Category Archives: Ridley News

Would You Like Your Coffee Black? No We Prefer Ours Brown – the Story Behind Grade 12 Student Corrigan Brown’s Business Venture

You have seen him standing in the hallway during lunch, you have read the emails on Community News – but do you really know the story behind Brown Coffee? I interviewed Grade 12 student Corrigan Brown ’14 to find out more about his venture into the coffee business.

Corrigan Brown '14 - Founder of Brown Coffee
Corrigan Brown ’14 – Founder of Brown Coffee

#1. What motivated you to start this business?

There were a couple things actually; firstly I’d never done anything like this before in my life, and I was dying to try it out.  I’ve always had an attraction towards business, whether it be the hands-on running of a business or the managerial side, but at the time I didn’t care and just wanted to start something.  The actual idea of bringing gourmet coffee to Ridley came to me halfway through my grade 11 year.  I had recognized the need for specialty coffee at Ridley, and before I knew it, I was pitching the idea to a friend, who encouraged me to go ahead with the plan.

#2. When did you officially open for business? What steps did you take to get the business started?

I officially started on Tuesday the 12th of October 2013 after about a week of what I called pre-sales.  Essentially I started selling coffee cards, which cost 10$ and have 6 cups of coffee on them.  Through these sales I was able to raise enough money to go ahead with the creation of Brown Coffee, buy machines, buy the actual coffee and set up the stand, which was the bulk of starting up the business itself.

#3. What have you learned from the experience?

I’ve learned more about people, relationships and connections than I had expected.  Of course I learned a lot about running a business and other things like marketing, but I also learned that running a business is a heck of a lot more than just the day-to-day operations.  There’s a whole other side to business that often goes completely unaccounted for, and that’s the relationships you’ll develop with people as a result of running the business.  Brown Coffee is a one-man operation, so there’s nothing between my customer and I, so hopefully it feels like a better experience than just going to get a coffee at an urn.

#4. Why did you choose to give the profits to house charities? 

In order to secure school support, I felt that it was more appropriate to make Brown Coffee a non-profit business.  What will happen is at the end of the year, I’ll pool together all of the profits the business has made over the year, and divide it out equally amongst the 9 Ridley house charities.

#5. What has the response been to the business from the Ridley community?

Overall the response has been very positive.  This isn’t only reflected in sales, but in the comments and the emails that I get from various faculty members and students.  I’ve been very happy with the support I’ve been getting; people have offered to make a commercial for me, to help me with setup or takedown and of course, the marketing team that assembled before the Christmas break.

#6. How has the business evolved since you started?

What’s changed mostly is the array of products I’ve offered.  I went from offering, Tim Horton’s and Starbucks coffee to offering both hot chocolate and French vanilla, which have overcome Tim Horton’s and Starbucks in sales since their introduction.

#7. Do you have any future plans for the business?

I have a couple plans, hopefully soon a new variety will be introduced, but I’m still in the planning stage for that.  I am also planning a Starbucks clearance sale that will start on the 27th of January and run until the end of the week.

#8. What do you hope to do in the future? 

I still have no idea what I want to do with my life in terms of career, but I know that I will attend university for commerce and continue my studies in business.  Maybe one day I’ll open the first Brown Coffee chain, and everyone from Ridley graduating after me will remember the business and its origins.  I must admit though, it would be cool to graduate, then come back many years later to see Brown Coffee still running strong.

brown coffee


HomeComing 2013

What a weekend! HomeComing 2013 started off with a spirit day on Friday – the entire school dressed in orange and black!  The students and faculty then headed outside to form 1-2-5 on the field in front of Lower School – see video below!


On Saturday morning, despite the downpour of rain our rowers headed out on the Henley course to row with alumni. Check out the video below to hear from two of the first rowers at Ridley College from the class of 1968:

Throughout the weekend our athletes competed and had some great results. Lower School Field Hockey, U/13 Girls Basketball and U/13 Boys Soccer went un-defeated against Hillfield-Strathallan School. On the north side of the campus, wins in Boys Soccer, and ties in Field Hockey and Ice Hockey made our alumni proud.  A special thanks to prefects, tour guides, choir members, athletes and the Ridley community at large in helping to make the weekend memorable for our alumni!

Ridley College Opening Day 2013











It has been a very eventful couple of days on the Ridley College campus. On Tuesday we welcomed over 200 new students to campus for move-in day and orientation. The field house was a buzz of activity with booths set up for athletics, the health centre, visas, uniforms, family mentoring program and so much more.


Students were welcomed into their new homes away from home by current students and everyone gathered in their housemasters home for lunch.

In the afternoon Ridley 101 presentations were held for new parents and students.
On Wednesday we welcomed back our returning students for move-in and orientation. We are off to camp today until Saturday! Looking forward to sharing our pictures and video from Camp White Pine and Camp Onondoga.

Ridley College Prefects Announced for Next Year!

Eighteen students have agreed to act as School Prefects for the academic year 2013 – 2014. The Prefects are the School’s strongest leaders, they are committed to Ridley and they subsequently uphold all its ideals and traditions. To a great extent, the Prefect team is charged with influencing the atmosphere, tone and the spirit of the school. We were impressed by the quality of all the candidates who stood for Prefectship this year. In particular, we are excited by this dynamic group of incoming Prefects; consequently, we are confident that Ridley College will be in good hands next year.
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Ridley College VEX Robotics Comes Away with Top Prizes from Local Competition

The Ridley College VEX Robotics team competited in a tournament at local high school Holy Cross on Saturday.  Three of our teams had a 5 win 1 loss record and one team had a 6-0 record (one of only two machines out of 45 teams to go 6-0).  Team 1509B made up of Jon P, Igal F and Shi Qi were voted best overall team and were also awarded the highest honour at the tournament – the Excellence Award.  This award guarantees the team a spot at the World Championships in Anaheim in April and allows them to vie for the Excellence Award for the World Championship!

excellence award winners



















Our team also won the Think award for clever engineering, the Support award for helping other teams at the contest and the finalist trophy for finishing second in the tournament. Jan and Jonah’s efforts programming the Z machine resulted in us winning the Programming Challenge as well.

think award winners

Their machine is currently 17th in the world (out of 6000 teams) and the top 30 on March 3rd will also qualify for the world championships. We have our fingers crossed.

some team members
jan and ming setting up Z
Thanks to my co-mentor Mr. McCambley, Mr. Kidd, Mr. Rubin, Mr. & Mrs. Schmidt, Mr. & Mrs. Porter and Ms. Foster for supporting our team throughout the day.

Overall, it was an outstanding day and result for all 4 of our teams.

As told by Mr. Reimer, VEX Robotics Mentor

MGI Gordon Distinguished Speakers’ Series: Spencer West at Ridley College

Spencer West
Spencer West

Last night we had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Spencer West to speak as a part of the MGI Gordon Distinguished Speakers’ Series.  The speakers’ series is made possible through the generosity of former Chairman of the Board Crawford Gordon ’56 and wife Eve.  Spencer lost his legs at the age of five.  He spoke about overcoming stereotyping and bullying, and about finding meaning and happiness in a material world.  A life-changing trip to Africa altered the course of his life and now he is a motivational speaker with ‘Me to We’.  Recently, as part of the Redefine Possible campaign he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with his best friends and raised $500, 000 for Free The Children’s clean-water projects in Kenya.

Spencer West to Speak as Part of Distinguished Speakers’ Series

spencerSpencer West overcame after losing his legs at the age of five. He speaks about overcoming stereotyping and bullying, about finding meaning and happiness in a material world and how he never lost the hope or courage needed to surmount personal obstacles. Infused with humour and humility, his thought-provoking message inspires people to find opportunity in every challenge. With every speech, Spencer leaves an indelible mark on his audiences, instilling hope and strong leadership so that they can inspire others to create positive change.

Before joining Me to We Speakers, Spencer was on the Go Global speaking tour for Free The Children.  Through a keynote address and leadership workshop, Spencer encouraged youth to overcome their daily challenges, believe in themselves as active change-makers, and find personal strength to fight for the issues they are passionate about. He has also served as an international leadership facilitator in Kenya, India, the Arizona–Mexico border and Saudi Arabia, and is a recipient of the Fervent Global Love of Lives Medal of Bravery from Taiwan’s Chou Ta Kuan Foundation. And on November 5, 2011, along with his hero Rick Hansen, Spencer took part in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay as a Man in Motion Medal Bearer.

Whether from conference stages, stadiums, or volunteer camps in the Mara, Spencer’s words have encouraged millions of young people to become more socially involved in their communities and the world.

See Spencer tell his story in person on January 29th in the Mandeville Theatre.