Ridleian Competes at Canada-Wide Science Fair

“Don’t worry about what people will say. Just trust your instincts and do what you’re passionate about.”

– Syni Solanki ‘21

Ridley ensures that our students have ample opportunities to pursue their passions, develop grit, overcome challenges and build foundations for flourishing lives. Our school’s curriculum provides students with the ability to pursue their passions, while participating in an enriching learning experience. Projects like the Community Action Project and the PYP Exhibition, allow students to choose what area they’d like to focus on, thus giving them to opportunity to align their passions with their academic courses. This freedom to choose evokes curiosity in each student and they develop a desire to learn.

In January of this year, the Grade 7 students fused their passion with science at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. These students spent months gathering research, conducting experiments, and discovering answers to their own questions. One student in particular, Syni Solanki ’21, set out to discover a cheap and efficient way to desalinate water, which is the process of removing minerals from salt water, leaving fresh water behind.

“Water is everywhere, but is it fresh? One-third of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water, so I attempted to find a cheap and efficient method to bring fresh water to everyone in the world.”

– Syni Solanki ‘21

After being inspired by two news programmes – one on graphene (which is a carbon based material) and the other on water scarcity –  Syni saw a possible connection between graphene and the desalination process.  After extensive research, Syni discovered that graphene can in fact desalinate water, and it can be done using an efficient and cost-friendly method. She found that by creating a reusable graphene sand mesh, she could remove minerals from salt water.

On January 29th, Syni presented her experiment at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. Members of the Ridley community were impressed by Syni’s theory, and she was awarded First Place, but her scientific journey did not end there.

24066096623_dd97c1cea9_z

Along with four of her classmates, Syni then competed in the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NRSEF). The NRSEF is an annual event, where young students from the Niagara region can demonstrate their scientific theories in a stimulating environment. Syni confidently displayed her findings, as local scientists, business professionals and engineers quizzed her on her research. During the NRSEF Awards Ceremony, Syni was awarded the Brock University Chemistry Award, The Waldie Fast Memorial Trophy and placed second in the Junior age category.

Photo courtesy of http://www.niagarasciencefair.org/wp/
Photo courtesy of http://www.niagarasciencefair.org/wp/

DSC_2128

Due to Syni’s impressive project and her results in the Junior age category, she was asked to represent Niagara in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. This science fair celebrates Canada’s brightest young minds, featuring participants from across the country. This year, a total of 415 students travelled to Montreal, Quebec for the 2016 Canada-Wide Science Fair, being held at McGill University. The six-day event included more than just a gallery walk displaying Canada’s brightest scientists, but guests and participants could also attend keynote speakers, demonstrations and learn about the impressive research being done by the University.

Up against 162 participants in her category, Syni confidently displayed her work and earned the Bronze medal and a $1000 entrance scholarship to Western University – a truly astonishing accomplishment.

Congratulations to Syni! It is clear that with such dedication, passion and talent, Syni will flourish during her education and beyond.

Read the Niagara This Week article. 

TransfORming Our Globe – Megan Breukelman ’11

TransfORmingGraphic

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of an Old Ridleian, Megan Breukelman ’11, who transformed her passion into a business that connects and inspires people all over the world – Atlas Magazine.

Megan4

Megan Breukelman began her Ridley career in Grade 5 and carried out the duration of her secondary school studies here at Ridley. With a passion for visual arts and more specifically, photography, Megan took advantage of every opportunity she had to refine her craft. She was a photographer for the ACTA Ridleiana, could often be found photographing major Ridley events and frequently used the stunning Ridley campus as a backdrop for her personal projects. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Megan ensured her school curriculum aligned with her goals, taking courses such as AP Visual Art and Media Arts.

“I had a leg-up in my career thanks to the Media Arts programme at Ridley, taught by Mr. Reimer – I was comfortable with the Adobe Suite way ahead of time!”

– Megan Breukelman ‘11

Megan 8  Megan 6

Megan 5

By the time Megan was graduating high school, she was well versed in the world of art, had the experience necessary to jumpstart her career and had the work ethic and time management skills necessary to succeed. It was then that Megan made the move to Florida, where she attended Ringling College of Art and Design. After a few years in the sun, Megan decided that in order to advance her career, New York was where she needed to be. Megan took a year off of school to intern in Toronto, while she prepared for her new life in the Big Apple. In the Fall of 2014, Megan moved to New York to finish her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

Megan2  Megan1

SVA gave me a focused education on the business of photography, rather than just the creative and technical aspects. Both sides are essential to a career in the arts.”

– Megan Breukelman ’11

While attending school, Megan met Olivia Bossert, her overseas business partner, on an online photography community. Both had similar goals, and after some discussion, they founded Atlas Magazine. Atlas is a quarterly publication that showcases creative talent from all over the world. “The publication found its focus in fashion while maintaining its roots in fine art, setting it apart from the typical fashion magazine,” says founder, Megan. It began as an online publication, but two years after releasing the first issue, Megan and Olivia launched a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter that allowed them to begin selling print publications in the United Kingdom. As of today,  Atlas is now available internationally.

Since its inception, Atlas has grown in size and popularity within the art world and now receives thousands of submissions, releases both print and digital issues and maintains a robust website – with lookbooks, articles and editorial sections.

“The best part of creating Atlas is seeing the spectrum of work that is submitted to us every issue. We receive thousands of submissions from artists of all parts of the world, and I am always surprised and delighted at how much pure talent there is out there.” – Megan Breukelman ’11

Atlas1

Alongside Atlas, Megan has maintained a flourishing career. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at SVA and over the years has gained professional experience at agencies, magazines and even a fashion brand. She intends to continue working in creative production and says, “…as long as I’m doing something I’m passionate about, I’ll be happy.”

For anyone who is trying to discover what they want to do or where they want their path to lead, Megan says this:

“Take your time in figuring out what you want to do. There is a lot of pressure to pick something and stick with it, but I think careers and passions grow and evolve just as we do.”

Megan’s story shows that your passion can evolve into a flourishing career and that art can truly connect people.

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

Ridleians Take Action in our Community

Within Ridley, a thriving community, comprised of students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni, exists. This community works seamlessly to create an environment in which our school can flourish. Beyond Ridley’s gates, exists another community – our local community. With such importance placed on community service and contribution, it is imperative for a strong relationship to exist between Ridley and the local community.

Ridleians are introduced to community service and partnership at a young age. Ridley hopes that from these experiences and opportunities within the community, our students will become global citizens and will continue to live out our motto – Terar dum prosim.

Just recently, our Grade 6 students participated in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Exhibition, where they took action to solve local and global issues. This proved to be a wonderful opportunity for our students to become passionate about our world, and work to solve issues that struck a cord with them.

13227276_1118637271528512_2935340785949763551_o

As the end of the year approaches, our Grade 9 & 10 Civics classes stepped up to the very same challenge. For their summative project, these students were asked to look at our local community and focus in on an issue. In groups, they were then asked to choose a topic based on their own personal interests. Some topics included: environmental conservation, gender equality, animal protection and pollution.

The students were required to explore their topics of choice. Students researched their topics, conducted interviews with community leaders, asked their peers to complete surveys and went into our local community to find out more. From their research and findings, the students set a goal and devised a plan of action. Students set out to raise awareness for their cause, inform the community of local issues, donate to local organizations and even use art forms to share a message.

Upon completion of their project, 28 groups gathered in the Great Hall to share their projects and spread awareness for their causes. It was incredible to see so many students come together to discuss local issues and how we can solve them.

IMG_2293

Following the exhibition, we sat down with six groups to learn more about their topic and how they contributed to our community. These six groups paired with organizations, such as Youth Unlimited, Pathstone Mental Health, the City of St. Catharines, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Brock University, Marz Homes and Canadian Tire, for resources and information, donations and in some cases, the opportunity to collaborate – now and in the future. View the video on the community action project.

The community action project allowed students to exercise one of Ridley’s core beliefs – that a commitment to service and social responsibility will help build a flourishing life – while completing their course. Our school encourages all Ridleians to take action, just as these students have, and contribute to our local community and beyond.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 

Grade 6 Students ‘Share the Planet’ for the PYP Exhibition

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle

It is imperative that every Ridleian – past, present and future – is instilled with a desire to change the world. Commitment to service, contribution to community, the desire to take action: all of these qualities make up a true Ridleian. The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme aligns perfectly with the values and core beliefs of our school. The same global mindedness is encouraged in both the IB programme and at Ridley. The shared values of both organizations create a perfect partnership.

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a programme for students aged 3-12, offered by IB World Schools. Ridley is proud to implement the PYP into our Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum. The PYP curricular framework focuses on the whole child; developing their social, academic and emotional well-being. Incorporated into the curriculum are six transdisciplinary themes that focus on local and world issues and can be explored in each subject. The students are asked to explore these themes, find connections between them and determine how they relate to their course work.

In their final year of the PYP, all Grade 6 students take part in an exhibition that combines all of the skills, strengths and techniques that they’ve developed and learned during their primary years’ education. Each year, the exhibition focuses on one of the six transdisciplinary themes.

“Students are required to engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to a real-life issues or problems.”

– Ms. Marcie Lewis ‘03, Grade 6 Teacher and PYP Coordinator

On May 11th, our Grade 6 students participated in this year’s PYP Exhibition. This year, the theme chosen was ‘Sharing the Planet’, focusing solely on current world issues and how to take action to solve them. The exhibition featured a gallery walk and presentations on topics ranging from the ethical treatment of animals to natural disaster recovery. The students were encouraged to pick topics that interested them and ignited a fire within to make a difference. Choosing something that aligns with their own passions allows the students to form a personal connection to their research, resulting in a desire to learn.

Once the students chose their topics, they were required to form a central idea. This central idea focused on how one could take action to contribute to the resolving of their world issue. Through extensive research and inquiry, the students were required to provide research that supported their central idea and visually display the information for the exhibition.

Picture3

The students created incredible presentations, using well-made visual aids and slideshow displays. Many also included demonstrations and interactive elements that students, staff and members of the Ridley community could partake in. The projects included:

  • ‘The Ethical Treatment of Animals’ by Emily Abbey-Rupnik ’22 and Olivia Massis ’22
  • ‘Natural Disaster Recovery’ by Calum Murphy ’22 and Lucas Vigna ’22
  • ‘Global Warming and the Effect on the Global Food Supply’ by Shakirah Zaidi ’22 and Ire Oloketuyi ’22
  • ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases with a Focus on the Zika Virus’ by Chloe Cook ’22
  • ‘Mental Health in Developing Countries’ by Lindsey Siao ’22 and Taylor Searle ’22
  • ‘Living with Disabilites’ by Keji Adeyemi ’22
  • ‘Community Based Sports Programs’ by William Clayton ’22 and Phillip Stroganov ’22
  • ‘Child Labour’ by Brooke Loranger ’22 and Isha Walia ’22
  • ‘Global Warming and the Effect on Global Water Supply’ by Bradley Mattocks ’22 and Sascha Jansen-Rudan ’22

Picture2  Picture1

“The exhibition allows the students to have greater independence. It allows students to see their strengths as learners and feel empowered by being in control of their own learning.”

– Ms. Marcie Lewis ‘03, Grade 6 Teacher and PYP Coordinator

The projects presented by the students during the PYP Exhibition clearly demonstrated the inquisitive nature of our students and showed that they are well on their way to becoming globally minded individuals. It was a thought provoking experience for both the students and all who explored the exhibition. We look forward to seeing what next year’s students can discover.

View photos or watch the video from the PYP Exhibition.

 

Slam Dunk for Ridley College and OSBA

The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) welcomes Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team into its elite Canadian league.

After more than a decade-long run as one of most competitive basketball teams in the CISAA and following a record-breaking season ­­– winning six tournaments and three major titles ­– Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team has been formally accepted into the OSBA for the 2016/2017 season.

The OSBA is an elite league, governed by Ontario Basketball that helps prepare players for post-secondary, national and international levels of competition. The goal of the association is to increase the number of quality basketball players competing in Ontario and to promote the Train to Compete (T2C) stage of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model – of which Ridley was an early adopter and remains a proponent of, school-wide.

The team’s promotion means that the Ridley Tigers will not only compete against top basketball prep schools from around the Greater Toronto Area, but the athletes will also participate in at least three international showcases and host several others throughout the year. Ridley will become the first and only IB Continuum school that is a member of the OSBA, offering the gold standard in academics and athletics in Canada.

“We are excited to add an outstanding institution like Ridley College to the OSBA. We are confident that Ridley College will be able to provide student-athletes with a world-class education, as well as a high-quality basketball experience that supports their development.”

– Carmelo Mallia, Manager of High Performance at Ontario Basketball and OSBA League Commissioner.

With support from the current coaching staff, Ridley Athletics has hired Mr. Tarry Upshaw as head coach of the new OSBA team. Coach Upshaw’s dynamic career has included coaching at the professional national and international level; coaching national team programs in Hong Kong, China, Jamaica and right here in Canada. His wealth of experience in developing young athletes and his relationships in the basketball world will be invaluable as the school’s basketball programme continues to develop into one of the best in the country.

“This is a natural progression for us as an institution with the right people in place at the right time,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “I am very excited about the support network we have in place for our student athletes, and adding the competitive environment of the OSBA will no doubt challenge all of us to become even better at what we do,” he added.

Read the St. Catharines Standard’s article.

TransfORming Our Globe – Ted Chen ‘08

TransfORmingGraphic

We’re proud to introduce the TransfORming Our Globe blog series. Each month, we will feature Old Ridleians, who are making their mark on the world. The inaugural TransfORming Our Globe story is about a young man that identified an area of need, produced a solution, and was recently named to the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list for his work in the Manufacturing and Energy industry.

Evercomm co-founder Ted Chen holding their wireless sensor chip
EverComm co-founder, Ted Chen holding their wireless sensor chip.

Originally from Taiwan, Ted Chen ‘08 came to Ridley College in 2002, as a Grade 7 boarding student. Ted spent six years at Ridley, and was highly involved in both academics and extracurricular activities while he was a student. Ted was a boarder in Burgoyne House in Grades 7 and 8 before realizing how cool it is in the North, spending Grades 9 through 12 in Merritt North House. During his time here, Ted demonstrated his willingness to try new things and work hard, both in and out of the classroom. Coming from Taiwan, Ted had the opportunity to pick up new sports and hobbies, and was most grateful for the opportunity to learn how to play basketball. He started playing on the Under-16 team, and eventually made the cut for the First Boys basketball team in Grade 12. Ted was also a member of the First harriers team and First lacrosse team. He earned the Duke of Edinburgh’s silver award, was a House Captain in Merritt North, and was a member of the Students with Advanced Technology Team (S.W.A.T.).

10400828_1017967623837_2044_n  24992_1215310637289_7683341_n

1915633_1151463401148_5617722_n

Upon graduating, Ted attended Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where he studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He later took part in an entrepreneur bootcamp at Stanford University that helped motivate him to start his own business. He then returned to Singapore and cofounded EverComm in 2014.

EverComm uses data analytics to identify cost savings for companies with high energy bills. On average, his customers spend between three and six million dollars on energy per month. The EverComm platform allows these clients to save roughly one to three percent each month on their onerous energy bills.

In true Ridley fashion, Ted says his motivation lies outside of money or comfort. He wants to help transform our globe. Our planet is currently mired in a worldwide energy crisis that impacts everyone and Ted aims to do what he can to make a difference through the work of his venture. Ted’s team continues to grow and work towards combatting the issue of climate change. The industrial sector, with which Ted works most extensively with, consumes more than fifty percent of the world’s energy.

Ted 3

In addition to citing many of the lessons he learned at Ridley, Ted claims he, “discovered who [he] was, discovered a love for computers, and learned to persevere through challenges.” Through athletics, he learned about his drive and how to compete to the best of his ability. He enjoys traveling the world and, thanks to Ridley, he knows, “someone in almost every pocket of the globe.”

Ted’s story is an excellent example of how hard work, opportunity, and a desire to improve the world around you can truly help to TransfORm Our Globe.

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who have discovered their passions and found success and happiness along this path. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

The Weekend Programme – April 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This April, the Weekend Programme was chalked full of highly anticipated events, Ridley traditions and exciting outings!

Students witness a battle of epic proportions on the big screen

Saturday, April 2nd

There’s nothing better than seeing an action-packed movie on the big screen, so that’s what nearly 30 students spent their Saturday evening doing. Our Ridleians loaded up the bus and ventured to Landmark Cinemas to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice; an epic motion picture, that pits two beloved superheroes against one another. As always, our students enjoyed an evening out with their peers.

House trip to the Great Wolf Lodge

Saturday, April 9th

Members of the boy’s houses travelled to Niagara Falls for an evening of fun at the Great Wolf Lodge, a waterpark resort, located not far from campus. There, they hit every water slide, lazy river and water challenge in site! It was a wonderful outing and a great opportunity for the boys to bond before Summer begins.

 “Best night of the year.”

– Mrs. Jessica Roud, Housemaster of Dean’s House

GWL 3 GWL 2

Students took part in some friendly competition on the court

Saturday, April 9th

On Saturday, students hit the badminton court for a tournament. It was a great opportunity to practice their skills, bond with their classmates and get active. At the end of the tournament, students enjoyed a pizza party, provided by Ms. Margaret Lech, Assistant Head of Upper School and talented badminton player.

Badminton 4  Badminton 3

“Going to badminton on Saturday was a really good time! I think everyone that attended brought the best energy they could (including Ms. Lech!) My favourite part of the night had to be when I played Victoria and our competitive sides came out; the game really took a turn. Calling a rematch with Victoria and Ms. Lech!”

– Rachel Overbeeke ’17

“Badminton on Saturday was a blast. At the beginning it was quiet, but once everyone started to come out it was loads of fun. Everyone’s competitive and fun side came out, which made it even more exciting to play. My favourite part of the night was having a match against Ms. Lech (when I said I needed competition), even though she beat me. It was okay because I was taking it easy on her. P.S. I call for a rematch against you Ms. Lech. The challenge has been accepted.”

– Victoria Dabanovich-Mahoney ’18

Students sang their hearts out at MNO Music Night

Saturday, April 16th

Students gathered in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre for the annual MNO Music Night, hosted by Merritt North. Our talented Ridleians hit the stage, where they sang, danced, showcased their talents and even participated in a little bit of karaoke. This annual student-led event proves to be a hit, year after year.

MNO Music NIght 2 MNO Music NIght 1

Ridleians ventured ‘In the Woods’ for the annual Cadet Ball

Saturday, April 23rd

Our Grade 11 and 12 students experienced a night they’d never forget on Saturday, April 23rd. The annual Cadet Ball is a long-standing Ridley tradition, where our students don their crisp cadet uniforms and their prettiest gowns for a night of dinner, dancing and good company. This year, Club Italia’s ballroom was transformed into an enchanting forest, inspired by the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. The Family Guild and Grad Committee planned a fantastic event for our senior students and faculty members. To view photos from this year’s whimsical Cadet Ball, click here.

26614748066_f3500d68da_z 26641421695_23b3d8e563_z

With adventurous day trips, tournaments and one of the most memorable events of the year, April was a month to remember for many of our students. As the school year winds down, the Weekend Programme still has some fantastic events planned. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for our students.