Category Archives: Ridley News

Ridley’s Unique Playscape Supports Physical Literacy Goals

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Ridley’s all-natural playscape, which officially opened in late 2015, is at the forefront of physical literacy promotion by encouraging creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills, prescribed in Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan.

The concept of physical literacy came to Ridley College through Brock University and Dr. James Mandigo and it has long been promoted by Sport Canada and Sport for Life. Physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills, such as running, skipping, jumping and throwing. In practice, varying sets of skills are introduced to children at appropriate ages and stages of development. For years, Ridley has drawn upon leading physiological and psychological research on the topic to promote physical literacy; which is also pivotal in mental and social development.

Since this model was introduced at Ridley, our competitive sports programmes have experienced phenomenal success, while Lower School physical literacy programmes have been implemented to improve overall fitness, health and well-being through increased active play. This paradigm helps students develop a lasting relationship with physical activity and better prepares student athletes for successful long term athletic careers. Active play, of which our younger students enjoy three times a day for 20 minutes, has also been linked to notable cognitive function and development.

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The all-natural playscape – which was a part of the 2014-2015 annual giving campaign – is a very tangible example of how Ridley is maintaining its leading edge on physical literacy promotion in independent schools. The idea for the playscape was born from students’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition projects and Ridley decided that a unique, topographical landscape with obscure apparatuses would be the ideal way to encourage active play and reach school-wide physical literacy goals. The playscape creates a far more engaging and creative experience than the traditional, manufactured playgrounds and also enacts our objective to be more environmentally conscious.

“Our challenge was to create a Lower School playground that encouraged more open-ended and creative play, while at the same time, promoting a connection with nature.”

– Mrs. Hanna Kidd

Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian playground designer and builder, brought forward the perfect solution – a playground constructed of all-natural elements, that could be designed to fit the needs of the students. Founded in 1982 by Adam Bienenstock, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds aims to bring nature back into the lives of children, so that they can develop an appreciation for the environment, while engaging in active play.

“Over time, somehow what we thought was fun disappeared from kids’ lives. Their roam rates dropped right down, their world got smaller and their screens got bigger, and the need for this [type of playscape] grew.”

– Mr. Adam Bienenstock, CEO and Founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds

It was clear that Bienenstock’s values aligned with Ridley’s, and the common goal of educating students on the importance of environmental conservation made for the perfect fit. After consulting with Bienenstock and receiving input from Ridley’s faculty, staff and students, the Playscape construction officially begun. Ridley was able to select playground elements that would challenge the students, encourage curiosity and creative thinking and be utilized at each age and stage of development.

The Playscape officially opened in December of 2015, but has since grown and has already become the perfect place for students to have fun, get active and even relax. It currently includes a number of large elements, such as a tree fort with a rope bridge, a rock climbing wall, a multipurpose amphitheater (outdoor classroom) and gaga ball court, tunnels, log clusters, a barrel swing, a willow dome and a sand area that includes a water feature and slides. As time passes, Ridley hopes to add several new elements, while the current elements continue to grow and evolve.

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According to Lower School faculty, instances of playground conflict have dramatically decreased with the opening of the new Playscape and the Athletics Department has already observed instances of creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills – elements that are viewed as positive markers in physical literacy studies.

The Playscape offers the perfect place for our younger students to have daily physical activity, while exploring movement and improving their social and emotional well-being. “The natural playscape will continue to help our students develop an appreciation, curiosity and respect for their world, leading to better physical and mental health.” – Mrs. Hanna Kidd

This Playscape was made possible with the support of generous donors. It is with this continued support that will Ridley be able to grow our school’s arts, academics and athletics programmes, and continue to provide students with the opportunities and tools necessary to live flourishing lives.

THE NATIONAL POST: REPORT ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS, June 4th, 2016

Ridley College earns a rare scholastic distinction

Iris Winston

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Ridley College, already one of the best-known independent boarding schools in Canada, now has a prestigious new designation.

Early this year, Ridley became an International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school. It is the only boarding school in the country to have achieved this distinction and one of just 15 schools across Canada to offer the world-class international programme. Only two other independent boarding schools in North America offer IB continuum programming.

Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organization is a non-profit educational foundation that offers “highly respected programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Schools must be authorized, by the IB organization, to offer any of the programmes. Schools usually develop the IB continuum over time, adding programmes as the school grows.”

“Ridley has been on a six-year journey with IB,” says Ridley’s headmaster Ed Kidd, who returned to Canada to take the position with Ridley four years ago after 14 years at the Shanghai American School, where he was also involved with and taught the IB programmes.

Developed for students from three to 19 years of age, the IB framework comprises three segments: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). Holistic in style, they all encourage individual learning styles, open communication and compassion, as well as cognitive development and international thinking.

Ridley has run the PYP and DP programmes for the last five years. It was certified for the MYP programme earlier this year, completing the rare designation as an IB continuum school.

The PYP, designed for students aged three to 12, focuses on encouraging inquiring minds, inside and outside the classroom. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, the PYP focuses on teaching students to see the connections between subject areas.

The MYP, designed for students aged 11 to 16, focuses on intellectual challenge and encouraging students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. It aims to foster skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement, crucial for success in the 21st century.

The Diploma Programme is for students ages 16 to 19 and focuses on intellectual breadth and depth. Through all three programmes, students are challenged to excel in intellectual curiosity and development, personal growth, empathy and high ethical standards, while working through a broad curriculum. As described in the background material, the aim is to develop “internationally minded people with a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.” This leads to greater success at the post-secondary level and eventually in the students’ professional lives.

“IB is meant to teach students how to think from a very young age,” says Kidd. “Rather than a curriculum — although we are still using the Ontario K to 12 curriculum and offer an optional Ontario Secondary School Diploma — it is an approach to learning, a pedagogical philosophy that incorporates the best of 21st-century education.”

He describes IB as “student-centred, inquiry-based, inter-disciplinary and international,” noting “it brings the world and global-mindedness and global competency into the curriculum.”

Kidd points out that every aspect of the IB approach, which is “founded on taking action and service to others,” is in line with the philosophy and internationalism of Ridley College.

“We have Canadians from all over the country and a long history of bringing students from around the world to the school. Currently, 44 different countries are represented. The IB philosophy also fits in with our commitment to service.” The Ridley College motto is Terar dum prosim  (May I be consumed in service.)

Most of all, he says, “it’s good teaching. The IB framework makes learning a rich and rigorous experience. We’ve adopted a world-class approach to teaching and learning that allows us to prepare students from around the world for living in an increasingly global society.”

All this augurs well for the future success of IB students. Their training places them at the forefront in their post-secondary studies, as well as putting them ahead in the selection process at top universities around the world.

Established in 1889 as a boys’ school, and co-educational since 1973, Ridley is one of the oldest and most prestigious independent schools in Canada. From the beginning, Ridley, which is located on an attractive 90-acre campus in the Niagara region, has combined high academic standards, a wide range of extra-curricular activities, a service commitment and internationalism.

This story was produced by Postmedia Content Works on behalf of Ridley College for commercial purposes. Postmedia’s editorial departments had no involvement in the creation of this content.

Ridleian Competes at Canada-Wide Science Fair

“Don’t worry about what people will say. Just trust your instincts and do what you’re passionate about.”

– Syni Solanki ‘21

Ridley ensures that our students have ample opportunities to pursue their passions, develop grit, overcome challenges and build foundations for flourishing lives. Our school’s curriculum provides students with the ability to pursue their passions, while participating in an enriching learning experience. Projects like the Community Action Project and the PYP Exhibition, allow students to choose what area they’d like to focus on, thus giving them to opportunity to align their passions with their academic courses. This freedom to choose evokes curiosity in each student and they develop a desire to learn.

In January of this year, the Grade 7 students fused their passion with science at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. These students spent months gathering research, conducting experiments, and discovering answers to their own questions. One student in particular, Syni Solanki ’21, set out to discover a cheap and efficient way to desalinate water, which is the process of removing minerals from salt water, leaving fresh water behind.

“Water is everywhere, but is it fresh? One-third of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water, so I attempted to find a cheap and efficient method to bring fresh water to everyone in the world.”

– Syni Solanki ‘21

After being inspired by two news programmes – one on graphene (which is a carbon based material) and the other on water scarcity –  Syni saw a possible connection between graphene and the desalination process.  After extensive research, Syni discovered that graphene can in fact desalinate water, and it can be done using an efficient and cost-friendly method. She found that by creating a reusable graphene sand mesh, she could remove minerals from salt water.

On January 29th, Syni presented her experiment at Ridley’s annual Lower School Science Fair. Members of the Ridley community were impressed by Syni’s theory, and she was awarded First Place, but her scientific journey did not end there.

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Along with four of her classmates, Syni then competed in the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NRSEF). The NRSEF is an annual event, where young students from the Niagara region can demonstrate their scientific theories in a stimulating environment. Syni confidently displayed her findings, as local scientists, business professionals and engineers quizzed her on her research. During the NRSEF Awards Ceremony, Syni was awarded the Brock University Chemistry Award, The Waldie Fast Memorial Trophy and placed second in the Junior age category.

Photo courtesy of http://www.niagarasciencefair.org/wp/
Photo courtesy of http://www.niagarasciencefair.org/wp/

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Due to Syni’s impressive project and her results in the Junior age category, she was asked to represent Niagara in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. This science fair celebrates Canada’s brightest young minds, featuring participants from across the country. This year, a total of 415 students travelled to Montreal, Quebec for the 2016 Canada-Wide Science Fair, being held at McGill University. The six-day event included more than just a gallery walk displaying Canada’s brightest scientists, but guests and participants could also attend keynote speakers, demonstrations and learn about the impressive research being done by the University.

Up against 162 participants in her category, Syni confidently displayed her work and earned the Bronze medal and a $1000 entrance scholarship to Western University – a truly astonishing accomplishment.

Congratulations to Syni! It is clear that with such dedication, passion and talent, Syni will flourish during her education and beyond.

Read the Niagara This Week article. 

Slam Dunk for Ridley College and OSBA

The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) welcomes Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team into its elite Canadian league.

After more than a decade-long run as one of most competitive basketball teams in the CISAA and following a record-breaking season ­­– winning six tournaments and three major titles ­– Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team has been formally accepted into the OSBA for the 2016/2017 season.

The OSBA is an elite league, governed by Ontario Basketball that helps prepare players for post-secondary, national and international levels of competition. The goal of the association is to increase the number of quality basketball players competing in Ontario and to promote the Train to Compete (T2C) stage of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model – of which Ridley was an early adopter and remains a proponent of, school-wide.

The team’s promotion means that the Ridley Tigers will not only compete against top basketball prep schools from around the Greater Toronto Area, but the athletes will also participate in at least three international showcases and host several others throughout the year. Ridley will become the first and only IB Continuum school that is a member of the OSBA, offering the gold standard in academics and athletics in Canada.

“We are excited to add an outstanding institution like Ridley College to the OSBA. We are confident that Ridley College will be able to provide student-athletes with a world-class education, as well as a high-quality basketball experience that supports their development.”

– Carmelo Mallia, Manager of High Performance at Ontario Basketball and OSBA League Commissioner.

With support from the current coaching staff, Ridley Athletics has hired Mr. Tarry Upshaw as head coach of the new OSBA team. Coach Upshaw’s dynamic career has included coaching at the professional national and international level; coaching national team programs in Hong Kong, China, Jamaica and right here in Canada. His wealth of experience in developing young athletes and his relationships in the basketball world will be invaluable as the school’s basketball programme continues to develop into one of the best in the country.

“This is a natural progression for us as an institution with the right people in place at the right time,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “I am very excited about the support network we have in place for our student athletes, and adding the competitive environment of the OSBA will no doubt challenge all of us to become even better at what we do,” he added.

Read the St. Catharines Standard’s article.

TransfORming Our Globe – Ted Chen ‘08

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We’re proud to introduce the TransfORming Our Globe blog series. Each month, we will feature Old Ridleians, who are making their mark on the world. The inaugural TransfORming Our Globe story is about a young man that identified an area of need, produced a solution, and was recently named to the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 list for his work in the Manufacturing and Energy industry.

Evercomm co-founder Ted Chen holding their wireless sensor chip
EverComm co-founder, Ted Chen holding their wireless sensor chip.

Originally from Taiwan, Ted Chen ‘08 came to Ridley College in 2002, as a Grade 7 boarding student. Ted spent six years at Ridley, and was highly involved in both academics and extracurricular activities while he was a student. Ted was a boarder in Burgoyne House in Grades 7 and 8 before realizing how cool it is in the North, spending Grades 9 through 12 in Merritt North House. During his time here, Ted demonstrated his willingness to try new things and work hard, both in and out of the classroom. Coming from Taiwan, Ted had the opportunity to pick up new sports and hobbies, and was most grateful for the opportunity to learn how to play basketball. He started playing on the Under-16 team, and eventually made the cut for the First Boys basketball team in Grade 12. Ted was also a member of the First harriers team and First lacrosse team. He earned the Duke of Edinburgh’s silver award, was a House Captain in Merritt North, and was a member of the Students with Advanced Technology Team (S.W.A.T.).

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Upon graduating, Ted attended Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where he studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He later took part in an entrepreneur bootcamp at Stanford University that helped motivate him to start his own business. He then returned to Singapore and cofounded EverComm in 2014.

EverComm uses data analytics to identify cost savings for companies with high energy bills. On average, his customers spend between three and six million dollars on energy per month. The EverComm platform allows these clients to save roughly one to three percent each month on their onerous energy bills.

In true Ridley fashion, Ted says his motivation lies outside of money or comfort. He wants to help transform our globe. Our planet is currently mired in a worldwide energy crisis that impacts everyone and Ted aims to do what he can to make a difference through the work of his venture. Ted’s team continues to grow and work towards combatting the issue of climate change. The industrial sector, with which Ted works most extensively with, consumes more than fifty percent of the world’s energy.

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In addition to citing many of the lessons he learned at Ridley, Ted claims he, “discovered who [he] was, discovered a love for computers, and learned to persevere through challenges.” Through athletics, he learned about his drive and how to compete to the best of his ability. He enjoys traveling the world and, thanks to Ridley, he knows, “someone in almost every pocket of the globe.”

Ted’s story is an excellent example of how hard work, opportunity, and a desire to improve the world around you can truly help to TransfORm Our Globe.

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who have discovered their passions and found success and happiness along this path. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

The Weekend Programme – April 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This April, the Weekend Programme was chalked full of highly anticipated events, Ridley traditions and exciting outings!

Students witness a battle of epic proportions on the big screen

Saturday, April 2nd

There’s nothing better than seeing an action-packed movie on the big screen, so that’s what nearly 30 students spent their Saturday evening doing. Our Ridleians loaded up the bus and ventured to Landmark Cinemas to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice; an epic motion picture, that pits two beloved superheroes against one another. As always, our students enjoyed an evening out with their peers.

House trip to the Great Wolf Lodge

Saturday, April 9th

Members of the boy’s houses travelled to Niagara Falls for an evening of fun at the Great Wolf Lodge, a waterpark resort, located not far from campus. There, they hit every water slide, lazy river and water challenge in site! It was a wonderful outing and a great opportunity for the boys to bond before Summer begins.

 “Best night of the year.”

– Mrs. Jessica Roud, Housemaster of Dean’s House

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Students took part in some friendly competition on the court

Saturday, April 9th

On Saturday, students hit the badminton court for a tournament. It was a great opportunity to practice their skills, bond with their classmates and get active. At the end of the tournament, students enjoyed a pizza party, provided by Ms. Margaret Lech, Assistant Head of Upper School and talented badminton player.

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“Going to badminton on Saturday was a really good time! I think everyone that attended brought the best energy they could (including Ms. Lech!) My favourite part of the night had to be when I played Victoria and our competitive sides came out; the game really took a turn. Calling a rematch with Victoria and Ms. Lech!”

– Rachel Overbeeke ’17

“Badminton on Saturday was a blast. At the beginning it was quiet, but once everyone started to come out it was loads of fun. Everyone’s competitive and fun side came out, which made it even more exciting to play. My favourite part of the night was having a match against Ms. Lech (when I said I needed competition), even though she beat me. It was okay because I was taking it easy on her. P.S. I call for a rematch against you Ms. Lech. The challenge has been accepted.”

– Victoria Dabanovich-Mahoney ’18

Students sang their hearts out at MNO Music Night

Saturday, April 16th

Students gathered in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre for the annual MNO Music Night, hosted by Merritt North. Our talented Ridleians hit the stage, where they sang, danced, showcased their talents and even participated in a little bit of karaoke. This annual student-led event proves to be a hit, year after year.

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Ridleians ventured ‘In the Woods’ for the annual Cadet Ball

Saturday, April 23rd

Our Grade 11 and 12 students experienced a night they’d never forget on Saturday, April 23rd. The annual Cadet Ball is a long-standing Ridley tradition, where our students don their crisp cadet uniforms and their prettiest gowns for a night of dinner, dancing and good company. This year, Club Italia’s ballroom was transformed into an enchanting forest, inspired by the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. The Family Guild and Grad Committee planned a fantastic event for our senior students and faculty members. To view photos from this year’s whimsical Cadet Ball, click here.

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With adventurous day trips, tournaments and one of the most memorable events of the year, April was a month to remember for many of our students. As the school year winds down, the Weekend Programme still has some fantastic events planned. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for our students.

 

Students connect with nature during the annual frog watching field trip

In order to live flourishing lives, students must learn the importance of contributing to the community. They must strive to develop meaningful partnerships and connections that will support them throughout their journey. These contributions and connections have a positive impact on everyone and everything around them.

On the evening of Friday, April 22nd, a group of Grade 9 geography students ventured to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC). Connecting with their peers and contributing to the restoration of our environment was an important part of this learning experience.

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In partnership with the FrogWatch Ontario Programme, our students participated in a national initiative that allows students to contribute to Environment Canada’s biodiversity database, specifically, data relating to frogs and toads. Coinciding with Earth Day, it was a perfect way to connect with and give back to nature and our community.

During their investigation, the students were asked to record a number of observations and conduct a number of tests. As the summative component of their ‘Amphibians as Bio-indicators’ unit, the students had to record the weather and water conditions, such as wind speed, cloud cover, water quality and temperature. This data was submitted alongside their observations. Ridleians then spent the evening collecting observational data and spent several hours listening for species of frogs and toads that are native to Ontario. Data such as this helps scientists determine positive and negative population trends, range and distribution of species and can help track climate change. It was a perfect night for frog watching and the students collected an abundance of data, which was then sent to Environment Canada where it will be used to help monitor climate change.

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This annual trip allows students to connect with nature, contribute to the community and strengthen partnerships with their classmates. Field trips like this – ones that extend beyond on the classroom and provide an interactive learning experience that connects to a bigger picture – are essential to the Ridley framework.

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Ridley College students net ice time with Ottawa Senators

The National Hockey League came to town as a special treat for our Ridleians on Friday, April 22nd.

Students belonging to our hockey programme joined Chris Neil, Cody Ceci, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Nick Paul, players from the Ottawa Senators, for an hour of fun on-ice sessions and scrimmages at Tiger arena.

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“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to not only meet these world-class athletes, but to also get a chance to learn from them during the practice sessions,” said Ridley’s Headmaster, Ed Kidd. “We want to thank the Ottawa Senators, Mr. Eugene Melnyk and members of the organization for visiting the school and spending valuable time with our students and players. It was truly an experience we will not forget.”

After a successful season for Ridley’s First Boys and First Girls hockey teams, the players will be eager to put to use what they learned from the NHLers next season.

Due to its incredible performance this season, the First Girls hockey team has been promoted to the Junior Women’s Hockey League  (JWHL) for upcoming 2016/2017 season. Coached by two-time Women’s World Hockey Champion, Amanda Benoit-Wark, the girls team will take on an elite level of competition in this North American league that helps prepare players for NCAA and CIS athletics.

Not to be outdone, the First Boys hockey team, coached by former European league player and Niagara resident Mike McCourt, is coming fresh off its MPHL Championship and silver medal win at the National Independent School Invitational Hockey Championship.

In addition to spending time on the ice with students, the Senators also toured the campus, visited classrooms and checked out the newly built Lower School Playscape, designed for students in JK to Grade 8.

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This past fall, the all-natural playscape was integrated into the existing, mature trees on the school grounds to help promote physical literacy amongst our younger students.

“The idea behind the playscape is that our students will reach physical literacy milestones sooner, which then puts them on the path to athletic success in later years,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “Unique playscapes like this have been proven to positively impact learning and academic achievement and build fundamental movement skills, promote resilience and increase creative and imaginative play. The introduction of the playscape is just one of the ways that Ridley is supporting its physical literacy goals and the Long-Term Athletic Development plan.”

The all-natural playscape, was built as part of the annual giving campaign for the 2014/2015 school year and Ridley College is currently undertaking an observational study to capture how students are demonstrating fundamental movement skills and imaginative play.

Thank you to the Ottawa Senators and Mr. Eugene Melnyk for giving our students such an incredible opportunity.

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To see photos from the Senators visit, click here.

To view the video from the Senators visit, click here.

Ridleians march in annual Church Parade

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On Sunday, April 24th, the annual Cadet Church Parade took place. This long-standing Ridley tradition and Cadet Corps event was well attended by Ridley families, friends and alumni.

Five-hundred students were on parade, marching along the traditional route passing a number of historical Ridley landmarks, such as Springbank House on Yates Street. As the Cadet Corps walked through the Marriott Gates, the mace was tossed and successfully caught by Drum Sergeant Major, Preston Coffin ’16.

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This year, members of both the Red and Silver Star Programs were recognized for their dedication to the Cadet Programme. In addition, 17 students received Cadet Long Service Awards.

The following students received a Cadet Long Service Award:

Adam J. Difruscia ‘16
Annie Sheridan ‘16
Elliott Ziolkowski ‘16
Ethan Crowe ‘16
Francisco Javier Serrano Cendejas ‘16
Grace Lowes ‘16
Hannah Bradley ‘17
Jacob Bell ‘17
Jesse Wydman ‘16
Liam Wilson ‘16
Michael Steier ‘17
Pablo Lopez Guzman ‘16
Padraic Odesse ‘17
Preston Coffin ‘16
Soo-Min Jeong ‘16
Trinity Russell-Marques ‘17
William Wang ‘16

Congratulations to all members of the Ridley College Cadet Corps.

To read the St. Catharines Standard article on the parade, click here.

To see photos from this year’s annual Cadet Church Parade, click here.

Join us on campus on Saturday, April 30th at 3:00p.m. for the 109th Cadet Inspection. This year’s Reviewing Officers are Dr. Jack N. Lightstone, President of Brock University, and James B. Milligan, Head of Lower School.

Ridley’s Language Programme – exploring the world, inside the classroom

“Every man’s ability may be strengthened or increased by culture.” – John Abbott

There are nearly 200 countries in the world, 44 of which are represented here at Ridley. With such a direct connection with people from all over the world, culture plays a huge role in the day-to-day lives of Ridleians. The more our students can experience and appreciated culture, the better equipped they will be to transform our globe when they graduate. With that being said, Ridley ensures that our students have the opportunity to explore the world as often as they can.

In order to obtain their Ontario Secondary School Diploma, students are required to study French from Grade 4 through Grade 9. Here at Ridley, students are exposed to languages far earlier. The department of Classic and International Languages has developed a curriculum that brings international cultures into the classroom, and gives students ample opportunity to become multilingual. Beginning in Kindergarten, students are introduced to French, and this language is taught up to Grade 9. Ridley’s Upper School language programme then provides students the opportunity to learn languages beyond what is most commonly offered during secondary school, beginning in Grade 10. Offering French, German, Mandarin and Spanish, the students have the choice to expand their multilingual knowledge or continue advancing in a language they have grasped. From the start to finish of each course, the students are able to immerse themselves in the language.

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“The tools to learn a new language are given to you from day one.  Learning a new language is as enjoyable at Ridley as it is educational.”

– Elliott Ziolkowski ’16

“It’s been tons of fun learning a couple of new languages. I think that the Ridley Community is the ideal place to learn languages too because of the diverse student population.”

– Joshua Allan ’16

During the course of their studies, students have the opportunity to venture beyond the Marriott Gates on class related field trips, to locations such as Toronto’s China Town, where they can experience the culture first-hand and apply the material they’ve learned in class. Apart from these day trips, a number of students decide to further apply their knowledge of these international languages by partaking in a foreign exchange.

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In addition to the extensive language options, German and Mandarin students have the opportunity to study literature in their native language, thanks to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. A tutoring programme is also in place, where students who are native to the language or show exemplary language proficiency can earn community service hours by tutoring their peers!

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By being an international boarding school, students studying a foreign language are able to immediately apply their knowledge with peers and roommates that are from the country where the language under study is spoken. This allows all students to see the immediate applications of content covered in their courses and make real world connections.” 

– Mr. Chris Gordon, Subject Coordinator Classical & International Languages

With so many options and opportunities for students to explore language and culture, students develop a desire to see, change and learn about the world, even after they’ve completed their secondary school education.

If you’d like to learn more about our Language Department or the courses offered, please contact Mr. Chris Gordon at chris_gordon@ridleycollege.com.