Category Archives: Ridley Traditions

Students Venture to Winnipeg for Speaking Arts Competition

By Paul O’Rourke | Assistant Head of Lower School & IB MYP Programme Coordinator

Ridley participated in the annual International Independent Schools’ Public Speaking Competition co-hosted by the Gray Academy and Balmoral Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Nearly 150 students from over 40 teams throughout the globe were involved in this unique event that features a wide range of the speaking arts- debate, drama, and public speaking. Schools from Canada, the U.S.A., Bermuda, Korea, Peru, Scotland, England, Hong Kong, India and South Africa competed in a five-day tournament that brought together some of the best high school debaters and public speakers in the world.

Each participant selected three events from various categories that included: persuasive, after-dinner, and impromptu speaking; parliamentary and cross-examination debate; dramatic interpretation, interpretive reading, and radio newscast. Ridley was ably represented by returning junior, Bart Skala ’19 along with first time competitors Faraday Kenny ’18 and Rahul Walia ’19. Bart excelled in parliamentary debate and after-dinner speaking, reaching the finals of parliamentary debating, and narrowly missing the finals in the latter event. Newcomer Faraday Kenny competed successfully in persuasive speaking, interpretive reading, and parliamentary debating. Her speech on whether kneeling for the national anthem is un-patriotic was both topical and informative. Rahul Walia earned strong marks for his performances in impromptu speaking and persuasive speaking, in addition to good parliamentary debate rounds.

While in Winnipeg, all competitors enjoyed the unique experience of visiting the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. It was a fitting place for the top debaters and speakers to spend an afternoon exploring this spectacular venue in the heart of the city. The school venues were unique as well, situated as they each are on First Nations and Metis Treaty One lands. Organizers and hosts underscored this unique historical fact whenever possible.

The closing banquet was held at the Shaary Zadek Synagogue on the bank of the Assiniboine River, again underscoring Winnipeg’s diverse roots. Although Ridley did not claim any of the individual or team awards, each student demonstrated growth and progress throughout the tournament.  All students are congratulated and thanked for their outstanding efforts and contributions.

Ahead next on the debate calendar is the National Qualifier at Country Day School on November 21- a tournament that involves both debate and public speaking – followed by the Fulford Cup hosted by Maclachlan College on November 25.

New students are always welcomed at this activity that meets Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. in room 203 of Lower School.

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 Reflects on 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge

On April 9th, Ridley will look back 100 years to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge. A battle which saw six graduates make the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of victory and the birth of a nation.

The battle, which began on April 9th, 1917, was a turning point in Canadian history, where all the Canadian divisions fought together for the first time. By the end of the battle on April 12th, some 3,598 Canadian soldiers were killed, including six Old Ridleians. The impressive victory over German forces is often cited as the beginning of Canada’s evolution from dominion territory to independent nation.

During the March break,  students had the chance to relive history, on the Vimy Ridge trip, that visits monuments and battle sites in France and Belgium. This trip was made even more special when Charlotte Westcott ’18 and William Clayton ’22 discovered the names of Old Ridleians who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Situated in northern France, the heavily-fortified, seven kilometre ridge held a commanding view over the Allied lines. The Canadians would be assaulting up a ridge that the French Army had failed to capture. In numerous attempts, they had suffered over 100,000 casualties trying to retake it from the German Army. It would be up to the Canadians to take the ridge.

The first of the Old Ridleians to fall was Lt. Fred “A.J.” Norsworthy (1901-04), who was killed by artillery in the week before the battle, when the two opposing armies traded artillery barrages, in preparation for the upcoming battle. A week the German forces would later call “The Week of Suffering.”

After the call to go “Over the Top” was made at 5:30 a.m. on April 9th, five more Ridleians fell; including Gunner Jack “J.L.” Hart who was killed by an artillery shell in no man’s land. He was with friend and fellow Old Ridleian, Gunner Jack “J.M.” Wainright, who was mortally wounded by the same shell. He would perish in the days after the battle.

Lt. J.F. Manley (1910-14) a Mason Gold Medal winner in 1914, and one of the school’s most accomplished cricket players, was killed battling up the ridge with his unit, the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. Lt.-Col. Dick “R.W.F.” Jones (1896-1901) and Capt. Alfie “A.S.” Trimmer (1893-1901) died on the ridge at the height of the battle. Trimmer had previously won the Military Cross and bar award for his actions at the Battle of Ypres a few months earlier. The Midsummer 1917 edition of the Acta Ridleiana— the former monthly magazine —noted that Trimmer “had come through so many dangers that we hoped he would be spared.”

“It was inspiring and also heartbreaking to find the graves. Seeing them for myself really drove home the sacrifice that they made during the war. It showed me the value of what they fought for and how much I have to be thankful for,” says Charlotte. “Seeing their names below the Canadian maple leaf really drives home that these Ridleians really were consumed in service.”

After the war ended on November 11th, 1918, the government of France granted the ridge and 250 acres of the battleground to Canada, to serve as a memorial park to commemorate the fallen Canadians. Hill 145, the highest point of the Ridge, is now the site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. After the war, Ridley commemorated the six Old Ridleians who fought and died at Vimy Ridge, along with 55 others who died in WWI, with the building of the Memorial Chapel. The Chapel was dedicated on June 23rd, 1923.

Today, the Ridley community continues to remember the students who made the ultimate sacrifice many years ago. Be it in the classroom, the Archives or the Memorial Chapel, the students continue to honour those who lost their lives.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Hunter B. ’17

Introducing Hunter Bettens ’17; a Prefect whose dream Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 11.00.41 AMbecame a reality when he discovered a place he could skate, learn and grow all under one roof. Now, as he enters Grade 12, he has big dreams for his final year and his future.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of hockey and the education. Since I was young, I always dreamed about attending a private school and playing hockey at the same time. I felt Ridley gave me the best of both worlds; a great hockey schedule with many opportunities to showcase yourself, and a challenging academic schedule that I feel is really preparing me for university and the real world.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Mentally, I always wanted to attend a private school, so I knew what it was going to take and I had the right mindset coming to Ridley. The thing I didn’t expect is that I didn’t decide to come to Ridley until a week before school actually started! I came to school with the mindset, but everything sort of hit me in the face so quickly! I had to buy supplies, I had to leave everyone home in a hurry, and I needed to adapt. So in the physical aspect, I definitely didn’t feel prepared. However, within weeks of meeting new people and getting used to Ridley, I eased into a routine and got very comfortable, which abled to me to overcome any unpreparedness I had going into the school year.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

Even though each faculty member at the school is unique and each relationship between each faculty member is different, I would have to say my favourite faculty member is Mr. Park. I love geography, and this was the first time I could ever take an actual geography course outside of my own curiousty within the subject. In taking this course, my teacher was Mr. Park, and he shares the same passion for geography that I have, as well as being a person who loves and appreciates sports. When I am away for hockey, Mr. Park always jokes about how I missed a very important lesson, or that I missed some crucial piece of information that was only discussed on the day I missed. But besides the jokes he always asks me how the games went, and that is something for me that never goes unnoticed and is why he is my favourite faculty member.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley would definitely have to be Math. I am from Nova Scotia, and the math course I took in Grade 10 was to prepare a student who was taking Grade 11 Math the following year in Nova Scotia. However, I clearly didn’t stay in Nova Scotia for Grade 11; instead I came to Ridley. My parents and I discussed that the IB Programme would really challenge me and that it would be best for me to do. When we came to Ridley for orientation day and the time came to pick my courses and IB Math came up, a prerequisite credit for the course was Grade 11 Functions from Ontario, which I didn’t have. However, I was let in to IB SL Math. Accompanying IB, I receive an OSSD credit for Grade 12 Advanced Functions, so, I went straight from Grade 10 Math in Nova Scotia to Grade 12 Math in Ontario. So, balancing other courses, hockey and other things, finding time to catch up in math was and still is difficult, however, with the help of Mr. DeVellis and my tutor Ms. Sendzik, I was determined to fill in those learning gaps.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley thus far would definitely be balancing my busy schedule. Going into the year I knew it would be very difficult and demanding, but I ended up managing my time very well and was able to accomplish my goal this year of balancing my academic schedule with my hockey schedule.

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What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience would have to be Chapel. Coming into Ridley I knew that we had to go to Chapel three days a week, but I wasn’t upset or worried, I was actually curious to how these Chapel sessions were going to go, because looking at the schedule, I thought that the time we spent there was short compared to what normally goes on at a church. But I was blown away. Chapel has been nothing but a positive experience for me. Yes, you have to get up early but it doesn’t matter, you will be woken up by the hymns that the entire school sings together. Chapel really brings the whole school together, and when you are in there during a hymn you really feel the power that the Chapel has to put all of Upper School into one room, and to make each individual in there feel like they are part of the Ridley community.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life would have to be boarding. You get to become more independent, such as doing laundry, going to Wal-Mart for shampoo and toiletries, all the stuff that for the most part, is typically done for you at home. But the cool thing about Ridley is that you’re becoming more independent with the people who are in the same boat as you. My roommate from China and I always tell each other when a washer is open, or tell one another if one goes to the store if they could pick something up. These situations might seem simple, but it is a completely different experience than you figuring it out on your own at an apartment as compared to figuring these things out with your new friends from Nigeria, China, or Jamaica. Boarding also makes friendships even stronger, you really get to know people because you are with them 24/7, and you cherish these moments that you spend so much because one day, you will graduate and you won’t be able to spend as much time with these friends you have made.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?

I am most excited about being able to be there for the students. I love helping people and hope that I can deliver on that. Some people will have issues while at school, almost everyone does, and I am excited to be able to help those people with any issues they may have. Hopefully students will feel like they can approach all the Prefects next school year, and that each and every one of us can be there for them.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has matured me and gave me the tools to interact with people on many different levels. For me, being taught the principle of being able to network with a multitude of people early on in my life is important, as I am potentially going to pursue a career in business, and to have this skill is essential. With the help of our great Guidance team at our school, they make the career and university talks much easier, and honestly, without them, I don’t think I would be half as prepared as I am for the future. Being able to have good conversations with them, made me really narrow down university choices, as well as career paths. Many aspects of Ridley come together to really prepare each and every one of us for our future.

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

My plans after graduation are to go to school, hopefully still playing hockey, but definitely going to school. I want to major in Business, and if I were to stay in Canada, I plan on studying on the Quebec-East side of the country. However, I would really like to go to a Division III school in the Eastern part of the United States and play hockey, however, I realize that things may not go the way everyone likes them to and I would be very content with studying in Canada. Following university and my potential hockey career, I plan on staying on the East Coast, and preferably living in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. But again, you don’t know what could happen, so we will have to wait and see!

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice for prospective students, especially boarders, would be to ease your way into the Ridley community. Being homesick is natural, and by joining sports, clubs, or activities that interest you, these keep your attention on Ridley and not so much on how much you miss home. By going at your own pace and by not feeling rushed, you will learn to enjoy the Ridley community so much more, and you will really feel like you have developed a second home by the time you leave.

 

Ridley Rowers Cap 50th Successful Season

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As two Ridley rowers prepare to take on competitors from across North America at an elite international regatta in July, Ridley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of our school’s highly successful rowing programme.

The latest rowing milestone for Ridley came with the recent announcement by Rowing Canada Aviron that student athletes Clark Schultz ’17, of Grimsby, Ontario, and Seth Moyer ’18, of Beamsville, Ontario, have been selected among 48 athletes from across Canada to compete for the Junior National Team, which includes teams for both the CanAmMex Regatta and Junior World Rowing Championships.

Clark and Seth will join the CanAmMex team at a training camp in Sarasota, Florida beginning July 11, 2016 before competition on July 16 and 17.

Having the two student athletes named to the CanAmMex team helps cap what has been a great 50th anniversary season of rowing for Ridley, where the program is led by our head coaches Siobhan McLaughlin and Dereck Schwandt.

“We’re extremely proud of Clark and Seth,” said Coach Schwandt. “Both of them worked extremely hard and earned great results throughout the season. It’s a remarkable achievement for them to be selected to this team and face the best young rowers across North America.”

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Earlier this month Ridley crews qualified in eight final events at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Regatta, winning a total of four medals — gold, silver and two bronze. In May, Ridley’s rowers and dedicated coaches hit the road to compete in the Stotesbury Cup in Philadelphia and the Welland SNRC Invitational, performing well at both regattas. Ridley captured first place in the Junior Men’s 4x in Philadelphia. The following day in Welland, Ridley crews captured first place in the Senior Men’s 4x, Senior Girls’ Lightweight 1x and Senior Girls’ 4x (mixed 4x event) races. Seth Moyer also achieved two third place finishes in the Men’s 1x and Men’s 72kg 1x at the SNRC Invitational.

After launching the rowing programme with a single racing shell in the spring of 1966, Ridley quickly established itself as a contender. Just two years after the program hit the water, Ridley claimed its first Calder Cleland trophy as Canadian Schoolboy Champion (Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Champion) and placed second in standing for overall points.

Over the past five decades Ridley has continued this tradition of excellence and established itself as one of Canada’s most successful secondary school rowing programs.

Highlights over the past 50 years include:

  • 14 Ridley alumni have rowed at Olympic Games.
  • Since entering the CSSRA Championships in 1968, Ridley College is third among all secondary schools in gold medals between 1941 and 2015.
  • 82 gold medals won at CSSRA Championships.
  • 25 victories at Stotesbury Cup Regatta (American Secondary School Championships).
  • Five Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup victories at the Henley Royal Regatta in England — arguably the most prestigious rowing regatta in the world. This is tied for second most among all schools and leads all overseas schools.
  • Two Thames Challenge Cup victories at the Henley Royal Regatta.
  • Ridley hosts the Ontario Ergometer Championships annually, attracting the best rowers from across the province.

 “Over the past 50 years, we’ve established an incredible standard in this sport and we look forward to building on our reputation in the years ahead,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics. “Our student athletes represent the school extremely well, both on and off the water. We are not only developing excellent athletes, but also leaders and global ambassadors.”

Read the Niagara this Week article.

Listen to CKTB’s interview with Ridley’s Director of Athletics.

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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The Weekend Programme – February 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This February, the Weekend Programme filled the student’s social schedules with sports, celebrations and the always-anticipated Dean’s Dance.

Dean’s Dance was a hit

Saturday, February 6th

Each year, Ridleians await the arrival of February, as it holds one of the year’s most anticipated events, Dean’s Dance. Since its inception, this annual social event has become a favourite for Ridleians. This year, students filled the Great Hall, dressed to the nines, to enjoy an evening of music and dancing. New this year was a canteen that was run during the dance, where students could enjoy iced tea and other beverages, served by their peers!

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“The canteen was amazing. Everyone seemed to have fun with it, on both sides of the table.” – Liam Wilson ’16

The music was on point. The canteen was super fun and was a great idea! The pictures turned out great and everyone looked very nice! – Annie Sheridan ’16

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Students brave the cold on dogsledding trip

Thursday, February 11th – Sunday, February 14th

 On the February long weekend, 17 students donned their winter gear and headed north for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award annual dogsledding trip. Despite the frigid temperatures, the students embraced the challenge and seized this opportunity of a lifetime. Click here to read more about their winter adventure.

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Students head to Mont Tremblant

Friday, February 12th – Monday, February 15th

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During the February long-weekend, a group of Ridley students traveled to Mont Tremblant to participate in some Winter activities. Despite the bitter cold temperature, which at times fell below -40 degrees Celsius, the students’ spirits remained high. The majority of their days were spent on the ski slopes, enjoying the challenging terrain, while evenings were spent exploring the many restaurants, shops, and cafes that the village of Mont Tremblant has to offer. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience the great outdoors and visit one of Canada’s top skiing destinations! A great time was had by all those involved. 

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Campus was alive with Chinese New Year celebrations and more!

Tuesday, February 23rd

On Tuesday, students were treated to an evening break from school work with Chinese New Year celebrations followed by Café and Open Mic Night. Grace Pan ‘16 organized a Lunar New Year event, along with her committee, to celebrate Chinese culture and student talent, that made for one exciting evening! It’s amazing to see the work our students can do!

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“Chinese Lunar New Year was great fun. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate our culture here at Ridley and to share our traditions within this community. Ridley is a comfortable atmosphere for everyone to sing, dance, eat and socialize with friends.” – Simon Bi ’16

“The Chinese New Year is a very important part of my culture. The event brought all the Chinese students together. We celebrated the New Year with our own performance, as well as the delicious dumplings. I really appreciate having this kind of cultural events at our school and I hope it will become a tradition at Ridley.” – Theresa Li ’16

Following the New Year celebrations, students were invited to the Great Hall to enjoy Café, with good food, great friends and even better entertainment!

“Cafe and Open Mic in the Great Hall are always enjoyable. I could pick music that both me and my friends knew, so we could sing along together, and finally I liked it because it was a new and fun experience.” – Daniel Ephrat ’19

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Students support fellow Ridleian as he hits the ice

Saturday, February 27th

 Over 50 students, faculty and families attended the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Niagara IceDogs game as they faced off against the Guelph Storm. Fellow Ridley student, William Lochead (#17) was playing for the IceDogs and William was an active part of their 6-0 victory over the Storm. Having such high level hockey so close to the school makes for a fun night out. Everyone had a great time and the students were excited to see their fellow Tiger in action!

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February was filled with exciting activities, on campus, in our community and beyond! Students had so many opportunities to celebrate culture and diversity, enjoy the last bit of winter and make lasting memories with their friends.