A New Perspective – Ridley College Students Join Habitat for Humanity in El Salvador

How can I even begin to describe all that I have learned from this trip? It wasn’t just about the work; it was so much more! Experiencing the culture, the language, the food, and the people of El Salvador as well as getting to know everyone who took the trip, we all seem to be inseparable after this experience!

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Building a house is so much more complicated than it seems, because in order to build up, you must first dig down. Our team started from scratch – a flat land with dirt on it. We had to dig trenches for the concrete mix to hold the wall in place, using Pick-Axes and Shovels. After that was completed, we moved sand, gravel and bricks to the worksite from the road. Some of us mixed cement and concrete, and sifted sand for the cement. While others were handling steel wire – the skeleton of the house.

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It was a lot of fun, but at the same time, a lot of work. Everyone worked so hard, pushing themselves past their limits, keeping in mind the family that we were building the house for – they were our motivation. At the end of everyday, everyone was coated in scrapes, sweat and dirt. By the end of the trip we didn’t complete the house, but we laid the foundation, and the first layer of bricks, and hopefully we were helpful to all the masons.

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Despite the hard work our spirits were always up because of the two brightest children in the world – Daniel, the couple’s son who was receiving the house, and Pati (Patricia), Daniel’s cousin. Whenever we had a break, we all spent time together and despite the language barrier, we tried to talk and played games. We also met Abuela, Daniel and Pati’s grandmother, who always brought us fruit, snacks and drinks from her small tuck shop during our breaks.  She would peal a mango for you from her mango tree, she always had a smile on her face, and was the strongest and most inspirational person throughout the trip. As a group, we really bonded with each other, and when it was time for us to leave, we all left with teary eyes, but an amazing sense of accomplishment and reward.

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This trip impacted my life, and my perspective. I’m so grateful for all that I have, and for how fortunate we all are. I constantly imagined what it would be like to live in a house built with four tree trucks and a piece of steel covering the top of it, collecting water with a bucket everyday. I admire Abuela for her strength, how she took care of her family, ran a tuck shop, and did so much more. During our workdays, we also went to visit an elementary school in San Salvador, this visit again, made me appreciate the facilities we have even more. The smiles on all the children’s faces were incredible and rewarding. And lastly, the friendships we made on this trip are priceless, I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. I’m glad that I came on this trip, and although I wish we could have finished building the house, I’m proud of everyone!

As told by E Chin Mak ’14

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Mr. Martinez created this video with more pictures from the trip:

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Volunteering in El Salvador was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Volunteering is one of my big passions and since I have been the recipient of service by others I have always wanted to return the kindness. The Habitat for Humanity trip to El Salvador this March break was a perfect opportunity for me to do this.

My experience in El Salvador was challenging. Since El Salvador is a developing country, we did not have many of the luxuries that I am accustomed to in my native country of Korea or Canada. At the work sites, there was no mechanical technology to assist our progress—shovels, pick axes and buckets were the only tools we had in addition to our own muscles; and yet it was fascinating to see how much the group could accomplish through sheer cooperation.

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After working with my host family for almost 2 weeks, I found that even though they did not have much money, they were always happy and thankful for what they had. Smiles were always on their faces, and they greeted our group every morning with happiness. I learned how to appreciate, be happy and be thankful for what I have. I highly recommend that my peers sign up for future Habitat trips. Thank you to all the Habitat staff, the construction foreman, my peers, Father Jason, Mr. Martinez, Mr. Smith and especially my host family for all their love and care.

Kevin Yoon ’14

A Comedy in Berlin! Ridley College Students Travel to Germany for Drama Tour

Traveling to a new country with some of your best friends over March Break, what more could a student possibly ask for? Through much fundraising and support from everyone in the school, this past March Break the cast and crew of ‘A Comedy Of Errors’ traveled across the pond to Germany. Twenty of Ridley’s theater students – I included – had the privilege to perform, travel, and form strong bonds!
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When finally landing in Berlin after an eight hour flight, everyone was tired and ready to settle in, though the minute out of the airport the mood changed and we were filled with excitement. When looking around at my fellow cast members and friends during the first bus ride to our hotel, we were astonished at how far we had come, literally and with the play itself!
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Throughout our time in Germany we performed five different shows, at a school, churches, and theaters.  Each show was filled with it’s own unique aspects, ranging from how the audience participated to how the actors started to pick up, and interpret the show. Our magnificent director and drama teacher Mr. Sweeney even said to us before one of our performances, “there is a point during a show where the director can no longer help the actors, he can only be a mentor, and as sad as it is, it also pleases me to be able to pass this show on to all of you, it is your show now, and you may run with it, and make it your own.” At this moment of the journey we all knew that we had the ability to make the show the best it could ever be. I found that as the shows went on, we all relied on one another more and more. There were times when if someone missed a line another would pick it up, and if someone else was to try a new way to move on stage, others would move and act around them; making the whole show completely our own. While the shows that were put on by the cast and crew at Ridley had their own feel to them, the ones in Germany had a much greater feeling of “freedom”.
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Now, even though the purpose of our trip to Berlin was to perform what we had worked so hard on, we had a wondrous amount of time to actually see the country we traveled to! Visits to museums, the Charlottenburg Palace and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp gave us a new respect for history. Traveling via train, and foot we all got used to our surroundings, and used to hearing “Ridley this is us!!!!!” by our very own Ms. Fournier each time the trains would arrive.  Many of us tried new foods as well, most of us took a liking to “currywurst und pommes” (German sausage and french fries) which is a favoured snack in Germany.  As a way to say thanks to everyone we had a last (large!) meal together as a company. All of us enjoyed the true German feel at the Hofbrauhaus restaurant, with much thanks to the Gordon family for the opportunity for such a meal. It was a wonderful way to end the trip, there was great food, laughter and dancing!
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Along with great performances, amazing sightseeing, and new food there was more to the trip that wasn’t quite spoken about, but felt. All of the actors on the trip – by the end – had a new understanding and appreciation for teamwork. Many times while touring I would catch a cast or crew member helping out a fellow actor, or teacher. Not necessarily grand gestures though enough to bring us all closer together. We all gained so much from being together on this trip. Many thanks to everyone who was a part of it.

As told by Carrie Houston ’14

 

 

Deer on the Ridley College Campus!

It’s the first day of spring!  Yes, despite the light dusting of snow it is the first official day of spring.  The season always brings to mind regrowth and nature.  Today we were treated to just how neat nature can be on our beautiful campus!  This morning, ten – yes TEN deer greeted us on campus.  The students are away on March Break and it seems the deer took advantage of the quiet campus to have a little nibble on our grass.

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The Houses of Ridley College: Mandeville House

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Each boarding house at Ridley College has their own traditions, colours and mascot.  For Mandeville house, you can tell as soon as you walk into their common room that their house colours are yellow and orange and their mascot is a duck.  What is Mandeville’s house cheer? What do the girls like to do for fun in the house? Find out by watching the video below:

There are ten boarding houses on the Ridley College campus, five boys houses, four girls and one junior boarding house. To find out more about boarding at Rildey College, please click here.

1st Girls Gymnastics Earns CISAA Championship Title

The Ridley College 1st Girls Gymnastics team earned the CISAA Championship Title this week!  Congrats ladies!

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The top individual results include:

Level 4:

  • Kennedy Farr – 2nd on vault & bars, 3rd on beam & floor
  • Faith Bell – (gr.7, but competing with upper school) 1st on bars, 3rd on vault, 3rd overall

Level 3:

  • Emma Hudson – 1st on bars, 2nd on beam & floor, 2nd overall
  • Ana Hinestrosa – 3rd on floor
  • Shayda Shivafard – 3rd on beam

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Level 2:

  • Ashleigh Sternberg – 1st on bars & floor, 3rd on vault & beam, 2nd overall
  • Morgan Mattern – 1st on beam, 2nd overall
  • Irina Shagdamova – 3rd on bars, 3rd overall
  • Aidan Robertson – 3rd on floor

Level 1:

  • Arianna Gadinger – 1st on vault & floor, 3rd on bars, 2nd overall
  • Aima Ohiwerei – 1st on vault, 2nd on beam
  • Nina Foster – 3rd on floor, 3rd overall
  • Claye Epperson – 3rd on beam
  • Lexi DiBellonia – 3rd on floor

House Reach Competition: The Houses of Ridley College

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Yesterday, the ladies of Ridley were decked out in their house colours for the annual Reach competition. Points for Bradley Shield were on the line!  (The house with the most points from various competitions throughout the year – house olympics, house Reach, house soccer etc. wins the Bradley Shield and bragging rights!).  There were some tough questions ranging from math to history to literature.

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Gooderham West were the eventual victors with Gooderham East coming in second.  The girls houses will face off against the boys houses after they hold their Reach competition.

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Ridley College Presents “Blood Brothers”

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For the past two weekends students entertained audiences with the musical “Blood Brothers”. This dramatic, at times comical show was greatly received.  From the costumes and set design to the lighting and sound to the acting, music and choreography; students, faculty and staff worked tirelessly to put on this amazing musical.

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Eric and Matt played perfect brothers from different worlds through three stages of their life and were especially humorous through age seven-almost eight! Maia as ‘Linda’ a woman caught in the middle and Iain as troubled brother ‘Sammy’ were acted perfectly.

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Kaila and Chloe embedded much emotion into their performance making the audience feel for both of the desperate mothers.  The musical was infused with guest appearances by Ms. Lech, Mr. Templeman and Mr. Ash (who stepped in to the play the narrator) added greatly to this fantastic show.  Check out some scenes to see for yourself:





Ridley College has a very robust theatre program and puts on two shows per year, a classic comedy or a modern drama in the fall and a musical in the winter. For more information about the drama program at Ridley College, please click here.