HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY
Ridgewood High School
This page was last updated on June 12, 2013.
At the school board meeting on Nov. 15, 1977, James Marlowe said that since the new junior high school is not located on Ridge Road, it should be named either Oakridge or Ridgewood. The name Oakridge was discarded since there is an Oakridge subdivision in the county, and the board agreed on Ridgewood.
Ridgewood Junior High School opened on July 1, 1978. According to Wendell Krinn, the first principal, the school board intended from the start that the school would become the third high school in western Pasco County. The building, designed by Rowe Holmes Associates of Tampa, cost $3.2 million to construct. CM Associates, Inc., a Texas-based construction management firm, supervised the construction.
Ridgewood opened as a high school in 1983, although there was no senior class until the 1985-1986 school year.
The first high school graduation took place in 1986, with 305 students receiving their diplomas. The first graduating class of Ridgewood High School had attended the school both as a junior and senior high school. The first valedictorian was Julie Stenger. She attended West Point, the first woman from Pasco County to do so.
In 1991 the boys’ cross country team won the state Class 3A championship under coach Glenn Cable.
In March 1998, Dr. Arthur O’Donnell was named Principal of Ridgewood High School, effective at the start of the new school year. Dr. O’Donnell had been principal at Hudson High School for 13 years. Mr. Krinn, who had led Ridgewood for 20 years, became the head of the maintenance department for the school district.
On October 10, 1999, Assistant Principal William Hulton died of a heart attack at age 48. He had been an assistant principal at Ridgewood since 1982.
On Oct. 14, 1999, the football team defeated Wesley Chapel 34-21 and ended a 35-game losing streak.
In November 1999 the boys cross country team won the state Class 3A championship under coach Glenn Cable.
The school was saddened by the deaths of three students in 2000. On Jan. 19, Teddy Niziol, age 16, was accidentally shot to death in the school parking lot. On Sept. 9, Eric Przybyszewski, age 17, died of a drug overdose. On Dec. 12, Ashley Morrison, age 16, a sophomore, died of encephalitis.
In May 2002 the baseball team reached the state Class 4A championship game, losing to Jacksonville 13-0.
On Nov. 15, 2002, the football team made its first playoff appearance, under Coach Troy Cornwell. Ridgewood lost to Belleview 48-6.
In March 2003, the boys basketball team under head coach Gary Anders tied a school record with 28 victories. The team came within 8 minutes and 50 seconds of its first trip to the state final four in Lakeland, losing to Eastside 67-53 in the Class 4A Region 2 final. The basketball team had won 55 games in two years.
At the end of the 2002-03 school year, Dr. Arthur O’Donnell retired as Principal, and was replaced by Randy Koenigsfeld.
A school profile written in 2004 for the SACS re-accreditation reported the school had 105 certified teachers. It reported that enrollment for the 2003-04 school year was 1788 in grades 9 through 12 and that the school was seriously overcrowded, using 21 portable classrooms.
In its Pasco County 2007 football preview the St. Petersburg Times ranked Ridgewood #1 in the county. The season began with four consecutive wins. In the game against Gulf on Sept. 28, 2007, running back Byronell Arline ran for 343 yards and seven touchdowns. He became the county’s all-time rushing leader during the River Ridge game on Oct. 5, 2007.
An article in the Suncoast News on July 9, 2008, reported that construction workers were laying down the footprint for the eight-room addition, a permanent structure detached from the main school building and located between the school’s gym and baseball field. The additional classrooms would raise the school’s capacity by 200 students. The article reported that Ridgewood had 30 portable classrooms and had a population of 2,000 students.
In 2008-09 the boys basketball team had a 26-3 record. The season ended on Feb. 24, 2009, with a loss to King, 44-37, in the Class 5A region semifinal. Head coach was coach Gary Anders.
The boys basketball team lost to Nature Coast in a tournament game on Feb. 23, 2010. The loss ended the Rams’ 26-game home win streak and 21-game unbeaten streak. At that time under head coach Anders the team had gone undefeated four years in a row in conference, district, and county. Anders, who had been head basketball coach since the start of the 1987-88 school year, resigned at the end of the 2009-10 season. He had a total of 560 wins in 31 seasons as a head coach at several schools. The basketball court was subsequently named Anders Court.
Reforms mandated by state law were instituted in the 2010-11 school year after Ridgewood was assigned a D grade in 2007 through 2009. During that period, school grades were based entirely on FCAT scores by ninth and tenth grade students.
At the end of the 2010-11 school year, Larry Beets retired. He had been the baseball coach at Ridgewood for 28 years.
On Nov. 26, 2012, Angie Murphy became Principal, replacing Andrew Frelick, who was transferred to Zephyrhills High School.
[Some information on this page was taken from an article by David E. Chauncey.]