The Ridley String Fling
February 24, 2016
Last week, on February 18th and 19th, over 50 string students from Ridley College and other local schools gathered together for The Ridley String Fling. This was a day of workshops lead by professional string musicians: Brian Baty on double bass, from the Niagara Symphony Orchestra (NSO), and members of the Penderecki String Quartet (PSQ) – the resident quartet at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University.
35 students from Ridley and 20 guest students participated in three workshop sessions on Thursday. String students began the day at 10:00a.m. in rehearsal rooms around the campus, divided according their instrument: violin, viola, cello and double bass. After lunch, The Student String Quartet made up of Petrina Mo, Ryan Craig (both from Ridley), Logan Imans (Laura Secord) and Jeremy Tang (Wheatley School) rehearsed the Haydn String Quartet No. 6 in Eb major with Jerzy Kaplanek and Christine Vlajk of the Penderecki Quartet. Back in the Memorial Chapel the majority of String Fling participants rehearsed in full orchestra on four pieces, under the direction of Mr. Hutton and Mr. Vernon, with expert advice from Jeremy Bell, Katie Schlaikjer (PSQ) and Brian Baty (NSO). Many of the student participants had never performed in a large string orchestra such as this, so the experience was enlightening. The sound of the group was quite loud and resonant in the remarkable acoustics of the Memorial Chapel.
On Friday, Lower School students in grades 5 – 8 had the privilege of attending an outreach concert put on by the Niagara Youth Orchestra at Partridge Hall in the new downtown Performing Arts Centre. In the evening, the String Fling participants met again in the Memorial Chapel to perform in concert with the Penderecki String Quartet. The Chapel was packed with performers and supporters. Six years ago, Ridley held a similar string event, which included about 25 participants. This year’s event highlights the growth that has occurred in music and string playing at Ridley. Students are finding more ways to flourish in their artistic pursuits.
– Mr. Scott Vernon, Visual and Performing Arts Subject Coordinator and Lower School Music Teacher
Ridleian receives prestigious Loran Scholarship
February 19, 2016
The Loran Scholars Foundation is an organization, dedicated to the success of Canada’s most promising young students. Since 1988, the Loran Scholars Foundation has sought out students who demonstrate character, service and leadership, and helped support them in their post-secondary careers. Since their inception, they have invested in over 500 Loran Scholars and granted thousands of additional scholarship prizes.
Each year, the Loran Scholars Foundation receives over 4,000 applications. After a long process, which includes a multiple-essay application and an intensive interview process, only 30 are selected and named Loran Scholars. Those 30 individuals each receive a renewable undergraduate scholarship, valued up to $100,000, for the duration of their four years of post-secondary education. In addition to the monetary support, these scholars receive the opportunity to intern abroad for three summers, receive residency support and are connected with a mentor for the duration of their education.
This coveted scholarship can change the life of a student and can open doors to opportunities that they never thought were possible. This year, we are proud to announce that Ridleian, Grace Lowes ’16, has received the Loran Scholars title. During her Ridley career, she has truly embodied what it means to be a true Ridleian. In her time here, Grace has co-founded the Model U.N. group, formed a Days for Girls charitable activity on campus, been an active member of clubs such as the Syrian Refugee club and Positive Spaces Group, and has helped lead the school, during her final year, as a Prefect, among many other accomplishments. Grace has become a leader, an activist, a humanitarian and a proud member of the community in her years here at Ridley. We know that Grace will continue to lead and inspire change throughout the course of her post-secondary career and beyond.
The road to becoming a Loran Scholar is not an easy one, but Grace has truly earned it. This year, the Loran Scholars Foundation received 4,273 applications from students across Canada and only awarded 31, making Grace one of the top 0.7 percent of Canadian students from that pool.
Check out the articles about Grace’s achievement and the Loran Scholars Foundation!
To read the Globe and Mail article, click here.
To read the Welland Tribune article, click here.
Lower School students fuse their passion with science
January 29, 2016
On January 29th, 32 Grade 7 students eagerly lined the halls of Lower School, ready to showcase their scientific reasoning. For the past three months, these students have been exploring self-assigned hypotheses and investigating possible conclusions for the 9th annual Lower School Science Fair
For nearly a decade, the Lower School Science Fair has encouraged young Ridleians to discover their interests and fuse them with science. Students aren’t assigned an area of study, but instead, are asked to find a topic that they are genuinely curious about. Using the online application, Science Buddies, each student answers a number of questions, rating their level of interest for everything from microbiology to psychology and even the television shows they enjoy watching. Upon completing the online application the students is then provided a list of possible science projects and topics to consider, each one relating to a topic or field that he or she enjoys. This not only creates a broad spectrum of science experiments, but also motivates the students to challenge themselves and make discoveries of their own.
According to Mr. Ben Smith, Pure and Applied Sciences Subject Coordinator and Lower School Science and Math Teacher, the main goal of the science project is not to be proven correct in their findings, but to propose a question and provide a reliable answer. “It’s just as important to fail as it is to be proven right,” says Mr. Smith.
In 2014, Jaden Kidd ’19 had a theory that bioluminescent algae, if placed in mason jars, could provide an alternative to electricity in countries with limited access. Despite his hypothesis being proven incorrect and the algae not producing the expected results, he went on to receive the Biology Award at the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair – success is achieved through the findings and the knowledge that accompanies it rather than a proven theory.
For the past three months, the students worked in class to complete their projects, with the help of Mr. Smith. Students began with their hypotheses, predicting the conclusions of their experiments, and then proceeded with their studies. On the day of the Science Fair, after three months of hard work, these Ridleians presented their findings to curious members of the community.
This year, judges, parents and the staff of Ridley College were blown away by the projects that our Grade 7 students produced. The students dove into the project, showcasing research that spanned a wide range of topics. Some students focused on chemistry, while others focused on the human brain. Some discovered their experiment was a success, others did not have the same outcome. Despite the results, each student was left feeling proud of their work and many intended to continue their research out of pure curiosity.
We are proud to announce this year’s winners:
First Place: Syni Solanki – Graphene and Water Desalination
Second Place: Sakura Telfer – The Science of Spherification
Third Place: Spencer McLean – Video Game for the Blind
These three students, along with our runner ups (Olivia Grubic; Memory Recall, Jacob Lytle; Sunflower Pith Water Filtration, and Ciara Blew; Margarine vs. Butter), will apply to represent Ridley at this year’s Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
Congratulations to all Grade 7 students, who not only challenged themselves, but also discovered their own personal passions.
A Day of Percussion at Ridley
January 23, 2016 College
Over 30 people gathered in the Mandeville Theatre on Saturday, January 23rd for an afternoon of percussion clinics and performances. Participants, ranging in age from 5 years old to over 60, spent several hours listening and learning about drums and percussion from two great musicians, Miles Gibbons and Dave O’Neill. Tony Nguyen (tenor sax) and Antonio Aspite (guitar) joined our guests, along with Bob Lytle (double bass) to warm up the afternoon with an open rehearsal and jazz combo performance.
Dave O’Neill spoke about how his drumming career began at the age of 12, but was quickly diverted when he lost fingers on his right hand in a tragic workplace accident at 16. Dave’s intense determination to overcome his disability was proven by an incredible solo demonstration on the drums. He uses a prosthetic device on his hand to hold a stick or mallet, which his early teachers helped him design. Later in the afternoon, Dave demonstrated tunes and techniques on the vibraphone.
Miles Gibbons demonstrated the electronic V-drums and Roland Octapad, giving his steps to develop a music vocabulary on the drums, in order to open up one’s creativity and versatility in playing. The clinicians were generous answering questions and students were able to come on the stage to play the instruments.
Miles was gracious in thanking Ridley for the Day of Percussion, for providing a chance to “hang out, play music, and talk about drums.”
Music lovers are encouraged to keep watch for the next opportunity to collaborate with professional musicians on February 18th and 19th, when Ridley hosts The String Fling. The Penderecki String Quartet from Wilfrid Laurier University will be our musical guests for Thursday workshops and a Friday evening performance in the Memorial Chapel. For more information, contact Ridley’s music department.
– Mr. Scott Vernon, Visual and Performing Arts Subject Coordinator and Lower School Music Teacher
Art Toronto Inspires Our Young Artists
October 27, 2015
On Friday, October 23rd, the senior Visual Art students visited Art Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This event is Canada’s largest exhibition of contemporary visual art. For the past 16 years, this event has drawn art dealers from Canadian and International galleries to exhibit some of their best pieces. It offers a chance for galleries to make connections to collectors or cultural institutions; but for students, it offers a glimpse into the world of contemporary art.
“The primary point of the visit was to allow students the opportunity to see first-hand artworks by professional practicing artists working in an enormous array of styles and media.”
– Mr. Duane Nickerson, Department of Visual and Performing Arts
With wall-to-wall art and 62 gallery exhibits, every student was able to discover an artist or style that spoke to them.
This year, our Ridleians dove into the experience. As they made their way through the exhibition, our captivated students asked questions about the art market and the work that surrounded them. The art dealers and agents were happy to share their knowledge and passion with the students.
It was apparent that the exhibit had an obvious and positive impact on our receptive young Ridleians. These students will be able to take their experience and the inspiration they absorbed from Art Toronto and carry it with them as they explore visual arts in the coming terms here at Ridley College. With access to a wide array of brushes, paints, canvases and more, these students will be able to channel their new favourite artists and their creativity into every project they complete.
Ridleians Find Their Inspiration, En Plein Air
October 16, 2015
Expression, passion, inspiration; these are three elements that every artist must experience first hand to find their own creative voice. In order to find that voice, it is important for students to embrace the creative world, outside of the classroom.
On Thursday, October 15th, students in grade 9 Visual Arts travelled to the Art Gallery of Hamilton. There they spent the morning on a guided tour, admiring the works in the permanent collection.
Among the many exhibits, one was of particular interest to the students – a multi-media installation exhibit that allowed the students to participate and become “part of” the work. These pieces brought video, light projection, mixed media sculpture and sound into one beautiful installment. This was the first time many of the students had experienced conceptual artwork before.
As the students made their way through the gallery, they had the opportunity to express their own creativity with drawing activities around every corner.
Following the morning gallery visit, students traveled to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Center (BOERC), for an afternoon of drawing and painting en plein air. “En plein air” is a French expression used that translates to “in open air” and is most often used to describe painting out in nature. Students created colour and texture studies of the beautiful fall foliage and watercolour studies of the landscape.
This field experience will prepare students for the culmination of our first unit of study, “Perspective in the Landscape.” Thanks to all for an engaging experience!
– Katie Marrone, Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Ridleians Explore Mars
October 15, 2015
Yesterday, six lucky students from Ridley’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme had an out of this world experience, as they explored the astrophysics presented in recent blockbuster, ‘The Martian’.
The York University Department of Physics and Astronomy put together an event that these students would never forget.
The evening began with a special screening of ‘The Martian‘ at the Cineplex IMAX theatre in Vaughan. This film follows an astronaut, as he tries to survive on the red planet after being stranded on a mission. The students were able to discover how physics plays a role in the world (and galaxy) around us.
After the screening, the students were treated to a dinner, with physicists, professors and fellow students. Dinner began with remarks made by a number of York professors, including Dr. Marshall L. McCall, and special guest, Dr. Allan Carswell, a Canadian physicist who worked on the NASA Mars Pheonix Lander Mission from 2007-2008.
York science students then presented an array of research that they are conducting and showcased the work being done at the on-campus observatory. Hearing students – not much older than our Ridleians – excited the students about all of the possibilities on the horizon.
By dessert time, students were keen to participate in a Q&A session to learn all they could about the factual science in the film.
This excursion gave the students a chance to experience advanced science from a new perspective, with experts in the field. Thank you to our colleagues at York University for this unique learning opportunity.
This morning the Grade 12 Data Management classes set up gaming stations for the Lower School students. The Grade 12 students created ‘casino-style games’ as a part of a probability and expectation project. They had to make a game for which they could determine the probability distribution. Further, they were to generate a game with a reasonable expectation of ‘fairness’ in order to give the gamer (participant) a legitimate gaming experience. Today the games were put to the test.
Ridley College Grade 11 Biology students swabbed their cheek and added an alcohol solution to the DNA so it was visible to the naked eye – cool lab Mr. Bowen!
Grade 12 Environmental Management Classes Test Pond Water
The Gr. 12 Environmental Management classes travelled to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education Centre yesterday to test pond water. The purpose was to analyze the abiotic components of the two ponds at the Burgoyne Centre under aerated and non-aerated conditions. Specifically, students conducted water chemistry indicator tests i.e. aesthetic, physical and chemical; collected benthic macroinvertabrates, and completed a soil textural analysis.
Grade 11 Design and Technology Class Makes Sushi Platters
The Grade 11 Design and Technology class has been spending the past few weeks working through the design process of making a sushi platter. In coming up with a design students had to make sure their platter embodied the Japanese culture. Students had to first draft their designs on a plan and then mould the clay using their plan.
The clay platters were then fired in a kiln which turns the clay into ceramic. The final part of the design process was to glaze the ceramic and then to reheat it to create the vibrant colours that you see on the platters.
Today the students took pictures of their final products.
Mock Election Held on Campus
On Monday May 2nd Canadians headed to the polls for a Federal election and Ridleians did the same in a mock election held on campus. Over the past few weeks Mr. Filion and Mr. McNiven’s Grade 9 Civics classes have been campaigning much like the real party leaders have been all over Canada. Each Grade 9 Civics class was assigned a party (Conservative, Liberal, Green or NDP) and had to follow the platform of that party. They have been putting up posters, making Facebook groups and producing videos to convince their fellow students that they are the party to vote for. On the Friday before the election the party leaders from each classroom presented their final speech in the dining hall and Monday the students voted!
Check out one of the videos made by the Ridley Green Party:
The Ridley Liberal Facebook Group:
The Ridley NDP Facebook Group:
Strawberry DNA Isolation – Grade 12 Biology:
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the material that transfers genetic characteristics in humans, animals and almost all other living organisms, including fruits and vegetables. Ripe strawberries are an excellent source for extracting DNA because they are easy to pulverize, which breaks the cells of the strawberries apart. The Grade 12 AP Biology students learned about this first-hand on Tuesday.
To read more blog posts about academics at Ridley College, please click here.