Ridley’s Exchange Programme provides an opportunity of a lifetime

For over 20 years, Ridley’s International Student Exchange Programme has given audacious Ridleians and students from partnering schools around the world the opportunity to experience another country, appreciate a foreign culture and adapt to a new way of life at an international boarding school.

Dr. Ellen Foster has been coordinating the programme for the past 10 years, having organized approximately 200 exchanges in total. What began as a partnership with only a few schools has now expanded to offer Ridleians the chance to travel to South Africa, Australia, China, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and England. Whether they fly across the world to the land down under, make the trek to South Africa or hop across the pond to Paris, these students leave behind their routine lives to become Ridley’s global ambassadors.

Our Ridleians studying abroad may be away from St. Catharines anywhere between 6-12 weeks. During this time, they attend classes, live with their exchange families, absorb a new cultures and sometimes even learn new languages.

For every Ridleian who travels abroad, Ridley welcomes an eager student from the partnering school. For many of these visiting Upper School pupils, Ridley is their first exposure to Canada ­– which might include their first encounter with snow.

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Having the opportunity to travel, learn and grow in a new environment allows students to expand their knowledge of the world, overcome obstacles independently and discover new skills and strengths that they never knew they had. According to Dr. Ellen Foster, Coordinator of the International Student Exchange Programme, it also offers a great opportunity to improve language proficiency in places such as Spain and France.

Recently, Ridley said goodbye to this year’s visiting exchange students, as they returned home with unforgettable memories and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“I know from this amazing experience, that Ridley does not just focus on academic strength but also produces well-rounded, confident and worldly people who have the ability to make an impact in whatever they choose to do after school.”

– Eliza Hannah, Australia

In a few months time, our Ridleians will travel to South Africa and Australia for their exchange trips, where they will reunite with their exchange families and begin their own adventures.

If you’re interested in the International Student Exchange Programme or have any questions, contact Dr. Ellen Foster; ellen_foster@ridleycollege.com.

 

Positive Change Ignites at Ridley College

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

– Nelson Mandela

December 10th is Human Rights Day – observed globally to commemorate the day, in 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Ridleians went above and beyond to enact positive change in the world by participating in a number of events that took place on campus. Throughout the day and around every corner there were new opportunities for students, staff and faculty to get involved.

Students arrived on campus wearing red and green in support of Arthur Bishop West’s house charity, Congo Leadership Initiative. Contributions from this dress-down “grub” day were donated to the charity in support of a recently relocated Syrian refugee family.

In Upper School, from 8:00a.m. into the night, the Matthews Library was transformed into the drop-in workshop for Ridley’s own Amnesty Group. All students were invited to pay a visit to the library and write letters that took a stand on human rights issues. Within half an hour, 125 letters had already been written; by lunch, over 245 had been signed by Ridleians, pleading to end a number of unjust cases. Throughout the day, teachers brought their classes, faculty and staff dropped by to write their own letters, and students from Lower School stopped by to learn about this amazing cause.

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As the entire Ridley community continued to contribute to the Write for Rights event, another inspiring act had taken place in the Great Hall. Every table and wall in the Great Hall had been adorned with Post-It Notes. Each one with an inspiring message, urging its readers to “stay strong” or “never give up.” Led by the Positive Spaces Group, these positive sticky notes infused the dining hall with an optimistic energy.

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As classes concluded for the day, a group of Ridleians assembled in the Second Century Building (2CB) to help change the world. Each Thursday, this team joins together to make a difference in the lives of women living in developing countries. Led by Ms. Linda Chang and Prefect, Grace Lowes, members sew and prepare feminine hygiene kits for an organization called Days for Girls. These kits allow women, in developing countries, to carry on with their daily lives when they would otherwise be forced to forego school or work up to two full months each year.

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As the sun went down on the school day, so many acts of kindness and positive change had taken place on campus that it was impossible not to feel inspired.

Meanwhile, the Write for Rights event was forging ahead. Students piled in the library to help reach Ridley’s goal of writing 500 letters. Ms. Shelley Thomas, Faculty Advisor to Ridley’s Amnesty group, documented Ridley’s progress and along with her team, joined in on a twitter chat with the Secretary General of Amnesty Canada. By 10:00p.m., as the Write for Rights event came to a close, not only did had Ridley won Amnesty’s photo challenge, but an astounding 565 letters had been written for Amnesty International; a record breaking number for Ridley College.

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The winning photo of Amnesty International’s photo contest, taken by Ms. Shelley Thomas.

Whether they were writing, sewing, donating or posting, Ridleians made an impact and gained perspective on serious global issues. We all learned to be grateful for our circumstances and to use our power to assist others who are not as fortunate and wage a personal war. Each and every student joined together to make a difference and transform the globe. Their passion and kindness has inspired us all to be a part of positive change.

 

Ridley’s thespians shine bright at Michigan’s largest theatre festival

During the first weekend of December, Ridley’s theatre troupe travelled to Saginaw Valley University to compete in the Michigan Thespians Festival. As Michigan’s largest theatre event, students had the opportunity to attend workshops, compete in individual events, attend shows and socialize with other students, who share a passion for the dramatic arts.

As honorary state members, Ridleians joined students from all over Michigan in the qualifying round, which would earn them a ticket to the National Thespians Festival in the spring of 2016. All of our students who performed in individual events received excellent standing or higher. This is impressive, as they were adjudicated alongside students from art schools and students who have professional theatre experience.

A major highlight of the festival was the awards ceremony in Saginaw’s Temple Theatre, wherein Cassandra Mitchell and Monica Morcous performed their scene from the opening act of Ridley’s fall play, The Burial at Thebes, for an audience of 1,900 people.

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Our troupe members were also awarded the following standings at the awards ceremony:

Padraic Odesse – Excellent (monologues from The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Burial at Thebes)

Irys-Amelie Nadeau – Superior (monologues from Henry VIII and The Burial at Thebes)

Cassandra Mitchell and Monica Morcous – Superior (scene from The Burial at Thebes)

Cameron Reeves and Jesse Wydman – Superior (scene from The Burial at Thebes)

Each student with a superior standing has qualified to compete at the National Thespians Festival at the University of Nebraska in the spring.

Congratulations to all the Ridleians who represented our school with pride and passion this weekend.

– Ms. Gillian Fournier, Department of English and Dramatic Arts

Ridley geared up for the VEX Robotics tournament

On November 28th, 2015, Ridley’s VEX Robotics team traveled to Woburn Collegiate in Scarborough, for the first VEX Robotics tournament of the season!

After a long day and what seemed like in inordinate amount of mechanical failures, Ridley’s teams 1509E (James Gross, Jim Yang and Joey Bao), 1509 (William Wang, Padraic Odesse, Andy Li and Anakin Li) and 1509Z (Ryan Schmidt, Elias Ancer, Will van Sittert and Antonio Aspite) waited to see if they would be selected as an alliance partner for the elimination matches. Each team had dueled it out in the round robin with six matches each in a field of 72 teams. 1509E and 1509 wound up with similar records of four wins and two losses, and 1509Z wound up with a 1-5 record, facing an extremely tough draw of four of the five best opponents in the tournament.

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When alliances had been built for quarter final play, 1509E was a member of the 3rd seeded alliance and 1509 was a member of the 6th alliance (out of eight) and faced each other in the quarter finals. The good news was that whoever won the quarter final match would qualify for the All-Ontario championship in late March. The bad news was that the other team would not qualify. As it turned out, the higher seeded 1509E team made it to semi finals and qualified for the big tournament in early spring. Congratulations to all the teams and their efforts. There were some amazing teams.

Our rookie team (Adia Sisson, Alex Luo and Ira Madill), who did not compete at this event, now understand the complexities of competitive robotics and have new insights for the machine they are developing.

It was great to have Ava O’Toole back to help at our tournament. She kept us organized, which is not always easy. Special thanks to my co-mentor, Mr. Scott McCambley.

Our next tournament is in St. Catharines at Governor Simcoe on December 12th.

– Mr. Rodney Reimer, Head of Robotics and Engineering, VEX Robotics Mentor