Get to Know Your Prefects: Marlize V. S. ’19

Meet Marlize ’19: a Day student who has embraced a global outlook through her Ridley experiences and her exchanges abroad. A student-athlete who is involved in a variety of co-curriculars, Marlize has welcomed all that Ridley has to offer since arriving as a Grade 1 student. Read more to learn how Marlize will be applying all she has learned during her years at the school into her role as a Prefect.

Why did you choose Ridley?
I started at Ridley when I was just five, which means that I didn’t really have a say in the initial decision. However, throughout my time at Ridley, there has never been never a doubt in my mind as to whether I would return the next year – the people and atmosphere are one-of-a-kind and I’m so glad my parents made the decision that they did.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
I felt as prepared as a first grader could be! The friends I made during Grade 1 and those subsequent years definitely made each new venture easier to navigate and although at times you may feel extremely unprepared for the various demanding aspects of Ridley life, chances are that everyone around you is experiencing the exact same thing – just something to keep in mind.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
It’s really hard to choose just one favourite faculty member as all of them have been amazing, but three great teachers are Mr. Ronald, Ms. Covent and Ms. Thomas.

Mr. Ronald, who teaches IB Environment, and Ms. Covent, who teaches IB Biology, are two of the most dedicated teachers I’ve ever had. They consistently go above and beyond to make sure that every student feels confident with the material. Their devotion is most accurately summarized by the fact that if you ask them for help before an assessment, they would come to school after hours just to support you.

Ms. Thomas, who teaches IB Language and Literature, is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. The discussions she prompted in class made you question everything about societal construct and expectations, and she forms genuine connections with each and every one of her students. Sadly, last year was her last year at Ridley, but she continues and will always continue to do fascinating things.

What has been your greatest challenge at Ridley so far?
IB1 was a challenge unparalleled by any other I have faced at Ridley – I knew it would be hard but I didn’t entirely know what I was getting myself into. The workload and its difficulty, along with keeping up with all other aspects of Ridley life, is intense and at times overwhelming, but I strongly consider challenges to be what defines someone’s character and builds perseverance. Therefore, I try to expose myself to as many challenges as possible in hopes of coming out a better person on the other side.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?
My greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been receiving the Ian Wood ’53 Summer Language Scholarship. Ian Wood ’53, a former Canadian Ambassador, generously funds an annual scholarship that allows a student to travel to any country and participate in a summer program of their choosing to better their skills in a foreign language. I chose to take part in a two-week human rights internship in Cape Town, South Africa, where I hope to bring my Afrikaans skills to a level practical in a professional or occupational setting. I’m actually writing this profile from South Africa and the experience has incredible thus far!

What has been your favourite Ridley experience?
During first term in Grade 10, I hosted an exchange student from Australia named Alex, and in turn stayed with her on a three-month exchange to Sydney, Australia during second term. It was an exciting and enriching experience to attend a school on the other side of the world and observe the students’ work-ethic and culture. It was also really fun to show Alex around Ridley and Niagara – this helped me to appreciate where I lived as well. I strongly encourage everyone to apply for exchange – it’s quite daunting but won’t be regretted. Alex and I became great friends and our families will be meeting for the first time this December for a ski trip in Whistler!

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?
My favourite part of Ridley life has definitely been the sports. I’m quite competitive, so being able to play at a challenging level has been really enjoyable. Many of the teams I’ve been on have been successful and many haven’t, but the best part of the athletic life at Ridley is the time spent with my teammates. Spending time with people outside of the classroom adds another dimension to relationships that would’ve otherwise only been cultivated in an academic setting – it’s where you can forget about the stresses of school and focus on improving yourself individually and as part a team. On the field/court is where I’ve made some of my closest friends and in turn makes all other aspects of Ridley life more enjoyable.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?
I’m most excited to meet new people and hear their ideas! I think Prefectship is a great platform to reach a lot of people and aid in having their voices be heard. Of course, this can be done without being a Prefect, but hopefully I can make use of the position by helping to connecting the voice of the students to the administration and make students a more prominent stakeholder in decision making where possible.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?
Ridley has presented so many amazing opportunities that have prepared me for life after high school, from volunteer trips to leadership opportunities to creating situations out of my comfort zone. The workload and busy schedule can, as previously mentioned, be overwhelming, but is necessary in preparing Ridley students for university and work by cultivating strong moral standards and skills such as perseverance and determination. I honestly believe and have heard that Ridley students are generally more prepared than most other students when entering university in regards to time management skills, so only time will tell if that is the case for me as well!

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, if plans remain steady, I hope to undertake degrees in Law and Globalization overseas, and pursue a Masters degree afterwards, which I’m unsure of at the moment. Once I’m done, I’d like to internship and potentially work in Pretoria, where my family is from, in human rights or to help fight governmental corruption – wherever I end up, I want to have a job that is fulfilling and meaningful to me in which I can help others, no matter what the job title is.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?Take every opportunity that remotely interests you and go for it. If I hadn’t gone on service trips, I probably wouldn’t have been applying for the university courses I’m applying to, and if I hadn’t gone on exchange, I probably wouldn’t be studying overseas – these opportunities have not only changed my academic course but have made me into a more educated, aware, and well-rounded person, which applies to every aspect of life (not just academics). My point is that high school is where you find what interests you, what you enjoy, and what problems you want to solve in the world – finding that passion here is only possible when you try new things.

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