Category Archives: Sports

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.

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.

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.

Ridley College Girls Hockey Team Accepted into JWHL

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We are happy to announce that our First Girls hockey team has been accepted into the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL) for the 2016/2017 season. The JWHL is a North American league that offers an elite level of competition and helps prepare its players for NCAA and CIS athletics. It is a privilege to be received into the league and a tremendous opportunity for our female hockey players to be identified and recruited by University and College programs from across the United States and Canada.

The decision by the JWHL to accept Ridley into its league was fueled by our team’s season-over-season achievements and its success at the annual JWHL tournament held in Washington, D.C. each February. Following the 2015 event, we were contacted by the commissioner about joining the JWHL for the upcoming 2015-2016 season, and after consulting with the Ridley community, Headmaster Kidd confirmed our interest. At the JWHL meetings in early 2016 (at its championship in Buffalo), the association voted unanimously to welcome Ridley into the league.

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In addition to academics and the arts, athletics is one of the three pillars at Ridley and we are continually seeking opportunities to allow our students to perform at the highest level possible.

“Joining this great league is the next step on the developmental path of our now 20-year history of girls hockey at Ridley. The competitive environment that the girls will find themselves in, surrounded by a robust organization dedicated to education and helping student athletes earn a spot in post secondary sport, it is an ideal situation for any serious female hockey player and it is right here in Niagara.”

– Jay Tredway ‘96, Director of Athletics

 Elite athletics (“train to compete”) is a component of Ridley’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan and transitioning from the North American Prep Hockey Association (NAPHA), of which Ridley was a founding member, to the JWHL will now allow local female hockey players access to one of the most dynamic and successful development league structures for university and college placement in North America.

Ridley’s girl’s hockey program is currently being coached by Amanda Benoit-Wark, two-time Women’s World Hockey Champion (1999, 2000), and Celeste Doucet ‘07, an Olympic contender and national champion. Both coaches have brought invaluable expertise to the ice.

“Ridley is looking forward to moving its program to the next level and we are excited to have the opportunity to do that with the help of the JWHL! We thank Ridley for the support they have given us to make this move possible”

– Celeste Doucet ’07, Assistant Coach

Fortunately, for our parents and alumni around the world, all JWHL teams are equipped to live broadcast games from their home arenas. This means that, just as Ridley broadcasts games on TigerNET, you will be able to follow the First Girls hockey team on the road this upcoming season – and our entire school is looking forward to watching the the players flourish in the JWHL.

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To read the JWHL’s official announcement, click here!

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.

Girls volleyball team makes the most of its weekend road trip

Between January 8-10th, the U16 Girls volleyball team travelled to Kingston, Ontario for the Sydenham High School Red and Gold Invitational Tournament. This weekend marked the team’s first tournament of the year and was an opportunity for the girls to bond as a team, hit the court and learn about our provincial history

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On Friday, the team hit the road to begin its weekend. On the way to Kingston, the team made a stop in Napanee to visit the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives. There, the team participated in a hands-on presentation, where members learned what a career as a Museum Archivist and Curator entails. It proved to be an opportunity to not only learn about history, but to grow the students’ knowledge of all the people that make up a community. Back aboard the bus, the girls set out on the final leg of the trip.

After a full night’s rest, Saturday was game day for our Tigers. The team earned a victory against Kingston’s Holy Cross Secondary, and put forth its best efforts in matches against Kingston’s Sydenham High School and La Salle Secondary School, Napanee’s District School and Brockville’s Thousand Islands Secondary School. Tiger coaches, Ms. Kathy Anderson and Mr. Nicholas Ronald, were pleased with the Tiger’s efforts on and off the court. 

“For the majority, this was their first opportunity to experience the camaraderie of a team in a tournament setting… We are very proud of them, they were worthy representatives of Ridley.” – Mr. Nicholas Ronald, Coach

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 Saturday concluded with a tour of Fort Henry – one of Kingston’s most notorious historical sites – led by the Commander of the Fort Henry Guard. The tour was followed by a traditional 19th Century meal in the Officer’s Mess.
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Before heading home on Sunday, the team had a few more stops to make. First up was one of the finest 19th Century buildings in Canada and a nationally designated heritage site, Kingston City Hall. From there, the girls visited the Queen’s University campus for a personal tour from Coach Ronald, an alumnus of Queen’s (also the alma mater of Headmaster Kidd). In the afternoon, the team made a stop in Trenton, Ontario at the National Air Force Museum of Canada. There they participated in a fantastic interactive learning experience on Canada’s aviation history.

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The team returned home with more than just tournament experience. Ridley and its wonderful selection of faculty members are committed to offering Ridleians the most well-rounded experiences and this trip is a prime example of that.

Good luck to the girls as they prepare for their next CISAA match against Lakefield on January 20th.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

 

On your mark, get set, go! 2015 Upper School Cross Country Run

On Monday, November 9th, Upper School students (and some eager faculty members) stepped out onto the field to participate in the annual Cross Country Run. This five-kilometer race around our beautiful campus has been a Ridley tradition for over a century.

Graced with unseasonably warm weather, our Ridleians laced up their running shoes, sported their house colours and waited their turn to approach the start line. One by one, at the sound of Headmaster Kidd’s air horn, the divisions took off; making their way around the course and eventually finding their ways to the finish line at the Cricket Shed, where results were recorded.

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Midget Division Results

Congratulations to our midget division winners, Marlize Van Sittert ’19 and Jaden Kidd ’19, who took home the L.H. Harmer Trophy.

Junior Division Results

In the junior division, Shaun Donnelly ’17 came in first place for the girls and Daniel O’Rourke ’17 placed first for the boys. Both winners, like many before them, had the chance to hoist the G.F. Leigh Trophy.

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Callum Campbell, Daniel O’Rourke and Karl Neumann
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Shaun Donnelly and Ed Kidd

Senior Division Results

In the senior division, Megan Forrest ’17 claimed the Nan Cassels Steeplechase Trophy for placing first in the girls heat, while Jake Weston ’16 earned the H.C. Griffith Trophy for leading the boys pack.

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Emily MacDonald, Megan Forrest and Eunice Ng
Cameron Beaudry, Jake Weston and Connor Hill
Cameron Beaudry, Jake Weston and Connor Hill

Congratulations to this year’s overall house winners; Dean’s House and Gooderham West, with the fastest overall times.

Our school spirit was on full display, as Ridleians could be found cheering on their fellow Tigers with music and in costume.  It was an afternoon filled with school pride, camaraderie and friendly competition. Congratulations to all who participated in the run.