Ridleians represent at International Public Speaking Competition

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On the weekend of October 23rd-26th, Ridley participated in the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition hosted by The York School in Toronto. Nearly 200 students from 45 schools throughout the world were involved in this annual event that features a wide range of the speaking arts­–debate, drama, and public speaking. Schools from Canada, the U.S.A., Bermuda, India, China, Peru, Scotland, England, Hong Kong, and Australia competed in a four-day tournament that brought together some of the best international high school speakers..

Each participant selected three events from various categories that included: persuasive, after-dinner, and impromptu speaking; parliamentary and cross-examination debate; dramatic interpretation, interpretive reading, and radio newscast. Ridley was ably represented by Arwyn Workman-Youmans, Eduardo Deliyannis, and Philip Brenninkmeyer, who excelled in parliamentary debate, interpretive reading, and impromptu speaking respectively.

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Ridleians, Eduardo Deliyannis, Arwyn Workman-Youmans and Philip Brenninkmeyer pose with students from the Shanghai American School

Although Ridley did not reach the finals, each student presented his/her event in each of the two rounds, demonstrating growth and progress throughout the tournament.  All students are congratulated and thanked for their outstanding efforts.

– Mr. Paul O’Rourke, Department of Social Sciences & Coordinator of Speaking Arts

Speaking Arts at Ridley College has long held great stature within the gates and beyond, as it has helped many students reach their potential. With this activity, students are able to refine their public speaking skills, gain confidence in their own ability and become active leaders in the Ridley community and society, as a whole.

Students are encouraged to attend the weekly Speaking Arts activity, which takes place on Thursdays at 4:00p.m. in room 203 of Lower School.

Upcoming competitions include the Fulford Cup hosted by Ashbury College in Ottawa from November 6-7th, followed by the National Qualifier at Appleby College in Oakville on November 24th.

Good luck to all the students participating in these upcoming competitions!

Art Toronto Inspires Our Young Artists

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Driving Global Change, Together

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Together we can drive global change. Together we can grow stronger.  Together we can change the world.

On Monday, October 19th and Tuesday, October 20th, Ridley hosted Together: an exhibit on global development. The mobile exhibition – presented by the Aga Khan Foundation of Canada as well as the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada ­– is traveling across the country to educate Canadian youth on how they can drive global change.

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While the trailer was on campus, our students were encouraged to step inside the exhibit, which was filled with interactive elements, wall-to-wall imagery and video screens. Students became part of the conversation by answering questions about global change, sharing their ideas on how they would take action and finding inspiration in the stories provided by people from all over the world.

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Although the exhibit has moved on to its next destination, Ridleians have not forgotten the inspiration, motivation and desire to take action. This is just one of many events – focused on encouraging millennials to transform our globe – that our students have attended this year and we look forward to many more.

 

Ridley Launches Recreational Weekend Programme

This year, Ridley College launched the Weekend Programme, under the advisory of the Student Activities Committee. Led by Assistant Head of Upper School, Ms. Margaret Lech, the Committee of students organizes and hosts Upper School activities every Saturday while school is in session. Sparked by the want of both parents and students, the Programme allows Ridleians to partake in a variety of leisurely activities inside and outside the Marriott Gates.

The Weekend Programme is off to a fantastic start, and has already included Spirit Night, Open Mic Night and Movie Nights at the Pen Centre. Upper School students are already buzzing with excitement over upcoming trips to Canada’s Wonderland for Halloween Haunt and shopping in downtown Toronto.

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One student, in particular, has had an active hand in the growth of this Programme, Philip Brenninkmeyer ’17. Philip is a member of the Student Activities Committee and an eager participant in the outings.

My experience with the Student Activities Committee has been highly positive throughout the past month. The main purpose of the committee is to organize weekend activities that are open to both boarding and day students. This can include a friendly 3-on-3 basketball tournament for students or a dodge ball tournament. Because the campus has so many different facilities to offer, you don’t have to look far to find a possible weekend activity. Recently, the committee organized a Spirit Night and subsequent Open Mic Cafe Night that prompted a spectacular turnout of students performing with a variety of instruments; both solo and in small groups. So far I have found that the Activities Committee has allowed me to help make the campus an even more lively place on the weekend and to ensure that there is always something to do. I look forward to helping organize a Halloween event during the coming two weeks, since conveniently, the 31st of October falls on a Saturday this year.

 – Philip Brenninkmeyer ’17

Ensuring that our students thrive in and out of the classroom is something we believe is pivotal in the development of a healthy mind, body and spirit. Ridley is continually looking for ways to improve the overall experience for our students and the Weekend Programme is just one example of how we incorporate recreation into student life.

If you have an idea for an upcoming weekend activity, please contact Margaret_lech@ridleycollege.com or speak with a member of the Student Activities Committee.

Ridleians Find Their Inspiration, En Plein Air

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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Professor Marshall McCall, Chair of the Department Photo courtesy of www.physics.yorku.ca
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Professor Allan Carswell, Pheonix Mars Lander Mission Scientist Photo courtesy of www.physics.yorku.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Get to Know Your Prefects: Annie S. ’16

Introducing our final Prefect in our blog series, Annie! Annie is a part-time boarder with us from Chippawa. She proudly wears the number 11 for Ridley’s First Girls hockey and field hockey teams.

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I chose Ridley because of hockey. I had been scouted for
the women’s hockey program in the summer of 2012. 

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I was terrified coming to Ridley. I knew absolutely no one here and it was going to be my first year of high school. I had also just moved to a new city a few weeks before school started.

 What are your plans after graduation? 

I plan on playing university hockey, somewhere in Canada or the US. I’m interested in studying health sciences because I want to work in a rehabilitation center for trauma patients.

 Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

That’s a hard one. I’d probably have to say my Housemaster, Mrs. Filion, or my coaches, Mrs. Wark and Ms. Doucet. All three of them have been a huge part of why I am the person I am. They all have been here for me since my grade 9 year and will continue to be, even after I graduate. I can comfortably talk about every aspect of my life with all three faculty members.

 What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley has been time management. Being at Ridley, you need to learn how to use your time wisely. I play on first team sports and I am an 80% and above student. Therefore, being able to manage Ridley’s workload and being away for hockey almost every weekend can get extremely difficult. Although it’s been my biggest challenge, I have also improved a lot when it came to managing my time so I am thankful for that.

 What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

I’d say my greatest accomplishment would have to be earning the honour to be a school Prefect. Only a certain amount of grade 12’s get chosen to represent the school and I was 1 of 16.

 What has been your favourite Ridley experience (thus far) and your favourite part of Ridley?

Choosing one favourite Ridley experience is impossible. The two things that came to mind would be our long lasting tradition, Snake Dance, and being able to represent Ridley on the ice and on the field. Both things have been a privilege to be a part of.

My favourite part of Ridley would most definitely be how Ridley is it’s own community within a community. Until you experience the Ridley community, you won’t understand it. Every single person at Ridley is family. You spend approximately 16 hours of the day with other students. We see each other at our best and we see each other at our worst. I can honestly say that leaving this school will be heartbreaking.

 What are the most important things you have learned from your time at Ridley?

As stated before, one of the most important things I can take out of my time at Ridley and into the real world would have to be the capability to manage my time. No matter what I do in life, being able to have the skills to use my time appropriately will only benefit me.

 What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The most intimidating thing coming to Ridley, for most students, is the fear of no one liking them and not being able to fit in. Therefore, my biggest piece of advice I give new students is to just be yourself. Often people forget that you don’t need to change to “fit in” at Ridley.

 

Thank you Annie and all of our prefects for contributing to our introductory blog series. To review our past interviews, please click here.

Growing in Nature

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Graced with beautiful weather, Lower School students from grades 7 and 8 travelled to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC) for a day filled with learning, creating and being inspired by the nature around them.

BOERC has acres upon acres of forested land, large fields and ponds, teaming with wildlife. It offers a great area for students to escape the classroom and grow in a different environment.

With that in mind, Lower School teacher’s led the students to the countryside to participate in an array of activities that allowed them to express their creativity, test their knowledge of the world around us and burn off some steam.

Divided into their tribes, the students rotated to various stations, consisting of unique activities. One such station was dedicated to frisbee golf. Using the expanse of land, students relayed discs, as a team, towards a net competing for goals. Students had to work as a team and support one another in order to claim victory. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of laughs and cheers.

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At a nearby station was an ecology activity, where students had to identify varieties of trees located on the surrounding land. This helped educate the students to be aware and appreciative of the environment in their own backyard, while testing their knowledge of ecological terminologies. Upon gazing up at the leaves and searching the ground beneath their feet, the students stumbled upon caterpillars, acorns and a beautiful array of coloured leaves.

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Our students also got into the Thanksgiving spirit with a mason jar craft station. The rustic DIY project called for the children to their jars with items they had found in nature, including leaves and acorns.

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Finally, the students sat pond-side for mindfulness and meditation time. Settled together, the students made beaded bracelets , with each bead representing a symbol that would remind its wearer to be mindful ­– water, symbolizing  personal reflection and calmness; air symbolizing freedom and breath; mountain symbolizing strength and grounding; and flower symbolizing inner beauty.

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As the day came to a close, the students piled on the bus; their arms full of their creations and minds full of new knowledge and perspectives.

How grateful we are to have a place like BOERC in our own backyard, where students can experience nature in its purest form, flourish in a new environment and be inspired by all that is around them.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Shamar B. ’16

Introducing Shamar; a boarder from the Bahamas, who represented his country for two Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 1.01.33 PMconsecutive years at the Youth Olympics for basketball – now our First Boy’s Basketball team Captain! We are thrilled that he has brought his talents on and off the court to Ridley. Read our Q&A with Shamar to learn more about this Ridley Prefect.

Why did you choose Ridley?

The decision to attend Ridley was a collective group decision between my family members and I. Ridley was chosen because of the high standard of education, large sporting background, and mainly the quality of the school. It has diversification between different cultures; this allows students to bond and grasp a better understanding between self-culture and outside cultures. Ridley offered different facilities, a unique experience and exposure to a variety of programs. Lastly, Ridley is an elite school that assists, guides, and prepares students for university and the real world.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

My parents and I knew that I was prepared to attend Ridley College, and make the next big step in my life as a growing teen, but there are always some obstacles to face, even when you feel most prepared. Some of these obstacles were leaving family and friends behind in Nassau, Bahamas, seeking new opportunities and creating new friends; also making tough decisions on my own without mom or dad being by my side making the decisions for me.

What are your plans after graduation? 

Graduation is something I am really looking forward to. However, knowing that it will be my last time in high school will make the moment even more special, but also tough and possibly an emotional experience. After graduation I plan to attend university, possibly do some traveling, and gain a little more work experience before I’m completely enrolled into university. 

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

There are so many great faculty members at Ridley College. It’s quite tough to single out a faculty member as most favourite because they all are unique in many ways. 

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge at Ridley thus far has been, possibly, time management. This is because of traveling to different places for basketball, staying on top of assignments, and preparing for quizzes and tests.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley was being selected as school Prefect and also winning the first ever OFSAA ‘A’ Basketball Championship for the first time in Ridley history with an unbelievable group of teammates and coaching staff.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me academically, socially, and mentally for the real world. This is because the Ridley College community is a very social environment, which helps with your social skills in a formal and informal way. Academically, because of the different rigorous courses, the responsibility to research, study, and take on tasks independently or even sometimes with fellow classmates. Lastly mentally, because of the Ridley Guidance Team, which enlightens students in many different areas for future goals, plans, and decisions 

What have been your favorite Ridley experience (thus far) and your favorite part of Ridley?

Camp at the beginning of the school year, because of new people coming into the Ridley community, and taking part in house activities together. This creates a bond between you and other kids. Secondly, Snake Dance was an unreal experience for me because of the intensity and excitement of everyone participating. Snake Dance creates motivation for me to start off the school year in an enthusiastic way.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice to all prospective students is; to always remain open minded, to be polite with others, and to try your best to be welcoming to others. Seize every opportunity and be determined, to tackle and overcome any obstacles that come before you in your Ridley journey. Lastly be respectful, mannerly and always take advantage of all opportunities given.

Students Brave the Elements in Algonquin Park

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Each year, a group of adventurous students sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This award encourages grit, as students set goals that test their skills, push them to find adventure and work as a team. Student complete stages that increase with difficulty, moving up upon the completion of each level. At the end of the programme, students are awarded a pin and certificate to show their accomplishments.

This past weekend, students took to Algonquin Park for the first Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (D of E) trip of the school year! The students set out on a canoe trip on the chilled waters of Northern Ontario. The group was comprised of 16 students, chaperoned by Mr. Giles Campbell, Mr. Clyde Dawson, Mr. James Leslie and Mrs. Hanna Kidd.

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Unphased by the cold and ferocious winds, the group kept a positive and keen attitude – a trait emphasized by D of E. The group camped on Parkside Bay before paddling over to Big Porcupine Lake for the remaining nights.

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On Saturday, the day was spent paddling to Bonnechere Lake where participants enjoyed a much-deserved lunch. After filling up on a hot meal, a few very students took a dip in the lake. Needless to say, the swim was a refreshing one!

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After a weekend spent embracing Mother Nature, this group of adventurers proved their strength, endurance, teamwork and positivity.