Students connect with nature during the annual frog watching field trip

In order to live flourishing lives, students must learn the importance of contributing to the community. They must strive to develop meaningful partnerships and connections that will support them throughout their journey. These contributions and connections have a positive impact on everyone and everything around them.

On the evening of Friday, April 22nd, a group of Grade 9 geography students ventured to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC). Connecting with their peers and contributing to the restoration of our environment was an important part of this learning experience.

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In partnership with the FrogWatch Ontario Programme, our students participated in a national initiative that allows students to contribute to Environment Canada’s biodiversity database, specifically, data relating to frogs and toads. Coinciding with Earth Day, it was a perfect way to connect with and give back to nature and our community.

During their investigation, the students were asked to record a number of observations and conduct a number of tests. As the summative component of their ‘Amphibians as Bio-indicators’ unit, the students had to record the weather and water conditions, such as wind speed, cloud cover, water quality and temperature. This data was submitted alongside their observations. Ridleians then spent the evening collecting observational data and spent several hours listening for species of frogs and toads that are native to Ontario. Data such as this helps scientists determine positive and negative population trends, range and distribution of species and can help track climate change. It was a perfect night for frog watching and the students collected an abundance of data, which was then sent to Environment Canada where it will be used to help monitor climate change.

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This annual trip allows students to connect with nature, contribute to the community and strengthen partnerships with their classmates. Field trips like this – ones that extend beyond on the classroom and provide an interactive learning experience that connects to a bigger picture – are essential to the Ridley framework.

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Ridley College students net ice time with Ottawa Senators

The National Hockey League came to town as a special treat for our Ridleians on Friday, April 22nd.

Students belonging to our hockey programme joined Chris Neil, Cody Ceci, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Nick Paul, players from the Ottawa Senators, for an hour of fun on-ice sessions and scrimmages at Tiger arena.

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“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to not only meet these world-class athletes, but to also get a chance to learn from them during the practice sessions,” said Ridley’s Headmaster, Ed Kidd. “We want to thank the Ottawa Senators, Mr. Eugene Melnyk and members of the organization for visiting the school and spending valuable time with our students and players. It was truly an experience we will not forget.”

After a successful season for Ridley’s First Boys and First Girls hockey teams, the players will be eager to put to use what they learned from the NHLers next season.

Due to its incredible performance this season, the First Girls hockey team has been promoted to the Junior Women’s Hockey League  (JWHL) for upcoming 2016/2017 season. Coached by two-time Women’s World Hockey Champion, Amanda Benoit-Wark, the girls team will take on an elite level of competition in this North American league that helps prepare players for NCAA and CIS athletics.

Not to be outdone, the First Boys hockey team, coached by former European league player and Niagara resident Mike McCourt, is coming fresh off its MPHL Championship and silver medal win at the National Independent School Invitational Hockey Championship.

In addition to spending time on the ice with students, the Senators also toured the campus, visited classrooms and checked out the newly built Lower School Playscape, designed for students in JK to Grade 8.

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This past fall, the all-natural playscape was integrated into the existing, mature trees on the school grounds to help promote physical literacy amongst our younger students.

“The idea behind the playscape is that our students will reach physical literacy milestones sooner, which then puts them on the path to athletic success in later years,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “Unique playscapes like this have been proven to positively impact learning and academic achievement and build fundamental movement skills, promote resilience and increase creative and imaginative play. The introduction of the playscape is just one of the ways that Ridley is supporting its physical literacy goals and the Long-Term Athletic Development plan.”

The all-natural playscape, was built as part of the annual giving campaign for the 2014/2015 school year and Ridley College is currently undertaking an observational study to capture how students are demonstrating fundamental movement skills and imaginative play.

Thank you to the Ottawa Senators and Mr. Eugene Melnyk for giving our students such an incredible opportunity.

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To see photos from the Senators visit, click here.

To view the video from the Senators visit, click here.

Ridleians march in annual Church Parade

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On Sunday, April 24th, the annual Cadet Church Parade took place. This long-standing Ridley tradition and Cadet Corps event was well attended by Ridley families, friends and alumni.

Five-hundred students were on parade, marching along the traditional route passing a number of historical Ridley landmarks, such as Springbank House on Yates Street. As the Cadet Corps walked through the Marriott Gates, the mace was tossed and successfully caught by Drum Sergeant Major, Preston Coffin ’16.

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This year, members of both the Red and Silver Star Programs were recognized for their dedication to the Cadet Programme. In addition, 17 students received Cadet Long Service Awards.

The following students received a Cadet Long Service Award:

Adam J. Difruscia ‘16
Annie Sheridan ‘16
Elliott Ziolkowski ‘16
Ethan Crowe ‘16
Francisco Javier Serrano Cendejas ‘16
Grace Lowes ‘16
Hannah Bradley ‘17
Jacob Bell ‘17
Jesse Wydman ‘16
Liam Wilson ‘16
Michael Steier ‘17
Pablo Lopez Guzman ‘16
Padraic Odesse ‘17
Preston Coffin ‘16
Soo-Min Jeong ‘16
Trinity Russell-Marques ‘17
William Wang ‘16

Congratulations to all members of the Ridley College Cadet Corps.

To read the St. Catharines Standard article on the parade, click here.

To see photos from this year’s annual Cadet Church Parade, click here.

Join us on campus on Saturday, April 30th at 3:00p.m. for the 109th Cadet Inspection. This year’s Reviewing Officers are Dr. Jack N. Lightstone, President of Brock University, and James B. Milligan, Head of Lower School.

Ridleians are Inspired at Born to Lead Conference

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

– Jack Welch

Ridley strives to instill, in each student, the confidence to passion and the resiliency needed to overcome obstacles and forge onwards with determination. Students are encouraged to accept new challenges, risk failure and develop grit. We hope that with these skills, our Ridleians will go on to lead flourishing lives.

On April 18th, 2016, four Ridleians and their chaperone, Ms. Wendy Pak, spent the day among empowering women at the Born to Lead Youth Leadership Conference (Born to Lead or B2L Conference). While at the conference, these students were motivated to pursue their goals and were given the tools needed to achieve and succeed in their post-secondary careers. Closely aligning with Ridley’s values, this event would show our students that with determination comes success. Sandy Chen, Aribi Iwo-Brown, Lotus Liu and Helen Wang are all International Baccalaureate One (IB1) students, and were keen to attend the conference.

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“It [was] a great opportunity for our aspiring female business entrepreneurs to learn from women leaders in the business.”

– Ms. Wendy Pak

Born to Lead presents an opportunity for young women to explore the possibilities that await them in the world of business. Geared towards emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, attendees can participate in an array of workshops. Some of which focus on leadership and personal development, and some that provide insight on potential career paths. These young leaders also have the chance to interact with delegates from the Women in Leadership and Business Conference and listen to an inspiring keynote address.

This year’s keynote speaker was six-time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate, Clara Hughes. Clara shared her story; from her time as an high-performance athlete, to her struggles with mental health. Although the Ridleians in attendance had never heard Clara’s story, her moving journey impacted them greatly.

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“I really liked Clara Hughes’s speech. She [taught] us that women should stand up, be strong and keep going. I really enjoyed my time at the conference.”

– Lotus Liu ‘17

In the afternoon, our Ridleians sat down with some of the delegates from the Women in Leadership and Business Conference. This session, titled “Perspectives”, was meant to bridge the gap between different age groups and career stages. Students who are just discovering the world of business and leadership were able to discuss topics (such as generation stereotypes and workplace projects) with established professionals. It was an opportunity for both groups to gain insight and inspiration from one another.

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“One thing I learned at the conference is ‘you are the only one who can determine your limits.’ So, never stop; keep pursuing.”

– Helen Wang ‘17

The Born to Lead conference was a place to discover the opportunities that await those who are willing to work to reach their dreams.

“We got to meet some amazing, accomplished and inspiring people like Clara Hughes. We learned so much about our next steps which we didn’t already know. It was such an enlightening opportunity.”

– Aribi Iwo-Brown ‘17

Ridley is proud to be a co-educational school, with 47% of our student population made up of females. With our student-led groups such as Positive Space and Days for Girls our students can be a part of the global conversation about gender equality. With events such as Born to Lead, our students can discover the importance of resiliency, grit, determination and confidence.

As the annual Born to Lead Youth Leadership Conference came to a close, our Ridleians left feeling more confident and motivated to pursue a career in business. We hope that they keep this experience and the lessons they learned with them as they travel down their career paths.

Students Build Hope During Service Trip to Guatemala

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For 18 students, this March break was about commitment, making a difference and proudly practicing Ridley’s motto: Terar dum prosim ­– May I be consumed in service. This group of students travelled 3344 kilometers from St. Catharines to Guatemala. Accompanied by their chaperones, Mr. Dave Costello, Ms. Allison Harding, Ms. Carla D’Annibale and Ridley parent, Ms. Kim Arnold, the students spent eight days working with the Doppenbergs and their organization known as The DIG.

The Doppenbergs moved to Guatemala six years ago and have since dedicated their lives to helping those living in poverty. Their most recent project has been The School of Hope in El Progreso, Guatemala. This school, when complete, will give students with special learning needs a place to grow. “The School of Hope will be the first of its kind in the region, and will provide access to education for students who typically would not be able to go to school,” says Ms. Allison Harding, Intermediate Teacher. The School of Hope is set to open in early 2017 and our Ridleians spent the week making progress on its construction.

The students began their trip with a visit to El Salitrillo, the first village that the Doppenbergs began working with when they made their move from the Niagara region. While visiting, our Ridleians had the chance to play with some of the local children and visit the school that was constructed by The DIG last year. For some students, this was a chance to revisit the school they’d help build during the 2015 service trip. For the others, it was a chance to see what would become of this year’s project. After an inspirational first day in Guatemala, the students were ready to get started!

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Their first day on the work site was a tough, but rewarding day. The students spent several hours making progress on  The School of Hope. Laying cement and tying rebar was difficult work, but the students were happy to assist in any way they could. In the afternoon, the students visited the nursery run by the Doppenbergs. This nursery helps provide sustainable nutrition to Guatemalans living in El Progreso. Our students helped plant peppers and moringa trees (a plant that provides an incredible amount of nutrition), fill soil bags and place soil around the nursery. After a long day, Ridleians were able to look back and see all that they had already accomplished.

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“The work we did at the site was rather tedious but we managed to get a tremendous amount of work done… I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow”

– Nnamdi Chibuzor ‘21

For the rest of the week, the students continued to help in the nursery and make progress on The School of Hope. Over the course of only a few days, the students could see that they were having a positive impact on the community.

As the end of the trip approached, the students went back to El Salitrillo. The Doppenbergs had spent the last couple of years working on a way to bring clean water to the village. Before the system was completed, the villagers had to walk to a spring, located 15 minutes away, through rough terrain, where they would fill buckets with water and then have to trudge back through the path. Our Ridleians participated in a “water walk” to experience the challenging task that these villagers had to endure multiple times a day.

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“This was an eye-opening experience that undoubtedly left us all with a much greater appreciation for the clean drinking water that we have easy access to at home.”

– Ms. Allison Harding, Intermediate Teacher

The week had flown by, and after days spent working tirelessly, time spent exploring Guatemala and an experience of a lifetime, it was time to say goodbye. As our Ridleians left Guatemala and made the journey back home, they were asked to reflect on their experiences and how it had impacted them. It was clear that in only a week, these students had grown attached to Guatemala and the people who inhabit it. For many, it ignited a fire within them to do all they can to help those in need.

“This trip made me grateful for all that I have…. I hope to come again.”

– Paloma Moragrega ‘20

“I can’t stop thinking about how these two trips have impacted me as a person. I believe that I have grown as a person because of the experience I was able to have.”

– Sarah McCleary ‘19

“This trip had an impact on everyone in many different ways. We were able to see Guatemala from a perspective that most people aren’t able to experience and because of this, are able to learn and grow from it. This will truly be an experience that everyone won’t forget. From arriving on March 10th to departing on March 17th, everyone will surely be able to bring this story back home, spread the word and bring back even more people for next year.”

– Jasmyn Traboulay-Drach ‘19

Each year, these service trips give students the opportunity to experience what life can be like in the developing parts of the world. It is a humbling and enriching experience, that many Ridleians keep with them for the rest of their lives. We can’t wait to see what next year will hold and what opportunities will arise for our students to make a difference.

If you would like to donate to The DIG and help them complete The School of Hope, please click here.