MCHS bids farewell to this year’s senior class

By Theo Tate
Posted 5/26/23

Marina Ridenhour’s 18th birthday on May 19 was something she will always remember.

She became a graduate at Montgomery County High School. Ridenhour was one of 80 students who received …

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MCHS bids farewell to this year’s senior class


Marina Ridenhour’s 18th birthday on May 19 was something she will always remember.

She became a graduate at Montgomery County High School.

Ridenhour was one of 80 students who received their diplomas during a one-hour ceremony at MCHS’ Ballew & Snell Court. She was also one of 16 students who was named to the school’s Academic Hall of Fame as she received a gold medal from her parents.

“It’s a big accomplishment for one night,” Ridenhour said.

The graduation also included an invocation from Cora Johnson, a benediction from Abby Knapp and speeches from Destiny Shaw, Hannah Finley and Addison Schluss and MCHS principal Brian Ernst.

Ernst wrapped up his first year as MCHS principal after working at the Wright City School District. He said he was impressed with the work ethic from the senior class during the 2022-23 school year. There were over 20 honor students in the graduating class.

“Throughout this school year, several students in the class took the initiative to educate themselves and their peers,” Ernst said. “I was impressed with their personal skills that will serve them well as they strive for their goals. I am eager to see how these remarkable young people made a difference in our community and society as a whole throughout their lives.”

Other students who were named to the Academic Hall of Fame and earned a gold medal were Finley, Schluss, Johnson, Hannah Broniec, Adam Czerniewski, Bailey Fischer, Carson Flake, Lyric Ford, Abby Good, Trenton Moose, Elizabeth Schierhoff, Carie Schroer, Ahna Sinclair, Ella Van Horn and Brianne West. Harrison Bishop received a silver medal.

In her speech, Finley talked about her experiences as a student during her four years at MCHS. She transferred to Montgomery County from the St. Charles area in her freshman year, when school was closed for in-person learning in the final months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was quarantined for a month during her sophomore year.

“I feel like the four years of high school meant a lot of hard work and dedication to me,” said Finley, who plans to attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville next fall. “I put in a lot of my time and effort into this school and I contributed a lot. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I worked hard and pushed myself through it.”

Ridenhour was looking forward to graduation night ever since she found out during a board meeting earlier in the school year that the event was going to be held on May 19.

“It was a presentation for Hero Night,” said Ridenhour, who was one of the escorts in last year’s graduation. “They were discussing when to have graduation and they decided on May 19. Jacer Brower was next to me and we were giving the presentation together. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s my birthday!’ That’s how I found out it was going to be on my birthday.”

Ridenhour enjoyed an outstanding senior year. She was crowned homecoming and prom queen and was one of two MCHS students – the other was Brower – who participated in the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference in April at Springfield. She also participated in football cheerleading and golf.

“I’m definitely going to miss my time here at Montgomery County R-II High School,” said Ridenhour, who plans to attend Southeast Missouri State University next fall. “I enjoyed it a lot. I met a lot of great people. The teachers are amazing here. Actually, they were the ones who almost made me tear up tonight by saying good luck. I love them so much. But I’m also very excited for my next chapter because I think they prepared me well for that.”


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