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Alumnae Make Waves to Transform the Globe

Gillian Burt ’08 and Sarah McCusker ’08 spent the last year travelling the world, filming their documentary, Tied to the Sea – a call for greater protection of the world’s oceans. With a Ridley education deeply rooted in community service and global outreach, it is no surprise that these alumnae reconnected over their shared passion for changing the world.

Sarah McCusker ’08 & Gillian Burt ’08

About Gillian

Gillian Burt ’08 grew up with environmentally and socially conscious parents, instilling in her a lifelong commitment to community service. So much so, that when she graduated from Upper School, she had completed over 300 volunteer hours. She spent her final year of high school at Ridley; actively participating in sports, such as swimming and activities that focused on bettering the environment and the world. Her Ridley experience influenced her long after her graduation – increasing her global-mindedness and inspiring her to follow her dream of entering the education sector.

Upon graduation, Gillian went on to study Sociology and Anthropology, with a focus on International Development at the University of British Columbia Kelowna. She even volunteered abroad in Haiti and Uganda. She began her career working for notable non-profit organizations such as Right to Play, Engineers Without Borders and The Centre for Social Innovation. Gillian also spent time in Korea teaching English.

About Sarah

Coming from a long lineage of Ridleians, Sarah McCusker ’08 was well-acquainted with the school before even attending it. She began her Ridley journey in 2004, spending her entire secondary school career on campus. While at Ridley, Sarah was a part of the Environmental Club with Gillian and was a devoted Tiger athlete – leading the First Girls field hockey team and playing on the soccer team for all four years.

Like Gillian, Sarah also attended the University of British Columbia, where she studied Art History, before completing a programme in Communications Design offered by Emily Carr University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Sarah currently works as a graphic designer in Vancouver, British Columbia.

During their time in university, these Ridleians remained good friends. When Gillian left the West Coast, they lost touch; not reconnecting until 2016 through social media. While catching up on lost time, Gillian shared her vision for a short documentary she was eager to create. Soon enough, Sarah became a member of the team and they were aboard a flight to Thailand, beginning their Tied to the Sea journey.

The Documentary

Tied to the Sea Teaser Trailer from Tied to the Sea on Vimeo.

Tied to the Sea is a short documentary that explores the negative impacts that humanity has on our oceans. Through personal narratives, science and shocking footage, Tied to the Sea aims to evoke a sense of urgency and illuminate what we, as citizens of change, can do to protect the world’s marine ecosystems and water sources.

The idea for this documentary transpired while Gillian was teaching and living in Korea. She was spending most her time in or on the water and began to take notice of the marine devastation that was lying just below the surface.

“I had always been aware of the vast amount of pollution in the ocean, but I don’t think it fully hit me until I was up close to it on a regular basis and began to see, firsthand, the devastating effects on the environment. My inner academic started researching the problem and watching every documentary on the topic. I found that there were gaps in information covered by other documentaries and I recognized a need to speak directly to young people, equipping them with the knowledge and resources necessary to take action,” explains Gillian.

Over the course of the last year, Gillian (Co-writer, Director and Producer) and Sarah (Visual Designer) – along with their team – travelled to nine countries, across four continents to speak to scientists, activists and individuals with a commitment to defending the future of our planet.

“From Coastal First Nations groups in B.C. to scuba diving instructors in Thailand to marine scientists in Australia, everyone has a story to share and ideas on how we can take action.” – Gillian Burt ’08

The state of the environment is at a tipping point and an urgency exists to act now. Through their travels, the Tied to the Sea team discovered just how detrimental plastics and pollutants are to the health of the ocean. Speaking with concerned citizens around the world, Gillian and Sarah devised a plan of action to reverse these negative effects. Equipped with the knowledge of both the problems and the solutions, they hope to educate and raise awareness before it’s too late.

 

Returning home, the alumnae are now focusing on sharing their message on a global scale. To complete their film, the Tied to the Sea team has started a crowdfunding campaign, seeking support from friends, family and those who believe in the cause. The finished product will be shared online, at festivals and in schools around the world.

Support Tied to the Sea.
Follow Tied to the Sea on Facebook and Instagram.

“We want the film to act as an educational tool to use in schools as well as a catalyst for change, inspiring young people to take direct action… we are the generation with the greatest capacity for bringing about positive changes in the world.” – Gillian Burt ’08

The dedication and determination to changing the world shown by Gillian and Sarah are true traits of a Ridleian. To their fellow Tigers, Gillian and Sarah left this advice:

“Be patient with yourself and stay open to opportunities you wouldn’t normally go for – as you’re starting your career, no job is “beneath” you and you never know where you’re going to find your passion.  Don’t be afraid of an unconventional path. And pay as much attention to the person you are becoming as the career path you want to take. A strong character will often take you farther than academic achievement or bullet points on a resume… Do what you love, take time to figure that out, explore all your options and always remember you have the power to make a difference.”

Get to Know Your Prefects: Dimitri N. ’18

Meet Dimitri Nitsopoulos ’18 – a Prefect who truly appreciates his time spent at Ridley and does all he can to make the best of it. Read how he is busy preparing for his future and gaining the skills he needs to succeed.

Why did you choose Ridley? Truth be told, I personally did not make the decision to come to Ridley. It was in fact my sister who chose Ridley and I just came along for the ride. However, I am thankful that I did because I cannot imagine myself anywhere else than Ridley for the conclusion of my high school year. Ridley College is a phenomenal school that has offered me opportunities for academic success and personal growth that I would never have found at my previous schools. I cannot wait to see what more Ridley has to offer in my final year of high school.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? I did feel somewhat prepared coming to Ridley, due to the fact that I knew that I had to make changes to adapt to Ridley’s workload. However, the greatest adjustment that I had to make was the amount of time needed to be spent at Ridley. At Ridley, there are some nights where I stay until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. This is because of sports, activities, dinner and tutorial. Even though this may seem like a long time, I absolutely love staying this late because it gives me the opportunity to hang out with friends and to ask teachers for special help at their tutorials. It may seem daunting constantly being at school but after a while, Ridley College becomes your home and you begin to love every second that you are there.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? I don’t personally have a favorite teacher at Ridley. I cannot simply pick one teacher as my favourite because each teacher at Ridley does a significant amount to creating the best high school experience as possible for the students of Ridley College. For instance, my math teacher, Mr. Burke is constantly staying later or coming earlier to school so we can ask him questions to help us further our understanding of IB Math. That is just one example of many of what teachers at Ridley do for their students.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The greatest challenge thus far at Ridley is perhaps the workload. Since we are dealing with eight classes all year long, at times it can be quite difficult because each class can give a great amount of homework, assignments and tests. This is where time management is vital to learn, because without it, you can get into serious trouble. Unfortunately, I am a victim of procrastination. There have been moments where I haven’t used my time wisely and have suffered; staying up until an awful hour, finishing an assignment due the next day. Ridley’s workload is a challenge daily but by working on the skill of time management, it becomes easier.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment at Ridley thus far is becoming a Prefect. I am so excited that I have the pleasure of accepting the responsibility of Prefectship. I cannot wait until the beginning of the school year, so the Prefects can lead the student body into a phenomenal year. 

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience has got to be Ridley camp at the beginning of the school year. This is where all the boys of Ridley go up north to a camp. It is so much fun because this is where you have the first real opportunity to meet new friends and to reconnect with old ones. Believe me, I am not at all a camper but even I have fun because you make unforgettable memories up there. From sailing, to zip lining, to competing against other houses for the Bermuda Cup: it is a fantastic start to the beginning of the school year.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is dinner in the Great Hall. I love this time of day because it is just after sports and right before study. It is the only part of the day where we can relax, eat and hang out with friends. I always find myself laughing and at ease with myself because I’m around all my good friends. It is yet another experience where I make unforgettable memories. I have already made a couple fantastic memories and I know that next year, there will be even more.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? Being Prefect, the part I am most excited for is the ability to lead the students in pep rallies, especially at Snake Dance. I believe that pep rallies are important because it not only showcases school spirit but additionally, allows Ridley College to become more of a community than just a school. That is what I want to show, especially at Snake Dance. This is where Prefects ignite the campfire, which represents the beginning of the school year. I cannot wait to hear the cheers while we run around the campfire celebrating our final year of high school.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has and is still preparing me for the future. For instance, time management. As mentioned before, with Ridley’s workload, it has taught me the value of time management and how to use it. I know that I will need this for the future because life is just one deadline after another and the only way to meet them is to ensure that you time manage. Another key skill that Ridley is continually teaching me is responsibility, which will be especially important next year. Along with maintaining good grades, I will additionally have to write university resumes, go to meetings, join new and existing clubs, etc. This is great preparation for the future because as an adult, you have a huge amount of responsibility and you need to be able to handle it.

What are your plans after graduation? My plans for after graduation is to go straight into university. I am most likely going to study in Canada for my undergrad, but I have not ruled out Europe and the States quite yet. Wherever I go, I would like it to be in a city because I love the atmosphere of big cities. Additionally, I would like to study economics or business since my long-term goal is to become a corporate lawyer.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? The advice that I would give prospective students is to try and to involve yourself in every aspect at Ridley. This includes joining clubs, sports, art, and activities. This is one thing I should’ve done from the start when I began at Ridley in Grade 10. By joining co-curricular activities, you learn so much about who you are and what you’re good at. Additionally, you make unforgettable memories and potentially meet the friends that will stay with you all your life.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Thomas D. ’18

Meet Thomas Dunbar ’18 – a Prefect who is carrying on his family’s legacy at Ridley. Read how this Ridleian made his Ridley experience his own and looks forward to the opportunities that await him as a Prefect.

Why did you choose Ridley? I am a 3rd generation Ridleian; my father and grandfather both attended the school, as well as some of my uncles and cousins, so I was eager to continue the family tradition.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? Yes, I felt very prepared coming to Ridley. I had been to campus many times and had already met my advisor and Head of House, so I felt like a part of the community before I even arrived.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? My favourite faculty member is Mr. Martinez. We shared some great bonding time on last year’s service trip to El Salvador. He has a great sense of humour and never fails to make me laugh.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The biggest challenge I have experienced at Ridley is juggling the rigor of all my academic, athletic and co-curricular commitments.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley was winning an MPHL Championship with the First Boys’ hockey team during the 2015-2016 season, capping off a historic season as the most successful Ridley hockey team to date.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience is the annual trip to camp at the start of each school year. Camp provides a great opportunity to get to know the incoming students and your housemates, while developing a great sense of house pride.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of life at Ridley is the boarding environment. Being able to live in a dorm with other kids my age is a very unique and fun experience, that few kids outside of boarding schools get the opportunity to experience.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I am most excited to participate in the annual Snake Dance and go “inside the ropes” as a Prefect. Snake Dance is a big part of Ridley’s history and spirit, so I am looking forward to continuing the tradition.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has taught me a lot about independence and has taught me how to become a self-sufficient individual. Through living away from home, my accountability has grown immensely and I feel much more confident heading into university.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduating, I will likely take a gap year before heading to university. I hope to continue pursuing my athletic goals at the collegiate level, either domestically or in the US.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? I would advise incoming students to take some time to learn about Ridley’s history and traditions. The better you can understand and immerse yourself in the Ridley culture, the more you will appreciate the school and everything it has to offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Eva S. ’18

Introducing Eva Sabine ’18 – a Prefect who was brought to Ridley by fate and never looked back. Read about this aspiring aerospace engineer’s achievements, challenges and goals. 

Why did you choose Ridley? Beginning my last summer as a student of my previous school, I had no idea that I would choose to pack up and leave Ottawa for Ridley. I had attended my old school since Junior Kindergarten and was soundly comfortable. However, after the culminating regatta of the school season, CSSRAs, I visited Ridley on a whim. Upon arrival, the energy of the student body was palpable. I was shown around on a tour, increasingly amazed at the school and its population. Most importantly, I noted the devotion of the teaching staff and the Guidance Department towards the success of their pupils. Finally, after countless hours of daydreaming with my friends during study hall about a boarding school, I was witnessing its impact firsthand. Driving off campus that afternoon, I knew I had to go to Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
 Yes, I felt prepared as I moved to Ridley. However, after a day or two I realized that nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience; the bonds you make with your housemates, the various extravagant Ridley traditions, the successes, the failures. That experience is one that is utterly unique to the Ridley environment and one that cannot be understood well enough to prepare for until one has already experienced it.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
 My favourite faculty member is Mr. Maki, as he is one of the major reasons I moved to Ridley. While touring the school, I was introduced to him in the Guidance Department. The obvious attention he paid to each student was incredible. Where my previous counsellor cut me off and told me to aim lower, he saw potential and identified the path to achieve my goals. Throughout my transition to Ridley, he made sure to check in and see how I was doing.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
 My greatest challenge was moving away from my peers and crewmates, some who I’ve known for up to 13 years. It was strange not seeing their faces passing in the halls, to not be able to debate with Linnea or row with Charlotte, but I quickly made new friends and long lasting memories.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?
 My greatest accomplishment this past year was earning a silver medal in the women’s quad event at the CSSRA championship. It was so rewarding to see the hard work and dedication each of my crewmates and I invested over the course of the year pay off.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience?
 My favourite experience was camp at the beginning of the school year. During the few days we were there, I met the girls that would soon become my best friends, took risks and participated in activities that I had not expected.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?
 My favourite part of Ridley life is the incredible bonds you make with your classmates, housemates and teammates and the lasting memories you share with each of them – from dancing around at 10:00 sign-in to chatting in the dining hall.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?
 As a Prefect, I look forward to helping to improve the Ridley community with various initiatives, being a positive role model for the younger students, but above all, enhancing the school spirit. I look forward not only to hosting spirit events, such as Snake Dance, but also amplifying the everyday pulse of Ridley life.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley, in being both an IB and a boarding school provides the opportunity for students to practice the independence and responsibility required to thrive in university and beyond.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to attend Stanford University while studying a degree in aerospace engineering. I hope to row for them on the lightweight women’s crew outside of San Francisco.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?
 I would advise prospective students to actively accept all the opportunities before them. The numerous clubs, teams and academic challenges available at Ridley can help you find and develop your passion and prepare you for your future. Allow yourself to forget limitations and enjoy all the opportunities Ridley has to offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Owen C. ’18

Introducing Owen Cole ’18 – a Prefect who came to Ridley for the hockey programme, but soon realized that the school had even more to offer him. Read how Ridley helped him practice his passion and develop new skills.

Why did you choose Ridley? Originally it was all about hockey, but I also realized the value of education here at Ridley and heard through a few past students how special the atmosphere is at Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?  Not at all. I didn’t know where to stand, where to sit, when to do anything. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into…

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? Mr. Doyle is my Functions teacher and he loves to joke around with us. You can tell he loves coming to work every day. Mr. Doyle worked with me throughout the entire year to improve my mark in his class and kept a good relationship with me always. Even with it being my worst class, I looked forward to it every day.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The greatest challenge at Ridley has been balancing school, hockey and a social life, especially as a day student. However, you learn to adapt and get into a routine and you get comfortable here.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? Being named a Prefect. I didn’t really know what I was getting into with Prefectship at first, other than knowing it is a leadership position in the school. Upon realizing how great of an honour it is and how important of a role it is in the school, it has made me realize how great of an accomplishment it is.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? The road trips that the hockey team goes on and the time spent bonding. The countless hours on the bus and bonding in hotel rooms are amazing, as it creates a family feeling. You and all your teammates are living together and having the time of your life.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is going to classes every day with my teammates and then spending hours after school with them as well. The countless number of hours spent with teammates creates a special bond and you can learn so much about one another.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I’m excited to get to know as many people as I can, especially welcoming new students to the school. I’m also excited to grow as a person to be a better leader in the school and in the community throughout the year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley teaches students exceptional time management skills and I believe after Ridley, I will be very prepared for the workload in university and for my entire life.

What are your plans after graduation? After Ridley, I plan to take a gap year to go play junior hockey, possibly in Brooks, Alberta and hopefully get a scholarship to play NCAA Division I or III hockey, while gaining an education in a kinesiology or business.

 What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? This place is amazing and it is the best decision I ever made to come here. The first few weeks will more than likely be very tough, as it was for me, but hang in there and work hard because you will get rewarded and learn a lot. The atmosphere here is amazing because there are many different nationalities and you develop so many friendships that you will carry on after your schooling is over.

Also, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions. Be interested in your learning and you will benefit from it… Being in houses and being on teams creates a feeling of a family away from home, so be as involved as you can be.

Summer Reading Promoting Positive Psychology and Grit

Professional and personal growth are important aspects of Ridley life. While our students spend the school year learning new skills, our faculty and staff are encouraged to do the same; participating in professional development and collaboration to grow as both individuals and educators.  This summer, Headmaster Kidd encouraged our faculty and staff to do a bit of summer reading, with a focus on positive psychology and grit. Here is a synopsis of both books, which you may also wish to explore.

The Strength Switch by Dr. Lea Waters

As the mental health crisis expands across the globe, it has become even more crucial that children grow up in supporting and caring environments. Ridley recognizes this important aspect of student development and ensures each child is surrounded by a network of support that encourages students to be themselves. With this in mind, Headmaster Kidd and our Learning Centre support staff selected The Strength Switch by positive psychology expert, Dr. Lea Waters as one of the summer reading recommendations.

The Strength Switch introduces parents and educators to strength-based parenting. Strength-based is a method of nurturing that focuses on enhancing each child’s strengths, as opposed to improving weaknesses. This fantastic book demonstrates how to build resilience, optimism and confidence in your child to help them succeed. From chapter to chapter, Waters provides insights into different topics, such as: interacting with your children, how to discover their strengths and talents and how to positively discuss mental health and wellness with them. These are important topics for both parents and faculty, so that our students can receive the best support possible.


Getting Grit
by Caroline Adams Miller

With one of Ridley’s strategic goals being to instill grit into each student, it comes as no surprise that Getting Grit by Caroline Adams Miller made it onto Ridley’s summer reading list. Grit is defined as a perseverance and passion for long-term goals and is key to a successful life. At Ridley, students are challenged to discover their passions at young ages and encouraged to pursue them throughout their Ridley careers. Students have the chance to practice grit through opportunities such as the Primary Years Programme Exhibition, Middle Years Programme Personal Project, International Baccalaureate Extended Essay, as well as other academic, athletic and artistic experiences.

Headmaster Kidd’s recommendation, Getting Grit aims to enhance the readers understanding of grit and provide tools to apply it in one’s life. In Miller’s book, she guides her readers through the stages of gaining grit and provides her insights on major topics, including: understanding grit, key traits of individuals with grit, gaining courage, takings risks and the role of self-compassion. It’s no surprise that this book made it on Live Happy‘s top 10 list of books that will change your life.

We encourage you to pick up one or both books and let us know what you think!

Get to Know Your Prefects: Charlotte W. ’18

Meet Charlotte W. ’18 – a Prefect who has dedicated so much of her time at Ridley to serving others. Read about the challenges she overcame and the difference she has made in the community.

Why did you choose Ridley? My parents chose for me to attend Ridley because it was the best school in the region. My mom is from Niagara and growing up she had friends who went to Ridley.  I didn’t have much weight in the decision as an eight-year-old but I’ve stayed here for 10 years because I love all the friends I’ve made here.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? I can still remember being in Grade 3 and having Mr. Bowie assist me with writing every spelling test. I went from full French immersion to learning everything in English. I could barely read and write, but by Grade 4 the teachers in Lower School had helped me catch up to everyone else in my class. By the time I got to Upper School I was incredibly prepared and ready to tackle anything!

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? It’s too hard to pick! I love all of my teachers. Above all though, I have to thank my IB1 teachers for helping prepare me for IB2 and my exams. Ms. Anderson, Mr. Dunkley, Dr. Foster, Mr. Reimer, Mr. Mugan, Ms. Han, Ms. Braun and my extended essay supervisor, Mrs. Darby have all helped me take on the challenge of IB. With how long I’ve been at the school I also know that there are so many teachers who have helped me engage in class and numerous coaches who have fostered my love for rugby and curling.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? My greatest challenge was when I took 10 courses in Grade 10. On top of the regular eight courses you can fit into the academic day, I took World Religions and Classical Civilizations as online courses. Trying to find the time to study for and write assignments in all these different courses was extremely difficult and by second term I had to have a meeting with the counsellors in Guidance about how to solve my problems. I learned a lot about time management and my own limitations from this experience. These lessons have proved extremely valuable now that I am in IB with all the extra assignments involved in the full diploma.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment was becoming a Prefect. I’ve done a lot of other things I’m really proud of during my time at Ridley that have lead up to this. I learned how to read in English. I became one of the youngest captains of Ridley’s Cadet Colour Party. I worked with my friend Cassidy Yu ’18 to raise awareness for Dog Guides Canada. During my time at Ridley, I’ve spent my summers on 42 and 50-day canoe trips and this March break I got to visit France and see Vimy Ridge with my history teacher, Mr. Dunkley. Being a part of Ridley’s Positive Space Group, Ridley’s T.R.U.E. group for Aboriginal rights and getting to help train Billy, Ridley’s guide dog in training, have all been a part of becoming a Prefect. Trying to narrow down nine years of fantastic experiences and community supported success is impossible for me because if I’m not putting my all into every experience and making it the biggest success I can than I’m not living right. Becoming a Prefect was the culmination of everything I’ve done so far and I really look forward to getting even more involved at school next year and helping everyone have the same fantastic experiences I have.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience was going to France for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. I love history and as a passionate Canadian, it was awe inspiring to see the memorials and the way the ground has been reshaped by war. At Vimy there are still the shell holes in the ground from artillery. Seeing it for myself it wasn’t hard to imagine soldiers drowning in the massive holes if they were filled with mud and water. On a happier note, while in France we also visited Paris where I got to see Napoleon’s tomb and explore The Louvre. Seeing an old city, although partially rebuilt, was awe inspiring and reminded me just how young a country Canada is. I got to interact with passionate history students from other schools and learn a lot about the actual appearance of the battlefields fought on during the world wars and the rich history of France.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is community service. Every Ridley student has to complete at least 10 hours of service every year and it’s amazing to get out and involved in the community. In Grade 9 Civics, we could help raise awareness for a charity, so I worked with my group partners to make a video for Start Me Up Niagara. In Grade 10 we got to write letters to Canadian veterans for Remembrance Day and as a member of Drill Team, I could go to the service at the war memorial in St. Catharines. Last year, in Grade 11 as an IB student, I got to plan a CAS project (which involved showing Creativity, Action and Service) and raise both money and awareness for a cause I’m passionate about. Throughout my years at Ridley I’ve learned the meaning of community service. It’s amazing to see the difference everyone can make if they get involved and put forth their best effort every day.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I am really excited to help make this school even better. I want to reinvigorate school spirit, help make the course selection process easier and make sure that everyone gets the most they can out of their Ridley experience. As a Prefect, I think the most important thing you do is helping support your fellow students. I’ve had many friends from past years who set a great example for me to follow and I look forward to following their footsteps.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley is still very much in the process of preparing me, but so far, I’ve learned a lot about how to be a leader and a better citizen. I’ve made friends from across the globe and this has helped give me a global mindset that will help me in my future studies and career. More than that, Ridley really helped me learn what it means to be an active citizen and take an interest in what goes on around you. 

What are your plans after graduation? I plan to study computer science. I’m really passionate about computers, biology and history and I hope that in learning about computers I can work in a variety of fields that let me explore my other passions.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? Get involved! The fastest way to make friends and the best way to make the most of your time at Ridley is by doing things around campus. Join as many clubs as you can and then quit a few because they weren’t as interesting as you thought. Try out for every sports team you can to find what you love. Mix it up with your course selections to see what really interests you. Sit with people you don’t know at lunch and try to make conversation so you meet people. If you ever feel alone or uncertain about anything, find one of the Prefects or a House Captain. We’re always around and willing to help. Coming to a new school or moving up to high school can be terrifying but rest assured that there are friends out there for you to make if you get involved! There’s a proverb I like to live by that I heard while up in Brent, Ontario on a canoe trip:

“You’ve got to make like a bear with a blueberry bush. There’s a whole lot of fruit for the picking but you never know if there’s a bee hiding in the fruit until you take the first bite.”