Alumna Feature: Miss Alex Rider ’18


Alex Rider '18

Senior commons decorated for Christmas; Alex Rider ’18 celebrating with friends when she got into college

“The only place more familiar to me than Montrose is my own home”. These words were said by a new but not-so-new teacher at Montrose, Miss Alex Rider. Although she is new as a teacher here, this is not her first year at Montrose. Miss Rider was actually a student at Montrose, from 2011 to 2018 (she was a seven year survivor!). After graduating from Montrose in 2018, she graduated from Hillsdale College in May 2022. It was at Montrose that she found her love for English, philosophy, and history. In college she “ended up pursuing a degree in English and Classical Education”. While she attended Montrose, she was very involved with extracurriculars. She performed in about twelve different Montrose productions, and started the Features section of the Looking Glass. She was the editor of the Features section for two years. Who would have thought that she would end up getting a Feature written about herself? Miss Rider also lived with an international student from China named Anna for three years until she graduated. Miss Rider says they “grew very close and very much became sisters. I miss her a lot!”. Since you know a little bit about Miss Rider now, you can hear about why she came back to our beloved school. 

Miss Rider explains that she was ready to come into a new period in her life after she graduated from Montrose. She changed gears from this small school in Massachusetts when she went to a college in rural Michigan. However, “at the back of her mind”, she knew that she was going to come back to Montrose at some point to work, but never really thought she would. As Miss Rider came back to Montrose to apply for a job, she had a feeling that Montrose would be the right place for her and that she needed to work there this school year. It had everything she wanted for her first job. It seems like Montrose is a perfect fit for her, as a student and as a teacher! Now, let us get started with Montrose now and then!

The first difference I asked her about was the people. Numerous staff members have stayed at Montrose, including Fr. John. After all, it has only been five years! The seniors now probably knew Miss Rider as a junior and senior when they were in middle school! Some teachers she highlighted or had special connections with were Mrs. Baker (“I will always remember her daily handshakes”), Mrs. Elrod, Mrs. Forsgard, Mrs. Marge, Ms. Rice (who was also her mentor in her senior year and inspired her love for poetry and studying English in college), Mrs. Wanner (who attended Montrose at the same time that she did!), Ms. White (who taught her in sixth grade, and “working with her now in Capstone has really brought us full-circle”), and Mrs. Whitlock, who has taught her all she knows about writing. She thinks of Mrs. Whitlock whenever she starts writing or editing a literary piece. Many of the people at Montrose affected Miss Rider throughout her student life and as she went to college. 

Ms. Rider and her exchange student Anna at their junior ring ceremony. (Alex Rider ’18)

Montrose as a school has not changed much since she attended as a pupil. She especially thinks that the relationship in the community at Montrose has not changed. She describes it as, “a certain tight-knit culture at Montrose that I think will always stay the same. It’s the way friendships form here – around our faith, education, traditions, and mentorship – that truly make the school what it is, and I don’t think that will ever change.” In addition, Miss Rider thinks that most traditions have stayed the same. When talking about senior skip day, Miss Rider thinks that the seniors still get to miss school one day in the spring, but remembers that the ability for the seniors to “wreak absolute havoc on” the school for the day had been shut down. Sometime after she left it must have been allowed again because in the last couple of years the seniors have still done crazy things on that hectic day in the spring. Most of the clubs have also not changed. Miss Rider tells me that she tried to get the Walrus creative writing up and running as a senior, but sadly it did not happen. Luckily it has been revived! Montrose is not too different of a place than it was five years ago! 

I have talked about the similarities of Montrose, so now let us hear what Miss Rider says was different. When Miss Rider was a student, she wore the old kilt for six years before switching to the gray skirt her senior year! This is how she describes her feelings about the old uniform: “While I support the uniform now, I will always miss the beloved kilt!” 

Next, the school day schedule has changed quite a bit! There was no late start Wednesdays when Miss Rider was a student, and she remembers having one more class during the school day. For punishments, instead of having the Stewardship Brigade and Restorative Justice, Miss Rider had warnings and detentions. She says they sound scarier than they really were. Some rules and normalities have adapted during or after Miss Rider came to Montrose. If you think about it, though, Montrose has not changed too much in the few years Miss Rider left for college. 

Lastly, let us finish up with some more fun facts about Miss Rider, as this is a feature about her. One thing she wants you to know about her is that in her junior year she decided to skip prom to go to a writing conference in Vermont. She admits that this was quite nerdy, but has absolutely no regrets about it. She also performed in some of the first shows ever performed in the A&A, which were The Seven Ages of Anne and Anne of Green Gables. Additionally, she found her love for skiing when she joined the ski club at Montrose in eighth grade. She is excited to chaperone the ski club trips this winter! Finally, one big triumph during her life as a student happened her senior year, when her team (red team) won Field Day after losing to the white team for many years. Although as a teacher she is supposed to be on the “pink team,” she states, “if I’m being honest, I’m probably a shade of magenta. (Go Red!)” Miss Rider was a student with a vivid personality! 

Ms. Rider performing as Pablo in her favorite play at Montrose, “El Phantismo” (Alex Rider ’18) 

Miss Rider was a very active member of the Montrose community and still is now. From all of the plays and clubs she took part in, to the relationships she made with peers and staff, Miss Rider has made an impact on the school and the community. Although Montrose may have changed while she was gone, she has not. Miss Rider is still the hardworking person that she was all those years ago, and is still helping make Montrose the place it is today.

Victoria Florez, Staff Writer