TransfORming Our Globe – Nate Houghton ‘07

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of Ridley and double Ivy League alumnus, Nate Houghton ‘07, who has dedicated his life to helping Congo youth live flourishing lives through his not-for-profit, the Congo Leadership Initiative.

Nate began his Ridley career in 2005 and although his Ridley career only spanned two years, there was no shortage of lessons taught, skills learned and qualities formed. Nate came to Ridley because of the hockey programme, but soon discovered that more opportunities awaited him within the gates. As a Prefect in his final year, Nate played in the Jazz Band and went to the 2007 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in South Africa with his fellow Ridleians.

Ridley left Nate feeling well prepared for university. He had refined his time-management skills, found an interest in social impact, was held to a higher standard by his peers and teachers and the Ridley schedule had set him up for success as he moved on to his post-secondary career.

“Ridley helped me to create good habits in order to get things done… I think that a lot of the tactical habit forming things came from the rigor of the schedule.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

Nate went on to study at Cornell, where he studied economics and policy. While there, he took a trip to Congo. He had always had an interest in post-colonial Africa, and he wanted to learn more about their culture and if he could make a positive impact on the community. His visit left a great impression on both him and the youth he encountered on his trip.

It was this trip that inspired Nate to begin the Congo Leadership Initiative (CLI). The CLI is an organization that trains Congo youth to become the leaders of tomorrow – not too unlike Ridley. Through workshops, training and grants, the CLI provides individuals with the tools needed to succeed.

“We develop the next generation of leaders to be catalysts for peace and prosperity in the Congo…If you can combine leadership values with entrepreneurial skills, you have the engine for development. It unlocks the potential that a country really has.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

CLI young leaders in a training session at our Kinshasa Lea CLI young leaders at the PEREX Leadership Institute site

For two years (2010 to 2012), Nate was dedicated to establishing a firm infrastructure for the CLI. With that, he felt confident that he could divide his time to explore his other passions. He worked in New York and studied at Harvard – where he is set to complete his MBA in September – and is currently working for the investment firm, NextGen Venture Partners. Despite his busy schedule, Nate still finds time to work and connect with CLI every day. He has recently been focusing his efforts on fundraising and operations. He hopes that the CLI will be able to extend their efforts and make a larger impact by partnering with other organizations who could then administer training to those in Congo.

Nate possesses the true spirit of a Ridleian and of our school motto – Terar Dum Prosim. He saw a community in need and has ever since dedicated his life to bettering their lives and showing them their potential. To other Ridleians who are unlocking their own potential, Nate has no shortage of advice.

“There is no reason that you can’t do these [kinds of] things. There is nothing that was different about me that made that possible. Anyone can start something…The best decisions I have made are the ones where I am thinking about what is best for other people. Whether it is within the organization or more broadly in the world. The worst decisions I have made are where I knowingly or unknowingly tried to make myself look a certain way… Just being yourself and doing things for other people is really the only thing that matters.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

For those interested in supporting the Congo Leadership Initiative, there are a number of ways to give.


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.

 

 

Prefect Brings Light to Niagara First Nations

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Prefect, Shaun Donnelly ’17 discovered a passion for service and saw her CAS Project as an opportunity to make a difference for First Nations peoples of Niagara.

During the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, each student is required to complete a project that focuses on one of the CAS components – creativity, action or service. Students are encouraged to focus on one aspect and topic that they have a passion for. For Shaun, her ambition was serving and aiding First Nations peoples in our local community. After seeing the struggles and obstacles that this population has had to endure over the years, Shaun decided she wanted to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

“I wanted to provide some service to them; mainly because I’ve developed a passion for helping First Nations peoples as I’ve learned about their issues, past and present. So, I decided that I wanted to take this opportunity to make a difference.” – Shaun Donnelly ‘17

Shaun began with her research. She knew she needed to understand more about the First Nations before she would be able to begin formulating ideas and solutions to help those living in her community. Shaun explored the culture, while diving deeper into topics relating to healthcare.

Nearly a year later, Shaun was ready to put her research into action. She met with the Executives from Niagara’s three major hospitals, in hopes of shedding light on how healthcare practices align with First Nations culture. Shaun’s seminar was also attended by some of Niagara’s frontline healthcare workers, such as doctors, nurses and key stakeholders.

“The purpose of the seminar was to educate them on First Nations culture so that they could more appropriately treat their first Nations patients and be aware of any differences and preferences that the First Nations people might have because of their culture.” – Shaun Donnelly ’17

During the seminar, Shaun discussed First Nations peoples’ culture and their views on birth, death and natural healing. She also introduced First Nations customs into her seminar by creating and utilizing a Talking Stick – an item used during council meetings. The seminar lasted nearly three times longer than Shaun was intending, and the individuals in attendance were engaged and interested from start to finish.

Although her CAS project had reached its conclusion, Shaun intends to continue educating both herself and her peers. Since completing her project, she began a First Nations advocacy committee on campus – known as TRUE (truth, reconciliation, understanding and empathy) – that aims to raise awareness of First Nations culture and the struggles they are facing. While it is still a new club, they have generated a lot of interest from their fellow Ridleians.

“This was the first time where I actually did something to serve people when I didn’t have to, on such a large scale, so that was really rewarding. I learned to really appreciate the satisfaction serving others.” – Shaun Donnelly ’17

Shaun’s CAS project and global thinking led her to knowledge, understanding, appreciation and service. It is our hope that each student, on their search for answers, discovers something about the world that urges them to make a difference.

 

Remembering Former Headmaster, H. Jeremy Packard

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It is with heavy hearts that Ridley shares the news that former Headmaster, Dr. Jeremy Packard passed away on Sunday, December 25th at 78 years of age.  Dr. Packard served as the school’s sixth Headmaster from 1981 to 1989 and was a beloved leader, teacher, mentor and friend to the Ridley community.

During is eight-year tenure as Headmaster, Dr. Packard made notable and significant reforms – strengthening Ridley’s academic programmes, purposefully increasing female enrollment and championing Ridley’s most successful capital campaign (“The 21st Century Campaign”) to date.

Following his time at Ridley, Jeremy and his wife, Ingrid Cronin, returned home to the United States, where Dr. Packard took post as the President of Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania. Throughout his life, Dr. Jeremy Packard showed an unwavering dedication to education, both personally and professionally, and was an active member of countless charitable and non-profit organizations. He was a true Ridleian, set an incredible example for generations of graduates, and will be deeply missed.  As Brian Iggulden OR ’67 writes in an upcoming tribute, “Jere was indeed a Ridley giant and all Ridleians are blessed that his life touched ours.”

To Ingrid and their sons, Michael, Dennis and Matthew and to Seth OR ’85 and Eliza OR ’84 (children of Jere by his first wife the late Mary B. Green), we express sincere condolences.

A memorial service for Jeremy Packard will be held on Saturday, January 14th at 11a.m. in the Kirby Center for Creative Arts on Wyoming Seminary’s Upper School campus in Kingston, Pennsylvania.

For the Ridley community, family and friends, Ridley College will host a memorial service in celebration of Mr. Packard’s life and leadership. Dates and times of the service to be announced.

Read Dr. Packard’s obituary.