Category Archives: Upper School

Making Global Connections on Exchange

Making global connections is an important part of Ridley life. To not only meet and interact with those from around the world, but to also be able to experience and understand other cultures allows our students to become global citizens.

This term, Ridley welcomed ten exchange students, from Australia and South Africa. For many of our visiting exchange students, it was the first time they would be experiencing Canada and life at a boarding school. Although they are only part way through their exchanges, they have already made unforgettable memories to return home with.

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“Although Ridley originally seemed like a very intimidating school, I am now learning that it is very loving and fun environment that I’ll be sad to leave. The teachers and the students have all been very welcoming and so far, my first two weeks have been great. “

Ashleigh Bakin
Tara Anglican School for Girls, Sydney, Australia

“My last two months at Ridley have been hectic, exuberant and absolutely memorable. I still remember my first few days and weeks here vividly, it somehow seems like forever ago and just yesterday simultaneously… All the students at Ridley are diverse and individual, everyone here comes from different corners of the world, from a miscellaneous array of countries, identifying as a variety of different cultures with complex identities. I am so thankful that I received the opportunity for this exchange, without this opportunity there are so many amazing people that are now in my life that I would have otherwise never crossed paths with.”

Zara Paleologos
Abbotsleigh School, Sydney, Australia

“Making the decision to come on exchange has definitely been amongst the best decisions of my life. It has been such an amazing experience so far, and there is still plenty of time to go! Not only coming on exchange that was such a good decision but coming to Canada was too. It has been such a pleasure to get to know all of these amazing people and experience all of these enjoyable things.”

Tom Bell
The King’s School, Sydney, Australia

The experience had on an exchange can be life changing, and can open up a world of opportunities for the participating students. For the ten visiting students this year, Ridley has given them a place to make connections with students from beyond Canada, and create memories from experiences they may not have otherwise had.

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. We wish safe travels to both our students and our visitors, and we hope they have a rewarding experience abroad.

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

Students Shine at Fulford Cup Debate

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Each year, the speaking arts at Ridley continues to grow, and with it, so do our students. With each debate, speech, or presentation, our Ridleians continue to develop the skills and confidence to succeed, while exploring and seeking answers to global issues. During the first debate of the year, our Ridleians put these very skills to the test,  and returned home with a trophy in hand.

On November 4th – 5th, Ridley students participated in the first Fulford Cup debate of the season, hosted by Lakefield College School. The Fulford League is comprised of 20 independent schools throughout Ontario, and a number of Fulford Cup debates occur each year. These events offer students the chance to meet, compete and grow with their peers, as the year progresses.

For this most recent debate, there were two prepared rounds on the topic of whether vaccinations should be mandatory, followed by an impromptu round on whether we should continue to fund space exploration.

Junior debaters, Bart Skala ‘19 (placed 6th individually) and Jared Sloan ‘19 (placed 8th individually) won the Fulford Cup with impressive performances, placing first overall as a team. This is the first time Ridley has won the Fulford League Bryan Jones Trophy since the 1999-2000 season.

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Seniors, Jack Richardson ‘17 (placed 4th individually) and Zane Gourzong ’18 (placed 18th individually) finished 5th as a team, in the challenging cross-examination category. This was the first competitive debate for Zane and an impressive start to his debate involvement. Jack demonstrated his experience by placing 4th overall, earning his second consecutive Fulford certificate. Our students represented Ridley well; demonstrating their dedication, talent and team work. The coaches, Andrew Leach, Sean MacPherson, and Paul O’Rourke are encouraged by the development of this year’s debate members and look forward to their next debate. The competitive calendar has just started and new students are always welcomed.

The Ridley Debating Society would like to take this time to acknowledge the generous support of W. Darcy McKeough ’51 and the W. Darcy McKeough ’51 Fund, which helps develop the speaking arts at Ridley – debate, public speaking, and model United Nations.

Want to support the speaking arts? The 2016 annual Upper School Public Speaking Competition will be held on Wednesday, November 30th, at 1:00p.m. in the Mandeville Theatre. We encourage all members of the Ridley community to attend this long standing Ridley tradition and cheer on the participants.

– Paul O’Rourke, MYP Coordinator, Department of Social Sciences (LS)

 

Making World Connections Through Service Learning

With Hank

This past week, Ridley was honoured to welcome Marie Da Silva, the founder of The Jacaranda School in Malawi, Africa and 2008 CNN Hero, to campus to share her mission and inspiring story. This visit marked the beginning of what we hope will be a strong relationship between our schools.

The Story of Jacaranda School

After losing fourteen family members to HIV, Marie Da Silva felt compelled to devote her life to improving conditions for orphans in Malawi; many who are impacted by the AIDS epidemic and poverty. In Marie’s eyes, the key to making a difference was to offer these children an education, nutrition, home support and proper health care.

In order to set her philanthropic plan in motion, Marie first needed a source of funding. To finance the early Jacaranda School – which was started out of her childhood home – Marie took post as a nanny in Los Angeles, California. For years, she sent the majority of her wages back to Malawi and little by little brought her passion to realization. After her mother agreed to allow Marie to use her home as a basic school house, Marie set to work seeking support, student teachers and materials.

Over the years since the Jacaranda School was simply a hope, it has developed into a place where orphans and young students come to realize a better life.  The developing, multi-building school now has more than 400 students enrolled. These young boys and girls (50/50 male and female population) often walk more than an hour to attend school each day.

Marie has worked selflessly to ensure that basic needs are met so that students, can focus on learning, reach post-secondary studies and break free from constraints. She has incorporated a fully staffed heath clinic where HIV medicines are dispensed, provides two nutritious meals of porridge daily, has four libraries, offers micro-loans to mothers so they may earn for their families, and also provides a nurturing safe-haven where children are distinctively supported. Most amazingly it only costs roughly $20 CDN per month to educated a student, provide him or her with nutrition and HIV medications.

A Ridley Connection

After being named a CNN Hero in 2008, Marie received well-earned recognition for her work in her home country. Marie and the Jacaranda School is now even receiving the support of global figures, such as Madonna.  Marie’s selfless dedication caught the attention of Mr. Rob Burke. Mr. Burke, Ridley teacher and CAS coordinator, has known Marie for seven years and has made 12 trips to Malawi. While at the Shanghai American School, Mr. Burke was actively involved with volunteering and organizing support for the Jacaranda School. He distinctly recalls a friend of his describing Marie as, “a woman with inner steel, wrapped in silk, with a heart three sizes too big,” with which he wholeheartedly agrees.

Marie expressed that she thoroughly enjoyed meeting students and staff at Ridley College and appreciated the warmth and kindness shown to her while she was here. The mutual feeling of gratitude and respect was obvious.

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“Meeting Marie Da Silva and being involved with The Jacaranda School has changed the course of my life and possibly for more than 250 students that have experienced the magic of Jacaranda.” – Mr. Rob Burke

Mr. Burke’s dedication to The Jacaranda School and Foundation was recently acknowledged, as he was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. This prestigious award, which he will be presented by the Governor General of Canada, is given to an individual who has significantly contributed to a local or global community.  We hope Ridleians will congratulate Mr. Burke and be motivated by his example.

March Break Service-Learning Trip

Upper School students will have an opportunity to make a difference and contribute when Ridley makes its inaugural visit to The Jacaranda School over March break. This service-learning trip will take place March 9th–25th, 2017.  Registrants will have an opportunity to experience, first-hand, how Marie’s lifelong mission has improved the lives of so many in her home country. If students are interested in joining this trip, please contact Mr. Rob Burke before November 15th at rob_burke@ridleycollege.com.  A limited number of spots are available.

If you would like to make a donation to The Jacaranda Foundation, please visit http://www.jacarandafoundation.org/.

 

 

 

 

Students Explore the World of Visual Art on Annual Fieldtrip

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On Tuesday, October 18th, the Grade 9 Visual Arts classes ventured beyond the Marriott Gates, to explore visual arts in a new, interactive environment.

To begin their day, the students travelled to the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH). The AGH is Southwestern Ontario’s oldest and largest public art gallery, and contains over 10,000 works of art. During their morning visit, students explored the gallery’s collection with the help of their guides, and examined how artists employ composition strategies and perspective in a variety of media. Highlights of the tour included a special exhibit on the progression of sculpture since the French Baroque period, and Canadian abstraction.  Following the tour, students worked independently to develop a series of drawings and journal entries in their sketchbooks, connecting what they’ve learned during their visit, to their inclass studies.

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The afternoon was spent at the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC), where students explored drawing and painting en plein air. The weather was warm and sunny, and a blustery “breeze” kept us all on our toes! The fall foliage was at its peak, and students created observational drawing studies of leaves, and watercolor landscape paintings.

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Now that the students have returned to the classroom, they begin their unit assessment project, Perspective in the Landscape. Their recent field experiences and newfound knowledge of artistic techniques and media will aid them as they work toward completing their project.

– Katie Marrone, Department of Visual Arts

Ridleian Wins We Charity Youth Award

Photography by Linda Roy/Ireva Photography, http://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/community-and-current-events/article/2016-me-to-we-winner-xavier-west
Photography by Linda Roy/Ireva Photography, http://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/community-and-current-events/article/2016-me-to-we-winner-xavier-west

Ridleian, Xavier West ’20 has been a dedicated advocate for Me to We since he was only 10 years old. Me to We (formerly Free the Children) is an organization that sets out to empower youth to change the world. Once Xavier discovered Me to We, a fire ignited within him to make a difference.

When he was younger, Xavier would frequently listen to Me to We cofounder, Craig Kielburger, as he recalled stories of his service trips to poverty-stricken communities. Hearing these stories inspired Xavier to see what he could do to help. It began small; asking not for toys at Christmas, but for a goat to be given to a family in need – A goat can provide a family in the developing world with both a sustainable source of income and nutritious milk. Xavier realized that while he had all the toys he could ever want, a roof over his head, and a full fridge, there was a family somewhere in the world that didn’t share the same luxuries.

It was then that Xavier’s goal grew and he set out to complete all five pillars of Me to We giving. The five pillars are education, water, health, food and opportunity. Each pillar contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty in developing communities around the world. The first pillar on Xavier’s list was education. Xavier was determined to raise enough money to build a school in Kenya.

He remained devoted and inspired for the four years of his fundraising campaign, even attending the Take Action Camp, where he was able to interact with like-minded individuals share his story, and see where he community service could take him. After selflessly collecting cans, hosting garage sales and rallying his family, friends and the community to help him reach his goal, Xavier raised $11,000. The collected funds were used to build a school in Kenya from start to finish, which Xavier also helped build on site. For this Grade 9 student, this was a chance to see the impact he was making on these communities and gave him the opportunity to experience, first-hand, what his fundraising efforts had accomplished.

Xavier says the most touching moment of his trip was meeting a mother, who showed him and his family what life was like in her community; taking them on a water walk, showing them her goats, and taking them to her home, which she built herself.

“The way she was talking was just so inspirational…she says this magnificent house – that isn’t that big – is amazing, and yet we’re worried about the luxuries that we have, that aren’t even close to what they have.” – Xavier West ’20

When Xavier returned home, the summer was nearing its end and he was about to begin the next chapter of his life – high school. This transition is a big step for students, made even bigger by the fact that Xavier would also be beginning his Ridley journey. ¬Xavier wanted to attend Ridley for the exceptional education that the school could provide, but upon arriving, he realized that this was also a place he could further his commitment to action and service. With Ridley’s own commitment to service, each House on campus is associated with a charitable organization that they support and raise funds for over the course of the school year. Through this programme, Xavier discovered how he could impact his local community, in addition to his efforts abroad. For a student so dedicated to transforming the globe, Ridley was the perfect fit.

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On October 19th, Xavier was presented with the We Charity Youth Award during the 12th annual We Day. This award is given to a child, aged 13-17, who has contributed to Me to We and the fight to end poverty in an inspiring way. In addition to his acknowledgement on stage, winning this award means that Xavier will be able to experience another service trip and he’s setting his sights on Nicaragua.

Xavier’s journey does not end there. He plans to continue to complete all five pillars; doing his part to contribute to Kenya’s food sustainability, clean water availability, health care, and income opportunities, followed by aiding all of Me to We communities.

“My end goal is to do all five pillars in every community that Me to We is associated with.” – Xavier West ’20

To students who are seeking inspiration to make an impact of their own, Xavier says this:

“Do something you’re passionate about. It doesn’t matter whether the cause is big or small, they’re all important. There are so many problems in this world and if we all help, maybe one day all these problems can be solved.” – Xavier West ’20

Read the Canadian Living article.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Shaun D. ’17

Introducing Shaun Donnelly ’17 – a Prefect who learned the value of Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.19.48 AMspontaneity and risk-taking during her time at Ridley. Read how she grew and discovered who she is by stepping out of her comfort zone.

Why did you choose Ridley?

Three of my older siblings attended Ridley before me, which made me very aware of the incredible range of opportunities, programmes, and facilities that would be available to me. This is the main reason why I chose to enroll; though the sunny and college-like atmosphere of the campus was also very appealing.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I did have some sense going into Grade 9 (my first year at Ridley) that it would be quite the challenge and a significant step-up from elementary school, but I figured I would eventually adapt to the extra demands. I didn’t feel prepared, but I felt prepared to be unprepared. 

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite teacher is passionate, committed, patient, enthusiastic, wise, entertaining, and treats teaching as a vocation. To be completely honest, I really can’t pick one because they’re all like that.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

The greatest challenge I have faced thus far at Ridley was the transition from Grade 10 to full International Baccalaureate (IB). Going into Grade 11 (year one of IB) I knew that balancing the added demands of IB, such as an even more rigorous curriculum, night classes, and the extended essay – along with being a member of the rowing team – would be a lot to manage. This schedule was indeed very overwhelming at the start, but the skills and knowledge that I acquired by working through this challenge made it more than worth it.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? 

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley has been my development into the person I am today. My personality going into Grade 9 was very simple; I was very shy and obsessed with perfection… The prospect of me ever even applying for prefectship seemed absolutely absurd in my mind at the time. Throughout the past three years, I have been forced outside of my comfort zone and humbled by the increased difficulty of my classes and athletic pursuits. I tried a number of new things, such as debate team, Mandarin class, and meditation, and discovered new passions (computer programming and rowing). These experiences taught me the value of spontaneity and risk-taking. Even if your leap of faith turns out to be a total failure, you’ll certainly learn something or at least have some fun trying.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My absolute favourite Ridley experience has been rowing. I joined the rowing team in Grade 10, and despite all of the sore muscles and blisters, it has been incredibly fun. The rowing team is like one big, crazy family; through training together, sometimes between three and four hours a day, we have become so close. Highlights of my Ridley rowing experience have been travelling to Miami for our annual March break training camp and to Philadelphia to race in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta – the world’s largest high school regatta.

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What is your favourite part of Ridley life? 

My favourite part of Ridley life is the diversity. Having friends from all over the world is truly fascinating and enlightening. In a world riddled with conflicts and prejudice surrounding cultural and racial differences, it’s refreshing to see such a diverse population living together in this little community, becoming as close as family.

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

I am most excited to use this position of influence to serve as a role model for younger students and show them the value of taking advantage of all that Ridley has to offer. Of course, Prefects do get to do a few especially fun things. Of these, I was most excited to light the fire and lead the cheering at Snake Dance. 

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How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has molded me into a person who I hope could survive quite well under the wrath of the “real world”, and I attribute this development to the ongoing challenge that is the rigorous Ridley schedule and its high-functioning environment. I was forced to break out of my shyness, taught the value of professionalism, and encouraged to develop a certain boldness, that I see serving me well in all kinds of situations. I learned the importance of preparedness, but also came to understand the role that feeling and seeming confident plays in success, even in times when one does not feel completely prepared.

What are your plans after graduation?

Following graduation next year, I want to study computer science and economics. I hope to then go on to work at and eventually manage a computer software company. In terms of extracurricular activities, I hope to be a member of my new university’s lightweight women’s rowing team and continue to pursue my passion for improving the well-being of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The simple advice that I would give to anybody thinking of coming to Ridley is to go for it; and once you’re here, you have to maintain that “go for it” attitude. Ridley has so much to offer, but you will only get out of it what you put into it. This being said, be sure not to spread yourself too thin by committing to too many different things, which can be very tempting in such a busy place.

Get to Know Your Prefects – Helen W. ‘17

Introducing Helen Wang ’17 – a Prefect from China,  who discoveredScreen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.51.24 AM her skills and strengths during her time at Ridley. Read how she stepped out of her comfort zone and began to flourish. 

Why did you choose Ridley?

I first discovered Ridley when I did research on school choices near Toronto. Ridley College popped up and it obviously attracted my attention with its goal of providing a balanced student life. The appearance of the school is a bonus. There were many other reasons I chose Ridley, and it is certain that I chose it because I liked it.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

It is hard to say if you are prepared or not, when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. However, the choice was my own choice, so I wasn’t feeling unprepared in accepting new culture but I was feeling nervous, for sure.

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Mr. Gordon. Mr. Gordon taught me German in Grade 9 and my International Baccalaureate course, and Spanish in Grade 10. His attitude towards learning and teaching is always very positive and encouraging, so much that he brings out my interest in studying foreign languages. Due to his unique style of teaching, I did not feel overwhelmed about learning another two languages, on top of learning English, but rather, I survived pretty well during the past three years.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I would say managing time. Although I am very confident in time management, my schedule is busy enough that there will always be a time when I forgot to do something (for example this Prefect Profile). Every one lives a full life at Ridley, and school life certainly trains us to manage our schedule and goals. The gain is generous, but we definitely need to first survive a busy school life.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

Becoming Prefect is an accomplishment, but my improvement in English is the greatest one… I took the challenge and I knew I had to be more open to new ways of learning here in Canada, and now, I am the top three in IB English learning. I can see my development thus far and I cherished it.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

I would say travelling overseas for a Habitat for Humanity trip with my schoolmates… Friendships were also made very easily during these trips, and who wouldn’t be willing to help those families.

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What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

Although the school has planned most of your schedule, you still get chances to add your own interests. There are lots of extracurricular activities at Ridley that students can be a part of, and many courses allow you to form deeper connections, that not only help build a successful school life but also a more successful career when we enter society (ex. CAS project).

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

To be a part of school activity planning! I’ve always wanted to be a part of the school year decision making, and I am so excited that now I can take the responsibility of it.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

It taught me many skills in life; it especially changed my mind about grades being everything and the only goal is to have a higher grade. I know that athletics are equally as important and my self-recognition and intellectual development is also important.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go to the U.S. for university – an Ivy League school is my goal. I am also planning a one-month long trip or even longer after my graduation to travel around the world; experiencing different cultures, and enjoying some final relaxation before getting into the competitive university life.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t ever be afraid of new stuff, because you can never stop learning at Ridley. If you can’t change the environment, the environment will change you, and you definitely are and will be better than you think. Finally, “You don’t have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good”