Five Characteristics of a Ridley College Graduate

The dust has settled, it has been over a week since Prize Day and we have had some time to reflect on the momentous occasion.  Prize Day marks the end of our students’ Ridley experience and beginning of a new journey.  Whether a student spends a year or many years at Ridley, something happens…by the end of their time here they have come into their own.  The faculty sees it and more importantly their parents see it.  During the Prize Day festivities I had the opportunity to speak to parents from all over the world.  Each of their children had a different experience at Ridley, some were day students, some boarders, some were highly involved in athletics, others in Robotics and the Arts, but as I talked to the parents I realized there were common themes that emerged.  There are at least five traits that parents continuously remarked on that their children had gained from their time at Ridley.

1-    Independence and organization

2-    Passion for academics

3-    International mindedness

4-    Leadership/Caring for others

5-    Self-confidence

1. Many of the parents remarked about how independent and organized their child have become over the course of their time at Ridley.  For boarding students, doing their own laundry, having to organize their own schedule and developing study habits are all valuable life skills that have been learned here.

One parent of a boarding student said, “I think they are brilliantly prepared academically (for university) the study regime is obviously what you’re looking for, but it’s not just that it’s doing your laundry, it’s eating and it’s exercising and that is what I didn’t have to worry about them juggling that, they learned how to juggle that here so I think they are better able to cope with their deadlines because they had to cope with it (at Ridley).”

Ridley College January Rowing- Senior Girls
Ridley College January Rowing- Senior Girls

While day students may not sleep at Ridley they are certainly a part of the daily routine and as one parent put it, “I think going off into University she will already have the idea of what it takes and what is needed in her daily routine to excel.”

2. A passion for academics.  Ridley College classrooms are very hands on- you could be extracting DNA from a strawberry in one class and then answering math questions using a Smartboard and a clicker in the next class.  I have heard students say that Ridley teachers don’t just tell you to memorize information; they make sure you understand and learn the concepts through practical applications and parents echo this:

“The Ridley experience has allowed her to flourish academically, she developed a passion for learning that she didn’t have before and I knew it was always there inside it just wasn’t unleashed.  I think part of that is the small class size.  I think too the kind of teacher who comes to Ridley is a really special person they’re enmeshed in the fabric of the kids lives not just the academics, not just the 9-4, but the after school sports, the many extra-curriculars that are here, supervising the kids study hours.   And I think their enthusiasm and their commitment and their love of learning was profoundly influential for my daughter and really to develop a lifelong passion for learning is a real gift that is irreplaceable so we have been very grateful for that.”

DNA from cheek cells in solution
DNA from cheek cells in solution

 “The teachers they know what your strengths are. They will pull out the best of those strengths and will lead you in the right direction. They brought out the skills and the strengths that were the strongest in each one (of our children) and focused on those skills so they were prepared for the next step, the next level of education.”

3. There are students from over 37 countries attending Ridley.  A Canadian parent who has two daughters who are boarding students commented,

“The international presence has been really influential for our children, they’re from a smaller community, but the broadening of the exposure to kids from around the world here has given them a new perspective. It’s one thing to hear on the news what’s going on around the world, but when you’re sitting next to in class or playing sports with or eating with kids from around these different countries you really gain a deeper insight, awareness and empathy with what’s going on in different parts of the world and we find in this day and age particularly that that’s pretty important.”



4.  Leadership– Prefects, house captains, cadets, and team captains; there are numerous opportunities to lead at Ridley.  The skills that are developed from being a leader are invaluable.  One parent saw her daughter grow and gain self-confidence through her leadership opportunities:

“There’s been tremendous opportunity for her to grow as a leader whether it’s in sports, cadets, within the house or the school abroad there’s so many opportunities for leadership and I think it’s a very powerful experience for kids when they may have a lot of energy, creativity and enthusiasm, but they have that harnessed here they can use that and become leaders.  It gives them that extra sense of confidence and that ability to see that wow these are the kind of things that I can do to make a difference.”

Prefects - Student Leaders
Prefects – Student Leaders

Caring for others – Ridley College’s motto is “Terar Dum Prosim” – “May I Be Consumed in Service” and the students truly live it.  Whether it’s raising money or participating in community events locally or travelling to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or Missionaries of the Poor in countries all over the world.  As one parent put it, it’s not just through community service that they show caring for others; it’s through experiences in the house, on teams and activities.

“It was something amazing they took out of him so many things in these three years that we wouldn’t be able to do at home and not at a school at home either.  The environment here is moving all around him and it really brings the best out of them, and that’s what every parent wants out of their kids, to be happy, to be independent and to be really responsible for others.”

Students on Habitat for Humanity Trip in El Salvador
Students on Habitat for Humanity Trip in El Salvador

5. Self Confidence – I asked one family what their children had gained from their Ridley experience and they gave a very powerful and emotional answer:

“What have they gained? Everything…. independence, high self-esteem, they gained a lot of knowledge, how to study.  They will have everything that they need for the future and it’s one of the things we feel good that we gave them, a very good education.”


Ridley College Prize Day 2013

The class of 2013 has crossed the stage and graduated from Ridley College.  As the name of each graduate was read so were the names of the universities they will be attending in the fall.  From Imperial College London, to the University of Toronto to The American University of Paris to Purdue University our graduates are headed all over the world to pursue their Post Secondary education.

It was a very special day to congratulate and acknowledge all of the accomplishments of our students and faculty!


Ridley teacher, Mrs. Kristine Corolis, was chosen to receive the 2013 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. This honor, given annually since 1961, identifies a teacher from the United States, its possessions, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Canada who has made valuable contributions to the profession and to his/her students. Criteria for the award include teaching ability, experience, inventiveness, initiative, inherent teaching strengths, and cooperativeness in the school and community.

Andrew Pace was honoured to give the valedictorian address:


To view more pictures from the day, please click here.

OFSAA Weekend – Ridley College Represents in Two Championships

OFSAA Soccer Championships 
A memorable soccer season came to a close in Timmins on Saturday as the Boys’ Spring Soccer team came within inches of winning the OFSAA (A) provincial title. The Tigers went 6 wins-1 loss to earn the silver medal. Following a first place group round with wins over London Christian (1-0; Jaime Pi), Trenton St.Paul (3-1; Matt Sobkowski 2, Andrew Watson), Williamstown Char-Lan (1-0; Cole Hanna), and New Liskeard Ste. Marie (7-2; Phillip Miebach 4, Nicholas Prestia 2, Maurice Bienkowski), the Tigers advanced to the quarter final game.

In a very evenly played match against St.Thomas Aquinas H.S. of Kenora, Captain Matthew Sobkowski scored the lone goal to advance Ridley into the semi-final on Saturday morning.  Ridley pressed their advantage over Sudbury St.Benedict with a pair of goals by Cole Hanna, and singles from Matt Sobkowski and Liam Wilson to win 4-0.

Playing in the school’s first ever boys’ soccer medal game at OFSAA the Tigers faced a strong side in Renaissance E.S.C. of Aurora. The two teams entered the final having won each of their previous 6 games, so something had to give. The Phoenix started smartly and took advantage of some hesitancy in the Ridley defense to take the early lead. Ridley reorganized and settled into a rhythm of its own and were an even match against the technically gifted Renaissance side. Forcing the play, Ridley came close to equalizing with a driving shot from Jaime Pi which crashed off the crossbar. Oliver Rodriguez Hernandez smashed a goal-bound effort from the edge of the box only to see the keeper pull off a remarkable save.


The second half saw more end-to-end action with chances for each team. Nicholas Antunes was outstanding in goal for the Tigers, making some excellent saves to keep it a one-goal game as Ridley went in search of an equalizer. It was the Phoenix who were put on the back foot as the Tigers were relentless in attack. Centre-back Sinclair Kemp-Griffin was massive for Ridley in both defense and attack. His late mazy runs nearly resulted in goals, but the Renaissance defence held on with some frantic defending. Final result: Renaissance 1 v. Ridley 0.

It was a loss by the closest of margins, and an effort that that the school can be proud of.

Written by Coach Mr. Paul O’Rourke

OFSAA Track and Field Championships
A brisk, bleak day in Oshawa did not dampen Ridley spirits on Day Two of the OFSAA Track and Field Championships. Heather P. ran an incredible SG 1500m race with a time of 4:33:70, not only shaving an impressive 4 seconds off her previous Personal Best, but securing a 6th place finish overall.


Stuart Green, OR’76, was in the stands cheering on the Orange and Black and came to congratulate Heather on her fine performance. The final day of OFSAA Track and Field Championships saw Heather P. run the SG 3000m with tenacity and grit.  Up against the fastest Senior Girls in Ontario, Heather kept pace and added a new Personal Best to her collection.  She ran 9:54:60, earning a 6th place finish.


This race marks the end of Heather’s illustrious track and field career at Ridley.  We are so proud of you, Heather!

Written by Track and Field Coach, Ms. Thomas