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Ridley College Girls Hockey Team Accepted into JWHL

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We are happy to announce that our First Girls hockey team has been accepted into the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL) for the 2016/2017 season. The JWHL is a North American league that offers an elite level of competition and helps prepare its players for NCAA and CIS athletics. It is a privilege to be received into the league and a tremendous opportunity for our female hockey players to be identified and recruited by University and College programs from across the United States and Canada.

The decision by the JWHL to accept Ridley into its league was fueled by our team’s season-over-season achievements and its success at the annual JWHL tournament held in Washington, D.C. each February. Following the 2015 event, we were contacted by the commissioner about joining the JWHL for the upcoming 2015-2016 season, and after consulting with the Ridley community, Headmaster Kidd confirmed our interest. At the JWHL meetings in early 2016 (at its championship in Buffalo), the association voted unanimously to welcome Ridley into the league.

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In addition to academics and the arts, athletics is one of the three pillars at Ridley and we are continually seeking opportunities to allow our students to perform at the highest level possible.

“Joining this great league is the next step on the developmental path of our now 20-year history of girls hockey at Ridley. The competitive environment that the girls will find themselves in, surrounded by a robust organization dedicated to education and helping student athletes earn a spot in post secondary sport, it is an ideal situation for any serious female hockey player and it is right here in Niagara.”

– Jay Tredway ‘96, Director of Athletics

 Elite athletics (“train to compete”) is a component of Ridley’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan and transitioning from the North American Prep Hockey Association (NAPHA), of which Ridley was a founding member, to the JWHL will now allow local female hockey players access to one of the most dynamic and successful development league structures for university and college placement in North America.

Ridley’s girl’s hockey program is currently being coached by Amanda Benoit-Wark, two-time Women’s World Hockey Champion (1999, 2000), and Celeste Doucet ‘07, an Olympic contender and national champion. Both coaches have brought invaluable expertise to the ice.

“Ridley is looking forward to moving its program to the next level and we are excited to have the opportunity to do that with the help of the JWHL! We thank Ridley for the support they have given us to make this move possible”

– Celeste Doucet ’07, Assistant Coach

Fortunately, for our parents and alumni around the world, all JWHL teams are equipped to live broadcast games from their home arenas. This means that, just as Ridley broadcasts games on TigerNET, you will be able to follow the First Girls hockey team on the road this upcoming season – and our entire school is looking forward to watching the the players flourish in the JWHL.

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To read the JWHL’s official announcement, click here!

Ridley’s Model U.N. and Politics Club heads to Washington, D.C.

During the February break, a group of students from the Ridley Model U.N. and Politics Club travelled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the 53rd North American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN LIII), hosted by the Georgetown International Relations Association. The group consisted of Philip Brenninkmeyer Noel Cousins, Caitlin Hyland, Alex Jones, Gracie Lowes, Daniel O’Rourke and Jesse Wydman, chaperoned by coaches, Mr. Hutton and Mr. O’Rourke.

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NAIMUN is a conference that offers students the opportunity to interact with like minded individuals by taking on the rolls of international diplomats, members of parliament, ministers, Catholic cardinals and even CIA operatives.  All of this occurs as part of respective conferences and committees that students are assigned to prior to the conference. Ridley students conducted extensive research in preparation for their assignments, which included: the International Atomic Energy Agency, the British House of Commons, the 2012 Chinese Cabinet, the 2012 Papal Conclave and The CIA, post 9/11.

The conference featured over 3000 delegates which, while being mainly from North American schools, sported nationalities from all over the globe. This offered opportunities for friendships (that extended past the borders of Ridley and Canada) to develop. Each committee or council offered its own challenges. Some councils consisted of almost 150 students, while others were made up of as little as 18 students. This meant a varied experience for each student, that may have required intense lobbying to get one’s idea heard over the crown or using their expertise to guide one’s council to the solution of a complex, nuanced political issue. Regardless of the challenge, the Ridley team used the skills it had developed in their weekly meetings, as well as its research in order to stick out from the crowd; prospering and often succeeding in its endeavors.

While the conference schedule was quite rigorous in its nature, it also allowed time for the team to spend exploring the magnificent city of Washington, D.C. Arriving just a few hours before the beginning of the conference, students managed to get a special tour of the U.S. Capitol and Senate offices. The tour included a ride on the Senate subway, which allows for fast and secure transport between offices and the capitol. It was on the subway that students met the president of the Senate and the longest serving U.S. Senator, Orrin Hatch. The group even managed to get a quick picture with him.

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While visiting Washington D.C., the group also visited the Polish Embassy, the oldest serving embassy building in the country.  The building has remained in service, by no means from a lack of newer real estate, but instead, due to its architectural beauty.  Included below are pictures taken at the embassy that sported fabulous paintings wherever space was not already being occupied by the beautiful interior architecture.

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The group also had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), located only a stone’s throw away (they will tackle you if you throw stones) from the White House. After the end of the conference on Sunday, students even got to take in a show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show was a classic who-done-it, in which the audience guesses the killer, and the oldest running show in the United States, Shear Madness. Our final night in Washington was spent visiting the Lincoln Memorial as well as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

All in all, the trip offered students the chance to use some of their hard-earned research, lobbying and debating skills acquired over the year in Model U.N., and also provided the opportunity to see how the U.S. government functions and explore the heritage of the United States. The Politics Model U.N. Club looks forward to more great opportunities in the future. The trip was made possible through the generosity of the parents of the students involved, as well as the W. Darcy McKeough’51 Fund supporting Speaking Arts at Ridley College. We are most grateful for the support.

– Philip Brenninkmeyer ‘16

Ridley Theatre presents ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’

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This past weekend, Ridley Theatre presented The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht. The show included a diverse ensemble of 31 students from nine different countries, who showcased their talents as they acted, sang, and danced to re-tell the ancient Chinese parable of the chalk circle.

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Writing in the 1930s and 1940s, Brecht developed Epic Theatre, which aimed to illuminate social disease and critique sources of global conflict. Brecht believed that, “art is not a mirror with which to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” This production adopted Brechtian techniques of staging; for example, song was used to propel the narrative forward, characters were played by multiple actors, and stock gestures, known as gestus, were used to clarify character. Moments of suspense and tension were broken by comedy or das spass. In Brecht’s true form, these techniques allowed the actors to become story-tellers instead of re-livers of the character’s experiences, alienating audiences, and allowing them to think critically about the play’s big questions, while being entertained.

Over the past four months, our student actors trained tirelessly to develop proficiency in Brecht’s techniques. They also worked extensively with Kaeja d’Dance to use movement to illustrate moments within the chalk circle story. The students’ focus and dedication resulted in a performance that was captivating, yet thought-provoking.

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Although the curtain has closed, the skills fortified from day one of rehearsals will remain with the students as they go on to explore the world of theatre and beyond.

Ridley Theatre would like to thank the members of the Ridley community who came out to see the show! It is with great pleasure that we announce that a total of $733.00 was donated by our theatre patrons, all of which will be put toward the Ridley College Team Syria fund: a resource that will be used to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to live in Niagara. We would also like to thank our patrons for their non-perishable food donations for Community Care.

– Ms. Gillian Fournier, Department of English and Dramatic Arts

For a limited time, you can watch the recorded performance on TigerNet Live!

The Weekend Programme – February 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This February, the Weekend Programme filled the student’s social schedules with sports, celebrations and the always-anticipated Dean’s Dance.

Dean’s Dance was a hit

Saturday, February 6th

Each year, Ridleians await the arrival of February, as it holds one of the year’s most anticipated events, Dean’s Dance. Since its inception, this annual social event has become a favourite for Ridleians. This year, students filled the Great Hall, dressed to the nines, to enjoy an evening of music and dancing. New this year was a canteen that was run during the dance, where students could enjoy iced tea and other beverages, served by their peers!

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“The canteen was amazing. Everyone seemed to have fun with it, on both sides of the table.” – Liam Wilson ’16

The music was on point. The canteen was super fun and was a great idea! The pictures turned out great and everyone looked very nice! – Annie Sheridan ’16

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Students brave the cold on dogsledding trip

Thursday, February 11th – Sunday, February 14th

 On the February long weekend, 17 students donned their winter gear and headed north for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award annual dogsledding trip. Despite the frigid temperatures, the students embraced the challenge and seized this opportunity of a lifetime. Click here to read more about their winter adventure.

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Students head to Mont Tremblant

Friday, February 12th – Monday, February 15th

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During the February long-weekend, a group of Ridley students traveled to Mont Tremblant to participate in some Winter activities. Despite the bitter cold temperature, which at times fell below -40 degrees Celsius, the students’ spirits remained high. The majority of their days were spent on the ski slopes, enjoying the challenging terrain, while evenings were spent exploring the many restaurants, shops, and cafes that the village of Mont Tremblant has to offer. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience the great outdoors and visit one of Canada’s top skiing destinations! A great time was had by all those involved. 

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Campus was alive with Chinese New Year celebrations and more!

Tuesday, February 23rd

On Tuesday, students were treated to an evening break from school work with Chinese New Year celebrations followed by Café and Open Mic Night. Grace Pan ‘16 organized a Lunar New Year event, along with her committee, to celebrate Chinese culture and student talent, that made for one exciting evening! It’s amazing to see the work our students can do!

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“Chinese Lunar New Year was great fun. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate our culture here at Ridley and to share our traditions within this community. Ridley is a comfortable atmosphere for everyone to sing, dance, eat and socialize with friends.” – Simon Bi ’16

“The Chinese New Year is a very important part of my culture. The event brought all the Chinese students together. We celebrated the New Year with our own performance, as well as the delicious dumplings. I really appreciate having this kind of cultural events at our school and I hope it will become a tradition at Ridley.” – Theresa Li ’16

Following the New Year celebrations, students were invited to the Great Hall to enjoy Café, with good food, great friends and even better entertainment!

“Cafe and Open Mic in the Great Hall are always enjoyable. I could pick music that both me and my friends knew, so we could sing along together, and finally I liked it because it was a new and fun experience.” – Daniel Ephrat ’19

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Students support fellow Ridleian as he hits the ice

Saturday, February 27th

 Over 50 students, faculty and families attended the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Niagara IceDogs game as they faced off against the Guelph Storm. Fellow Ridley student, William Lochead (#17) was playing for the IceDogs and William was an active part of their 6-0 victory over the Storm. Having such high level hockey so close to the school makes for a fun night out. Everyone had a great time and the students were excited to see their fellow Tiger in action!

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February was filled with exciting activities, on campus, in our community and beyond! Students had so many opportunities to celebrate culture and diversity, enjoy the last bit of winter and make lasting memories with their friends.

Student design competition produces the newest Ridley accessory

For more than 125 years, Ridleians have displayed their love for our school by wearing items with official embroidered insignia. Whether for music, arts, academics or even the Houses of Ridley (that many come to call ‘home’), a number of motifs have been designed and sported over the years to honour these facets of our school’s culture.

In the fall of 2015, Board of Governors member, Mr. David Carter ‘88, decided that the Board should also sport a custom necktie and scarf of its own. Ridley’s Board of Governors, made up of 14 dedicated members, who ensure that our school continues to grow and flourish, has become an invaluable addition to the Ridley community and thus, were well deserving of this dedicated accessory.

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The 2015-2016 Board of Governors

Mr. David Carter requested that a tie and scarf be designed by a current student and that the ultimate pattern only be recognizable and understood by Ridleians. The top three students competed for a chance to make history – with the winning design being made into a tie and a scarf to be worn by the members of the Board– and were also vying for a monetary prize.

This was not only an opportunity for the Board to collaborate with the students, but also a chance for the students to express their creativity. A process such as this one required research, traditional art skills, the use of computer design software and of course, a connection to Ridley and the community.

Fifty students submitted their drawings that symbolically represented life at Ridley College. Of those 50 designs, three were chosen as finalists by Mr. David Carter along with Board Chair, Ms. Georgina Black and Headmaster, Ed Kidd. The designers of these three patterns were brought on stage during assembly to be recognized in front of their peers by Headmaster Kidd.

As each design was projected onto the big screen in the Mandeville Theatre, it was clear that each member of the audience felt a connection to the images and that these three judges had selected designs that truly evoked a sense of pride.

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In third place was Sarah Wang ‘18, with her design depicting the Marriott Gates, an iconic landmark of Ridley College. Sarah explained, “I wanted to draw something that would represent Ridley in the most simple way. The gate may not be the most obvious structure that shows the Ridley campus, but a gate indirectly suggests direction for the future and the welcoming nature of Ridley.”

In second place was Paddy Yang ‘18, with his design depicting a roaring tiger. Paddy says, “You can see the tiger was howling. It shows our bravery. I would like to say thank you to my teacher, Mr. Campbell, I couldn’t have done this without him. He helped me a lot and during the process he gave me many useful suggestions.”

The winner of the Board of Governors insignia design competition was Callum Campbell ‘18. His tie and scarf design depicted the archway that leads into Upper School, “because these gates are so iconic to Ridley, I wanted to do them justice.” – Callum Campbell

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Callum’s winning design will be used on the Board of Governors tie and scarf, being produced in September of 2016. Congratulations to all the participants, with special congratulations to our top three designers.

Family Guild hosts successful weekend of events

The Ridley College Family Guild is dedicated to truly creating a sense of community amongst our families. Led by current President, Laura Menechella, our generous Family Guild is continuously looking for ways to raise funds in an effort to provide the legacy of a Ridley education to deserving students. Since 1999, the Family Guild has raised more than $1.3 million dollars, which it has funneled back into Ridley scholarships and bursaries, as well as our Annual Fund projects on campus.

On Parents’ Weekend, February 19th and 20th, our Family Guild hosted several events to celebrate our unique school community and to continue its long history of giving.

Family Guild Trivia Night

Parents, faculty, staff and friends of Ridley packed Williams Hall for a charitable (and very spirited) Trivia Night. Following dinner, competitors battled for eight rounds of questioning– spanning topics like geography, sports, Ridley history, and pop-culture. By the end of the night, more than $3,200 was raised to send children from the local community to our Ridley Summer Programmes. Thank you to our MC John Romano, Trish Loat and our sponsors: Chartwells, Oast House Brewers, Silversmith Brewery, St. Catharines Courtyard Marriott.

“As Family Guild President, I was overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown by many Ridley College families.” – Laura Menechella

Ridley Family Ski Day at HoliMont

On a warm and sunny Sunday, our families had the opportunity to test out the slopes at HoliMont Ski Club in Ellicottville, NY. The annual Family Ski Day was made possible by the Family Guild (special thanks to Laura Menechella, Aimee and Charles Cook) and Valerie Parke. It was a great day of skiing with a fabulous lunch provided by the Guild and the BBQ expertise of the Cooks!

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For information on upcoming Family Guild events, click here or check out our weekly parent newsletter.