswere not ringing anymore. It had been

eight to ten years. The lasttime I think I heard it was probably
way before twenty fourteen. So wewere a couple of of US alumni were
together and we were talking about theclock one night and we said, we
got to get this working again.You know, we can't forget our fallen

neuros. So it kind of justevolved from there to say, hey,
we need to fix six s clock, We need to get the chimes back,
we need to fix the plaque thatwe have, the memorial plaque on
the wall that we have with alltheir names. So there was three of
us and we took on this project, and we started by using social media,

of course, and we started aFacebook fundraiser and that's how it all
began last year, and in fiveweeks we raised five thousand dollars. We
had no clue how big this wasgoing to be. We were overwhelmed,
but we were happy, but overwhelmedand excited and now it's finally finally happening.

How much did it end up costingfinally to restore the clock and do
the other work, Well, weraised fifty thousand dollars. I don't know
the exact figures on everything because itwas done through the Hillsborough County Public School
District, so a lot of thework was done by their workers. Their
maintenance and operations department, and thenof course we had to buy, not

we, but they bought with ourmoney from the alumni donors. We bought
new speakers, a new amplifier,a new carolon. They did the restoration
on the plaque. They also puta new staircase inside the clock tower,
because the one that was in therewas a rickety old ladder that was quite

dangerous, actually, so I'm surprisedit had never been fixed before. But
now they have a really nice staircasethat goes up all the way to the
top of the tower to the rooftop, so it's a one hundred feet tall,
so it's a lot safer to goup there now. The meaning of

the clock and what it memorial isobvious to any American with any grasp of
history. But what has it meantin those intervening seventy five or so years
where you and so many other studentshave attended that school and graduated. What
does that mean with that clock upthere telling the time and with the carol

on sounding periodically, what does thatmean in the memories of all the students
who have come through there. Itjust reminds us that we had students that
were sixteen seventeen years old that diedand sacrifice for us. So it reminds
us every time we hear that chimethat you know, other people died for

us, for our freedom, forour country. So that's why it was
so important to get this clock repairedand get the chimes back to chiming because
we want we don't want to forgetthose that we lost, and we have
family members that graduated from the schoolthat have family members on the plaque,

you know, so we want tokeep honoring them as long as we can
till future for future generations and keepit going so students will never forget that
this was an important part of history. And it's also very historical for us

as a school and alumni and inthe community. You know, they hear
those bells and it travels far,so everyone is reminded of the terriers that
never came back home. Tell usabout the ceremony that's going to be taking
place Saturday and what's going to happenthere. Well. On Saturday, we

plan to have some guest speakers.We will also have one of the twin
boys of one of the fallen carrierthat was a marine he was killed in
nineteen forty four by a sniper inthe Marshall Islands, and his name was

Frederick Viddy A and his son willbe there to present the wreath underneath the
plaque it's on the wall, andhis whole entire family's coming. So he
wanted his sons and his grandchildren tocome see the history of their grandfather and

great grandfather because him and his brothernever met their father. They were born
nine days after the father was killedin combat, so they were five years
old at the first memorial dedication whenit was installed in nineteen forty nine,
So seventy five, seventy five yearslater, Raymond is coming back. His

brother Freddie unfortunately passed away in nineteenninety four, so they're coming back to
honor their father again and let hischildren and his grandchildren see the legacy.
Darlene Fabello, alumna of Hillsboro HighSchool who led a fundraising drive to restore

the clock in the tower at HillsboroughHigh They're having a dedication this coming weekend.
Darlene Fabello, thank you very muchfor joining us on Beyond the News.
Well, thank you, it wasreally great. My pleasure
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