Athletics at Ridley College by Elizabeth Gross ’14

There are lots of options when it comes to sports at Ridley.  There’s an extensive array of competitive sport options to choose from.  Annually, Ridley fields more than 45 competitive teams from under-12 softball in the Lower School to first team basketball. Some teams play in only one term of the school year while others compete or train in all three terms.


Alongside Ridley’s competitive offerings, there’s also a Sport for Life program offered in all three terms.  Students who participate in SFL programming may focus on one activity or rotate through a couple of different sports throughout the term.  In the past, SFL participants have tried activities like fitness bootcamp, field hockey, sailing, yoga, spin classes, power walking, and golf.


As a former Ridley student, I had the opportunity to try all three options – competitive sports, Sport for Life, and non-sport options.  Since grade five, I’ve played on the field hockey team at Ridley.  Once I got to Upper School, I started playing on the First (varsity) Team.  We practiced for about an hour and a half every day after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with our coaches.  We had both home and away games on certain Wednesdays and Saturdays.  One of my favourite Ridley memories was the trip our team took to Victoria, BC for the CAIS Field Hockey Tournament in my grade eleven year.

Field Hockey Team in BC
Field Hockey Team in BC

In all four years of Upper School, I spent the second term participating in the winter musical.  In my grade nine year, I played Amber in Hairspray, and from grade ten to twelve, I stage managed Little Shop of Horrors, Blood Brothers, and Once Upon a Mattress.  I enjoyed performing, but I especially loved learning how to run lights and sound in the Mandeville Theatre while coordinating the other technical aspects of the show.

Ridley College Musical Production: Blood Brothers
Ridley College Musical Production: Blood Brothers

In the third term of my grade nine and ten year, I tried rowing.  Ridley has a long and proud history of involvement with the sport.  We’re lucky to have our own boathouse on Henley Island as well as an ergometer room in the Griffith Sports Complex and an indoor rowing tank offsite.  In my grade nine year, I rowed in the senior women’s four, and in my grade ten year, I rowed in the junior women’s four and eight. We spent a lot of time rowing on the water in Martindale Pond, and also did cardio and strength training as well as ergometer workouts on land.  Ridley rowing is an example of a sport that runs all three terms and may include additional practices early in the morning for athletes as they train for ergometer competitions and regattas throughout the year.


In grade eleven and twelve, I participated in the third term Sport for Life programme. The SFL season starts off with participants rotating through the different SFL options in order to help them decide which one they’d like to sign up for.  In my grade eleven year, I participated in the SFL field hockey/cardio training option and in my grade twelve year, I joined the fitness bootcamp/power walking group.

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from my Ridley sports experience is the importance of staying active and involved in the community beyond just the classroom. Whether you already play on a competitive team or are totally new to the world of sports, Ridley has a place for you to participate, develop athletic skills and be physically active.

To learn more about Ridley athletics, please click here

Get to Know Your Prefects: Luca ’16

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.


  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

  1. 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.


  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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:

  1. to be open-minded about all things;
  2. to try everything at least once (sports, extra-curriculars, academics, etc.) to help broaden you out as a person;
  3. 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.


Ridleians of Distinction: Catherine McDonald ’89

It’s Wednesday and we are featuring Ridleians of Distinction on the blog! Today we are profiling Catherine McDonald from the class of 1989.

Ridley College graduate and Global Toronto reporter Catherine McDonald Catherine McDonald came to Global Toronto in November 2000 and since then has reported on many of the biggest news stories in the GTA. Specializing in crime reporting, she has covered numerous crime stories and helped the station win two national RTNDA awards for best continuing coverage of the Jonathan story, and continuing coverage of the disappearance of Alicia Ross. McDonald’s career highlights include flying in an F-16 with the US Air Force Thunderbirds during the 2001 CNE air show, getting exclusive access onto one of four migrant ships, which landed on Vancouver Island during the summer of 2000 and covering Karla Homolka’s release from prison in the summer of 2005. She was born and raised in Edmonton, but spent three years living in Ottawa in the late 70’s while her father chaired the McDonald Commission into the RCMP. It was there, she was first exposed to the glare of media on Parliament Hill. After attending McGill University in Montréal, she returned to Edmonton where she volunteered for Shaw cable and later attended the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s Radio and Television program. After a few years behind the scenes, she moved in front of the camera, spending nearly two years in Red Deer as a videographer for CTV Edmonton, before moving to CHEK TV, the Global station in Victoria. 18 months later, McDonald landed in Toronto.

To view a complete list of Ridleians of Distinction or to nominate a Ridleian of Distinction, please click here.