HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY
Ridgewood High School
RHS and GHS Cheerleaders Together, Oct. 14, 2010
Best of Pasco Cheerleading Competition, Nov. 20, 2010
RHS and GHS Cheerleaders Together, Sept. 30, 2011
JV Cheerleaders, Nov. 22, 2011
RHS Dance Team, April 24, 2014
RHS Faculty Members in Talent Show, April 24, 2014
Best of Pasco Cheerleading Competition, Jan. 14, 2017
This page was last updated on May 22, 2018.
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. The name Ridgewood had been submitted by Marilyn Higgins and Scott Bennett, students at Bayonet Point Junior High School.
On Feb. 6, 1978, the St. Petersburg Times reported that Wendell Krinn, assistant principal at Bayonet Point Junior High, would become the principal of Ridgewood Junior High School, now under construction.
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.
On Aug. 22, 1978, the St. Petersburg Times reported that the Ridgewood Junior High football team would play two “home” games at Hudson senior High and one at Gulf’s Des Little Stadium this year. The team was nicknamed the Rams.
On Aug. 4, 1981, the school board approved the conversion of Ridgewood Junior High School to a senior high school. Superintendent Tom Weightman told the school board that conversion should be fairly easy because Ridgewood was built to senior high school specifications. He said that the school only needs a gymnasium and parking lot to comply with accreditation standards.
Ridgewood opened as a high school in 1983, although there was no senior class until the 1985-1986 school year.
The 1983-84 Ridgewood High School football team, playing a JV schedule, had an 8-0 record, scoring a total of 210 points and giving up only 25 points, with five shutouts.
The 1984 yearbook shows students in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.
The 1984-85 school year had no 12th grade.
The 1985-86 soccer team had a 24-3 record, winning the school’s first-ever district, region, and section titles in any sport.
The first high school graduation took place on June 6, 1986, with 305 students receiving their diplomas, according to one source, but the St. Petersburg Times reported on June 7 that 292 seniors became the school’s first graduating class. 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. Cherry Ritenour was the salutatorian.
The 1987 yearbook shows Wendell Krinn, principal, and these assistant principals: William G. Hulton Jr., Linda Elkin, Cheryl A. Renneckar, Steve Luikart, Thomas Imerson.
In 1991 the boys’ cross country team won the state Class 3A championship under coach Glenn Cable.
On May 8, 1992, Ridgewood won the state softball championship under Marlyn Bavetta, head coach, and her husband Jim, assistant coach. Thus, Ridgewood had two state championships in the 1991-92 school year.
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 Aug. 13, 1998, Ridgewood student Lori Crist was was struck by a car and killed, just before the start of her senior year.
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.
In 2016 the gymnasium was named in honor of Wendell Krinn, who had recently died.
In 2017 Angie Murphy was transferred to River Ridge Middle School. She was succeeded by Chris Dunning.
On Nov. 7, 2017, the school board approved a plan to transform Ridgewood into a magnet technical high school for the 2018-19 school year. There was one “no” vote, by board member Steve Luikart, who had been an assistant principal at Ridgewood High School when the school was new. Luikart said, “I think we should fix schools, not shut them down.” The timing of the closing of Ridgewood was to an extent forced by the state’s accountability program, as Ridgewood had earned a D grade in the previous two years and would have faced state intervention.
On Dec. 19, 2017, the school board unanimously chose the name Wendell Krinn Technical High School for the new school.
The boys basketball team made it to the Class 6A region 1 final, but failed to make it to the final four by losing to Palatka 64-51 on March 2, 2018, in a packed Ridgewood gymnasium. Ridgewood led by one point at halftime but was outscored 40-26 in the final 16 minutes.
Ridgewood students who do not choose to attend Krinn Technical will transfer to Fivay and Gulf high schools.
A closing ceremony for alumni and friends of Ridgewood High School was held on May 22, 2018. The featured speaker was Martha Krinn, whose late husband was the much-admired principal of the school for 20 years, from its founding. Betty Wipert, the one employee who had been with Ridgewood since it opened as Ridgewood Junior High School in 1978 until it closed in 2018, was presented a plaque by school board member Cynthia Armstrong.
The last day of classes is scheduled for May 25, 2018.
[Some information on this page was taken from an article by David E. Chauncey.]
Wendell Krinn Obituary (2016)
Wendell L. Krinn, 77 passed away January 7, 2016. Survived by wife, Martha, son Clay (Tracey), daughters Jenny (Dave), Penny; brother Keith (Peggy), sister Yvonne (Woody) grandchildren Valerie, Ashley, Rusty, Matthew, Rebecca, Christa, Cooper, Cole, Savannah and great grand daughter Ellie. He is pre-deceased by his son Tommy. Wendell was in education for 42 years and was the Principal of Ridgewood High School for the first 20 years of its existence. He is also a US Marine.
There will be a viewing and visitation time on Saturday January 9, 2016 from 2-4 and from 6-8 at Faupel Funeral Home. There will also be a memorial service on Sunday January 10, 2016 at 2:30 in the gymnasium at Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey.