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Students braved the cold on the annual dogsledding trip

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Each year, a group of Ridleians venture north for a weekend of adventure on the annual dogsledding trip. This trip is offered to participants of the Duke of Ediburgh’s Award, and helps the students not only receive their medals but also experience an opportunity of a lifetime with their friends, connect with nature and witness the beauty of Canada.

On February 11th, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group, comprised of 17 students and their chaperones, Mr. Clyde Dawson and Ms. Caleigh Flagg, left for South River, just south of North Bay – four and a half hours by school bus. Upon arriving at Chocpaw (the dogsledding company), we received an hour instruction and then off we went to the kennel, where 380 dogs greeted us with an accolade of barking. We packed and hooked up 12 sleds, each with five or six teams of dogs, and proceeded on the first 20 km part of our trip. We arrived at camp and immediately unpacked, setup camp and prepared dinner.

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The next morning was a comfortable minus 30 degrees and we once again packed, hooked and left for the second camp – CHAR, 15 km deep in Algonguin Park. It was a beautiful day with snowfalls and scenery that could only be experienced, never adequately described. Once again we unhooked, fed, watered and bed the 78 dogs before unpacking and preparing dinner.

Saturday morning was a shock to the system with temperatures hovering around minus 40 to 45 degrees. The guide and I (Mr. Dawson) decided to allow the students to sleep-in, with the hope that the rising sun would make the day a little more bearable. After breakfast, the temperature did rise to minus 35 degrees and the students proceeded to gather wood in the forest, retrieve water from the lake, care for the dogs and build a campfire. The temperature had no affect on the students’ spirits; we enjoyed pushing each other in the snow while carrying wood cut by Andrew (our guide) a quarter of a mile, to the sleds. Others scooped water into 12 liter canteens from a hole cut in the lake by another guide, Adelia. The students then carried the water in pairs 100 meters up a hill to the camp. It was too cold with the wind-chill factor to go sledding, so the students took the dogs for a walk, gave them some very appreciated affection, cleaned the beds, refreshed the straw and continued with snow festivities throughout the day.

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Sunday was a busy day with packing, hooking and traveling 35 km back to the kennel, where they would conclude their trip.

Throughout the adventure, the students were positive, enthusiastic and helpful, and the laughter and smiles never faded; of course that might have been because their faces were frozen. Whatever the case, it was a great trip!

Mr. Clyde Dawson, Department of Visual and Performing Arts

Days for Girls – Transforming Our Globe

Every Thursday, a group of Ridleians meet in the Second Century Building to do their part in transforming our globe. Ridley’s very own Days for Girls group was launched in 2015 and is comprised of students, who are taking the initiative to start a global conversation here at Ridley.

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Days for Girls is a global organization that is on a mission to change the lives of women around the world. In many developing countries, feminine hygiene products aren’t available to women due to poverty or the social stigma that exists in their cultures, and subsequently, these women lose approximately 60 days per year, which they are forced to spend at home. Therefore, this charity’s mandate is to sew and assembles feminine hygiene kits that are then supplied to these woman, so that they can continue to live, go to school and go to work – all critical factors in social progress.

“The cycle of poverty is broken when girls stay in school”

– www.dayforgirls.org

These kits contain two shields that hold the liners and act as an anti-leakage barrier, eight absorbent liners, one washcloth, one bar of soap, two pairs of underwear, one visual instruction sheet, two-gallon size Ziploc bags and one drawstring bag to hold it all. These kits are designed to last for three years and equate to 180 days of income or school for these deserving women.

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Our Ridleians are proud supporters of Days for Girls and have been dedicated in helping this organization make a difference. Our team of students, along with the Niagara-On-The-Lake representative and Ridley parent, Linda Chang, sew and assemble the kit, which are then inspected at one of the Ontario chapters before being shipped to more than 85 countries, worldwide.

Looking to get involved and do your part to change the lives of woman globally?

The Ridley Days for Girls group is always looking for support! Student representative, Grace Lowes ’16, says that their group is always looking for fabric donations, monetary support and volunteers! If you’d like to find out how you can support this Ridley group, contact Linda Chang, through the Niagara-On-The-Lake group, at niagaraonthelakeon@daysforgirls.org.

You can also visit the Days for Girls Get Involved‘ portion of the site and find out how you can help in your own community!

Lower School students fuse their passion with science

On January 29th, 32 Grade 7 students eagerly lined the halls of Lower School, ready to showcase their scientific reasoning. For the past three months, these students have been exploring self-assigned hypotheses and investigating possible conclusions for the 9th annual Lower School Science Fair

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For nearly a decade, the Lower School Science Fair has encouraged young Ridleians to discover their interests and fuse them with science. Students aren’t assigned an area of study, but instead, are asked to find a topic that they are genuinely curious about. Using the online application, Science Buddies, each student answers a number of questions, rating their level of interest for everything from microbiology to psychology and even the television shows they enjoy watching. Upon completing the online application the students is then provided a list of possible science projects and topics to consider, each one relating to a topic or field that he or she enjoys. This not only creates a broad spectrum of science experiments, but also motivates the students to challenge themselves and make discoveries of their own.

According to Mr. Ben Smith, Pure and Applied Sciences Subject Coordinator and Lower School Science and Math Teacher, the main goal of the science project is not to be proven correct in their findings, but to propose a question and provide a reliable answer. “It’s just as important to fail as it is to be proven right,” says Mr. Smith.

In 2014, Jaden Kidd ’19 had a theory that bioluminescent algae, if placed in mason jars, could provide an alternative to electricity in countries with limited access. Despite his hypothesis being proven incorrect and the algae not producing the expected results, he went on to receive the Biology Award at the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair – success is achieved through the findings and the knowledge that accompanies it rather than a proven theory.

For the past three months, the students worked in class to complete their projects, with the help of Mr. Smith. Students began with their hypotheses, predicting the conclusions of their experiments, and then proceeded with their studies. On the day of the Science Fair, after three months of hard work, these Ridleians presented their findings to curious members of the community.

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This year, judges, parents and the staff of Ridley College were blown away by the projects that our Grade 7 students produced. The students dove into the project, showcasing research that spanned a wide range of topics. Some students focused on chemistry, while others focused on the human brain. Some discovered their experiment was a success, others did not have the same outcome. Despite the results, each student was left feeling proud of their work and many intended to continue their research out of pure curiosity.

We are proud to announce this year’s winners:

First Place: Syni Solanki  – Graphene and Water Desalination

Second Place: Sakura Telfer – The Science of Spherification

Third Place: Spencer McLean – Video Game for the Blind

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These three students, along with our runner ups (Olivia Grubic; Memory Recall, Jacob Lytle; Sunflower Pith Water Filtration, and Ciara Blew; Margarine vs. Butter), will apply to represent Ridley at this year’s Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Congratulations to all Grade 7 students, who not only challenged themselves, but also discovered their own personal passions.

 

The Weekend Programme – January 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This January, the Weekend Programme was stocked full with fun activities that were great for Ridleians of all ages!

Grade 9’s have a ball at Residential Life Bowling!

Thursday, January 7th
By: Jack Petrunick ‘19

What better way to start off 2016 than with Residential Life Bowling! I find that our days can be quite busy; filled with classes, sports and homework and sometimes it seems that we don’t get much of a chance to catch up with one another. This made a night of bowling with classmates a perfect opportunity to reconnect. Did you know that in the Golden Era of the 1960’s and 1970’s, bowlers made twice as much money as NFL stars? Pro bowlers signed million dollar contracts and were heralded as international celebrities. Today, the glitz and glamour has faded, however, this changed as the Ridley College Class of 2019 arrived at Parkway Lanes! The students were all bright-eyed with thoughts of a strike, a spare or even just praying they wouldn’t get a gutter ball! Speaking of strikes…did you know that in the sport of bowling, if you see a picture of a turkey on your scoring screen, it refers to three strikes in a row? A ham bone is one better, with four strikes in a row! Best of all is a golden turkey, which represents nine strikes in a row!

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Well, I definitely don’t recall seeing a golden turkey on anyone’s scoring screen, but I do remember Ms. Lech knocking down nine pins at one time, which resulted in her doing a happy dance!

Ms. Lech and staff, thank you for organizing an exciting event for us. It was an evening enjoyed by all! Thank you!

– Jack Petrunick ‘19

” I have never been bowling before. I played games like this on my console, but because my parents are really busy and there are not many places like this near me, I [had] never gone before. It was a lot of fun!” – Grade 9 student

Ridleians show their Tiger pride during the Carl Dorland Basketball Tournament

Saturday, January 9th
By:
Liam Wilson ’16

Carl Dorland Champions

January 9th, 2016 – a night that I won’t forget for a very long time. Ridley wins the Carl Dorland Tournament against powerhouse rivals from Illinois, Lake Forest Academy. Although the game was very exciting, it wasn’t the shots made or the impressive moves that made this night so memorable for me, it was having the Ridley community supporting us. Students, faculty, parents, and even partner basketball programs – like Noble Preparatory Academy from Nassau, Bahamas – were all packed into the Griffith Gym to make as much noise and give as much support as possible. When Brett Warren ‘16 scored on an amazing drive or Shamar Burrows ‘16 made a great stop on defense, the crowd just got louder and louder.

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There is no better feeling than being able to look to the other side of the court and see your classmates cheering as loud as they can for you. Seeing my teachers in the crowd fostered school spirit and enthusiasm like you would not believe. As the game got tight and the clock started to run out, it was our fellow Ridleians that gave us the energy to close the game off and bring home the gold on our home court. Thank you, Ridley.

– Liam Wilson ’16

Students enjoy feature films with their friends!

Saturday, January 16th

On Saturday, January 16th, Ridleians piled on the Movie Bus and headed to Landmark Cinemas at the Pen Centre. Students had the chance to see the latest blockbusters on the big screen, with all of their friends! Following the Movie Bus, students were invited to the Great Hall for Café, where there was music, hot chocolate and cookies!

“Café is amazing!”- Noel Cousins ’16

Sports, spies and snacks – students hang out on campus for a fun-filled Saturday!

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Students had a fun-filled evening on campus this past Saturday! Students were able to participate in tons of sporting activities such as swimming, badminton, basketball and soccer! Students who wanted a more relaxing Saturday night were invited to watch the movie The Kingsman in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre. Café followed, featuring DJ Lech, where the students joined in the Great Hall to hear wonderful music from the 1980’s to today.

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January’s Weekend Programme line-up started the term off right! Ridley pride arose during Spirit Night and students stayed active inside as the snow piled up outdoors. There were no shortage of smiles and laughs here on campus.

Next month, the Weekend Programme kicks off with Dean’s Dance, the annual semi-formal dance, followed by fun activities throughout the month! Check back in February to read more!

A Day of Percussion at Ridley College

Over 30 people gathered in the Mandeville Theatre on Saturday, January 23rd for an afternoon of percussion clinics and performances. Participants, ranging in age from 5 years old to over 60, spent several hours listening and learning about drums and percussion from two great musicians, Miles Gibbons and Dave O’Neill. Tony Nguyen (tenor sax) and Antonio Aspite (guitar) joined our guests, along with Bob Lytle (double bass) to warm up the afternoon with an open rehearsal and jazz combo performance.

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Dave O’Neill spoke about how his drumming career began at the age of 12, but was quickly diverted when he lost fingers on his right hand in a tragic workplace accident at 16. Dave’s intense determination to overcome his disability was proven by an incredible solo demonstration on the drums. He uses a prosthetic device on his hand to hold a stick or mallet, which his early teachers helped him design. Later in the afternoon, Dave demonstrated tunes and techniques on the vibraphone.

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Miles Gibbons demonstrated the electronic V-drums and Roland Octapad, giving his steps to develop a music vocabulary on the drums, in order to open up one’s creativity and versatility in playing.   The clinicians were generous answering questions and students were able to come on the stage to play the instruments.

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Miles was gracious in thanking Ridley for the Day of Percussion, for providing a chance to “hang out, play music, and talk about drums.”

Music lovers are encouraged to keep watch for the next opportunity to collaborate with professional musicians on February 18th and 19th, when Ridley hosts The String Fling. The Penderecki String Quartet from Wilfrid Laurier University will be our musical guests for Thursday workshops and a Friday evening performance in the Memorial Chapel. For more information, contact Ridley’s music department.

– Mr. Scott Vernon, Visual and Performing Arts Subject Coordinator and Lower School Music Teacher

Students hit the slopes for Ski Day 2016!

On January 22nd, Ridleians travelled to Barrie, Ontario and Glenwood, New York to hit the slopes! It was a spectacular day to be outside; warm, sunny and a thick blanket of snow covered the ground. Students eagerly suited up in their winter gear and prepared for a day of fun!

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A long-standing tradition at Ridley and one of the most anticipated student trips of the year, Ski Day offered more than just skiing.  Students, staff and faculty had the opportunity to try an array of winter sports! Students who traveled south to Kissing Bridge had the opportunity to ski, snowboard and even tube! Students who made their way north to Horseshoe Resort enjoyed downhill and cross-country skiing! At the bottom of the hill awaited a warm chalet for any student looking to escape the cold and enjoy a hot meal! Since winter sports are such a quintessential part of Canadian life, Ski Day is also offered a chance for our international students to be exposed to a true Canadian experience! What a great way to experience Canadian culture, first-hand!

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Fresh air, the great outdoors, exercise and friends; there was no better way to spend a day away from the classroom. Students learned new skills, strengthened bonds with their peers and forgot about their homework for a few hours! According to the David Suzuki Foundation and the Children & Nature Network, time outside can help with problem solving, focus and creativity; so a day in the snow wasn’t all fun and games!

Back on campus, our primary students were having some fun of their own! Playing in the snow, practicing their soccer skills, skating and enjoying time with their friends – there were no shortage of smiles.

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To see photos from this year’s Ski Day, click here! We’re already counting down the days until next year!

Students elevate to new heights in preparation of winter production

Ridley has always been dedicated to opening as many doors for the students as possible. Faculty members design their courses to offer students the chance to experience in practical ways. Whether it be trips to an art museum, cultural experiences or workshops, our students grow both inside the classroom and out. The Drama Department is no exception.

In preparation for their upcoming winter production, drama teachers and directors of the winter production, Ms. Gillian Fournier and Ms. Anna Blagona, reached out to one of Toronto’s best dance companies, Kaeja d’Dance – a company known for its dance education programs. Kaeja d’Dance was brought in to train the cast, teach them improvisational and movement techniques and to choreograph particular scenes of the play. Mere moments into their introduction to Kaeja, the students were captivated by the technique and style of dance.

During their first workshop students began with an exercise in dance expression. They were asked to remain in constant motion as they travelled around the space, pausing only briefly as they connected with another dancer in the room. Allen Kaeja, co-founder of Kaeja d’Dance, then introduced the students to “elevations”, a movement technique that was developed by him and his wife. Students began to learn and practice anchor positions, which allow them to safely lift their partners into the air, regardless of height, weight or strength. Students ended their first workshop, feeling confident with the basics and excited to learn more.

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The cast met in the Mandeville Theatre for the second afternoon workshop. After their warm-up, Allen and one of the Kaeja dancers, Meredith, demonstrated one of the lifts that the students will be utilizing in their performance. It didn’t take long for the students to anchor and lift their partners into the air. Allen enthusiastically moved from partner to partner, ensuring that they were supporting one another properly, and receiving the praise and motivation that would instill confidence in their every move.

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The cast is looking forward to pushing their boundaries as performers and taking risks to fully commit to Brechtian techniques.. To see the cast of The Caucasian Chalk Circle demonstrate their newly acquired elevation skills and shine on stage, be sure to come to one of their performances. The dramatic production is running March 3rd – 5th in the Mandeville Theatre.