Category Archives: Academics

Experiential Learning Away from Home

Ridley students participated in three experiential learning trips over the March Break: a South African science adventure, Vimy 100, a history trip commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and our Ridley rowing crews hit the shores of Vancouver Island for pre-season training.

In South Africa, students had the opportunity to learn about and contribute to ongoing field research. They visited the Balule Game Reserve, where our young scientists participated in lectures and collected data on insects, herbivores, and birds—they even experienced a mock-charge by an elephant. The second week was spent at Sodwana Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with scuba diving—five students earned their PADI open water certification—reef ecology lectures, snorkeling, rock pool tours, dune walks, and a surprise visit from some local Zulu dancers. View photos.

North of the equator, Ridley students had a chance to relive history as they toured the many historic sites from both World Wars in France and Belgium. They visited the Vimy Memorial—which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the WWI battle, Passchendaele—where they experienced a recreation of a WWI battlefield, and Juno Beach—the site of Canada’s D-Day Landing in WWII. Other stops included Ypres, the Menin Gate, Dieppe, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Napoleon’s Tomb. The group visited the graves or memorials for nine Old Ridleians, who died fighting in the two World Wars.

“It was a moving, rewarding, and emotional trip” – Mrs. Linda Chang, Ridley Parent

Leaving behind the thawing Royal Henley course in Port Dalhousie, our competitive rowing crews spent part of their March  break practicing on Canada’s West Coast, at Shawnigan Lake School. The trip focused on team-building and technical development. Ridley crews rowed through snow during one training session, while (before another in Victoria) they enjoyed a visit from a group of seals. Ample time on the water and competition with rowers from the University of Victoria, Victoria City Rowing Club, and the Canadian National Team, have our crews ready for upcoming spring regattas.

Our Ridleians showed how dedicated they are, using their March break–a time for rest and relaxation–to better themselves, better their team and better the environment. There is no doubt that these students returned home with stories to tell and memories that they will carry with them.

 

Students Think Big at Annual Model U.N. Conference

During the February long weekend, a group of students, along with their supervisors, travelled to Washington, D.C. for the 54th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations, hosted by Georgetown University‘s International Relations Association. This annual trip is an opportunity for our Ridleians to gain experience, develop research and thinking skills, and engage in great discussions about current global issues.

With over 160 schools and 3,500 students from around the world present, this event is a superb opportunity for students to network with peers. The Ridley College Model United Nations team – made up of Ridley’s model U.N., politics and debating clubs – was comprised of students from seven countries; adding to the diversity of the prestigious experience.

  

In addition to the debates and discussions that took place at the Model U.N. Conference, the students had the opportunity to listen and engage with experts on topics within international relations. One of the highlights was Retired Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, Thomas Countryman’s keynote address.

While in D.C., our students were able to explore Washington’s vast cultural and political offerings – from the African American Museum of Culture and History to the Lithuanian Embassy.

“Reflecting on my weekend in D.C., I will have a lifetime of memories with friends, teachers and new friends I’ll never forget. I have learned exactly the format of real UN Conferences and now create awareness for new issues and resolutions discussed around the world through different conferences. My collaboration skills improve year by year through these experiences, and will definitely continue to only get better in the future.” – Bart Scala ‘19

“The MUN to trip to D.C. was a wonderful experience. That was my first time visiting the USA and I really enjoyed it. I had the chance learn about US and also take part in MUN and improve myself.” – Alp Sagra ‘18

“I got to know more about United Nations and different people. I went to Washington for the first time.  This was a great experience. I learned a lot and MUN indeed expanded my horizon.” – Nicole Liu ’19

The Speaking Arts at Ridley continue to thrive, thanks to the support of parents, faculty and of course, the W. Darcy McKeough ’51 Fund. The importance placed on debating, public speaking and active global commitment engages students and student interest has grown, year after year. This year’s Model U.N. Conference trip was a chance for our Speaking Arts students to further instill a love for this co-curricular, while contributing to the wider community.

Students Explore the World of Visual Art on Annual Fieldtrip

IMG_0089

On Tuesday, October 18th, the Grade 9 Visual Arts classes ventured beyond the Marriott Gates, to explore visual arts in a new, interactive environment.

To begin their day, the students travelled to the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH). The AGH is Southwestern Ontario’s oldest and largest public art gallery, and contains over 10,000 works of art. During their morning visit, students explored the gallery’s collection with the help of their guides, and examined how artists employ composition strategies and perspective in a variety of media. Highlights of the tour included a special exhibit on the progression of sculpture since the French Baroque period, and Canadian abstraction.  Following the tour, students worked independently to develop a series of drawings and journal entries in their sketchbooks, connecting what they’ve learned during their visit, to their inclass studies.

IMG_0077

The afternoon was spent at the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC), where students explored drawing and painting en plein air. The weather was warm and sunny, and a blustery “breeze” kept us all on our toes! The fall foliage was at its peak, and students created observational drawing studies of leaves, and watercolor landscape paintings.

IMG_0091 IMG_0095

Now that the students have returned to the classroom, they begin their unit assessment project, Perspective in the Landscape. Their recent field experiences and newfound knowledge of artistic techniques and media will aid them as they work toward completing their project.

– Katie Marrone, Department of Visual Arts

Get to Know Your Prefects: David X. ’17

Introducing David Xue ’17 – a Prefect who discovered what it means Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 10.08.16 AMto become a global citizen. Hear how he adapted to life abroad, and discovered comfort, confidence and culture within the Marriott Gates.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of its size. I am talking about the perspectives of cultural diversity, the physical size of the school and its open-mindedness to connect to the global society. This year alone, Ridley welcomed students from more than 44 countries, which is a perfect opportunity for us students to interchange our cultural practices and get comfortable with becoming a global citizen. On top of the rare cultural diversity offered by Ridley, the school itself is 90-acres, which is spacious and gives plenty of choices for sports, activities and scientific research. Lastly, Ridley’s mindset is in line with what I am looking for; the motto is “may I be consumed in service”. I have always been looking for the connection between Chinese culture and western culture; through the humbleness of the motto, I have found the commonness.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Of course I felt prepared coming to Ridley! Although it was quite scary to think of coming to an English-speaking country for the first time in Grade seven, I managed to watch all of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies and five seasons of ‘Friends’ during the summer of 2011 in preparation…I would say if you are an international student, definitely try to get a good grip on English conversations before coming to face the academic demands. However, there is no need to panic; the students and faculty here are very friendly and are more than happy to help us through the bottleneck of overcoming the difficulties of the language.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

To me, every single faculty member I know is unique, and very important. Mr. Hutton, Mr. Bett and Mr. Jones are my parents abroad and keep me safe. My teachers are absolutely experts at every subject and are awesome friends that I know I could feel comfortable talking to whenever I encounter an obstacle. The nurses and sewing room members keep me healthy and classy, respectively. Therefore, I am equally thankful to every single one of them.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

As an international student, my greatest challenge at Ridley was stepping out of my comfort zone and blending into the Canadian culture. The difficulty in language was minor; it was the decision of whether or not leaving the herd of Chinese speaking students, step into western culture and make friends from other countries, the most challenging. I have to admit that it was a hard time in the beginning; most of the times I did not understand what my peers were talking about. However, I soon adjusted myself to learn things my Canadian friends would be interested in and had made myself a part of the international community. I would say that the decision I made five years ago was absolutely beneficial to my global perspective.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley would be the appointment as a Prefect. At Ridley, being a Prefect requires high academic performances, the trust from the student body and faculty, and the ability to be highly responsible. I am grateful that Ridley has gradually shaped me into a person that is seeking knowledge and willing to contribute. Therefore, I think prefectship is just a reflection of the cumulative efforts I have made from my five years of experiences here.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley experience has been joining and enjoying the competitive sports programme. I have been lucky to have played so many sports that I would have never had a chance to play before, such as softball, rugby, basketball and soccer. Not only was I able to play with my fellow peers, but the athletic department would always organize road trips to schools in the province and we were able to compete against them… I think to some extent, the sports programme at Ridley has created a bond between us and the school; it gives us a sense of pride. Thus, I enjoy and will never forget the experience of playing competitive sports at Ridley.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is knowing that I can put my head on the pillow at the end of the day and feel safe. At Ridley, any adult is approachable and is there to support us. When we experience homesickness or illness, the Head of House’s door is always open for us. Whether it was Ms. Thacker driving you to the health centre at 3:00 in the morning, or Mr. Jones trying to console you after a breakup, Ridley is a place that any of us could open ourselves up and it is guaranteed that we will be supported. Ridley is my second home.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am most excited for planning the future activities for the student body. The Prefect team this year is dedicated to focusing on student lives, and I am very excited about the upcoming events, such as Saturday activities, house competitions and semi-formal dances.

29394158192_b98cffca16_z

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Well, I have to say, basically in every way. Academically, the full IB programme challenges me to take risks and step up to become a global citizen. Athletically, Ridley reminds me to always keep myself fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the rest of my life. Aesthetically, Ridley gives me opportunities to take on several musical instruments and provides me abundant art supplies to express myself in the universal language. Lastly, the faculty members act as role models and always keep me positive, which I will do the same to others in the future.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to pursue further education from a university in the United States. I am glad that the guidance counsellers are experts at Ridley, to help me through the difficult process. I would like to pursue my degree in either architecture, law or chemistry because I am absolutely excited about chemical reactions, designing buildings and defending a case.

On top of that, I will keep playing the violin because it has become my companion during my time of homesickness.

Although Ridley has given me a breathtakingly fresh and exciting experience, I also had some times of hardship. First and foremost, homesickness… So I found a place to heal my homesickness – the basement of the Second Century Building, where I could play the violin. There, I enjoyed playing music, because not only the sound of music brought me happiness, but also it became a friend to me. From then, I knew that I could always retreat from the fast pace school environment to slow down and balance myself with healing music. This helped me to overcome another obstacle – stress… When things are overwhelming, I just clear my mind and play music for an hour. Trust me, after concentrating in my violin piece, the overwhelming assignments did not seem impossible anymore! Of course, music is only one of the ways that could help you through your difficulties here at Ridley. There are many other options such as painting, filming, and meditation club that you could enjoy in order to feel the flow and find your centre.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would say definitely seize every opportunity you can, because Ridley provides us privileges that other schools do not offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects – Helen W. ‘17

Introducing Helen Wang ’17 – a Prefect from China,  who discoveredScreen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.51.24 AM her skills and strengths during her time at Ridley. Read how she stepped out of her comfort zone and began to flourish. 

Why did you choose Ridley?

I first discovered Ridley when I did research on school choices near Toronto. Ridley College popped up and it obviously attracted my attention with its goal of providing a balanced student life. The appearance of the school is a bonus. There were many other reasons I chose Ridley, and it is certain that I chose it because I liked it.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

It is hard to say if you are prepared or not, when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. However, the choice was my own choice, so I wasn’t feeling unprepared in accepting new culture but I was feeling nervous, for sure.

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Mr. Gordon. Mr. Gordon taught me German in Grade 9 and my International Baccalaureate course, and Spanish in Grade 10. His attitude towards learning and teaching is always very positive and encouraging, so much that he brings out my interest in studying foreign languages. Due to his unique style of teaching, I did not feel overwhelmed about learning another two languages, on top of learning English, but rather, I survived pretty well during the past three years.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I would say managing time. Although I am very confident in time management, my schedule is busy enough that there will always be a time when I forgot to do something (for example this Prefect Profile). Every one lives a full life at Ridley, and school life certainly trains us to manage our schedule and goals. The gain is generous, but we definitely need to first survive a busy school life.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

Becoming Prefect is an accomplishment, but my improvement in English is the greatest one… I took the challenge and I knew I had to be more open to new ways of learning here in Canada, and now, I am the top three in IB English learning. I can see my development thus far and I cherished it.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

I would say travelling overseas for a Habitat for Humanity trip with my schoolmates… Friendships were also made very easily during these trips, and who wouldn’t be willing to help those families.

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.50.40 AM

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

Although the school has planned most of your schedule, you still get chances to add your own interests. There are lots of extracurricular activities at Ridley that students can be a part of, and many courses allow you to form deeper connections, that not only help build a successful school life but also a more successful career when we enter society (ex. CAS project).

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

To be a part of school activity planning! I’ve always wanted to be a part of the school year decision making, and I am so excited that now I can take the responsibility of it.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

It taught me many skills in life; it especially changed my mind about grades being everything and the only goal is to have a higher grade. I know that athletics are equally as important and my self-recognition and intellectual development is also important.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go to the U.S. for university – an Ivy League school is my goal. I am also planning a one-month long trip or even longer after my graduation to travel around the world; experiencing different cultures, and enjoying some final relaxation before getting into the competitive university life.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t ever be afraid of new stuff, because you can never stop learning at Ridley. If you can’t change the environment, the environment will change you, and you definitely are and will be better than you think. Finally, “You don’t have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good”

Get to Know Your Prefects: Graham D. ‘17

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 11.00.18 AMIntroducing Graham Devitt ’17 – a Prefect who has grown during his Ridley career – from Lower School, through to Upper School. Read how he has been driven to succeed during his time at Ridley and where he hopes his future will lead him.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because it is one of the best schools in the area. I am a day student and choosing to go to Ridley was an easy decision, as it is both academically and athletically renowned. Ridley presents unique opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else and I knew it would be a great fit for me!

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Yes, I felt prepared coming to Ridley. I came in Lower School and integrating into the culture was much easier there. I was a bit nervous going to a new school – as Ridley’s reputation preceded itself – but as soon as I arrived I was accepted and became immersed in Ridley life.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member is Mrs. Roud. She taught me Grade 10 History and is also my housemaster. She has helped me evolve academically, in addition to encouraging me to push my limits and become a better person. She has helped me with everything from school work to personal projects and has always been a very caring and dependable person. I look forward to working with her to make Dean’s House and the rest of Ridley as enjoyable for everyone else as it has been for me!

26276011023_4db9e04561_z

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I think the greatest challenge has been making the most of all the opportunities Ridley presents. On top of academics, athletics and extra-curriculars, Ridley provides many other opportunities to advance and develop one’s education. Being able to – on top of everything else – go on exchanges, participate in service trips, and apply for awards is definitely a challenge, but one that can be extremely rewarding.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment would be winning the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize to travel to Europe during two weeks in the summer and visit various WWI and WWII memorials and battle sites. Although it took a substantial amount of work, the payoff is extraordinary and I am proud to have won this prestigious award.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience is going to camp at the beginning of every year. Getting to know all the new boys and doing everything from wake boarding to zip lining is both a fun and involved adventure!

29486138942_0ac1948605_z

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is being a part of a house. Being a part of Dean’s House and playing the other houses in sports, participating in house events and BBQs is truly a unique experience to Ridley and one that I thoroughly enjoy!

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am looking forward to being a role model to all younger students and especially the new students this next year. Showing students how to make the most of Ridley life, do well in school, and more importantly, enjoy all the other aspects of Ridley – from sports, to dances, to trips – is something I’m looking forward to. The opportunity to lead others and help them make the most of there time here will be very rewarding.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

As you progress through Ridley, you gain more independence. This parallels life in university and beyond. In addition, Ridley life is very different than other schools. From simple things like waking up for class on your own, to tasks like touring prospective students, Ridley reinforces qualities and values that many kids don’t learn until much later in life. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go on to university to get a bachelors and most likely a master’s degree. I haven’t quite chosen what my degree will be yet but it will be something within the social sciences for sure. After that my only ambition is to move to a big city and start working. Wherever that takes me, we’ll have to see.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Make the most of Ridley. However you ended up here, you are extremely privileged. Understand this and take all the opportunities you can, because soon enough you will be finished Ridley and those opportunities won’t be there. If you balance your academics and also have fun, Ridley will be one of the best experiences you will have in your life.

Old Ridleian Begins Post-Secondary Journey as a Loran Scholar

Photo by Humans of St. Catharines
Photo by Humans of St. Catharines

In February of 2016, Ridley was proud to announce that Grace
Lowes, from the Class of 2016, was awarded the prestigious Loran Scholarship, that each year, only 30 individuals
receive. The scholarship includes a renewable undergraduate scholarship, valued up to $100,000, for the duration of the recipients’ four years of post-secondary education. Inaddition to the monetary support, these scholars receive the opportunity to intern abroad for three summers, receive residency support and are connected with a mentor for the duration of their educations.

During her time at Ridley, Grace was an active member of the Ridley community. She co-founded the Model U.N. group, formed a Days for Girls charitable activity on campus, joined clubs such as the Syrian Refugee Club and Positive Spaces Group, and helped lead the school, during her final year, as a Prefect. When we sat down with Grace last year, she expressed a profound feeling of gratitude when asked how receiving the scholarship felt.

DSC_3690

“With the Loran Scholarship and with Ridley, I’ve had so many opportunities to be educated at the highest prestige and it’s just such an amazing privilege and it is something I will never take for granted.”

Grace graduated in May, and has since spent her summer preparing for the start of her post-secondary education. As part of her Loran Scholarship, Grace had the opportunity to partake in a Loran Scholars Foundation retreat, that would provide opportunity to strengthen her leadership and team-building skills before her first year of university. The retreat began with a canoe excursion through Algonquin Park with other scholars.

“It was extremely outside of my comfort zone, but was an amazing opportunity to meet some of the students that had also been awarded the scholarship. It was also an extremely physically and mentally challenging trip for myself. During the canoe trip I had to spend a 24-hour period completely alone in the woods, equipped with only a handful of granola, a sleeping bag and a tarp. This was a highlight of my trip. I found it to be an extremely valuable time to reflect and be thoughtful.”

canoe-1149501_1280

The second portion of the retreat took place in Guelph, Ontario. Scholars like Grace – who were just beginning their post-secondary journeys – were able to meet with those who were in different stages of their four-year scholarships. This gave Grace the opportunity to converse with likeminded individuals and see what her future as a Loran Scholar might have in store.

Her biggest takeaway from the retreat was the advice she received about the importance of gratitude.

“Everyone advised me that during the school year things will be hard, they will be overwhelming and that I will likely feel stressed, but to remember what a privilege it is to be educated and even more so what a privilege it is to be educated without fear of financial hurdles. I thought this is great advice. Being thankful and appreciative all the time is so important.”

This September, Grace begins her post-secondary journey at McGill University, where she will study politics and philosophy. Grace says she is most looking forward to getting back in touch with some of her favourite things – like writing and playing music. With the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is the Loran Scholarship, Grace will also have the chance to explore some of her passions in the coming summers. The Loran Scholarship allows each scholar to spend three summers on paid internships, all over the world. We look forward to seeing where Grace goes; on both her internship, and her future.

Grace has spent her summer immersed in gratitude and has been reflecting about past, present and future opportunities. To the students who are just beginning their Ridley journeys, Grace says this:

“I would give the same advice as what I received. Being educated at Ridley is a luxury. Don’t forget that. Soak in everything you learn and take advantage of every opportunity you are given and be grateful for all of those things. Always say thank you, not just with your words but also with your actions.”

Good luck to Grace at McGill and good luck to the Class of 2016 as they too begin their post-secondary journeys.