Winters Mill grad described as a natural teacher

Winters Mill High School grad profile. (Michel Elben / Carroll County Times)

Winters Mill High School graduating senior David Ridgely took advantage of the school's resources to lay the foundation for his future teaching career. Ridgely, of Westminster, participated in the school's Early Childhood Education program, spent two weeks with the autism program and became a member of the Future Educators of America.

"Because I plan to teach, teaching in the preschool was a great learning environment," Ridgely said. "High school offered endless possibilities. The ECE program was fun, hard work. I will always remember the people and how they've impacted my life."


Ridgely was one of 266 Winters Mill High School students who graduated on Friday, June 9.

Ridgely was a utility player on WMHS's baseball team for four years and made varsity halfway through his sophomore year. He was also a member of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes and a peer facilitator who assisted the counseling staff with administrative tasks and talked to students about their issues.

He plans to continue attending Carroll Community College to complete his general education requirements before transferring to a four-year college. He hopes to become a teacher in Carroll County after graduation.

Ridgely described his high school career as "new, exciting and enjoyable."

He explained he was home-schooled for third through eighth grades and "going to public school was a totally new world."

"I had to learn how to learn from someone else," Ridgely said. "I have to thank Winters Mill as a whole because the teachers are amazing. Everyone was so welcoming. After the first month, it became easy and fun. I will honestly will miss high school."

Ridgely said health teacher Kellie Hurst was particularly inspirational.

"She was a role model," Ridgely said. "She taught me that relationships work through honest communication, and she definitely stresses learning to communicate face to face."

Hurst said Ridgely is in her "top 5 percent of all-time memorable students."

"He has integrity and an enthusiasm to learn. He's kind, willing to help others and he's empathetic. He's a natural teacher," Hurst said. "He'll really succeed and thrive as a teacher because he already understands the art of it."

Child development teacher Kathy Hill taught Ridgely in three classes.

"He's an all-around good kid," Hill said. "He cares about his peers and he's reliable, sincere and personable. The preschoolers loved him and called him Uncle David. I hope he decides to go into a field that involves children so he can enhance their lives."

School counselor Heidi Kohls supervised David's peer facilitator experience.

"He made such a big impression on the whole counseling department," Kohls said. "He's incredibly responsible, insightful and helpful. He's very mature and has an almost innate ability to empathize."


Kohls said Ridgely made "a very genuine connection with the students."

"I hope that he does go into teaching," Kohls said. "No matter what level he teaches, I know he's going to change lives."

Ridgely's mother Laurie Ridgely described her son as "a great, easygoing kid."

"I think what makes me most proud is to see how he's stepped up and become a leader in school," she said.

"He's a leader in classroom and on the baseball field. He genuinely cares about people and wants the best for everyone. He's shaping up to be a great teacher and I hope that he gets the education and tools he needs to be what he wants to be."


Winters Mill graduation statistics

•How many graduating: 266

•How many going to four-year college: 38 percent*

•How many going to two-year college: 30 percent*

•How many going to a trade school: 2 percent

•How many are going into the military: 6 percent

•How many are joining the work force: 2 percent

•How many are undecided: 5 percent

•How many did not report: 21 percent

*Some students indicated that they will attend both two-year and four-year schools. They will attend community college and then transfer to a four-year school.