Category Archives: Admissions

Preparing international students for success

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Throughout the school year, Ridley is bustling with students from 44 countries around the globe and we are committed to providing as much support as possible to our international students as they adjust to life away from home. Helping them overcome a language barrier can often make all the difference in their ability to thrive.

Ridley’s English as a Second Language (ESL) programme is a course offered through our Guidance Department. It offers students – whose native language is not English – additional learning support intended to strengthen their conversational English, grammar, spelling and help them grasp nuisances. Furthermore, the ESL programme uses cognitive learning skills that can be applied in students’ daily lives. All of these resources result in improved communications and confidence on a personal and academic level.

Students begin with Level C and D ESL, as well as a Learning Strategies course in their first year here at Ridley. Throughout this first year, students work with our ESL Teacher, Ms. Loretta Whitty, as they build a set of skills that help with their English language proficiency in addition to their organizational skills, time-management, writing, public speaking and note taking. Students who might benefit from a more gentle transition into the school year, our Summer Programme also offers Level B ESL.

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In 2nd term, the students are introduced to the research essay project. Utilizing Brock University’s program, Academic Zone, the students take a step-by-step journey through the essay writing process. This process allows them to tackle one component of an essay at a time, while learning tips and tricks and developing their own writing style.

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Throughout the term, the students are encouraged to discover their own learning style. By developing character profiles and assessing their own personal skills, accomplishments and goals, the students are then able to determine what is the best way for them to learn and retain information. These skills are used throughout their time at Ridley and carried forward into their eventual careers.

“That’s the beauty of our ESL course; it gives [students] the resources and strategies that they can use at Ridley and beyond.”

– Ms. Loretta Whitty

Upon completion of Level C and D, these Ridleians progress to Level E in their next year of schooling; where they complete a course that aligns with a Grade 10 level of English.

Ms. Loretta Whitty has seen students progress with such success over the years. Students develop a passion for writing, find the confidence to speak in front of large groups of people with ease and projection and discover skills and strengths that they didn’t know they had.

“The Ridley ESL programme provided me with an opportunity to practice my English skills in a familiar and comfortable environment. The teachers are friendly and very helpful.”

– Wenze Guan ’16

This programme was designed to align with the Ridley curriculum and international culture. Its goal is to help our students reach a point in their education that they can confidently apply to post-secondary school, prepare for university and begin their flourishing lives. It is clear that this ESL course has done just that; and proves to be a great transition for our international students into life here at Ridley.

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Ridley’s Exchange Programme provides an opportunity of a lifetime

For over 20 years, Ridley’s International Student Exchange Programme has given audacious Ridleians and students from partnering schools around the world the opportunity to experience another country, appreciate a foreign culture and adapt to a new way of life at an international boarding school.

Dr. Ellen Foster has been coordinating the programme for the past 10 years, having organized approximately 200 exchanges in total. What began as a partnership with only a few schools has now expanded to offer Ridleians the chance to travel to South Africa, Australia, China, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and England. Whether they fly across the world to the land down under, make the trek to South Africa or hop across the pond to Paris, these students leave behind their routine lives to become Ridley’s global ambassadors.

Our Ridleians studying abroad may be away from St. Catharines anywhere between 6-12 weeks. During this time, they attend classes, live with their exchange families, absorb a new cultures and sometimes even learn new languages.

For every Ridleian who travels abroad, Ridley welcomes an eager student from the partnering school. For many of these visiting Upper School pupils, Ridley is their first exposure to Canada ­– which might include their first encounter with snow.

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Having the opportunity to travel, learn and grow in a new environment allows students to expand their knowledge of the world, overcome obstacles independently and discover new skills and strengths that they never knew they had. According to Dr. Ellen Foster, Coordinator of the International Student Exchange Programme, it also offers a great opportunity to improve language proficiency in places such as Spain and France.

Recently, Ridley said goodbye to this year’s visiting exchange students, as they returned home with unforgettable memories and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“I know from this amazing experience, that Ridley does not just focus on academic strength but also produces well-rounded, confident and worldly people who have the ability to make an impact in whatever they choose to do after school.”

– Eliza Hannah, Australia

In a few months time, our Ridleians will travel to South Africa and Australia for their exchange trips, where they will reunite with their exchange families and begin their own adventures.

If you’re interested in the International Student Exchange Programme or have any questions, contact Dr. Ellen Foster; ellen_foster@ridleycollege.com.

 

Grade 12 Students Experience North America’s Largest University Fair

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Photo courtesy of Ontario Universities’ Fair. https://twitter.com/OntarioUniFair

Yesterday, the Ridley Guidance Office accompanied our grade 12 students to Toronto, for the Ontario Universities Fair (OUF).  The OUF takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and is the largest University Fair in North America with all 21 Ontario universities represented. Each school had massive and elaborate displays, staffed by their own students, recruiters and school administrators.  It was a unique opportunity for our seniors to ask questions, learn first-hand from current post-secondary students, and to come away with important information about programmes of interest.

With four busloads of 125 students, we were certainly the largest contingent of the day!  As it happens, we left the fair at exactly the same time as the Toronto Blue Jays won their final home game of the season!  With 50,000 fans spilling out onto the streets, it took a logistical miracle to get us back to campus safely and soundly.

Photo courtesy of Ontario Universities’ Fair https://twitter.com/OntarioUniFair

Many thanks to Counsellors, Mr. Matt Bowie and Mr. Michael Maki, as well as Residential Don, Mr. Josh Farkas (AB East), for chaperoning the event.

One final note to parents; all 21 Ontario universities will also visit campus this fall, along with approximately 65 other universities from around the world.  Details and updates on their visits to Ridley are available to students and parents through the Naviance Family Connection portal.

– Mr. Stephen Clarke, Head of Upper School

 

Opening Day 2015

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Opening Day here at Ridley College was a busy day, as we welcomed 650 students and their families from 44 countries around the world. New and returning students gathered at the campus to get their first view of the year ahead.

Families were welcomed by Headmaster, Ed Kidd before heading out on campus for registration and orientation events.

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Students and their families had a chance to mingle with teachers, explore the opportunities offered at Ridley and meet their fellow students and Prefects.

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“We had a lovely day – felt very welcomed and confident that [our son] will indeed flourish at Ridley.”

Ridley Lower School Parent

While students and their families were busy unpacking, we asked parents what advice they’d like to give their kids as they start another chapter of their life. Here’s what they had to say.

We wish all of our students great success as the 2015-16 school year begins!

Get to Know Your Prefects: Cole C. ’16

Cole is a boarding student from Canada and lives in Merritt South.  He is also a member of the first boys’ hockey team.

  1. Why did you choose Ridley?

coleI chose Ridley for a number of reasons. First and foremost, going to a school is about academics. Having knowledge of something never leaves you; whereas, ability in a sport will. Having said that, another reason I chose Ridley was because of the hockey program. This starts with Coach Mike McCourt, who has shone a lot of light on the program in the last five years and most recently added a MPHL Championship to his resume. Hockey has always been a huge part of my life and my family and I felt Ridley did an excellent job of combining both of my passions.

  1. Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I felt prepared for the transition. Usually going to a new school is a tough social transition, but the atmosphere and inclusion of everyone into activities such as café or snake dance, truly connects the entire school body and leaves no room for one to be excluded.

  1. What are your plans after graduation? (i.e. university, college, gap year…degree of study, city you plan to live in, extracurricular pursuits)

After graduation I am planning on studying Biochemistry at University. It is my aspiration to then use that degree and apply to veterinarian school. Growing up on a farm, animals have always been a part of my life, and I feel that a career path as a vet can best combine my passion for science through animals.

  1. Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

I believe Mr. Reimer is one of my favourite faculty members. I can understand why he has been teaching at Ridley for over 25 years and to me this is because he is a very personable teacher. He is not shy to share a story or tale from his past and as a physics teacher he often combines real life scenarios with lessons. This allowed me to relate what was being taught in the course and apply it to real life. Having said this, all faculty members at Ridley are superb people.

  1. What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley has been balancing my academics with sports. Ridley is one of the most athletic schools in Canada and because of that each student colehockeyathlete learns how to be successful in juggling athletics and academics.

6. What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley this year was being part of a winning hockey team that won a championship, the first major hockey league title for Ridley since 1974. This was a huge accomplishment for our team and I was honoured to be apart of it.

  1. How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has taught me how to ready myself for the biggest challenge and choice I am going to face at this point in my life – where I want to go to university and what program I would like to study. Through academics and athletics, I believe Ridley teachers and coaches are providing students with opportunities for them to be the best they can be.

  1. What has been your favourite Ridley experience (thus far) and your favourite part of Ridley (chapel, rowing, your house)?

My house has definitely been a great experience for me thus far at Ridley. Being away from home for the first time in my life, I was concerned as to how I would handle the distance. The atmosphere in the house and the camaraderie among all the boys made my transition very easy. House events such as game nights, camp and sports day help the boys to bond at an early time in the year, and those bonds stick with you for the rest of the year.

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  1. What are the most important things you have learned from your time at Ridley?

Ridley has taught me a lot of little things that I feel have positively influenced me. Time management is a huge factor when you live on campus. You need to be able to prioritize and schedule your time so you get what you need done, yet still have time for yourself.

  1. What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone! When you try new things you truly figure out what you do and don’t love about life. Ridley gives you the opportunity to learn about life and about yourself.

We’re Here for You! Support System at Ridley College

At some point or another, every student goes through significant changes and challenges in different areas of their life.  One of the advantages of being part of the Ridley community is having access to an extensive support system that helps students develop the skills to address these challenges most effectively.

As a part of the House System here at Ridley, each House has a Head of House (or Housemaster) living in a family home attached to one of the ten boarding houses here on campus. There’s also an Assistant Head of House living in an apartment within the residence building. Students living in the Houses are free to knock on their Housemaster or Assistant Housemaster’s door any time, day or night, if they have a problem. Each House also has a number of Masters on Duty, many of whom live in residence on campus here at Ridley. These MODs are often local university students and their main duties involve supervising evening study in the House with which they’re affiliated.

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On top of this, every teacher at Ridley helps with evening duty in one of the Houses of Ridley. Members of the faculty also advise a group of around six to eight students in the same House. These advisory groups meet once a week during the academic day for about 45 minutes where they discuss issues and upcoming events that are common to the group, like healthy living, study tips, and signing up for community service activities. During this time, advisors also meet with students individually to talk about matters that are more specific to each student, such as challenges they may be facing in the classroom or difficulties they may be having with their roommate. Advisors are the main point of contact for parents, and are a great resource as they are uniquely familiar with Ridley life and will know quite a bit about each of the students in their advisory group both in terms of their academic progress and their social life.

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For any concerns that are more specific to physical and mental health, students are encouraged to visit the Health Centre. Located behind School House and Dean’s House, the Health Centre has Registered Nurses available 24/7. They are some of the warmest and friendliest people on campus, and they are careful to keep all information that students share confidential. A physician is also on campus four days a week, and is available 24 hours a day for emergencies by phone. In addition to the Health Centre, Ridleians are lucky to have a fantastic Athletic Therapist (located in the Fieldhouse) to assist students with any sports-related injuries.

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One area that every Ridley student is involved in some capacity is athletics. At Ridley, all students will have different coaches for each of their sports. Coaching at Ridley is a lot more than pushing teams to win; it focuses on developing personal mastery of skill, leadership and interpersonal experience, and respect for the game they play. With that in mind, coaches are a great resource to discuss any issues relating to social life in and out of practice, physical and emotional wellness, and personal progress.

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Apart from all of the adult mentors in the Ridley community, there are a number of student leaders who are dedicated to helping fellow Ridleians deal with challenges they may be facing. In many situations, student leaders like elected Prefects and House Captains may be in the best position to give advice to students because they’ve lived through many of the same experiences others could be struggling with. Senior student leaders at Ridley are very approachable and easy to connect with at any time. There are Prefects and House Captains involved in all areas of school life – from sports teams to theatre to community service groups. If they can’t help you solve a problem, they’ll certainly be able to direct you to an adult (Housemaster, advisor, nurse, coach) that can.

Written By Liz Gross ’14

Get to Know Your Prefects: Arwyn ’16

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Arwyn volunteering in El Salvador

Arwyn is very involved in life at Ridley. She has been a member of the Ridley family since Lower School, she is part of the debating team, plays field hockey and has been a part of a two service trips with Habitat for Humanity.

1. Why did you choose Ridley?
Being as I am a local student I’ve always been aware of Ridley. I knew it was a school, that it required a uniform and I knew that the mascot was a tiger. As a 8 year old the latter was all that mattered to me. I dragged my parents out to have a tour of the school thinking I’d leave with a new stuffed animal tiger, but left with a love for the campus and Ridley itself. After that tour I began looking into all the Ridley had to offer and set my heart on accepting the challenge that Ridley would be. I wanted to push myself academically, but also as a person, to ensure I was well rounded and knowledgeable. Ridley offered challenge but also opportunity and so it was the school for me.

2. What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I’m hoping to major in International relations with a minor in history and then pursue a law degree. I’m still looking at various universities both in Canada and the United Kingdom and trying to work on narrowing down my list of choices.

3. Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
Ridley is full of wonderful teachers who care about their students and who have helped to shape the young lady I am today. However my two favourite courses have been History and English as I’ve had teachers in these courses who have not only challenged me, but have brought me joy in learning. In these subjects I’ve had three teachers that have truly pushed me to reach my full potential.. Mr. Templeman, Mr. Dunkley and Mrs. Roud have all been teachers that have had a true impact on me as a student and have allowed me to be the best I can be in these areas of study.

4. What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
Ridley, at times, becomes a balancing act between sports, school, social life, clubs, and extracurricular activities. My biggest challenge has been finding a healthy way to involve myself in as much as possible at the school without going completely insane. Ridley has so much to offer and one of the hardest things is accepting that you can’t do it all. Although Ridley really encourages involvement at some point you have to realize that one person simply can’t be in every single part of Ridley and that in itself has been a real challenge for me.

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Arwyn debating

5. What has been your favourite Ridley experience?
I’ve had a fantastic experience with Ridley’s service program. Ridley has allowed me to prepare myself for my own future through these trips. In Grade Nine I traveled to El Salvador for a Habitat for Humanity service trip with a small group of Ridleians and upon leaving I actually felt as if I had made a difference in the lives of the people we built for. These trips allow students to let go of selfishness and see how gratitude can be the greatest gift. To truly engage in service like this has allowed all of us who participated to better understand what it means to meaningfully and selflessly transform our globe. Through this opportunity I have experienced the real world and have gained some new perspectives and understandings of our place in this world and how we can further bring justice to those who most need it.

6. Favourite part of Ridley?
One of my favourite things about Ridley is the house system. I love Leonard house and I have so much spirit and pride for my house and the girls in it. This is one of my favourite aspects of Ridley as it brings us closer as a community and broadens the experience we all have here.

Leonard House Girls at Sports Day
Leonard House Girls at Sports Day

7. What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?
The best advice I can give to prospective students is to join our community. It is not a choice you will ever regret. Whether you join us for 1 year or 7 like me, Ridley will change you and your life for the better. There are so many opportunities to grasp and so much to be involved in. Ridley will challenge you in ways you didn’t think possible, but at the same time will support you the whole way through, which is why it is the right school for everyone. Coming into my senior year I can honestly say I am a different and better person for coming here and I wouldn’t be the same if Ridley hadn’t been a part of my life.

Arwyn tackling versus The York House School
Arwyn tackling versus The York House School

 

A Day in the Life of Ridley College Students

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend an independent boarding school? Visions of Harry Potter might enter your head when you think of boarding school, but what is the day to day life really like? We enlisted the help of four Ridley College students to show you what happens during a typical day at an independent school. Ridley College is home to students from over 41 countries and is located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.  In the video below, you will meet McRid W., a Grade 12 boarding student from China, Alana M., a Grade 12 boarding student from Canada, Liam, a Grade 11 day student from Canada, and AnnMarie, a Grade 9 day student from Canada.

Please feel free to leave questions in the comment section of the blog or on Youtube or email admissions@ridleycollege.com for more information on attending Ridley College. Information about applying to Ridley College can be found by clicking here.

Get to Know Your New Prefects: Lydia S.

1.  Why did you choose to attend Ridley College?
I chose Ridley because is unlike any other school, the focus is not strictly on academics, or athletics. I saw Ridley as a school that made sure its students were well balanced and involved in multiple activities, community service, while still prioritizing their studies.

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2. Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
I believe I was prepared coming into Ridley. Prior to coming, I was in contact with a Grade 12 in my house who answered all my questions and gave me tips for the first couple of days. I was nervous and I felt lonely as most people do when entering a new school, but with this contact I made before, I knew I had someone I could go to for advice and it made me feel a lot for secure and prepared.

3. What are your plans for after Ridley (ex: university/ college/ gap year/ etc., what degree of study, living where, etc.)? 
After Ridley I hope to attend university either in America or Canada, while playing competitive hockey. Currently I would like to go into the medical field either human or animal sciences.

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4. What are your aspirations for the long-term future?
In the long-term future I can see myself living in Canada, maybe back on Prince Edward Island or somewhere also rural. I would like to be in a profession in medicine, perhaps a doctor or a veterinarian.

5. In your opinion, what has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley would probably be adjusting to life away from home. Being miles away from my family, and my friends was hard. There were many times where I wished I could just go back home. However, I am thankful that I never gave into my homesickness. Being at Ridley was a challenge at first but I managed to adapt and I made friends with people who soon became like my family, and I was given many opportunities that I would never have gotten elsewhere. Now Ridley has become a second home and I never feel out of place.

6. What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? 
I believe my greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley would be having the privilege of being named a prefect for the upcoming school year. This is one of Ridley’s most prestigious titles and comes with great responsibility. I was honored to accept this role and take the challenge.

7. Do you feel prepared going forward after Ridley? 
I believe Ridley has prepared me greatly for the future. Being a boarding student away from home, I have gained experience as to what it will be like attending post secondary schooling also away from home. The education received at Ridley is also better than what I would receive at my old high school so I feel ready academically.

8. What is your favourite experience at Ridley (thus far) and your favourite part of Ridley (chapel, rowing, etc.)?
My favorite part about Ridley would be the hockey. I am on the first girl’s hockey team and have had some of the best experiences with my team. When first attending Ridley in Grade 10 I was nervous and I wanted to make new friends. This proved to be much easier as the girls on my team quickly became like family and we meshed well on and off the ice. Being apart of this competitive team add to my Ridley experience by giving me a sense of belonging and tight friendship.

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10. What have you learned from your time at Ridley? 
I have learned to take ever opportunity you are given and use it to make your Ridley experience memorable. Most people attend Ridley for only a couple years, and one does not even realize how fast these years go by. The best times of your life will be made in high school and Ridley has taught me to make the most out of this limited time and take everything in with a smile.

11. What would you tell a prospective students about Ridley?
I would tell them that Ridley is so diverse and accepting that everyone feels safe within the gates. The campus feel is so friendly and close that everyone knows everyone. It is never quiet or boring at Ridley! There is always something to do or an event to partake in. The Ridley experience is one that is memorable and worth it!

 12. Do you have any advice for prospective students?
The advice that I would give to prospective students is if you choose to attend, do everything you can to get involved. Try something new, join a sports team, or try out for the play! Ridley gives so many opportunities to its students and I would say that you should capitalize on it. By being involved in community service, athletics, the arts or anything else you allow yourself to make new friends, discover something about yourself or make a change in someone else’s life! This is what Ridley is about, making memories, making a change and having a great overall experience.

Will I Fit In? Tips For First Week Jitters from an Old Ridleian

Written by Nick ’12

Everyone worries about fitting in; whether it’s where to sit in the dining hall or classes or what sport and/or activities to participate in.  I am here to reassure you that you aren’t the only one to experience first week jitters. One of the greatest features of the Ridley atmosphere and community is the freedom to not only be you, but also to find yourself. You are not limited to being an arts kid or an athlete, but to be everything and anything that you want to make yourself. The friends, faculty and Old Ridleian’s (aka OR’s or alumni) who surround you will slowly be synonymous with family and will all encourage you to try new things. You’ll have friends who row and paint, who do robotics and play soccer, act and play rugby, and all will tell you to find what you really enjoy and what you really want to pursue. One of the best and most repeated pieces of advice you’ll hear from any Ridleian –past or present is to never be afraid to try new things, and to always be open-minded about new possibilities and experiences. No matter how much you hear it, it’s always difficult to embrace the advice and take the first few steps while you’re in the moment, but I know from personal experience it always pays off. For instance, during my first year at Ridley I auditioned for the musical Hairspray.

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Nick as Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray!

Coming from a dance background, I was planning on holding a tiny chorus role as a dancer and extra, however I was kindly reminded and pushed by the teachers and coaches in charge of the musical that everyone had to audition with singing, acting and dancing. With nothing more than some Grade 9 music class singing as my training, I went through with an audition that landed me a supporting role in the musical and I never regretted it. I made many friends and memories during the countless hours of rehearsal and performance, and built up enough courage to go on to perform in the next year’s play and musical – Little Shop of Horrors.

Another thought that might bring on some first day jitters is the dreaded picking where and with whom you sit in the dining hall or in class; it’s not as scary and stone setting as you may think it to be! Most students are in exactly the same situation as you and may not know anyone, so don’t be afraid to reach out. At Ridley the very first experience you’ll have with your future housemates and classmates is at camp where everyone –old and new- is there to bond and form new friendships. When you are back at school during meals there is no one more friendly to sit with than your bunk-mates and house-mates. These are the people you’ll be seeing all weekend and shortly, all year. They are the people who will be there every morning at chapel with you, every lunch in the dining hall with you, and every afternoon in the common rooms and participating in activities with you. All of whom, are or have experienced the same first week as you and know exactly how nervous you are feeling. So don’t fret! Enjoy your first week at Ridley because there is nothing else like it!  Everyone is willing to help out, or invite you to sit with them, and build lasting relationships.