Category Archives: Upper School

Get to Know Your Prefects: Max C. ’20

Meet Max ’20 – a boarder from California, who has found home at Ridley, as a member of Dean’s House. Although he can often be found in the Tiger Arena, this athlete has a knack for science as well! Read some of the highlights of his first year at Ridley below.

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

Coming to Ridley, the thing I was most excited for was to play ice hockey and be a part of the Ridley boarding school culture.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am proud to be a Ridleian because of the variety of things that Ridley strives and excels in. At Ridley, our culture cannot be defined as solely a sports school or academic school because we have a student body that can be and is successful in so many different aspects.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley is the boarding life offered. Boarding life truly adds to the Ridley culture and atmosphere of connecting us and bringing our community together. The culture within our boarding Houses has allowed me to form some of the strongest bonds and friendships that I have in my life.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

Road trips with my hockey team have been some of my greatest Ridley experiences in the last year. Road trips were a huge part of the journey last year with my team. In the moments from hotel room fun to warming up at the ice rink, I have had the time of my life with my best friends and teammates.

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

Having my friends nearby all the time. This makes living in the house always a super fun experience with many friends to share the good times with.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

Winning the award for the best medical sciences project in the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair. This reward was the accumulation of countless hours, help from my teachers, and dedication into a project that I was truly passionate about. That is why winning this award and receiving the recognition for my project has been one of the most meaningful and greatest accomplishments of my life.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Mrs. Roud. As both a teacher and Head of House, she is so caring and helpful. Without her constant love and support there is no way that I could have had such an amazing first year at Ridley.

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

I am very excited for many things in the role of a Prefect. What I am most excited for however is to be a role model in the Ridley community and have the chance to inspire other students. Coming to Ridley, I looked up to the Prefects and they were a great inspiration to me. Now, I am excited be a role model for other students and inspire them just as I was as a new student.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has taught me how to challenge myself and has shown me that when I push myself, I can accomplish so much more than I previously thought. The opportunities that Ridley has given has influenced me to step out of my comfort zone and learn so much more about who I am and want to be in the future.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The one piece of advice that I would give to Ridley students is to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that Ridley has to offer. Ridley has so many opportunities for students of all interests. For me, this meant pursuing the IB Diploma and also playing Prep Hockey. And, even if you have never tried some of these things or are nervous of stepping out of your comfort zone, Ridley is an amazing opportunity to try new things with a student body and faculty that will be nothing but supportive.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Jessica Z. ’20

Meet Jessica ’20 – a student who brought her passion for culture and diversity to the forefront when she started a multicultural club in Upper School. Read about her service-learning and the moments that have shaped her Ridley career in the interview below!

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

I was actually most excited for Ridley’s beautiful campus. I have always been living in the south of China where there is only summer and winter, so I was especially excited to experience fall at Ridley.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am very proud of the loving and encouraging atmosphere here. Being in such a great environment really impacted the way that I treat others and transformed me into a more positive and caring person. I am very grateful.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is the student events such as Snake Dance and spirit nights. I love it when the whole community comes together to cheer each other on. It makes me feel like I belong to something special and meaningful that’s not about individual achievements, but the school community as a whole. 

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley trip has definitely been the March service trip to the Jacaranda School for Orphans in Malawi. I met the lovely students at Jacaranda and got to know more about their lives. That was also the first time that the Days for Girls club ever brought their feminine hygiene kits to Jacaranda. After seeing their presentation and how happy the girls were for receiving the kits, I decided to become a part of the Days for Girls club. The trip has not only allowed me to get to know life at Jacaranda in Malawi, but also transformed me into a more socially responsible person. 

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

The best part of being in Mandeville is that all the teachers are all very caring and warm-hearted. I love that I can talk to them about anything, free of judgment and criticism. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I personally think that successfully establishing the Multi-Culture Club at Ridley is one of my greatest accomplishments. This experience has really taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance, especially in adverse situations. I am especially proud of the school-wide cultural trivia that the club hosted, as it allowed students to gain more knowledge of the cultures around us (since we are an international boarding school).

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

One of my favourite faculty members at Ridley is my Head of House, Ms. Thompson. Throughout the years that I have been at the school, she has been like a motherly figure to me. She made me feel welcomed and loved when I first came here and didn’t know anyone. She has also been like a friend, talking with me and giving me advice when I need it.

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

I am very excited to be working with a new group of people on exciting initiatives next year. After getting to know more about each other, I believe that we will work very well together. I am also very excited for the potential initiatives that will be undertaken by the team next year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has taught me to be a balanced and well-rounded person. In addition to the academic commitments, athletic and co-curricular activities are also vital in the student life at Ridley. I learned the importance of time-management, and I believe that this skill will be highly applicable to my life beyond Ridley.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would advise prospective students to learn how to prioritize and balance between their activities both in and outside of school. The amount of work (academic, sport and co-curricular activities) can be overwhelming at first (especially if you are a full IB student), but once you start to plan and prioritize your activities, things will be much easier. 

Get to Know Your Prefects: Tom F. ’20

Introducing Tom ’20 – a student who came to Ridley for exciting opportunities to learn and found himself unlocking hidden talents and discovering new passions. Read how he stepped out of his comfort zone and has since made the most of his time at Ridley.

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

In Nigeria, the IB Diploma is highly recommended and anticipated by both students and teachers, however the programme was not offered at my school. Coming to Ridley, I was excited to learn in a different school, in a different programme and in a different country – I had to see if Canadians were as nice as everyone said.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

 As Terar Dum Prosimhas now been engrained in my mind, I have come to accept it as a lifestyle. A majority of Ridley students come from similarly affluent backgrounds and as a part of the St. Catharines community, we aim to recognize our privilege by engaging with the community through outside volunteer work, House donations and frequent in-school events. 

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

The student events are undoubtedly my favorite parts of Ridley. From the very first whole school pep rally to Cadet Ball, Ridley always has an occasion. The best events however, have to be the spirit nights, as nothing tops game-winning buzzer beaters and Ridley College chants. I look forward to more student events in my final year at Ridley College as I will have the pleasure of organizing some of them.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

Difficult to pin this down to one school trip, but I can say my favorite Ridley experiences happen in New York. Having been there on multiple occasions – November breaks and the theatre excursion – I enjoy living life in a big city with my closest friends. The shopping, the food and the “pedestrian culture”, as we called it, are always highlights of the New York trip and serve to be very memorable.

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

Like any other House, we act as a band of brothers that work, joke and most importantly prank. The best part of Merritt South however, is that the House has all different kinds of people; gamers, artists, musicians and even wrestlers. New students easily make lasting friendships due to cultures, interests or sheer fondness.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

Running out of options for a second term activity, I took a big risk and auditioned for the winter play in my Grade 10 year. This was me venturing into an activity I had never tried before and auditioning for a teacher that I “feared”. Surprisingly, not only did I earn the chance to play the lead role, I was attracted to theatre and have followed it since. After this experience, I grew to step out of my comfort zone as much as I could, and I am glad I did because it landed me a Prefect position at Ridley.

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

Moving from fear to admiration, Ms. Blagona has taught me things that I could apply both in and out of the theatre classroom. Described only as “the short, angry, British lady”, Ms. Blagona has helped me to explore different cultures, human interactions and even myself. The work I have done with her is more than lasting and will forever impact my perception, control and awareness.

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

I am most excited to see how much of a difference we, as a team, can make in just one year. The Prefect team is a mix of designers, athletes, speakers, innovators, singers… the list goes on. Having such a diverse team, I am confident that changes will be made, and opinions addressed, to suit the benefit of the Ridley community.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

In a way, the Ridley experience can be viewed as a miniature form of adulthood – the busy schedule, the various groups, the subtle freedom. Although the schedule can seem tiresome on a day to day basis, the weekends and free periods allow students to manage their time properly. Practicing organization and time management definitely aids my future as I will eventually have larger workloads and more important responsibilities.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

This advice applies to your first weeks in Ridley and your last weeks of high school – wherever that may be. Be yourself. Enjoy the pleasures that school has to offer you. Soak in the moments you have with your friends. Remember to take deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you remain yourself, all of these things become a lot easier and you get to appreciate the benefits of your youth.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Johnathan A. ’20

Introducing Johnathan ’20 – a student-athlete, who truly bleeds orange and black. Check out our interview with him below to see what makes him proud to be a Tiger.

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

Aside from basketball, I was most excited about the boarding experience. Boarding school was going to be a new experience for me at the time and I didn’t know what to expect. I had a lot of questions going through my mind in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year: “Will I miss home? How am I supposed to do my own laundry?”. I was also looking forward to building relationships with my peers outside of the classroom and gaining a new perspective on life by learning from kids from other countries around the world. It has been amazing, and I’ve loved it so far!

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I’m proud to be a Ridleian because of the school’s rich and prestigious history, strong alumni network that supports the school, and the school’s commitment to service in the St. Catharines and global communities.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life are the spirit nights. It’s an opportunity for the student population to come together and show their Tiger pride and unite. Drums…Hank the Tiger…face paint…air-horns…the atmosphere created is electric and second to none. Both as a player and a spectator cheering on other teams, some of my best memories from this past school year were from spirit nights.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience has been the annual tradition of Snake Dance. The best of part of the event is the anticipation and excitement that builds in the Houses as we get painted and fired up to prepare for a fun night around the gigantic fire.

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

The best part of Arthur Bishop West (the best House on campus), is the people from the top down. The house residential team of Mr. Doyle, Mr. Vasquez, and Mr. Sullivan have a lot of fun with us while maintaining order. All the students come together to watch big sporting events in the common room, which are fun events. We also have special traditions at night for birthdays. And I can’t forget to mention that we have the best cleaning ladies on campus (Patty and Emily)!

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

Becoming a Prefect has been my greatest accomplishment at Ridley. I worked really hard this past year in and out of the classroom and am honoured to have been selected by my peers and faculty to serve in this leadership role.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

Ms. Becken is my favourite faculty member. As a teacher, she always challenges our thinking to find the deeper meaning and brings out our best as students. I engaged in a lot of great discussions in her history class this past year and she made learning fun. She cares a lot about our well-being and shows interest in our personal lives. I have a lot of great conversations about basketball and life with her that I enjoy.

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

I’m most excited about collaborating with the Prefect team to make this upcoming school year a memorable one and creating a legacy that the younger generations will remember and can look up to.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has offered me great opportunities with its high academic standards and elite basketball programme that have challenged me to be the best version of myself. Its unique programming has improved my organisational skills and discipline which will facilitate my transition to university and set me up for success in the future. Furthermore, the boarding experience has taught me how to live independently and I’ve developed life skills.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

After completing my first year at Ridley, my advice to prospective students is that time management is important. Especially as a student-athlete, it is important to find a good balance between your academics, athletics, and social life and ensure that you’re always being productive. Secondly, cherish every moment you have with your friends and peers, time flies by. You’ll be building relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Also, utilize the great resources available for extra support when needed.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Lucie U. ’20

Meet Lucie ’20 – a boarding student, who calls Gooderham West her home away from home. Read about all the opportunities and life-changing moments she experienced during her first year at Ridley and what she hopes the final year of high school holds for her.

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

My family proposed the idea of going to Ridley, so that I could gather more life experience, since my previous school was very small. I went to class with the same nine people throughout my entire life and that is why Ridley was such a great opportunity to meet new people. Suddenly I knew so many people and I was forced to get to know new people, which was not only very exciting, but is an important experience to have. 

In addition to this, I knew that Ridley has several options when it comes to developing new skills. All these sports, activities and clubs were a great opportunity to try out new things and maybe even find different hobbies.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

Ridley College has a very unique school culture. Ridley really values traditions and legacies, but also principles innovation and positive change. Additionally, Ridley has an amazing reputation and history to be proud of. I am proud to be a Ridleian because it makes me part of a community, which is very special to me and which nobody will be able to take from me.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

The aspect of Ridley that I like the most is the boarding. We, as boarders, and also day students, become a part of this wonderful community. I love this idea of living with friends, developing independence but also experiencing this alternative way of living. Especially the late-night conversations with friends, the spa nights or simply the sharing enhances this experience.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

I have made an enormous number of great experiences and memories in this past year, but one of the most incredible, is the service trip to Malawi. In addition to learning so many things and creating remarkable memories, this trip taught me a lot about life. It also helped me to create unique relationships with some of the students in the Jacaranda School, from our trip and with some of the adults and teachers of our trip.

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

Throughout the past year, I got to know a huge number of incredible girls in my boarding house, Gooderham West. The diversity in nationalities, talents and much more, is not only extremely inspiring but it makes each of us unique. I found so many friends in my house, but I can’t call them friends anymore: many of them are now my sisters. We live through every phase and emotion together, we support each other and if that means staying awake till late at night to comfort somebody you might not even be close friends with, so it is.

Being in a boarding house together just creates this connection and community. We are a big family and even though we might not know each other perfectly, it is comforting to know that there is this supporting light in some darker times.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I found a lot of new friends at Ridley and I got to know so many amazing and talented people. For me this is a personal accomplishment, since I came from a small school and never got to know many people. 

Also, I feel like I finally found a relatively balanced lifestyle that is suitable to my environment. 

Lastly, I developed many skills that I would have never dreamed of. If you had told me two years ago that I would actually enjoy playing ice hockey, a sport which is not very popular in Germany, I would have never believed it. But I tried it, and even though I am very far from good at it, I count it as a new skill and activity that I enjoy.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

I really enjoy being around so many of the faculty and staff members in different departments. From the cleaning ladies in my house, the security ladies, the sewing room ladies to all my teachers and other employees I have gotten to know, I feel like I established the most wonderful relationships with them, even if it is nothing too major. This is especially true with our former Assistant Head of House, Ms. Delaney, who helped me through a lot of personal and academic challenges and she was there for me whenever I needed a friend.

Also, several of my teachers, specifically Ms. Covent, gave me a lot of power and self-esteem throughout the year. She was very supporting with whatever I needed, and she taught me a lot of things, that are not only useful in our end-of-year exams, but life.

Lastly, I am very grateful for the health center team for being this steady rock of help whenever we students need it. They care so much about us students, not only physically but also mentally.

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

I am very excited about seeing great outcomes of certain events such as the organization of Snake Dance, some of the other dances or maybe even simple weekend activities. I am also extremely excited about working together with new departments of the school, that I am unfamiliar with until now, in order to make positive changes and see great outcomes.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

The biggest thing that Ridley prepared me for is that it encouraged me to take on challenges. Ever since I am in Ridley I am much braver, even about the most minor things, but this is an important life skill that Ridley gives to us by presenting us with so many opportunities. A good example of this is public speaking, which was a skill I simply just did not possess before, but now I challenge myself more and more and I try to overcome my fears.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t order too much food, even though everybody goes through that phase. It’s nice in the moment but your money is gone in a heartbeat!

Looking at a broader scope; always keep your spirits lifted and don’t get pulled down by something relatively insignificant, which won’t affect your life in the long term. High school tends to have a lot of unnecessary drama, but it is important to learn from it and overcome it.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Christopher H. ’20

Meet Christopher ’20 – a boarder from Barbados, who is truly grateful for his brothers in Merritt South and the caring environment the House has provided him. Read more to find out how Ridley’s diverse community has prepared him for the future.

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

I had never lived away from home before and I really enjoy being put out of my comfort zones to try new things. 

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am proud to be a Ridleian because there is a sense of community throughout the school that I was very welcome to. I also really like how involved everyone is with activities and helping out around the school.

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

My favorite part of Ridley is living so close to my friends, so that I can see them on weekends and participate in events together.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley memory was camp at the beginning of the school year, when I was able to meet so many new people and take part in the activities.

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

The best part of being in Merritt South is that the people are really great and it’s a very accepting and relaxed environment.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been becoming Prefect!

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

My favorite faculty member is my Assistant Head of House, Mr. Stephenson, because he is very funny and helps me out with advice whenever I need it.

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

I am most excited to be able to be around the firepit at Snake Dance, and to be involved and help out with all the school events. 

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me for my future by allowing me to interact with so many different people of different ideas and cultures. These interactions open my mind to different ways of thinking and let me experience diversity as well. I also now have a taste of what it’s like to live on my own.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would advise that although you may be afraid to live away from your family, enter a new school or even move countries, don’t be. If you put yourself out there and try new things, you’ll have so many new memories and even more opportunities. 

Get to Know Your Prefects: Brendan N. ’20

Meet Brendan ’20 – a proud member of Arthur Bishop East, who has embodied what it means to be consumed in service and knows the impact that giving back can have on someone. Read more about his passion for service, the arts and athletics.

Why were you most excited to attend Ridley when you first started?

Coming to Ridley, I was most excited about moving to the St. Catharines community because although my family roots are from Canada and we always spent summer vacations here, I had lived and gone to school overseas my whole life. When I first started, I was most excited about being part of the diverse and multicultural environment at Ridley.  Also, I knew I would be able to continue to pursue my interests in sports and music, but at the same time be challenged by a rigorous IB academic environment.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

As a Ridleian, I am proud of the contribution that Ridley makes to the community, and truly lives by its school motto, Terar Dum Prosim. I am very proud of the positive impact I have had on the children and community during the service opportunities I have had in Guatemala and Malawi over the past three years, and how well-respected Ridley was in contributing to their community.

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

My favorite part of Ridley life is definitely the athletic programme. Soccer has been my lifelong passion and having been a part of the First Boys soccer team for the past three years has been very important and beneficial throughout my Ridley experience. It has strengthened my friendships, my technical skills, as well as my resilience and determination. Furthermore, the integration between academics and athletics has been one of my favorite parts of Ridley life, as being able to balance both is an integral part of life at Ridley.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

Most of my favorite Ridley experiences come from school trips such as camp, service trips, sport tournaments and conferences. If I were to choose one, it would be the service trip to Malawi. For spring break in my Grade 10 and 11 years, I travelled to Malawi, Africa to help out at the Jacaranda School for Orphans. Not only did I feel pride in representing Ridley and embodying our school motto, but I was also able to learn a lot about life in Malawi and grow as a person.

What is the best part of being in your boarding House?

The best part of being a part of my boarding house is being able to have a place to call home and a group of housemates to share and relax with outside the school environment – my Ridley family. There’s a lot of positive recognition and support within the House. There is so much comradery within the House, and my favorite activities are the House competitions. Although they are friendly competitions, everyone wants to do the best to help their House achieve and win.  

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

Since I came to Ridley in Grade 9, I feel like I have had numerous accomplishments, whether it be in sports, academics and arts. However, I believe being chosen to be Prefect and represent the student body and school is the greatest achievement. I am gratified to be selected by peers and faculty as a leader in the community and hope to live up to my potential as a prefect. 

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

Throughout my years at Ridley, I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with faculty and staff across many areas such as academic, athletics, arts, and service. In each of their specialisms, they all excel in what they do, and they are always so open to sharing their thoughts and guidance with me to help me achieve my full potential. 

However, one teacher that I feel has played an important role during my time at Ridley is Mr. Burke. I have had Mr. Burke as a math teacher for 2 years, in addition to have gone on the service trip to Malawi with him twice. Through experiences in and out of the classroom, Mr. Burke has taught me an incredible amount.

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

From when I started at Ridley, I have witnessed many great ambitions of Prefects. As an upcoming Prefect, I am excited about starting new initiatives and continuing traditions. However, I am most excited about the Snake Dance because in my opinion, this ceremony marks the beginning of a new school year and brings the entire school community together for a unique Ridley tradition. It’s always very fun and allows all the students to be themselves and have a great and memorable night to start off the school year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley’s focus on well-roundedness through academics and a rigorous IB Diploma Programme, focus on health and fitness through its strong athletic programme, and opportunities to experience the arts has prepared me well across all facets of life. More importantly, the friendships and network that I have built will last a lifetime, and I know as a Ridleian, these connections will be invaluable. Ridley has also truly given me the opportunity to flourish both in the areas that I am already strong in, but also helped me develop my other skills.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would tell prospective students that Ridley provides you with so many opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and try new things that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience. Take advantage of that, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Build a strong network of diverse friends that will provide you with support throughout your years here and beyond. 

Ridleian Published in Medical Journal

Committed to his goal of one day becoming a medical doctor, Arnav Wadhawan ’19 seized the opportunity to contribute his summer research to a peer-reviewed medical journal and presented his findings at an international medical conference.

View Online Journal co-authored by Arnav.

Grade 12 student, Arnav’s motivation to turn to the field of medicine was undoubtedly inspired by his parents, both doctors, as well as other family members who have taken on the vocation of physicians. What ignited his specific interest for research in the field of infectious diseases was his volunteer work with Dr. Rajinder Bajwa from the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, in New York. Impressed by Arnav’s proactive approach to learning and his breadth of knowledge, Dr. Bajwa, an infectious disease specialist and doctor of internal medicine, asked the teen if he’d like to assist in compiling an article on Legionellosis—a term used to describe clinical manifestations of infection caused by the Legionella bacteria, which includes Legionnaires Disease, focal non-pulmonary infections and Pontiac Fever.

Arnav jumped at the opportunity and swiftly went to work, making this journal his summer 2018 focus. Beginning in July, Arnav dove deep into research on the subject—combing through articles on “Pub Med” and even using his father’s resources as an additional tool in gathering knowledge on the disease. After nearly two months of studying, writing and editing, and with Dr. Bajwa’s stamp of approval, Arnav’s work was submitted to a number of Medical Journals alongside Dr. Bajwa’s credentials, and the waiting game began.

Once an article is received by a Medical Journal, it was reviewed by an editorial committee to assess the validity of the work, the educational value in publishing and to determine if it aligned with the topics they are circulating. Arnav and Dr. Bajwa went through the editorial committee process twice, and on the second submission they received the exciting news that their review was going to be published by Juniper Publishing.

As it was my first publication, I was extremely thrilled as I thought the journey to my dreams had begun and my hard work over the summer has brought a reward. I could not have thanked my mentors enough for their help in the process. As soon as I got the news I called my mentor and expressed my gratitude to him. This has also encouraged me to do more during my breaks so that I can contribute to the field of medicine with my research.”                                          – Arnav Wadhawan ’19

This past October, Arnav was given the opportunity to present his findings at 2018 Medical Imaging and Case Reports Conference (MICRA 2018) in Baltimore, Maryland in Dr. Bajwa’s place. The senior Ridley student once again rose to the occasion and presented a case report on the right-sided infective endocarditis. Feeling comfortable with the material, Arnav took to the stage and presented in front of the international medical community, which included representation from Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University.

Arnav is committed to furthering his medical education, and is currently a research assistant in a study with Roche Pharmaceuticals. Through this experience, he is working on yet another publication for a medical journal. While he is unsure of what his post-secondary school of choice will be, he plans to remain dedicated to becoming a doctor. “I think what I have learned from this publication,” says Arnva, “is that time is one of the most important aspects of our lives and if utilized towards our goals it will bring us one step closer to achieving them.”

TURNING ADVERSITY INTO OPPORTUNITY

How one Ridleian overcame persecution and earned a full university scholarship to support his ambition to transform our globe.

It was nightfall when sixteen-year-old Asmatullah (Asmat) arrived at the Vancouver border in summer of 2017. He had just undertaken a solo journey from California to reach the Canadian land crossing after learning that the United States would no longer have him as a student. Thousands of miles from his home in Afghanistan and unable to return to his family, Asmat made the bold decision to seek refugee status and hope for a better future in the ‘Great White North’.

The original plan to study in North America had begun as an exciting prospect for Asmat. As a uniquely remarkable student, he accepted a scholarship to a military academy in California for his Grade 10 year. However, when his funding and student visa were revoked, he found himself in limbo between a country where he was no longer welcomed and a home nation that would suspect him a conspirator.

“If I hadn’t come to Canada and I hadn’t crossed the border that night, I would have returned back to Afghanistan and who knows if I’d be alive now,” reflects Asmat on what might have happened if things hadn’t gone to plan. Soon after arriving to Canada, he was connected with social services and provided with housing in Ontario, but as a minor he struggled to fulfill his basic needs without a legal guardian; Once walking himself to a public high school in East York, Toronto where he unsuccessfully attempted to enroll.

Enter Cory Miller, Guidance and University Counsellor at Branksome Hall (an all-girls CAIS independent school), who upon learning of the displaced teen’s story felt compelled to act. “Asmat and I first met on a sunny day at the Toronto waterfront and I took him to a Blue Jays game,” Miller recalls about their first encounter. “From our initial conversations and [seeing] his academic records, it was clear that he was very keen to continue his education,” adds the woman who became Asmat’s legal guardian only weeks after setting eyes on him. “It was an opportunity to help someone who clearly has so much potential, it felt like a very easy decision to make. Helping a Muslim refugee in this day and age of growing xenophobia felt like my small gesture of social justice.”

Asmat and Cory meeting for the first time at a Toronto Blue Jays home game.

Partnering with Asmat and his parents back in Afghanistan, Cory swiftly reached out to her colleagues at fellow independent schools to see if anyone would be willing to welcome an additional boarder on short notice. Cory knew the school would need to be able to support Asmat’s talents and ambitions so one of her initial calls was to Julie Cameron, Director of Admissions at Ridley College who says she clearly recalls being profoundly moved by Asmat’s story because it harkened back to Ridley’s deep service-oriented mentality. “Asmat is an example of why we do what we do as educators,” Julie underscores. With the support of Headmaster Kidd, Asmat was soon accepted to Ridley College as a late addition to Dean’s House residence.

Prefect-led Pep Rally on Opening Day 2018

In less than a full academic year, Asmat began to soar. He enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, learned his fifth language, became an active member of Cadet Corps leadership, went on a service trip to Malawi, joined clubs committed to human rights, took up rowing as well as Model U.N. and Debating. It’s no wonder then that his peers voted him in as Prefect for the 2018-19 academic year.

“Coming to Ridley…everything exceeded my expectations; from the diversity in the community to studying with such an amazing and smart cohort and from the volume of opportunities available to academic intensity at the school especially with the IB programme,” he said enthusiastically about his first year at Ridley. “I felt overwhelmed in the beginning, but with support that I got from the faculty, staff and my friends, I was able to take on every challenge, thrive and have fun.”

On a promising trajectory already and working with Ridley’s University and Guidance Counsellor, Michael Maki, post-secondary institutions began to take notice of Asmat’s undeniable potential. In mid-February 2019 one university in particular stepped up to make this new Canadian’s dreams come true. While on what he believed was a Huron University campus tour and interview with its President, Dr. Barry Craig, Asmat was surprised with acceptance and a full, four-year undergraduate scholarship—the largest in the school’s history.

Hear from Asmat about his experience at Ridley and excitement for Huron University.

Beaming even days following the news and in his consistently humble way, Asmat reports that he has decided to pursue a double-major, combining Leadership, Governance and Ethics with Economics. He also plans to study photography while obtaining a business certificate in from Harvard University. “I want to get into politics [and] I’m committed to transforming our globe because I believe in equity and equity of opportunity for everyone and currently that does not exist…it’s just going to open the door for much development in this world,” the soon-to-be Ridley graduate explains. He elaborates that his intended studies are all to support his vision of one day working with the United Nations as a part of the security council or on peace-keeping missions oversees. “I think Asmat definitely has the makings of a statesman, he cares about mankind and improving circumstances for all of humanity. He has the intellectual and social skills to plan strategically, negotiate policy, and hopefully peace in the Middle East. He articulates that aspiration regularly,” Cory reinforces.

“What’s most inspiring about Asmat is not just his list of accomplishments and achievements, but also his positive outlook on life in spite of the challenges he has faced on his journey,” says Headmaster Ed Kidd, adding, “He should be an example of resilience and perseverance to us all.  As a community we are so proud of him and I am confident he will continue to flourish (and inspire others to flourish) at Huron.”

Headmaster Kidd and Julie Cameron welcoming Asmat to Ridley College.

Asmat isn’t shy in expressing his gratitude to Ridley College, Huron University (and of course, Cory) for providing him with educational opportunities he wouldn’t otherwise had. “For me Ridley is far more than just a place where I go to school. Ridley is an experience. Apart from the academic skills and knowledge that I have acquired at Ridley, my experience at Ridley has helped me grow spiritually and find my real self in many different ways. Ridley has taught me how to handle my emotions and fight till the end, until I succeed.”

“If you are looking for somewhere to flourish and grow Ridley is the right place for you.” – Asmat ’19

Shailynn Snow ’19 Named to Team Canada Roster

It is with great excitement that we announce Shailynn Snow ’19 has been named to Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 hockey team. The 23-player roster will travel to Obihiro, Japan this coming January to compete at the 2019 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.

Hailing from Bay Roberts, Newfoundland, the 18-year forward has spent the past three seasons playing for Ridley College’s Prep Girls hockey team, which competes in the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL) under Head Coach, Amanda Wark.

“Shailynn is one of the most elite student-athletes in our country, which is a result of her hard work and desire to be the best she can possibly be. Shay has the ability to single-handedly change the outcome of any game she is in. She is a great leader both on and off the ice and has gained the respect of her teammates and opponents alike. Making Team Canada is a huge honour for her, and one that she has worked for every day. To see this come true for her is rewarding for everyone involved.” – Amanda Wark, Head Coach

This is the second time in her career that Snow will proudly wear the maple leaf as she also appeared in two of three showcase games played between the National Women’s Under-18 Team and the United States Under-18 squad this past summer.

“My time spent at Ridley has not only helped me develop as a player, but also a person. The support I have received during my time here has encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent my country and look forward to joining my new teammates in late December.” – Shailynn Snow ‘19

Upon graduation from Ridley College this spring, Shailynn will continue her academic and athletic endeavors on a full scholarship to St. Lawrence University to compete in the NCAA.

Canada will open the 2019 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship against Sweden on January 5th at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. The schedule also has Canada matching up against the United States and Russia to round out the preliminary round on January 7th and 8th, respectively. The gold medal game is set to take place at 3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT on Sunday, January 13th.

Read more about Shailynn in The Western Star.

About Ridley College:
Since 1889, Ridley College has provided enriching educational experiences focused on the arts, academics, service and athletics. With 700 students from 63 countries, Ridley is a truly international, coeducational, day and boarding school. In recent years, the school has become the Canadian leader in positive education. The Lower School offers JK to Grade 8 classes, while its Upper School consists of Grade 9-12.  Ridley is an International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school, with graduates who attend top universities and colleges around the globe.