TOP 5: Reasons it’s Great to be an Old Ridleian

Each year, over 100 Grade 12 students walk across the stage to accept their diploma at Ridley’s Graduate Prize Day. They enter a Tiger and leave an Old Ridleian (OR). As an OR, you are connected to over 8,000 individuals, spanning the globe and travelling down many different career paths.

While each OR is entirely unique, there is one common element that binds them… Ridley College.

The campus, the people, the spirit: all leave an indelible mark on each student who attends Ridley.

Here are five reasons it’s incredible to be an OR:

1. You gain world-wide, life-long friends.


There’s no question that the community at Ridley is a diverse one, with students coming to campus from 44 countries around the world. With so much time spent on campus, in class and on the field, student connections become fortified.

2. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.


Whether it’s a walk around campus – seeing the same red-brick buildings, hearing the chimes of the School House bells – or finding an old jersey in the closet evokes a feeling of nostalgia, it is a feeling that binds all Ridleians together.

3. You become a global citizen.

Whether a student spends one year at Ridley or ten, they have a culturally enriching experience. Upon graduation, each student leaves as a globally-minded and accepting individual.

4. The opportunities are endless.


The opportunities presented to Ridleians over the course of their education set them up for opportunities after Ridley. The lessons, the memories, the adventures all come together to prepare one for a lifetime of moments worth remembering.

5. You can always come home.


The best part about graduating, is coming back. Returning to campus and seeing what has changed is amazing, but chatting with current students is even better.

Ridleian Pursues Career as Global Leader

Cassandra Mitchell ’17 graduates from Ridley on May 27th, ending one chapter of her story and beginning another. While Ridley will always be her home, come September, Cassandra will be packing her bags and travelling 11,121 km to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she will attend New York University’s global campus.

Cassandra’s Ridley journey began three years ago and, in that short time, she fully has embodied what it means to be a Ridleian. She has been active in every aspect of a Ridley education – academics, arts, athletics and co-curricular programmes. With a strong passion for global change and human rights, Cassandra has led groups such as the Positive Space Group – which was just nominated for a Niagara UNITY Award – and Ridley’s environmental group, the Green Tigers. In her final year at Ridley, she has also led her peers as a school Prefect.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme has challenged Cassandra for the past two years; encouraging her to take risks, broaden her horizons and grow as a learner. However, academics were not the only valuable aspect of Ridley that Cassandra has benefitted from.

“Without a doubt I would not be going to my dream school next year without the amazing support I have received here at Ridley. I been given the opportunity to grow as a learner through the IB programme, and grow as a leader through prefectship and the clubs I’m involved in. During my time at Ridley, I have been given so many opportunities to further my education. I have to, once again, mention the IB programme because it has helped me so much. I am a more intelligent, more thoughtful, and just a better person because of the programme. I am so grateful for that privilege, but I think the most valuable thing that Ridley has given me has nothing to do with being a student. Through the amazing people I’ve met, I have learned how to listen, and have developed some of the most meaningful relationships of my life.” – Cassandra Mitchell ’17

The network of students that spans campus is so vast, connecting all aspects of Ridley life. Students have friends in their houses, in the studio, on the field and in the classroom, creating a web of support. That deep connectivity has given Cassandra many memories to look back upon as she prepares to walk across the stage on Prize Day 2017.

“I’m going to miss the maple tree outside of the Marriott Gates. I pass it on the way to school every day and in the fall, it turns the most spectacular shade of red. I’m going to miss trying to squish seven girls on a four-person couch in house meetings. I’m going to miss reading all the plaques around the school and imagining faces to all the names I don’t recognize and imagining what the classrooms and the dining hall and the hallways looked like 100 years ago. This is a special place.” – Cassandra Mitchell ’17

High school graduation is a big step, but the promise of adventure and discovery has Cassandra eager for this next chapter. New York University’s global campus’ purpose is to foster the next generation of global leaders. Cassandra will be among likeminded individuals, who believe in the future and are prepared to dedicate their lives to changing the world. Beyond the invigorating academic and intellectual experience Cassandra is preparing for, she is also excited for the opportunities that await her in the Middle East.

“What attracted me most immediately was the ethos of the school. The vision of the institution is something that I am so excited to be a part of. The second, more superficial, selfish reason I am so attracted to the school is the location. I absolutely adore travelling and exploring places I’ve never been. The Middle East is an area of the world I have yet to explore, full of cultures I can’t wait to immerse myself in.” – Cassandra Mitchell ’17

On May 27th, Cassandra will become an Old Ridleian, connecting her and her classmates to over 8,000 alumni spanning the globe. Cassandra will continue to grow during her journey abroad and is excited to see how Ridley transforms as well.

“I’m excited to watch Ridley grow. I’m excited to watch the plans I hear about now come to fruition. I can’t wait to come back here to visit and find that the school has grown to be even better than I remember it.”  –­ Cassandra Mitchell ’17

Congratulations to Cassandra and the Class of 2017 as they embark on their great journeys beyond the Marriott Gates.

 

Ridleian Bound for Brown University

This year, Ridley will graduate a total of 144 students, with one student in particular celebrating her impressive acceptance to Brown University – where, this year, only 9.2% of applicants were accepted. Megan Forrest ’17 will also be one of few Ridleians to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, play on a First team and be accepted to an Ivy League school.

Megan began her Ridley career in 2015, when her and her family were seeking an educational institution that could challenge her, both academically and athletically.  Ridley was the perfect fit, so Megan spent the next two years becoming deeply involved in the Ridley community. She took on a full IB course load, played for the First Girls’ hockey team and was an active member in her boarding house. While her schedule was demanding, Megan took full advantage of Ridley’s evening tutorials and support from teachers to help her maintain strong grades, while still spending enough time on the ice to fine-tune her skills.

“Ridley has provided me with the solid education required to get into Brown but it has also taught me many lessons that I will take along with me.  Other than passing IB, my goal when I started at Ridley was to play DI hockey.  The Tiger Arena and other athletic facilities were a necessity for being able to improve my game and overall strength.  The combination of Ridley’s hockey program, guidance team and IB program were what allowed me to make my dream a reality for this coming year.“- Megan Forrest ’17

While practicing her passions, Megan made sure to enjoy time with her Ridley family; participating in Friday night house activities and even starting ‘Fondue Night’ in Leonard House.

Now that Graduate Prize Day has finally arrived, Megan has taken some time to reflect on her Ridley career.

“Other than the obvious answer being all of the amazing people I met at Ridley, I think I will miss the tight knit community.  With such a small school, I was able to get to know almost all of my grade as well as many students in other grades. Since a large number of us live on campus, we are constantly together and got to know each other really well. Another reason that the Ridley community is so tight knit is that our teachers are also our sports coaches and are sometimes even on duty in our houses.” – Megan Forrest ’17

In September, Megan will be heading to Rhode Island to study Neuroscience at Brown University. While she works towards completing her programme, Megan will be playing for the Brown Bears women’s hockey team and potentially the track team as well.

“Brown is the perfect school for me as it is small and rural but so welcoming and inclusive. With its many clubs and all of the amazing people I am sure I will enjoy the next four years of my educational journey.“ – Megan Forrest ’17

On May 27th, Megan will join the ranks of all the Ridley graduates that have come before her, officially becoming an Old Ridleian.

“I am excited to come back to Ridley for HomeComing weekends to support future student athletes and reconnect with my classmates. I am looking forward to being able to connect with other Ridley alumni no matter where I am in the world. My time at Ridley was truly enjoyable and I am proud to be graduating from such an amazing school.” – Megan Forrest ’17

Congratulations to Megan and her accomplishments at Ridley. We wish her and her classmates good luck as they prepare for graduation and their journeys beyond the Marriott Gates.

PYP Students Become Global Citizens

Ridley inspires even its youngest students to consider critical global issues and enact change. Recently, our Grade 6 students demonstrated how the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) supports this mission with the PYP Personal Project Exhibition.

About PYP
Ridley is proud to implement the PYP into our Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum. The PYP curricular framework focuses on the whole child; developing their social, academic and emotional well-being. Incorporated into the framework are six transdisciplinary themes that focus on local and world issues and can be explored in each subject. The students are asked to explore these themes, find connections between them and determine how they relate to their course work.

Personal Project Exhibition
On May 10th, 2017, our Grade 6 students lined the halls of Lower School for the Class of 2023 Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition. This annual exhibition challenges our students to explore global issues and culminates all the teachings from the PYP. Twenty-two students worked diligently on these group projects for six weeks, before presenting their final products to families, friends and members of the Ridley community.

 

Project topics ranged from inquiries into community relationships, natural resources, equal opportunities, conflict resolution and mental health issues. Each student group decided on a broad inquiry question and then focused their research to a topic within. Each of the nine groups were paired with a mentor, who helped them along their investigative process.

One group, in particular, focused on technology and the importance of responsible use in the community. Working closely with Mr. Clarke, Head of Lower School, each of the three students focused on a different aspect – distraction, cyber bullying and addiction.

“I chose to focus on technology distraction because it affects many people including myself, and the issue will continue to grow as technology advances our world.” – Ada O. ’23

“For my action, I interviewed an experienced counsellor, alongside my associate Ada. My lines of inquiry were – ‘How can we stop or prevent technology addition (Responsibility)’, ‘What are the factors of technology addiction (Function)’ and ‘Technology addictions compared to other addictions (Connection)’.” – Edgar L. ’23

Another group worked with Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. York-Ireland, to explore the negative effects that humanity has on the environment. The students focused on invasive species, over-hunting, deforestation and water pollution.

“I selected water pollution because it has been a global issue for many years and it seems like it doesn’t get the attention it should. One of my fondest memories of exhibition is when I helped to clean up at the beach.” Riley B. ’23

Enacting Change

Beyond the extensive research done by each group, the students were required to take action in their local community. This led the students to discover the issues that exist in their very own backyards and how they can help make an impact. Some students educated their peers, while others volunteered for organizations around St. Catharines.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023. We hope this is only the beginning of your service journey. Terar Dum Prosim.

 

Celebrating the Arts at Ridley

The arts play an integral role in leading a flourishing life. The opportunity to explore creativity and practice self-expression allows Ridleians to define who they are, gain confidence in their talents, unlock the potential to innovate and contribute to culture. Great importance is placed on this aspect of student development at Ridley. Students are given the opportunity to create in any way they see fit. Ridley offers both academic and extracurricular options to explore music, drama, visual arts, digital arts, design or the spoken word. Students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate programme have a creativity element integrated into their curriculum as well.

In support of this approach, Ridley recently hosted Arts in April. This series of events captured all aspect of arts on campus. Members of the Ridley community were encouraged to attend and engage with our talented musicians, performers, artists and film makers.

Visual Art Showcase

Arts in April began with a visual art exhibition at Brock University’s Rodman Hall. The Visual Art Showcase allowed our Grades 7 to 11 students to display their artistic works in a public art gallery. The exhibition held its opening night on April 6th, with Headmaster, Ed Kidd sharing his excitement for the partnership between Brock University and Ridley. For the remainder of the evening, members of the community, Brock and Ridley perused the collection, speaking with the artists and admiring the wonderful works on display. The exhibition was open to the public until April 16th.

View photos.

IB Graduate Art Exhibition

“The IB art exhibition was an unforgettable experience; I was not only able to present and reflect on my works as an artist, but also suspend my belief and dissect them as a viewer.” – Monika Morcous ’17

From April 18th to 20th, the Griffith Gym was home to a large collection of art created by IB Art students. All senior IB student were given a section of the gallery where they could display several of their pieces. The works of art on display for the IB Graduate Art Exhibition were taken from a series of studio works undertaken over the two year IB Visual Art course. These works make up the exhibition component of the course, in which each student is required to generate series of artworks that reflected a specific theme and evidence of mastery using a chosen medium. Students enrolled in the SL (Standard Level) course were required to complete seven works of art and students enrolled in the HL (Higher Level) course needed to complete 11. In addition to the exhibition component of the course, students were required to complete a process portfolio and a comparative study paper. Each display was unique, allowing a glimpse into the artists’ creative process, style and technique. The sheer talent, creativity and focus of our IB Art students was impressive.

View photos.

Ridley Independent Film Festival

On April 19th, a red carpet was rolled out in the Mandeville Theatre for the 9th annual Ridley Independent Film Festival, better known as RIFF. This film festival is entirely student-run and was an opportunity to showcase the creative works of the IB Film Studies students.  Each student group was tasked with creating their own short film, from conception to execution. As each film premiered, it was clear that each student involved – videographer, producer, editor, actor or otherwise – was committed to creating a top-quality short film. For several students, this was the perfect opportunity to build a portfolio and get first-hand experience.

View RIFF films.
View photos from the red carpet.

Celebration of the Arts

On April 25th, the Upper School gathered together for the annual Celebration of the Arts. The event began in the Mandeville Theatre, where Head of Upper School, Michele Bett, inspired students with the trying stories of artists, musicians and performers from throughout the ages.

“Rationality, or thinking with the head, is one half of our human inheritance; the other half is creativity, or thinking with the heart. And I submit that this is the place of the arts, both at Ridley College and in our culture as a whole. The place of the arts is the heart.” – Michele Bett

To follow, students from the Music, Performing Arts and Digital Arts programmes performed pieces for their peers in the audience. Our string musicians played a spectacular piece from Star Wars, followed by a song from Hamilton, the musical. Raylon Chan ’19 rapped alongside them and brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation. A number of IB students showcased their studies during a theatrical piece that told a story through movement. The Jazz Band also performed on stage, after a playfully animated video on the negative effects of climate change. When the spectacular display of performing arts concluded, students reconvened in the Griffith Gym for a visual art exhibition, showcasing the works of both Upper School and Lower School students.

Read Mrs. Bett’s full speech.
View photos.

Upper School Art Awards

To conclude Arts in April, students from Grades 9 to 12 joined in the Mandeville Theatre one last time for the Upper School Art Awards on April 26th. This award ceremony is an opportunity for our students to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of their peers. Interspersed throughout the award presentations were musical and theatrical performances. Faculty members from the Department of Music: Scott Vernon, Clyde Dawson and Ken Hutton joined Anthony Nguyen ’18 on stage for a fantastic musical performance to begin the night. Dramatic Arts students performed scenes from Ridley’s production of The Tempest.  The String Orchestra, Cadet Band and Senior Choir all performed on stage – sharing both classical and modern songs. Finally, audience members were treated solo performances from Petrina Mo ’17, Alessia Guarducci ’18 and Jim Li ’17. To conclude the event, Senior students, Petrina Mo ’17 and Padraic Odesse ’17 spoke of the importance of the arts at Ridley; not only as a means for self-expression, creativity and culture, but also as an opportunity to expand one’s horizons and make connections.

View photos.

While Arts in April may be over, Ridley’s dedication to the arts continue. In May, our youngest Ridleians are showcasing their creative works at the PYP Visual Arts Showcase, followed by a musical performance by the entire Lower School student body.

TransfORming Our Globe – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ‘94

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of Ridley alumnus, Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94, who fell in love with music on campus and turned his passion into an award-winning career – producing music for Sony/ATV and many major artists.

Tawgs’ Ridley career began in 1989 and continued until 1992. During his three years, Tawgs would often find himself in the music studios, practicing on any instrument he could get his hands on. The more time he spent there, the more he fell in love with music. A Ridley faculty member encouraged Tawgs to join the orchestra, where he would have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians on campus. While the time he spent honing his musical abilities left an impact on Tawgs, it was the facilities and programmes that he had access to through Ridley that put him on the right path, leading to where he is now.

Tawgs’ passion for music and the chance to succeed was solidified after a school talent show, when we received praise that made him feel he was where he belonged. Then Headmaster, Douglas Campbell, approached Tawgs the following day and congratulated him on his performance.

“It was the first time the Headmaster spoke to me in a positive way like that. That really propelled me. That was what I needed to go forward. Especially as a child, when there is someone in an authoritative position who says that, you think ‘maybe I should do [a career in music]’.” – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94

When Tawgs finished high school, he spent some time pursuing other interests, but he always came back to music. At the time, he was performing in an original band named Dunk, who was then signed by Sony Music Canada. After signing he decided it was time to get serious with his passion. While he enjoyed performing, it was producing and writing that he loved most.

He began writing music and eventually, Gary Furniss, President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada, took notice of Tawgs’ talent. He began songwriting for the publishing company and took a second position at Sony Music Canada as a Staff Producer. While he had little free time working two jobs, his exposure to an array of artists, professionals and opportunities was extensive. After he got his feet wet, he decided to work solely with Sony/ATV, under the mentorship of Gary Furniss. Gary fostered Tawgs’ career from the beginning and helped him move up through the ranks to a point where he was working with high-profile artists, including Lights and Josh Groban.

“The first song I wrote that received international praise with a big artist was ‘You are Loved’ by Josh Groban. I made the demo in my basement in St. Catharines 10 years ago,” says Tawgs. His song was picked up and he found himself at Abbey Road Studios, working with Groban and his producer.

Tawgs has been in the business for 18 years now and has experienced great success during his career. He has received an ASCAP award, was nominated twice for producer of the year at the JUNO Awards and has won awards for nine of his hit songs. Beyond his personal accomplishments, he has worked on a number of records that won pop album of the year and worked on the JUNO winning song, ‘Young Artists for Haiti’.

While winning awards and working with some of the biggest names in music are certainly perks, Tawgs says his favourite part of the job is the job itself.

“When you are a song writer or a producer you start with a total blank page in the morning. Your success for that day is dependent on what you are going to do in the next ten minutes. The best part of the day as a song writer is when you sit down to write a song with another collaborator. You’ve got fifteen minutes of awkwardness and then thirty minutes of inspiration. It is that inspiration that I wait for, and why I find my work so enjoyable.”  – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94

To Ridleians who know what their passions are but are unsure of how to get there, Tawgs says this:

“It’s not easy. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t wake up today and think – can I do it again today? That’s what you have to go through as an artist, telling yourself to not give up. You really have to want it and you have to silence the inner voice that tells you that you may not be able to do it.”

“You can’t rest on what you have done before, what you did last month, or five years ago. You really have to every day try and create something new that is going to help you out down the road.”  – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding Flow to a Positive Education

In recent years, researchers have identified predictors of success as well as keys to living a satisfying, happy life. At Ridley we are infusing the best of this research – centred on grit and flow – into a Ridley education to help instill in our students the lifelong habits they need for success in our global community. At Ridley being a student is about more than passing tests and meeting standards, it is about flourishing.

Flow is an optimal psychological state that people experience when engaged in an activity that is appropriately challenging to their skill level, often resulting in immersion and concentrated focus on a task. This can result in deep learning and high levels of personal and work satisfaction.

If you’ve ever heard someone describe a time when their performance excelled and they used the term being “in the zone”, what they are describing is an experience of flow. It occurs when your skill level and the challenge at hand are equal.

Flow can be experienced in any task, in any field of activity, including academics, athletics, and the arts. Teachers at Ridley try to understand flow in order to help their students optimize their learning. The experience of flow is universal and it has been reported to occur across different classes, genders, ages, cultures and it can be experienced in many types of activities, making it a perfect tool to incorporate into the multinational learning culture at Ridley.

Flow was first recognized by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a renowned psychologist and distinguished professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. Inspired by Carl Jung, he has spent more than 25 years researching flow, a state of “intense emotional involvement” and timelessness that comes from immersive and challenging activities. Through his research he found that people were most creative, productive, and often, happiest when they are in this state of flow.

Flow is one of eight mental states that can happen during the learning process, which Csikszentmihalyi outlines in his flow theory. In addition to flow, these mental states include anxiety, apathy, arousal, boredom, control, relaxation, and worry.

Flow is the optimal state for learning, as it is where skill level and challenge level of a task are at their highest. This creates an opportunity for learning and intense focus, where learners can even feel that they lose track of time because they are so immersed in the task. Flow is a constant balancing act between anxiety, where the difficulty is too high for the person’s skill, and boredom, where the difficulty is too low.

“Inducing flow is about the balance between the level of skill and the size of the challenge at hand.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow is a dynamic rather than static state, since a properly constructed flow activity leads to increased skill, challenge, and complexity over time. Since skill doesn’t remain static, repeating the same activity would fall into boredom; the flow reward inspires one to face harder and harder challenges, as skill increases.

The experience of flow in everyday life is an important component of creativity and well-being. it is also intrinsically rewarding, the more you practice it, the more you seek to replicate these experiences, which help lead to a fully engaged and happy life.

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow is more likely to happen when students find the right balance between the skills they have and the challenge they face. Pursuing this path can enable them to flow, focus, finish, and as a by-product, flourish.

Tigertales – A blog about life at Ridley