Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ridley’s Exchange Programme provides an opportunity of a lifetime

For over 20 years, Ridley’s International Student Exchange Programme has given audacious Ridleians and students from partnering schools around the world the opportunity to experience another country, appreciate a foreign culture and adapt to a new way of life at an international boarding school.

Dr. Ellen Foster has been coordinating the programme for the past 10 years, having organized approximately 200 exchanges in total. What began as a partnership with only a few schools has now expanded to offer Ridleians the chance to travel to South Africa, Australia, China, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and England. Whether they fly across the world to the land down under, make the trek to South Africa or hop across the pond to Paris, these students leave behind their routine lives to become Ridley’s global ambassadors.

Our Ridleians studying abroad may be away from St. Catharines anywhere between 6-12 weeks. During this time, they attend classes, live with their exchange families, absorb a new cultures and sometimes even learn new languages.

For every Ridleian who travels abroad, Ridley welcomes an eager student from the partnering school. For many of these visiting Upper School pupils, Ridley is their first exposure to Canada ­– which might include their first encounter with snow.

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Having the opportunity to travel, learn and grow in a new environment allows students to expand their knowledge of the world, overcome obstacles independently and discover new skills and strengths that they never knew they had. According to Dr. Ellen Foster, Coordinator of the International Student Exchange Programme, it also offers a great opportunity to improve language proficiency in places such as Spain and France.

Recently, Ridley said goodbye to this year’s visiting exchange students, as they returned home with unforgettable memories and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“I know from this amazing experience, that Ridley does not just focus on academic strength but also produces well-rounded, confident and worldly people who have the ability to make an impact in whatever they choose to do after school.”

– Eliza Hannah, Australia

In a few months time, our Ridleians will travel to South Africa and Australia for their exchange trips, where they will reunite with their exchange families and begin their own adventures.

If you’re interested in the International Student Exchange Programme or have any questions, contact Dr. Ellen Foster; ellen_foster@ridleycollege.com.

 

Positive Change Ignites at Ridley College

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

– Nelson Mandela

December 10th is Human Rights Day – observed globally to commemorate the day, in 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Ridleians went above and beyond to enact positive change in the world by participating in a number of events that took place on campus. Throughout the day and around every corner there were new opportunities for students, staff and faculty to get involved.

Students arrived on campus wearing red and green in support of Arthur Bishop West’s house charity, Congo Leadership Initiative. Contributions from this dress-down “grub” day were donated to the charity in support of a recently relocated Syrian refugee family.

In Upper School, from 8:00a.m. into the night, the Matthews Library was transformed into the drop-in workshop for Ridley’s own Amnesty Group. All students were invited to pay a visit to the library and write letters that took a stand on human rights issues. Within half an hour, 125 letters had already been written; by lunch, over 245 had been signed by Ridleians, pleading to end a number of unjust cases. Throughout the day, teachers brought their classes, faculty and staff dropped by to write their own letters, and students from Lower School stopped by to learn about this amazing cause.

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As the entire Ridley community continued to contribute to the Write for Rights event, another inspiring act had taken place in the Great Hall. Every table and wall in the Great Hall had been adorned with Post-It Notes. Each one with an inspiring message, urging its readers to “stay strong” or “never give up.” Led by the Positive Spaces Group, these positive sticky notes infused the dining hall with an optimistic energy.

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As classes concluded for the day, a group of Ridleians assembled in the Second Century Building (2CB) to help change the world. Each Thursday, this team joins together to make a difference in the lives of women living in developing countries. Led by Ms. Linda Chang and Prefect, Grace Lowes, members sew and prepare feminine hygiene kits for an organization called Days for Girls. These kits allow women, in developing countries, to carry on with their daily lives when they would otherwise be forced to forego school or work up to two full months each year.

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As the sun went down on the school day, so many acts of kindness and positive change had taken place on campus that it was impossible not to feel inspired.

Meanwhile, the Write for Rights event was forging ahead. Students piled in the library to help reach Ridley’s goal of writing 500 letters. Ms. Shelley Thomas, Faculty Advisor to Ridley’s Amnesty group, documented Ridley’s progress and along with her team, joined in on a twitter chat with the Secretary General of Amnesty Canada. By 10:00p.m., as the Write for Rights event came to a close, not only did had Ridley won Amnesty’s photo challenge, but an astounding 565 letters had been written for Amnesty International; a record breaking number for Ridley College.

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The winning photo of Amnesty International’s photo contest, taken by Ms. Shelley Thomas.

Whether they were writing, sewing, donating or posting, Ridleians made an impact and gained perspective on serious global issues. We all learned to be grateful for our circumstances and to use our power to assist others who are not as fortunate and wage a personal war. Each and every student joined together to make a difference and transform the globe. Their passion and kindness has inspired us all to be a part of positive change.

 

Ridley geared up for the VEX Robotics tournament

On November 28th, 2015, Ridley’s VEX Robotics team traveled to Woburn Collegiate in Scarborough, for the first VEX Robotics tournament of the season!

After a long day and what seemed like in inordinate amount of mechanical failures, Ridley’s teams 1509E (James Gross, Jim Yang and Joey Bao), 1509 (William Wang, Padraic Odesse, Andy Li and Anakin Li) and 1509Z (Ryan Schmidt, Elias Ancer, Will van Sittert and Antonio Aspite) waited to see if they would be selected as an alliance partner for the elimination matches. Each team had dueled it out in the round robin with six matches each in a field of 72 teams. 1509E and 1509 wound up with similar records of four wins and two losses, and 1509Z wound up with a 1-5 record, facing an extremely tough draw of four of the five best opponents in the tournament.

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When alliances had been built for quarter final play, 1509E was a member of the 3rd seeded alliance and 1509 was a member of the 6th alliance (out of eight) and faced each other in the quarter finals. The good news was that whoever won the quarter final match would qualify for the All-Ontario championship in late March. The bad news was that the other team would not qualify. As it turned out, the higher seeded 1509E team made it to semi finals and qualified for the big tournament in early spring. Congratulations to all the teams and their efforts. There were some amazing teams.

Our rookie team (Adia Sisson, Alex Luo and Ira Madill), who did not compete at this event, now understand the complexities of competitive robotics and have new insights for the machine they are developing.

It was great to have Ava O’Toole back to help at our tournament. She kept us organized, which is not always easy. Special thanks to my co-mentor, Mr. Scott McCambley.

Our next tournament is in St. Catharines at Governor Simcoe on December 12th.

– Mr. Rodney Reimer, Head of Robotics and Engineering, VEX Robotics Mentor

Lights, camera, action! Ridley’s Film Crew releases “Piece of Mind”

Sometimes two heads are not better than one.

During the school assembly on November 26th, the Film Club will dim the lights in the Mandeville Theatre and present, this year’s dark humour film, Piece of Mind; the story of a regular boy, living his routine life, when one day the mundane is disrupted and everything changes. He soon finds himself at war with everything around him.

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Members of the Film Club, better known as the “Film Crew”, have spent the last two months bringing this film from inception through to completion – from developing the film’s concept, writing the script, filming the scenes, and finally producing the final edit.

Check out the Film Crew’s website to view the Piece of Mind teaser and trailer and to get a glimpse into the making of this short film.

The Film Club is in it’s fifth year at Ridley College. What began as merely an interest group, has evolved into an official sport alternative programme. This club provides media arts enthusiasts with a creative outlet that they may not have otherwise had within the classroom setting. This club has been especially enticing for our International Baccalaureate (IB) students, who have contributed to the short film as a component of their IB programme.

Ms. Danielle Barranca, from the Visual and Performing Arts department encourages the students to work together and overcome the challenges that often accompany the development of a film. With first-hand experience working in the film industry, she has proven to be a great resource and a great motivator for the Film Crew.

“Every year we get to premiere our film to the whole school during Assembly. It’s our big moment, our playoff game, our time where we can show off the talents that we have learned throughout the term.”

– Danielle Barranca, Visual and Performing Arts

Here’s a little sneak peak at Piece of Mind. We look forward to seeing the motion picture when it hits the big screen in Mandeville Theatre next week.

Ridley and the City

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Photo taken by Nina Foster ’16

November break has come and gone, which means the end of term is fast approaching. Some students spent their long weekend preparing for upcoming tests and projects, some relaxed and visited with their families and another group of lucky Ridleians travelled to New York City to explore all the Big Apple has to offer!

On Thursday, November 12th, 24 students piled on the bus, where they would spend the evening traveling through the upstate countryside before arriving in New York, New York! Chaperoned by faculty members: Mr. Gerardo Martinez, Ms. Shelley Thomas and Ms. Taryn McKenna, it was sure to be an amazing group.

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Photo taken by Nina Foster ’16

Once there, our Ridleians had the chance to experience this world-renowned city first-hand, with tours of New York City’s finest spots! The students strolled through Central Park and down 5th Avenue. They experienced the energy and excitement of Times Square and were transported back in time at the Natural History Museum before seeing the everlasting Brooklyn Bridge.

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Photo taken by Nina Foster ’16

“I feel like we got to see almost every main attraction New York has to offer in only 2 days. With all the free time we got, we really had the opportunity to see the things we wanted to see and experience the city in our own way.”

– Vayda Schuttke ‘16

Every year, this trip gives the students to experience the world outside of the Marriott Gates; it gives them a chance to experience all the cultures, history and beauty that New York has to offer. Every year, this trip proves to be an incredible opportunity for the students and for Ridley.

Thank you to all the Ridleians who represented our school with such pride and to our chaperones that gave the students the chance to experience the Big City.

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To learn more about our Weekend Programme, please click here.

 

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.

Noel Cousins Comes Out in Courageous Prefect Speech

Meet Noel Cousins ‘16, a Ridleian hailing from Prince Edward Island on Canada’s East coast. Noel is one of Ridley’s 2015-2016 Prefects and is known by his fellow classmates as having an infectious personality, indisputable intellect and a love for performing arts. Recently, he displayed his courageous side when he announced in his Prefect speech to Upper School that he is gay.

As a long-standing tradition, each Ridley Prefect is given the task of writing a chapel speech; one that will inspire the student body. This year, Noel was the second of 15 Prefects to bravely approach the podium and address his peers.

In the weeks leading up to his speech, Noel contemplated what he wanted to impart upon his fellow Ridleians, and ultimately decided that he wanted to be authentic and share his own personal narrative. What better way to inspire others than with a story; his story. On October 13th, Noel approached the podium of the Memorial Chapel, stared out into the sea of over 400 students, faculty and staff, and shared a secret he’d been keeping for his whole life; he is gay.

“I’m gay. I’m sure that to some of you – that concept may seem strange or abnormal, but the problem with that is that people have a tendency to fear what they don’t understand. And with fear left unchecked, inevitably so comes hate and discrimination and violence. And so today, my goal is simply to open up a dialogue; to educate and inform…”

 It was obvious that, as Noel revealed personal facets about himself and his life (that only few were privileged to know beforehand), the audience felt for him; understood his struggles, and relished with him over his accomplishments. His personal story and message to never apologize for who you are as a person resonated with everyone who was present.

As his speech concluded and students flooded the aisles, there was a positive energy radiating throughout the chapel and within Noel . If you’d like to see Noel’s full speech, click here!

Within the days following his speech, we had the opportunity to ask Noel intimate details about his decision to come out and how this brave move has made a difference in his life.

Noel is now a part of Positive Space Group (PSG) at Ridley College – a group where students can come together and make a positive difference in the LGBQT+ community and here at school. This group of inspiring young Ridleians and faculty members meet every Wednesday to discuss issues, achievements and stories that advocate for human rights and a brighter tomorrow.

According to Noel, PSG has big plans on the horizon for Ridley. He and other members hope to organize a pride week that will include a dress down day, bowtie Friday – inspired by Jesse Tyler Fergusons’ Foundation – and an educational campaign that will raise awareness for issues that the LGBQT+ community faces everyday.

“[Homosexuality] is the human rights issue of our time, of our generation and you have the chance to make a difference.”

– Noel Cousins ‘16