Category Archives: Ridley News

TransfORming Our Globe – Leona Songhee Lee ’04

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe blog series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Leona Songhee Lee ’04, who is dedicating her career to keeping the arts alive and culture thriving.

Leona was born in Seoul, Korea. When she turned 14, she made the bold decision to move around the world, to study abroad in Canada. Her first year was spent on Victoria Island, before moving eastward, to study at Ridley.

It can be difficult to adjust to such a drastic change, but quickly, Leona settled in and began exploring what Ridley had to offer. She appreciated the opportunity to stay active – playing squash, badminton, softball and participating in swimming – and she found her time in chapel peaceful and restorative. However, most impactful was her involvement in the arts. From art history classes to lesson on technique, Leona was able to explore a vast number of art forms and practices, and decide which medium she enjoyed most. In Grade 11, her curriculum included a unit on jewelry design, which would lay the foundation for her career.

With guidance from her Ridley teachers, Leona went on to study at the Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. While at the world-renowned art school, she refined her craft and broadened her horizons. She even began to explore the business marketing side of art and design.

Flash forward to 2010 and the launch of ELYONA. Born from a desire to create high-quality and fashion-forward designs, Leona brought her own jewelry line to life. First launching in London, UK, with plans to bring it to Korea – a place where this style of jewelry had yet to appear.

 

Now, just shy of a decade old, ELYONA has rapidly made a mark on the fashion industry. Not only is Leona’s line carried in 55 stores, in 16 countries, but ELYONA has also participated in global fashion events, including Paris, London and Seoul Fashion Weeks.

With plans to continue growing her brand, Leona hopes to return to school to learn more about the business side of her career. With this newfound knowledge, she would be able to explore the field of design management and bring these skills to ELYONA.

Leona discovered her passion and found a way to weave it into her career. To Ridleians who are seeking their own pathway, she encourages them to follow their heart and persevere until everything falls into place.

Alumni Athletes Excelling After Ridley

By Jay Tredway | Director of Athletics

As the 2017–18 school year and the athletic campaign began this fall, a record number of Ridley alumni were also gearing up to represent their new post-secondary institutions in competition. Forty recent Tiger graduates have made university rosters throughout the North American system. While 23 alumni are making contributions on Canadian university sports rosters. Meanwhile, 17 alumni have crossed the border to represent in NCAA programmes; including schools like Brown, Princeton, Tennessee and Boston College.  Eleven hockey alumni are also actively pursuing Junior hockey careers, with three ORs currently facing off in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Add to that our three professional athletes, one current member of the Canadian Men’s National Rowing Team (with three others currently in the National Rowing pipeline,) and it becomes clear just how special Ridley’s athletes are, and how many opportunities stem from the school’s athletic programme.

The success of these grads is rooted in our 128-year-old philosophy of dedication to quality daily physical activity. Their accomplishments are also a testament to the incredible coaches, mentors and facilities from which Ridley athletes benefit from every day. The school is a national leader in the adoption of the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) pathway, whereby different stages of athletic development have a specific focus for students, helping to build all-around athletes first and preparing them for more varied athletic experiences. This approach is clearly working, as 12 different university sports are represented in the graduate pursuits listed above. As well, the school’s focus on developing high-performance programmes in hockey, rowing and basketball have helped to elevate the competitive environments in those sports to the highest levels available in North America for high school students.

Our dynamic approach to schoolwide, sport-specific and elite-level programming puts Ridley’s overall development system in a league of its own.

It is clear that prospective students and North American university programmes are taking notice. The number of inquiries and applications to the school has increased, with interest noted in hockey, basketball and rowing. There has also been a jump in the number of university and college coaches making regular trips to the Tiger Arena, Griffith Gym and Ridley Boat House. Why? An internationally renowned, rigorous academic institution that is fostering high-performance athletes creates a very compelling story.

With some of our current student-athletes having already secured offers to schools like the University of Southern California (USC), Oregon, Stanford, Syracuse, and McGill, we can take pride in the knowledge that 21st century Ridley continues to build on a legacy of sporting excellence which has been foundational for over a hundred years. Go Blacks Go!

2017–2018 Alumni Athlete Update

Graduates Playing University/College Sports 2017-2018 at Canadian Schools
Graduates Playing University/College Sports 2017-2018 at United States Schools
Graduates Playing Junior Hockey
Active Post Collegiate Careers

If you are a Tiger pursuing your athletic career and are not listed, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us your story:

Flourishing Lives through the Arts

By Duane Nickerson | Director of the Arts

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

The arts are different. Unlike most activities, the product of art activity is not useful. Art does not feed us or make our lives more comfortable. It seems the very nature of art is to be without practical use. So why is it that evidence of art making through music and painting pre-dates the invention of writing by over 30,000 years? Why is it that art making traditions have existed in all human cultures throughout history? Just what is it about this activity that compels us to invest time and energy making it, consuming it and storing it in museums?

Picasso touches upon the answer. Art allows us to feel, to sense the wonder and complexity of existence that is ever elusive, that defies encapsulation within language or numbers. Making art is a hard-wired compulsion that can be seen in children who spontaneously make up songs, dance, draw and act out imaginary scenarios. Watch any four-year-old and you will see evidence of this compulsion and the sheer joy that it brings. Children express themselves freely until they move into adolescence and become more self-conscious and invest more time learning the argotic codes required for social standing. Too often the capacities of the artist are left to atrophy as children move through educational institutions that leave behind rigorous arts curricula and thereby denigrate this activity as less important. Children get the message: art is not valued by the adults here so I’ll attend to those things that are valued. The loss of potential is enormous, the capacity for full experience diminished.

At Ridley College, the arts are not left behind.

At Ridley, we aspire to nourish flourishing lives that tap into all facets of our humanity. We aspire to facilitate the full development of the child so that they can reach their maximum potential as productive, creative, happy people. At Ridley, children are exposed to music and art education by specialist teachers beginning in Kindergarten and are able to access increasingly specialized and demanding arts curriculum as they move through the programme into Upper School.

Many of our senior students find that, for them, a flourishing life is one infused with the joy experienced when engaged with art in the studio and on the stage. This joy comes from a state of flow. In a state of flow, a person is fully immersed in an activity because the challenge of the task is matched with their level of competence required to complete the task. As a teacher of visual art, observing students immersed in a state of flow in the studio is one of the most rewarding features of my job. A child who is fully immersed in the process of hands-on creation is a flourishing child.

As Ridley continues to build upon its reputation as a world-class school, its arts programme will grow to facilitate higher levels of performance and deeper engagement. The tools that we use to make art are also expanding to include a wide array of electronic media. More than ever, cultural industries are emerging to encompass large swaths of economic activity in an increasingly automated world. Thus, in the arts, we are also preparing children for rewarding careers as well as ensuring that they keep in their lives the joy and fulfillment that comes from engaging with the arts.

For all of us throughout our lives, we are faced with the task of building identity and generating meaning. Throughout history, the arts have played a vital role facilitating meaning making and affirming cultural identity. Beyond developing artists’ capacities, Ridley’s role as a school is to ensure that its students move on to adulthood with a deep-seated appreciation for the value of art in their lives. If Ridley can do this, it has done its part in ensuring our culture and civilization will continue to nourish our humanity and thereby make the world a better place.

New Governors Named to Board

Alison Loat ’94
Alison Loat ’94 is the Co-Founder and Executive Director (2008-2015) of Samara; a non-partisan charitable organization that works to improve political participation in Canada.  Samara was formed out of a belief in the importance of public service and public leadership, and their research and educational programming began with the initiation of Canada’s first-ever series of exit interviews with 65 former Members of Parliament. Alison is the co-author of Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy, published in April 2014. She previously worked at McKinsey & Company and co-founded Canada25; an organization that successfully involved thousands of Canadians under 35 in the development of public policy. For her public service work with Canada25, she was chosen as one of Canada’s Top 25 under 30 by Maclean’s magazine and in 2005 she received the Public Policy Forum Young Leaders Award. She was also an associate fellow and instructor at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto from 2007-2014.  Alison is a member of the Premier of Ontario’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel, and is on the board of the Banff Forum.  She served as the past president of the Canadian Club of Toronto, a director of the Toronto Community Foundation and a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Alumni Board.  Alison has degrees from Queen’s University (BAH) and the Harvard Kennedy School (MPP).


Yanick Pagé ‘84
Yanick Pagé is a Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice-President of National Bank Financial Wealth Management (1990 to present); a National Bank of Canada company, working to meet the financial life goals of families and investors across Canada. Yanick has worked in the investment industry for his entire career. Previous experience includes being a Portfolio Manager for estates, trusts and court-appointed accounts at General Trust of Canada (1987-1990). Today, the Pagé/Lamontagne Advisory Group manages the accumulated wealth of prominent families in Quebec and is recognized as a significant team in the industry. Yanick was a Board of Governor Member (1998-2002) for the University of Moncton, where he acted as Chair of the Investment Committee from 2000 to 2006. He has also been involved in charities; serving on the Revenue Committee of United Way/Centraide for six years. Yanick has a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics from Bishop’s University. He is keenly interested in skiing, travelling and wine tasting, among other things.

The Importance of Annual Giving

By Susan Hazell, Director of Development

Every fall, independent schools, universities and colleges launch their annual campaign appeal.  The goals of annual giving are many, but one of the key aspects is to encourage alumni, parents, past parents, faculty and staff to participate and support the more immediate needs of the institution, its students and its faculty.

Here are some key points about the importance of our Annual Giving Campaign.

Why does the school need my support?

The Annual Giving Campaign is the foundation for all fundraising. Currently at Ridley, you may be surprised to learn that tuition fees cover only 84% of the school’s operating budget. The Annual Giving Campaign is the largest and most important fundraising effort that helps to bridge the tuition gap, support Ridley’s highest priorities, expand opportunities for student growth, and transform students’ lives. Donations to the Annual Giving Campaign have an immediate impact on students today and tomorrow.

The school doesn’t look like it needs my support.

Like all independent schools, Ridley College relies on donations to assist the school in offering an education that empowers for a lifetime.  All buildings and programmes at Ridley have been made possible thanks to the generosity of past donors – alumni, parents, faculty and staff and friends of the school. The excellent courses, many extracurricular activities, well-qualified faculty, maintenance and enhancement of our campus, new capital items, up to date IT resources all come at a price. To be able to continue to offer the wonderful programmes and opportunities we currently do, we need your help. In addition, scholarships and bursaries are an important part of our fundraising efforts to ensure that Ridley can attract the best and the brightest to our school, in an ever-increasing competitive market place with other independent boarding and day schools.

How will my gift actually help?

Every member of the Ridley family is a stakeholder.  As a community, we are relying on each other and your tax-deductible contributions to meet Ridley’s needs and deliver an outstanding educational experience to our students. All gifts, regardless of size, have the power to inspire others. When we pool our resources together, we can make a significant impact on the quality of the Ridley experience for our students.

Where do Annual Giving Campaign dollars go?

Annual Giving Campaign donations are designated per the donor’s wishes, which may be for one of the identified projects of the school, or for an area of specific interest to the donor (a sports programme, Cadets, the Arts, robotics, etc.), or to unrestricted (the school’s greatest need).

What is the Annual Giving Campaign at Ridley for 2017-18?

At Ridley, we have just launched our annual campaign ‘Unlock Potential’. We have identified three key needs this year: 1) scholarships and bursaries; 2) the Lower School Library project (Phase II); and 3) Supporting the Best Educators. To learn more, please visit our website and look for your annual giving appeal package in the mail!

Every student counts. Every gift counts. Please consider your participation and support and help us ‘Unlock Potential’!

 

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe blog series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14, who recently travelled to Uganda to conduct research for Queen’s University.

Ridley has always been a part of Jacqueline’s life. Her parents were Heads of House, so she grew up on campus, before beginning at Ridley herself in Grade 5. Over the course of her eight years at Ridley, Jacqueline was fully immersed in all that the school had to offer. She was a gifted debater, skilled athlete, talented actress and valued member of the global organization, Amnesty International. She also held the role of School Prefect in her final year and was a part of Ridley’s first cohort of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme graduates. Upon Prize Day, Jacqueline was able to look back on her time at Ridley and feel pride in her accomplishments and excitement for her future.

She left Ridley to study Concurrent Education at Queen’s University – majoring in Global Development and minoring in French. “I think the fast-paced environment, and academic rigor of Ridley prepared me well for my time at university. I quickly learned that time management would be key to my success at university,” shares Jacqueline. Her programme has given her the opportunity to gain experience teaching; even returning to campus to assist teaching in the Lower School and during our Summer Programmes offerings.

Jacqueline has opted to keep her university schedule as enriching as it was at Ridley; participating in activities that span many capacities and provide a well-rounded experience. She is the Marketing Director for the Queen’s Conference on Education and the co-president of the grassroots organization, Nyantende Foundation, which helps students from the Democratic Republic of Congo enroll in school.

This summer, Jacqueline was the recipient of the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship, allowing her to travel to Kampala, Uganda to conduct research. The opportunity presented itself when Jacqueline’s professor reached out and encouraged her to apply. After her course entitled ‘AIDS, Power and Poverty’, Jacqueline was particularly interested in how alternative methods of development could lead to greater economic empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda. The fellowship was the perfect opportunity to give back locally and globally, while satisfying her own intellectual curiosity.

During this once-in-a-lifetime research trip, Jacqueline worked with non-profit organizations, such as Rainbow Mirrors Uganda; an organization that provides employment opportunities to transwomen who have been ostracized due to their sexual orientation. Working with Spectrum Uganda, conducting interviews and attending workshops were Jacqueline’s favourite part of her trip abroad.

“Prior to travelling to Uganda, I was aware of the general political situation, as I had researched the statistics surrounding this issue and the main problems affecting the LGBTQ+ community for my research paper. However, having the chance to interview and listen to the interviewees personal stories and struggles deepened my level of understanding. The resilience, strength, and determination of the interviewees to fight for what they stand for despite the numerous, and often dangerous, obstacles in their way, is something I truly admire.” – Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14

While her focus this summer was research, Jacqueline had some personal takeaways from her time in Uganda. Jacqueline reflected, “this experience truly tested my personal level of resiliency and grit. I have always stated the importance of a growth mindset, and this summer emphasized my need to follow through on this philosophy.” During her research trip, she found herself experiencing many complications and setbacks. Instead of letting the obstacles limit her, she explored new ways to overcome them. She says remaining positive and moving forward when faced with adversity were key to her success.

Now that she’s returned to Kingston for another year at Queen’s, her passion for education has become even stronger. When she completes her Bachelor of Education in the coming years, she plans to teach youth abroad, before returning to Canada as an educator. “I want to combine my two passions of education and international mindedness to inspire new generations to think beyond their personal circumstances and promote a growth mindset,” shares Jacqueline.

This globally-minded Tiger encourages Ridleians to chase their dreams and go after what they’re truly passionate about. ” There’s a difference between extrinsic (external factors that push you) and intrinsic (personal reasons) motivation, and I believe that if you find that intrinsic motivation and are passionate about what you are doing, you are guaranteed to succeed,” urges Jacqueline.

 


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 discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

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.

 

 

TOP 10: Ways the IB Programme Helps Students Flourish

With the new school year underway, we asked some of our faculty members how the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme enable our students to reach their full potential.

According to our faculty members, here are the top 10 ways the IB Programme helps students flourish:

  1. Equips Students with the Tools to Learn

Students learn more than facts and figures; they learn the tools to apply them to real world situations.

  1. Helps Them Discover Their Passions

Students are challenged to discover their own passions, while exploring the opportunities each may uncover.

  1. Teaches Communication Skills

Students discover how to better communicate and understand themselves, their peers and the world around them.

  1. Instills Global-mindedness

The IB Programme teaches students global-mindedness; it teaches them to not only be open to other perspectives, but to embrace global worldviews. This helps to develop empathy and caring, and ultimately, it helps students become good global citizens.

  1. Teaches Students to Think Critically

The IB is a remarkable programme that encourages students to think critically about the world in which we live and challenges them to think about the larger picture.

  1. Encourages Students to Take Risks

The programme encourages students to become risk-takers and inquirers.

  1. Teaches Lifelong Skills

The IB Programme helps our students flourish, teaches them resilience and team work and, most importantly, teaches them about humanity.

Prepares Students for Their Educational Journey

Although the programme can be challenging at times, it is a fantastic preparation for post-secondary education.

  1. Creates a Personalized Education

With a focus on student-centered learning, the IB allows for richer experiences in education. In the MYP, through the Personal Project, students can learn more about topics that are relevant and interesting to them. This leads to greater engagement in the learning process and is highly rewarding from a student perspective.

  1. Opens Opportunities for Faculty

Teachers can also open many doors to learning through the IB Programme, through IB professional development. This allows our teachers to continue to grow and provide students with the best learning experience.