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Ridleian Bound for Brown University

This year, Ridley will graduate a total of 144 students, with one student in particular celebrating her impressive acceptance to Brown University – where, this year, only 9.2% of applicants were accepted. More remarkably, Megan Forrest ’17 will be the first-ever female Ridleian to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme while playing on a First team.

Megan began her Ridley career in 2015, when her and her family were seeking an educational institution that could challenge her, both academically and athletically.  Ridley was the perfect fit, so Megan spent the next two years becoming deeply involved in the Ridley community. She took on a full IB course load, played for the First Girls’ hockey team and was an active member in her boarding house. While her schedule was demanding, Megan took full advantage of Ridley’s evening tutorials and support from teachers to help her maintain strong grades, while still spending enough time on the ice to fine-tune her skills.

“Ridley has provided me with the solid education required to get into Brown but it has also taught me many lessons that I will take along with me.  Other than passing IB, my goal when I started at Ridley was to play DI hockey.  The Tiger Arena and other athletic facilities were a necessity for being able to improve my game and overall strength.  The combination of Ridley’s hockey program, guidance team and IB program were what allowed me to make my dream a reality for this coming year.“- Megan Forrest ’17

While practicing her passions, Megan made sure to enjoy time with her Ridley family; participating in Friday night house activities and even starting ‘Fondue Night’ in Leonard House.

Now that Graduate Prize Day has finally arrived, Megan has taken some time to reflect on her Ridley career.

“Other than the obvious answer being all of the amazing people I met at Ridley, I think I will miss the tight knit community.  With such a small school, I was able to get to know almost all of my grade as well as many students in other grades. Since a large number of us live on campus, we are constantly together and got to know each other really well. Another reason that the Ridley community is so tight knit is that our teachers are also our sports coaches and are sometimes even on duty in our houses.” – Megan Forrest ’17

In September, Megan will be heading to Rhode Island to study Neuroscience at Brown University. While she works towards completing her programme, Megan will be playing for the Brown Bears women’s hockey team and potentially the track team as well.

“Brown is the perfect school for me as it is small and rural but so welcoming and inclusive. With its many clubs and all of the amazing people I am sure I will enjoy the next four years of my educational journey.“ – Megan Forrest ’17

On May 27th, Megan will join the ranks of all the Ridley graduates that have come before her, officially becoming an Old Ridleian.

“I am excited to come back to Ridley for HomeComing weekends to support future student athletes and reconnect with my classmates. I am looking forward to being able to connect with other Ridley alumni no matter where I am in the world. My time at Ridley was truly enjoyable and I am proud to be graduating from such an amazing school.” – Megan Forrest ’17

Congratulations to Megan and her accomplishments at Ridley. We wish her and her classmates good luck as they prepare for graduation and their journeys beyond the Marriott Gates.

PYP Students Become Global Citizens

Ridley inspires even its youngest students to consider critical global issues and enact change. Recently, our Grade 6 students demonstrated how the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) supports this mission with the PYP Personal Project Exhibition.

About PYP
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 framework 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.

Personal Project Exhibition
On May 10th, 2017, our Grade 6 students lined the halls of Lower School for the Class of 2023 Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition. This annual exhibition challenges our students to explore global issues and culminates all the teachings from the PYP. Twenty-two students worked diligently on these group projects for six weeks, before presenting their final products to families, friends and members of the Ridley community.

 

Project topics ranged from inquiries into community relationships, natural resources, equal opportunities, conflict resolution and mental health issues. Each student group decided on a broad inquiry question and then focused their research to a topic within. Each of the nine groups were paired with a mentor, who helped them along their investigative process.

One group, in particular, focused on technology and the importance of responsible use in the community. Working closely with Mr. Clarke, Head of Lower School, each of the three students focused on a different aspect – distraction, cyber bullying and addiction.

“I chose to focus on technology distraction because it affects many people including myself, and the issue will continue to grow as technology advances our world.” – Ada O. ’23

“For my action, I interviewed an experienced counsellor, alongside my associate Ada. My lines of inquiry were – ‘How can we stop or prevent technology addition (Responsibility)’, ‘What are the factors of technology addiction (Function)’ and ‘Technology addictions compared to other addictions (Connection)’.” – Edgar L. ’23

Another group worked with Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. York-Ireland, to explore the negative effects that humanity has on the environment. The students focused on invasive species, over-hunting, deforestation and water pollution.

“I selected water pollution because it has been a global issue for many years and it seems like it doesn’t get the attention it should. One of my fondest memories of exhibition is when I helped to clean up at the beach.” Riley B. ’23

Enacting Change

Beyond the extensive research done by each group, the students were required to take action in their local community. This led the students to discover the issues that exist in their very own backyards and how they can help make an impact. Some students educated their peers, while others volunteered for organizations around St. Catharines.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023. We hope this is only the beginning of your service journey. Terar Dum Prosim.

 

Celebrating the Arts at Ridley

The arts play an integral role in leading a flourishing life. The opportunity to explore creativity and practice self-expression allows Ridleians to define who they are, gain confidence in their talents, unlock the potential to innovate and contribute to culture. Great importance is placed on this aspect of student development at Ridley. Students are given the opportunity to create in any way they see fit. Ridley offers both academic and extracurricular options to explore music, drama, visual arts, digital arts, design or the spoken word. Students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate programme have a creativity element integrated into their curriculum as well.

In support of this approach, Ridley recently hosted Arts in April. This series of events captured all aspect of arts on campus. Members of the Ridley community were encouraged to attend and engage with our talented musicians, performers, artists and film makers.

Visual Art Showcase

Arts in April began with a visual art exhibition at Brock University’s Rodman Hall. The Visual Art Showcase allowed our Grades 7 to 11 students to display their artistic works in a public art gallery. The exhibition held its opening night on April 6th, with Headmaster, Ed Kidd sharing his excitement for the partnership between Brock University and Ridley. For the remainder of the evening, members of the community, Brock and Ridley perused the collection, speaking with the artists and admiring the wonderful works on display. The exhibition was open to the public until April 16th.

View photos.

IB Graduate Art Exhibition

“The IB art exhibition was an unforgettable experience; I was not only able to present and reflect on my works as an artist, but also suspend my belief and dissect them as a viewer.” – Monika Morcous ’17

From April 18th to 20th, the Griffith Gym was home to a large collection of art created by IB Art students. All senior IB student were given a section of the gallery where they could display several of their pieces. The works of art on display for the IB Graduate Art Exhibition were taken from a series of studio works undertaken over the two year IB Visual Art course. These works make up the exhibition component of the course, in which each student is required to generate series of artworks that reflected a specific theme and evidence of mastery using a chosen medium. Students enrolled in the SL (Standard Level) course were required to complete seven works of art and students enrolled in the HL (Higher Level) course needed to complete 11. In addition to the exhibition component of the course, students were required to complete a process portfolio and a comparative study paper. Each display was unique, allowing a glimpse into the artists’ creative process, style and technique. The sheer talent, creativity and focus of our IB Art students was impressive.

View photos.

Ridley Independent Film Festival

On April 19th, a red carpet was rolled out in the Mandeville Theatre for the 9th annual Ridley Independent Film Festival, better known as RIFF. This film festival is entirely student-run and was an opportunity to showcase the creative works of the IB Film Studies students.  Each student group was tasked with creating their own short film, from conception to execution. As each film premiered, it was clear that each student involved – videographer, producer, editor, actor or otherwise – was committed to creating a top-quality short film. For several students, this was the perfect opportunity to build a portfolio and get first-hand experience.

View RIFF films.
View photos from the red carpet.

Celebration of the Arts

On April 25th, the Upper School gathered together for the annual Celebration of the Arts. The event began in the Mandeville Theatre, where Head of Upper School, Michele Bett, inspired students with the trying stories of artists, musicians and performers from throughout the ages.

“Rationality, or thinking with the head, is one half of our human inheritance; the other half is creativity, or thinking with the heart. And I submit that this is the place of the arts, both at Ridley College and in our culture as a whole. The place of the arts is the heart.” – Michele Bett

To follow, students from the Music, Performing Arts and Digital Arts programmes performed pieces for their peers in the audience. Our string musicians played a spectacular piece from Star Wars, followed by a song from Hamilton, the musical. Raylon Chan ’19 rapped alongside them and brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation. A number of IB students showcased their studies during a theatrical piece that told a story through movement. The Jazz Band also performed on stage, after a playfully animated video on the negative effects of climate change. When the spectacular display of performing arts concluded, students reconvened in the Griffith Gym for a visual art exhibition, showcasing the works of both Upper School and Lower School students.

Read Mrs. Bett’s full speech.
View photos.

Upper School Art Awards

To conclude Arts in April, students from Grades 9 to 12 joined in the Mandeville Theatre one last time for the Upper School Art Awards on April 26th. This award ceremony is an opportunity for our students to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of their peers. Interspersed throughout the award presentations were musical and theatrical performances. Faculty members from the Department of Music: Scott Vernon, Clyde Dawson and Ken Hutton joined Anthony Nguyen ’18 on stage for a fantastic musical performance to begin the night. Dramatic Arts students performed scenes from Ridley’s production of The Tempest.  The String Orchestra, Cadet Band and Senior Choir all performed on stage – sharing both classical and modern songs. Finally, audience members were treated solo performances from Petrina Mo ’17, Alessia Guarducci ’18 and Jim Li ’17. To conclude the event, Senior students, Petrina Mo ’17 and Padraic Odesse ’17 spoke of the importance of the arts at Ridley; not only as a means for self-expression, creativity and culture, but also as an opportunity to expand one’s horizons and make connections.

View photos.

While Arts in April may be over, Ridley’s dedication to the arts continue. In May, our youngest Ridleians are showcasing their creative works at the PYP Visual Arts Showcase, followed by a musical performance by the entire Lower School student body.

TransfORming Our Globe – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ‘94

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of Ridley alumnus, Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94, who fell in love with music on campus and turned his passion into an award-winning career – producing music for Sony/ATV and many major artists.

Tawgs’ Ridley career began in 1989 and continued until 1992. During his three years, Tawgs would often find himself in the music studios, practicing on any instrument he could get his hands on. The more time he spent there, the more he fell in love with music. A Ridley faculty member encouraged Tawgs to join the orchestra, where he would have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow musicians on campus. While the time he spent honing his musical abilities left an impact on Tawgs, it was the facilities and programmes that he had access to through Ridley that put him on the right path, leading to where he is now.

Tawgs’ passion for music and the chance to succeed was solidified after a school talent show, when we received praise that made him feel he was where he belonged. Then Headmaster, Douglas Campbell, approached Tawgs the following day and congratulated him on his performance.

“It was the first time the Headmaster spoke to me in a positive way like that. That really propelled me. That was what I needed to go forward. Especially as a child, when there is someone in an authoritative position who says that, you think ‘maybe I should do [a career in music]’.” – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94

When Tawgs finished high school, he spent some time pursuing other interests, but he always came back to music. At the time, he was performing in an original band named Dunk, who was then signed by Sony Music Canada. After signing he decided it was time to get serious with his passion. While he enjoyed performing, it was producing and writing that he loved most.

He began writing music and eventually, Gary Furniss, President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada, took notice of Tawgs’ talent. He began songwriting for the publishing company and took a second position at Sony Music Canada as a Staff Producer. While he had little free time working two jobs, his exposure to an array of artists, professionals and opportunities was extensive. After he got his feet wet, he decided to work solely with Sony/ATV, under the mentorship of Gary Furniss. Gary fostered Tawgs’ career from the beginning and helped him move up through the ranks to a point where he was working with high-profile artists, including Lights and Josh Groban.

“The first song I wrote that received international praise with a big artist was ‘You are Loved’ by Josh Groban. I made the demo in my basement in St. Catharines 10 years ago,” says Tawgs. His song was picked up and he found himself at Abbey Road Studios, working with Groban and his producer.

Tawgs has been in the business for 18 years now and has experienced great success during his career. He has received an ASCAP award, was nominated twice for producer of the year at the JUNO Awards and has won awards for nine of his hit songs. Beyond his personal accomplishments, he has worked on a number of records that won pop album of the year and worked on the JUNO winning song, ‘Young Artists for Haiti’.

While winning awards and working with some of the biggest names in music are certainly perks, Tawgs says his favourite part of the job is the job itself.

“When you are a song writer or a producer you start with a total blank page in the morning. Your success for that day is dependent on what you are going to do in the next ten minutes. The best part of the day as a song writer is when you sit down to write a song with another collaborator. You’ve got fifteen minutes of awkwardness and then thirty minutes of inspiration. It is that inspiration that I wait for, and why I find my work so enjoyable.”  – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94

To Ridleians who know what their passions are but are unsure of how to get there, Tawgs says this:

“It’s not easy. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t wake up today and think – can I do it again today? That’s what you have to go through as an artist, telling yourself to not give up. You really have to want it and you have to silence the inner voice that tells you that you may not be able to do it.”

“You can’t rest on what you have done before, what you did last month, or five years ago. You really have to every day try and create something new that is going to help you out down the road.”  – Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter ’94


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 9th Annual Ridley Independent Film Festival

On April 19th, 2017, 11 student films premiered at the 9th annual Ridley Independent Film Festival, more commonly known as RIFF. This film festival is entirely student run and is an opportunity to showcase the creative works of the Film Studies students.

Each student group is tasked with creating their own short film, from start to end. RIFF – while allowing the students to express themselves – gives these young filmmakers the chance to discover and explore the world of cinematography.

We hope you enjoy this year’s short films:

Read more about RIFF 2017.
View photos from the red carpet.

Top 10 March Break Trip Experiences

During the 2017 March break, six groups of Ridley students embarked on life-changing trips around the globe. With many adventures and memorable stories, it was almost too hard to limit the list of amazing experiences to just ten.

1. Bonding with the talented students of the Jacaranda School in Malawi through music lessons and theatre.

2. Putting the finishing touches on the Centre of Hope – a school for special needs children, that Ridley Students helped build in El Progreso, Guatemala.

3. Earning scuba diving certification at Sodwana Bay – South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Visiting the Vimy Memorial in France just before the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

5. Rowing with the Canadian National Team, who were training at Shawnigan Lake, in British Columbia.

6. The Days for Girls group presenting 50 feminine hygiene kits to girls in Malawi. Having worked tirelessly, for weeks, to prepare the hand-sewn packages.

7. Climbing one of El Salvador’s highest peaks, the Santa Ana Volcano.

8. Experiencing a mock elephant charge at Balule Nature Reserve in South Africa.

9. Attending the Last Post Ceremony, at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, which has been held every night since 1928.

10. Visiting with Old Ridleian, Gaby Florigo de Luna ‘99, in Guatemala.

Tigers Show Selflessness on Service-Learning Trips

During the 2017 March break, three groups of Ridley students embarked on life-changing trips to developing countries around the world. At Ridley, emphasis is placed on global mindedness and service (It’s in our motto: Terar Dum Prosim), so it is no surprise that so many Tigers were willing to dedicate their holidays to bettering the lives of the less fortunate in distant communities. One group travelled for 24-hours before arriving in Malawi, Grade 7-10 students ventured to Guatemala, and the final group made its way to El Salvador for two weeks of dedicated work with Habitat for Humanity.

Malawi Service Trip – Jacaranda School
Headmaster, Ed Kidd, Mrs. Hanna Kidd and Mr. Rob Burke were among the 21 Ridleians who made the long journey to Malawi, where they would spend the break working with the Jacaranda School for Orphans. Ridley’s connection to the Jacaranda School started in October 2016, when founder, Marie Da Silva visited our campus to educate students on her mission in Malawi.

During the inaugural trip to Malawi, our students helped renovate the orphanage. While there, they also bonded with the talented students of Jacaranda School; through music lessons and theatrical performances. One of the many highlights of the trip was presenting 50 feminine hygiene kits to the girls. Our Days for Girls group worked tirelessly to prepare the hand-sewn packages before the leaving at the beginning of March. It was a heartwarming moment for all present.

Ridleians in Malawi

Guatemala Service Trip – The Doppenbergs in Guatemala
Nearly 14,066 kilometers away, 17 students and their chaperones, Mr. Paul O’Rourke and Mrs. Kim O’Rourke, embarked upon the third-annual Guatemala service trip, to volunteer with The Doppenbergs in Guatemala (The DIG). This organization helps build local schools, provides water and nutrition solutions to traditional Mayan villages, and most recently, developed the Centre of Hope, the area’s only centre for special needs children.

Each year, our Middle Years Programme (MYP) students spend 10 days in Guatemala, working on the Centre of Hope in El Progreso. During the first trip in 2015, our Ridleians broke ground on the Moran Primary School, and this year, they were a part of the final touches. Beyond the work our students put in, they also fortified relationships with the Doppenbergs and community members through bonding activities, cultural experiences and discussions about sustainability and the community. Our students even participated in a water walk, which replicates the daily hike that local patrons must complete to obtain fresh water for the village.

Nearing the end of the journey, students received a special visit from alumna, Gaby Florido de Luna ’99, which created an even more personal experience for each student.

“The MYP Service Trip to Guatemala was once again a great success. In equal measure, the group worked hard, enjoyed new experiences, and further developed the relationship between Ridley College and DIG… In every respect, the 2017 group members were terrific ambassadors of the school and were positive examples of service in action.” – Paul O’Rourke, MYP Coordinator

Ridleians at the Moran Primary School in Guatemala

El Salvador Service Trip – Habitat for Humanity

Not too far away, a group of 14 Upper School students and chaperones participate in a Habitat for Humanity build in El Salvador. This long-standing relationship with the organization has provided students with the opportunity to make a difference in countries such as India, Cambodia and of course, El Salvador.

This year, the two-week trip allowed students to experience this Central American country, while making a difference for the people in the community. Aside from their hard-work and dedication, the students climbed the highest mountain in El Salvador, Volcan de Santa Ana, visited El Carmin Coffee Plantation, saw the Mayan Ruins of San Andres and explored the national cathedral of El Salvador. Upon their safe return to the Toronto airport, the students were exhausted but enlightened by this trip of a lifetime.

“The Tigers had an excellent and fulfilling trip to El Salvador. The Tigers worked hard under the rain, wind and heat to make a difference in the province of Sonsonate. This mission was putting our school motto from words into action.” – Gerardo Martinez, Department of Classical and International Languages

Ridleians in El Salvador

Equipped with new knowledge, memorable stories and an increased understanding of the world, our students arrived safety back home, ready to begin another term and proud of how they transformed our globe.

View photos from the service trips.