Luca has been a member of the Ridley family since Grade 4. He is a day student, but a proud member of Dean’s House. He is also a member of the debating team.
- Why did you choose Ridley?
Actually, I didn’t choose Ridley. My parents did. We had moved to St Catharines the year earlier from Yellowknife, NWT and, initially, my parents registered me at a local public school. However, when they learned that Ridley College was opening its doors to Grade 4 students for the first time in its history, my parents made the decision to enroll me. Quite honestly, I wasn’t up for yet another move, but my parents insisted that I give Ridley a try – at least for the first term. I reluctantly agreed. After only the first week, I knew we had a made an excellent decision. I instantly made new friends, my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Clarke, was a wonderful and kind teacher, and everyone made an effort to make me feel welcome. Eight years later, I’m still at Ridley. Overall, I feel there has been a good ‘fit’ between Ridley and myself. I can enthusiastically confirm that I have learned much about various subject areas and cultures as well as valuable life lessons along the way. Even though I am a day student, Ridley has become a ‘home away from home’ for me.
- Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
From an academic standpoint, I felt prepared coming to Ridley. I came from a small, private Montessori school in Yellowknife, and it was a very enriched program. I felt confident I could handle whatever the teachers and courses at Ridley threw at me, even if I was only in Grade 4. From a social standpoint, I felt less prepared. Ridley seemed big and had long-standing traditions about which I didn’t know very much at the time. I was nervous and maybe even a bit anxious. However, I adjusted fairly quickly; everyone I met at Ridley made me feel welcome and I think that helped me make a relatively smooth transition.
- What are your plans after graduation? (i.e. university, college, gap year…degree of study, city you plan to live in, extracurricular pursuits)
Right after graduation I plan to head to France to watch EURO 2016. It will be the last time one of my favourite soccer players (Andrea Pirlo) will be on the field in the Italian jersey and I have made it a goal to witness that. I intend to resume studies in the fall of 2016 at a university (as yet undecided but with definite preference toward Queen’s University). I hope to major in Anatomy or Human Physiology. My long-term plan is to become a Radiologist.
- Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
Although I have been fortunate to have had many knowledgeable teachers who have helped to guide me throughout my Ridley College career, my favourite male faculty member in Upper School is Mr. Geoffrey Park. Mr. Park is a committed and dedicated teacher. He has an ability to connect with students and always manages to inspire them to do their best. I have been fortunate to have had Mr. Park as my Grade 9 Geo teacher, my Grade 10 Math teacher and Grade 11 IB1 Geo teacher. So, I have had many opportunities to learn from him. He has an uncanny sense of humour; we often banter back and forth about our favourite sport, soccer. Mr. Park is a well-liked teacher and is also well-respected by students and faculty alike.
My favourite female faculty member is Mrs. Jessica Roud. She taught me in Grade 10 History and has been Dean’s Housemaster since 2014. Mrs. Roud is an effective motivator, a wonderful Housemaster, and an extraordinary teacher. She’s tough, but fair and expects a lot out of her students. I respect her for that. I know Mrs. Roud has inspired me to be the best student I can be.
- What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
Generally, I think being challenged is a good thing. It helps you to grow and to learn new things about your environment and yourself. I think my greatest challenge thus far at Ridley has been time management. I like to be involved in various things and time can become an issue for me. Overall, I actually think I’m pretty good at managing my busy schedule and dealing with priorities, even if they are sometimes competing. But, I found this past year (Grade 11) extremely challenging in this regard.
- What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?
There are a few things that stand out in my mind:
In LS I was awarded the Mason Gold Medal and this was a high honour to receive. I was very proud of this accomplishment because I worked very diligently in all my classes and in the extra-curricular activities. This past year I was awarded the Vimy Scholarship and I was thrilled to be selected. The application process was quite detailed and I was happy to have gone through successfully. Finally, my appointment to the role Prefect is a terrific honour for me. I believe this appointment is the culmination of all the hard work I have put in during my 8 years at Ridley. A school Prefect is supposed to be someone who exemplifies the school motto ‘Terar Dum Prosim’ – May I be consumed in service. I believe I have shown myself to be a strong example of what constitutes a Ridleian.
- How has Ridley prepared you for the future?
Being at Ridley means coming into contact with all kinds of people from so many places in the world. These days we hear so much said about the ‘global world’, ‘globalization’, etc. Well, I think that at Ridley we are living this experience everyday. In all my classes there are students from no less than 30 different countries. This cultural diversity has a major impact on class discussions. This experience has taught me that the world is big, yet small at the same time. I think this is important for anyone interested in a professional career because you realize that you must consider problems and solutions in a variety of cultural and political contexts. It’s not okay to make assumptions about what is best or right to do because this can vary from one place to another. On a whole, my experiences at Ridley have helped to keep me open-minded about many things.
- What has been your favourite Ridley experience (thus far) and your favourite part of Ridley (chapel, rowing, your house)?
My favourite Ridley experience thus far has been the annual Ridley College Snake Dance. The Snake Dance is basically a wild pep rally to kick off the athletic year. It is probably one of the craziest experiences a Ridley student will ever partake in. Snake Dance has been described as a “pep rally on steroids” – and for anyone who has attended one, you’ll know exactly what I mean. This annual event brings together all students from US, dressed in and painted in orange and black as they huddle around a massive bonfire. I particularly like this tradition because it is one of the few times we can all come together as a student body and celebrate Ridley.
- What are the most important things you have learned from your time at Ridley?
The most important things I have learned from my time at Ridley include:
- to be open-minded about all things;
- to try everything at least once (sports, extra-curriculars, academics, etc.) to help broaden you out as a person;
- to hold respect for all fellow classmates and teachers, whether I agree with them or not.
10. What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?
In the words of Dr. Seuss– “You have to be odd to be #1.”
Don’t be afraid to stand out and express your feelings, opinions and personality. Ridley is a great place to test your abilities, to strengthen your weaknesses and to excel in the things you love to do. Put yourself out there and take advantage of every opportunity to develop yourself on your way to being you.