Category Archives: Ridley News

Ridleian Pursues Career as Global Leader

Cassandra Mitchell ’17 graduates from Ridley on May 27th, ending one chapter of her story and beginning another. While Ridley will always be her home, come September, Cassandra will be packing her bags and travelling 11,121 km to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she will attend New York University’s global campus.

Cassandra’s Ridley journey began three years ago and, in that short time, she fully has embodied what it means to be a Ridleian. She has been active in every aspect of a Ridley education – academics, arts, athletics and co-curricular programmes. With a strong passion for global change and human rights, Cassandra has led groups such as the Positive Space Group – which was just nominated for a Niagara UNITY Award – and Ridley’s environmental group, the Green Tigers. In her final year at Ridley, she has also led her peers as a school Prefect.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme has challenged Cassandra for the past two years; encouraging her to take risks, broaden her horizons and grow as a learner. However, academics were not the only valuable aspect of Ridley that Cassandra has benefitted from.

“Without a doubt I would not be going to my dream school next year without the amazing support I have received here at Ridley. I been given the opportunity to grow as a learner through the IB programme, and grow as a leader through prefectship and the clubs I’m involved in. During my time at Ridley, I have been given so many opportunities to further my education. I have to, once again, mention the IB programme because it has helped me so much. I am a more intelligent, more thoughtful, and just a better person because of the programme. I am so grateful for that privilege, but I think the most valuable thing that Ridley has given me has nothing to do with being a student. Through the amazing people I’ve met, I have learned how to listen, and have developed some of the most meaningful relationships of my life.” – Cassandra Mitchell ’17

The network of students that spans campus is so vast, connecting all aspects of Ridley life. Students have friends in their houses, in the studio, on the field and in the classroom, creating a web of support. That deep connectivity has given Cassandra many memories to look back upon as she prepares to walk across the stage on Prize Day 2017.

“I’m going to miss the maple tree outside of the Marriott Gates. I pass it on the way to school every day and in the fall, it turns the most spectacular shade of red. I’m going to miss trying to squish seven girls on a four-person couch in house meetings. I’m going to miss reading all the plaques around the school and imagining faces to all the names I don’t recognize and imagining what the classrooms and the dining hall and the hallways looked like 100 years ago. This is a special place.” – Cassandra Mitchell ’17

High school graduation is a big step, but the promise of adventure and discovery has Cassandra eager for this next chapter. New York University’s global campus’ purpose is to foster the next generation of global leaders. Cassandra will be among likeminded individuals, who believe in the future and are prepared to dedicate their lives to changing the world. Beyond the invigorating academic and intellectual experience Cassandra is preparing for, she is also excited for the opportunities that await her in the Middle East.

“What attracted me most immediately was the ethos of the school. The vision of the institution is something that I am so excited to be a part of. The second, more superficial, selfish reason I am so attracted to the school is the location. I absolutely adore travelling and exploring places I’ve never been. The Middle East is an area of the world I have yet to explore, full of cultures I can’t wait to immerse myself in.” – Cassandra Mitchell ’17

On May 27th, Cassandra will become an Old Ridleian, connecting her and her classmates to over 8,000 alumni spanning the globe. Cassandra will continue to grow during her journey abroad and is excited to see how Ridley transforms as well.

“I’m excited to watch Ridley grow. I’m excited to watch the plans I hear about now come to fruition. I can’t wait to come back here to visit and find that the school has grown to be even better than I remember it.”  –­ Cassandra Mitchell ’17

Congratulations to Cassandra and the Class of 2017 as they embark on their great journeys beyond the Marriott Gates.

 

Ridleian Bound for Brown University

This year, Ridley will graduate a total of 144 students, with one student in particular celebrating her impressive acceptance to Brown University – where, this year, only 9.2% of applicants were accepted. Megan Forrest ’17 will also be one of few Ridleians to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, play on a First team and be accepted to an Ivy League school.

Megan began her Ridley career in 2015, when her and her family were seeking an educational institution that could challenge her, both academically and athletically.  Ridley was the perfect fit, so Megan spent the next two years becoming deeply involved in the Ridley community. She took on a full IB course load, played for the First Girls’ hockey team and was an active member in her boarding house. While her schedule was demanding, Megan took full advantage of Ridley’s evening tutorials and support from teachers to help her maintain strong grades, while still spending enough time on the ice to fine-tune her skills.

“Ridley has provided me with the solid education required to get into Brown but it has also taught me many lessons that I will take along with me.  Other than passing IB, my goal when I started at Ridley was to play DI hockey.  The Tiger Arena and other athletic facilities were a necessity for being able to improve my game and overall strength.  The combination of Ridley’s hockey program, guidance team and IB program were what allowed me to make my dream a reality for this coming year.“- Megan Forrest ’17

While practicing her passions, Megan made sure to enjoy time with her Ridley family; participating in Friday night house activities and even starting ‘Fondue Night’ in Leonard House.

Now that Graduate Prize Day has finally arrived, Megan has taken some time to reflect on her Ridley career.

“Other than the obvious answer being all of the amazing people I met at Ridley, I think I will miss the tight knit community.  With such a small school, I was able to get to know almost all of my grade as well as many students in other grades. Since a large number of us live on campus, we are constantly together and got to know each other really well. Another reason that the Ridley community is so tight knit is that our teachers are also our sports coaches and are sometimes even on duty in our houses.” – Megan Forrest ’17

In September, Megan will be heading to Rhode Island to study Neuroscience at Brown University. While she works towards completing her programme, Megan will be playing for the Brown Bears women’s hockey team and potentially the track team as well.

“Brown is the perfect school for me as it is small and rural but so welcoming and inclusive. With its many clubs and all of the amazing people I am sure I will enjoy the next four years of my educational journey.“ – Megan Forrest ’17

On May 27th, Megan will join the ranks of all the Ridley graduates that have come before her, officially becoming an Old Ridleian.

“I am excited to come back to Ridley for HomeComing weekends to support future student athletes and reconnect with my classmates. I am looking forward to being able to connect with other Ridley alumni no matter where I am in the world. My time at Ridley was truly enjoyable and I am proud to be graduating from such an amazing school.” – Megan Forrest ’17

Congratulations to Megan and her accomplishments at Ridley. We wish her and her classmates good luck as they prepare for graduation and their journeys beyond the Marriott Gates.

PYP Students Become Global Citizens

Ridley inspires even its youngest students to consider critical global issues and enact change. Recently, our Grade 6 students demonstrated how the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) supports this mission with the PYP Personal Project Exhibition.

About PYP
Ridley is proud to implement the PYP into our Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum. The PYP curricular framework focuses on the whole child; developing their social, academic and emotional well-being. Incorporated into the framework are six transdisciplinary themes that focus on local and world issues and can be explored in each subject. The students are asked to explore these themes, find connections between them and determine how they relate to their course work.

Personal Project Exhibition
On May 10th, 2017, our Grade 6 students lined the halls of Lower School for the Class of 2023 Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition. This annual exhibition challenges our students to explore global issues and culminates all the teachings from the PYP. Twenty-two students worked diligently on these group projects for six weeks, before presenting their final products to families, friends and members of the Ridley community.

 

Project topics ranged from inquiries into community relationships, natural resources, equal opportunities, conflict resolution and mental health issues. Each student group decided on a broad inquiry question and then focused their research to a topic within. Each of the nine groups were paired with a mentor, who helped them along their investigative process.

One group, in particular, focused on technology and the importance of responsible use in the community. Working closely with Mr. Clarke, Head of Lower School, each of the three students focused on a different aspect – distraction, cyber bullying and addiction.

“I chose to focus on technology distraction because it affects many people including myself, and the issue will continue to grow as technology advances our world.” – Ada O. ’23

“For my action, I interviewed an experienced counsellor, alongside my associate Ada. My lines of inquiry were – ‘How can we stop or prevent technology addition (Responsibility)’, ‘What are the factors of technology addiction (Function)’ and ‘Technology addictions compared to other addictions (Connection)’.” – Edgar L. ’23

Another group worked with Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. York-Ireland, to explore the negative effects that humanity has on the environment. The students focused on invasive species, over-hunting, deforestation and water pollution.

“I selected water pollution because it has been a global issue for many years and it seems like it doesn’t get the attention it should. One of my fondest memories of exhibition is when I helped to clean up at the beach.” Riley B. ’23

Enacting Change

Beyond the extensive research done by each group, the students were required to take action in their local community. This led the students to discover the issues that exist in their very own backyards and how they can help make an impact. Some students educated their peers, while others volunteered for organizations around St. Catharines.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023. We hope this is only the beginning of your service journey. Terar Dum Prosim.

 

The 9th Annual Ridley Independent Film Festival

On April 19th, 2017, 11 student films premiered at the 9th annual Ridley Independent Film Festival, more commonly known as RIFF. This film festival is entirely student run and is an opportunity to showcase the creative works of the Film Studies students.

Each student group is tasked with creating their own short film, from start to end. RIFF – while allowing the students to express themselves – gives these young filmmakers the chance to discover and explore the world of cinematography.

We hope you enjoy this year’s short films:

Read more about RIFF 2017.
View photos from the red carpet.

Adding Grit To A Positive Education

One of the advantages of a Ridley education is that the experience of being a student is about more than passing tests and meeting standards. In recent years, researchers have identified predictors of success as well as keys to living a satisfying, happy life and this is something our school consciously enacts.

At Ridley, we are infusing the best of this research – centred on grit and flow – into a Ridley education to help instill in our students the lifelong habits they need to flourish in our global community.

The concept of grit is one aspect of Positive Education that Ridley has incorporated into school culture. Grit is defined as the tendency of a person to sustain interest and effort in pursuing long-term goals. Grit allows people to pursue challenges over the course of years.

In her groundbreaking research, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Psychology and MacArthur Foundation Genius Fellow, determined that passion, perseverance, and stamina outweigh IQ as a predictor of success. In other words, grit is the key to lifelong success.

“Educational policy has not yet taken adequate note of the whole child. Kids are not just their IQ or standardized test scores. It matters whether or not they show up, how hard they work,” says Duckworth, in an interview with the Washington Post. Duckworth has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Ridley encourages students to discover and pursue their passions and equips them with the capacity and determination to persevere through challenges, risk failure, and develop grit and resilience, while creating a supportive culture that allows students to face adversity in a positive and engaging environment. Accomplishment and engagement are essential elements of a flourishing life, and both can be fostered through conscious effort, grit is a fundamental element for achievement.

“The importance of the environment is two-fold. It’s not just that you need opportunity in order to benefit from grit. It’s also that the environments our children grow up in profoundly influence their grit and every other aspect of their character.”     – Angela Duckworth

Duckworth’s research began by searching for an answer as to why some people succeed while others do not. Being ‘gritty’ means consciously deciding to push forward in the face of adversity, failure, and physical or emotional pain, without knowing when the adversity will be over.

“One way to think about grit is to consider what grit isn’t,” explains Duckworth. “Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.”

Self-control and grit are often confused, says Duckworth in her research, while they are related there are key differences. Grit allows people to pursue challenges over the course of years, while self-control, helps to maintain focus, in the face of distraction, in the pursuit of those goals.

The concept of grit has been around for some time. In 1889, the year Ridley was founded, Dr. Francis Galton reviewed the biographies of eminent individuals, throughout history and concluded that success resulted from intellect combined with “zeal” and the “capacity for hard labour”. The modern study of grit continues in examining single-minded perseverance over the very long-term.

“I believe grit will for many adolescents be more evident in activities pursued outside of the classroom–in the school play, on the football field, in the school orchestra, in community service, and so on.” – Angela Duckworth

At Ridley we are empowering our students to do more themselves, by increasing opportunities for Ridleians to play an active role in their school communities so that they can gain the necessary habits, skills, and practice to lay the foundation for flourishing lives.

Ridley strives to be at the forefront of educational development to ensure our students become successful members of the global community. Ridley will continue to review the latest research in education for new ideas to ensure we are a leader and innovator in molding the minds and lives of our students.

Student Filmmakers Ready for the Red Carpet

On April 19th, the lights will go down in the Mandeville Theatre, for the 9th annual Ridley Independent Film Festival (RIFF). This festival showcases an array of films made by Grade 11 and 12 Film Studies students.

Eleven student films will be screened; ranging in genre from comedy to horror. The entire festival – not just the films – is a student initiative. “They are involved in every aspect of the festival,” says Ms. Danielle Barranca, the Film Studies teacher. The students coordinate the gala, write scripts, host, and produce programmes.

Seeing their work on the big screen is one of the highlights of the course. “I think it’s the moment you see your ideas on the screen,” says Amelia Ritchie ’17. Her film Meaning, is a coming-of-age drama about two kids who meet at a driver’s education course and challenge each other to discover the meaning of life.

RIFF, like many film festivals, will feature a red carpet for the student directors, actors and writers to walk down, while being cheered on by friends, family and fans. “It’s a chance to be the star on the red carpet,” says Ms. Barranca.

The student produced films are the largest project of the year, worth 50 percent of the final grade. Students spent the year learning about films, techniques, writing, editing and everything they need to make a film. “I like being able to create something from beginning to end,” says James William Gross ’17. “Being able to make whatever you want.”

His film Smart Casual, is about how people interpret socio-cultural norms and breaking them down. “It takes a lot of interpretation to understand,” says James, who plans on studying film in university.

Before filming begins, students must submit their proposals, write their own scripts, create storyboards and have a detailed filming schedule. The students often spend many hours filming and editing to have their films ready for RIFF.

“It becomes more interesting every year because of technology. The technology has allowed it to come a long way in terms of the quality, polish, and effects that students have access to.” – Danielle Barranca, Department of Visual and Performing Arts

Through filmmaking, students can pursue their creativity and self-expression, while problem solving and persevering through the myriad of challenges that come with making a film. RIFF continues to gain momentum, with an audience of alumni, parents and guest filmmakers growing in size, waiting to see the latest student creations on the big screen.

We invite all members of the Ridley community to come and enjoy this free event, that takes the audience on a visual and dramatic journey. Join us on April 19th at 7:00 p.m. in the Mandeville Theatre.

For now, enjoy a few of this year’s trailers:

Watch trailers on Youtube.

Ridley’s Basketball Future Bright in OSBA

The Ridley First Boys’ basketball season came to a close after a successful first season in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA), the premier league for prep and sport school basketball in the province. With one of the youngest teams in the league Ridley will continue to develop and train in preparation for next season.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” – Tarry Upshaw, Head Coach of First Boys’ Basketball Team

On April 6th, Ridley lost their OSBA quarter-final game 96-71 against defending champions the Athlete Institute; putting an end to their successful season. Aleksandar Simeunovic ’17, led the team with 31 points in a close fought game—Ridley was within five points of the Institute with six minutes left in the game.

The stacked Athlete Institute’s roster featured seven players already committed to NCAA schools. Ridley was the second youngest team in the league and will have most of its players back for next season.

That youth hasn’t gone unnoticed, as scouts from across North America have come to campus to check out the talented roster. According to Mr. Upshaw, 21 NCAA Division 1 scouts have visited Ridley, schools such as UConn, Vanderbilt, Oregon, and Columbia; while 16 scouts from the CIS have been to the campus.

“We’ve built something special in a short period of time. It’s exciting and it’s only going to get better.” – Tarry Upshaw, Head Coach of First Boys’ Basketball Team

The OSBA, consists of the best prep and sport school basketball programmes in the province, with many of its student athletes going on to play in the NCAA and CIS. Ridley finished sixth overall, in a promising first season in the league.

Ridley’s basketball team previously competed in CISAA and OFSAA, where they won back-to-back championships in both leagues in 2014 and 2015. As the first team to hold both titles simultaneously, it was decided to take the next step for the programmes’ development by joining the OSBA.

Preparation for this level of competition includes daily court sessions, strength training, and active recovery. Training and competition are supported by an experienced coaching staff, Ridley’s athletic therapy and school medical team, a strength and conditioning coach, and other professional instructors.

Ridley qualified for the playoffs by defeating King’s Christian Collegiate in a play-in game 86-66, held in the Griffith Gym. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of students and faculty,” says Upshaw. Other coaching staff for the team include Michael Bett, Brad Taylor, and Paul De Vellis.

With the season coming to end players will enjoy a short break, before beginning off-season practice and development “We don’t stop,” says Mr. Upshaw. “The sky’s the limit for our team.”

Despite the end of their OSBA season, exciting news has still been circulating for the Tigers, as fellow player, Jaden Bediako ‘18, was chosen to play in the BioSteel All-Canadian All-Star Basketball Game. This marks an impressive accomplishment for both Jaden and Ridley’s basketball programme.

We look forward to seeing our Ridley Tigers back in action in the next school year.