Category Archives: Upper School Trips

Students connect with nature during the annual frog watching field trip

In order to live flourishing lives, students must learn the importance of contributing to the community. They must strive to develop meaningful partnerships and connections that will support them throughout their journey. These contributions and connections have a positive impact on everyone and everything around them.

On the evening of Friday, April 22nd, a group of Grade 9 geography students ventured to the Burgoyne Outdoor Education and Research Centre (BOERC). Connecting with their peers and contributing to the restoration of our environment was an important part of this learning experience.

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In partnership with the FrogWatch Ontario Programme, our students participated in a national initiative that allows students to contribute to Environment Canada’s biodiversity database, specifically, data relating to frogs and toads. Coinciding with Earth Day, it was a perfect way to connect with and give back to nature and our community.

During their investigation, the students were asked to record a number of observations and conduct a number of tests. As the summative component of their ‘Amphibians as Bio-indicators’ unit, the students had to record the weather and water conditions, such as wind speed, cloud cover, water quality and temperature. This data was submitted alongside their observations. Ridleians then spent the evening collecting observational data and spent several hours listening for species of frogs and toads that are native to Ontario. Data such as this helps scientists determine positive and negative population trends, range and distribution of species and can help track climate change. It was a perfect night for frog watching and the students collected an abundance of data, which was then sent to Environment Canada where it will be used to help monitor climate change.

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This annual trip allows students to connect with nature, contribute to the community and strengthen partnerships with their classmates. Field trips like this – ones that extend beyond on the classroom and provide an interactive learning experience that connects to a bigger picture – are essential to the Ridley framework.

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Ridleians are Inspired at Born to Lead Conference

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”

– Jack Welch

Ridley strives to instill, in each student, the confidence to passion and the resiliency needed to overcome obstacles and forge onwards with determination. Students are encouraged to accept new challenges, risk failure and develop grit. We hope that with these skills, our Ridleians will go on to lead flourishing lives.

On April 18th, 2016, four Ridleians and their chaperone, Ms. Wendy Pak, spent the day among empowering women at the Born to Lead Youth Leadership Conference (Born to Lead or B2L Conference). While at the conference, these students were motivated to pursue their goals and were given the tools needed to achieve and succeed in their post-secondary careers. Closely aligning with Ridley’s values, this event would show our students that with determination comes success. Sandy Chen, Aribi Iwo-Brown, Lotus Liu and Helen Wang are all International Baccalaureate One (IB1) students, and were keen to attend the conference.

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“It [was] a great opportunity for our aspiring female business entrepreneurs to learn from women leaders in the business.”

– Ms. Wendy Pak

Born to Lead presents an opportunity for young women to explore the possibilities that await them in the world of business. Geared towards emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, attendees can participate in an array of workshops. Some of which focus on leadership and personal development, and some that provide insight on potential career paths. These young leaders also have the chance to interact with delegates from the Women in Leadership and Business Conference and listen to an inspiring keynote address.

This year’s keynote speaker was six-time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate, Clara Hughes. Clara shared her story; from her time as an high-performance athlete, to her struggles with mental health. Although the Ridleians in attendance had never heard Clara’s story, her moving journey impacted them greatly.

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“I really liked Clara Hughes’s speech. She [taught] us that women should stand up, be strong and keep going. I really enjoyed my time at the conference.”

– Lotus Liu ‘17

In the afternoon, our Ridleians sat down with some of the delegates from the Women in Leadership and Business Conference. This session, titled “Perspectives”, was meant to bridge the gap between different age groups and career stages. Students who are just discovering the world of business and leadership were able to discuss topics (such as generation stereotypes and workplace projects) with established professionals. It was an opportunity for both groups to gain insight and inspiration from one another.

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“One thing I learned at the conference is ‘you are the only one who can determine your limits.’ So, never stop; keep pursuing.”

– Helen Wang ‘17

The Born to Lead conference was a place to discover the opportunities that await those who are willing to work to reach their dreams.

“We got to meet some amazing, accomplished and inspiring people like Clara Hughes. We learned so much about our next steps which we didn’t already know. It was such an enlightening opportunity.”

– Aribi Iwo-Brown ‘17

Ridley is proud to be a co-educational school, with 47% of our student population made up of females. With our student-led groups such as Positive Space and Days for Girls our students can be a part of the global conversation about gender equality. With events such as Born to Lead, our students can discover the importance of resiliency, grit, determination and confidence.

As the annual Born to Lead Youth Leadership Conference came to a close, our Ridleians left feeling more confident and motivated to pursue a career in business. We hope that they keep this experience and the lessons they learned with them as they travel down their career paths.

Students Build Hope During Service Trip to Guatemala

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For 18 students, this March break was about commitment, making a difference and proudly practicing Ridley’s motto: Terar dum prosim ­– May I be consumed in service. This group of students travelled 3344 kilometers from St. Catharines to Guatemala. Accompanied by their chaperones, Mr. Dave Costello, Ms. Allison Harding, Ms. Carla D’Annibale and Ridley parent, Ms. Kim Arnold, the students spent eight days working with the Doppenbergs and their organization known as The DIG.

The Doppenbergs moved to Guatemala six years ago and have since dedicated their lives to helping those living in poverty. Their most recent project has been The School of Hope in El Progreso, Guatemala. This school, when complete, will give students with special learning needs a place to grow. “The School of Hope will be the first of its kind in the region, and will provide access to education for students who typically would not be able to go to school,” says Ms. Allison Harding, Intermediate Teacher. The School of Hope is set to open in early 2017 and our Ridleians spent the week making progress on its construction.

The students began their trip with a visit to El Salitrillo, the first village that the Doppenbergs began working with when they made their move from the Niagara region. While visiting, our Ridleians had the chance to play with some of the local children and visit the school that was constructed by The DIG last year. For some students, this was a chance to revisit the school they’d help build during the 2015 service trip. For the others, it was a chance to see what would become of this year’s project. After an inspirational first day in Guatemala, the students were ready to get started!

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Their first day on the work site was a tough, but rewarding day. The students spent several hours making progress on  The School of Hope. Laying cement and tying rebar was difficult work, but the students were happy to assist in any way they could. In the afternoon, the students visited the nursery run by the Doppenbergs. This nursery helps provide sustainable nutrition to Guatemalans living in El Progreso. Our students helped plant peppers and moringa trees (a plant that provides an incredible amount of nutrition), fill soil bags and place soil around the nursery. After a long day, Ridleians were able to look back and see all that they had already accomplished.

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“The work we did at the site was rather tedious but we managed to get a tremendous amount of work done… I am definitely looking forward to tomorrow”

– Nnamdi Chibuzor ‘21

For the rest of the week, the students continued to help in the nursery and make progress on The School of Hope. Over the course of only a few days, the students could see that they were having a positive impact on the community.

As the end of the trip approached, the students went back to El Salitrillo. The Doppenbergs had spent the last couple of years working on a way to bring clean water to the village. Before the system was completed, the villagers had to walk to a spring, located 15 minutes away, through rough terrain, where they would fill buckets with water and then have to trudge back through the path. Our Ridleians participated in a “water walk” to experience the challenging task that these villagers had to endure multiple times a day.

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“This was an eye-opening experience that undoubtedly left us all with a much greater appreciation for the clean drinking water that we have easy access to at home.”

– Ms. Allison Harding, Intermediate Teacher

The week had flown by, and after days spent working tirelessly, time spent exploring Guatemala and an experience of a lifetime, it was time to say goodbye. As our Ridleians left Guatemala and made the journey back home, they were asked to reflect on their experiences and how it had impacted them. It was clear that in only a week, these students had grown attached to Guatemala and the people who inhabit it. For many, it ignited a fire within them to do all they can to help those in need.

“This trip made me grateful for all that I have…. I hope to come again.”

– Paloma Moragrega ‘20

“I can’t stop thinking about how these two trips have impacted me as a person. I believe that I have grown as a person because of the experience I was able to have.”

– Sarah McCleary ‘19

“This trip had an impact on everyone in many different ways. We were able to see Guatemala from a perspective that most people aren’t able to experience and because of this, are able to learn and grow from it. This will truly be an experience that everyone won’t forget. From arriving on March 10th to departing on March 17th, everyone will surely be able to bring this story back home, spread the word and bring back even more people for next year.”

– Jasmyn Traboulay-Drach ‘19

Each year, these service trips give students the opportunity to experience what life can be like in the developing parts of the world. It is a humbling and enriching experience, that many Ridleians keep with them for the rest of their lives. We can’t wait to see what next year will hold and what opportunities will arise for our students to make a difference.

If you would like to donate to The DIG and help them complete The School of Hope, please click here.

Ridley’s Model U.N. and Politics Club heads to Washington, D.C.

During the February break, a group of students from the Ridley Model U.N. and Politics Club travelled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the 53rdNorth American Invitational Model United Nations (NAIMUN LIII), hosted by the Georgetown International Relations Association. The group consisted of Philip Brenninkmeyer Noel Cousins, Caitlin Hyland, Alex Jones, Gracie Lowes, Daniel O’Rourke and Jesse Wydman, chaperoned by coaches, Mr. Hutton and Mr. O’Rourke.

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NAIMUN is a conference that offers students the opportunity to interact with like minded individuals by taking on the rolls of international diplomats, members of parliament, ministers, Catholic cardinals and even CIA operatives.  All of this occurs as part of respective conferences and committees that students are assigned to prior to the conference. Ridley students conducted extensive research in preparation for their assignments, which included: the International Atomic Energy Agency, the British House of Commons, the 2012 Chinese Cabinet, the 2012 Papal Conclave and The CIA, post 9/11.

The conference featured over 3000 delegates which, while being mainly from North American schools, sported nationalities from all over the globe. This offered opportunities for friendships (that extended past the borders of Ridley and Canada) to develop. Each committee or council offered its own challenges. Some councils consisted of almost 150 students, while others were made up of as little as 18 students. This meant a varied experience for each student, that may have required intense lobbying to get one’s idea heard over the crown or using their expertise to guide one’s council to the solution of a complex, nuanced political issue. Regardless of the challenge, the Ridley team used the skills it had developed in their weekly meetings, as well as its research in order to stick out from the crowd; prospering and often succeeding in its endeavors.

While the conference schedule was quite rigorous in its nature, it also allowed time for the team to spend exploring the magnificent city of Washington, D.C. Arriving just a few hours before the beginning of the conference, students managed to get a special tour of the U.S. Capitol and Senate offices. The tour included a ride on the Senate subway, which allows for fast and secure transport between offices and the capitol. It was on the subway that students met the president of the Senate and the longest serving U.S. Senator, Orrin Hatch. The group even managed to get a quick picture with him.

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While visiting Washington D.C., the group also visited the Polish Embassy, the oldest serving embassy building in the country.  The building has remained in service, by no means from a lack of newer real estate, but instead, due to its architectural beauty.  Included below are pictures taken at the embassy that sported fabulous paintings wherever space was not already being occupied by the beautiful interior architecture.

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The group also had the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), located only a stone’s throw away (they will tackle you if you throw stones) from the White House. After the end of the conference on Sunday, students even got to take in a show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The show was a classic who-done-it, in which the audience guesses the killer, and the oldest running show in the United States, Shear Madness. Our final night in Washington was spent visiting the Lincoln Memorial as well as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

All in all, the trip offered students the chance to use some of their hard-earned research, lobbying and debating skills acquired over the year in Model U.N., and also provided the opportunity to see how the U.S. government functions and explore the heritage of the United States. The Politics Model U.N. Club looks forward to more great opportunities in the future. The trip was made possible through the generosity of the parents of the students involved, as well as the W. Darcy McKeough’51 Fund supporting Speaking Arts at Ridley College. We are most grateful for the support.

– Philip Brenninkmeyer ‘16

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.

Students braved the cold on the annual dogsledding trip

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Each year, a group of Ridleians venture north for a weekend of adventure on the annual dogsledding trip. This trip is offered to participants of the Duke of Ediburgh’s Award, and helps the students not only receive their medals but also experience an opportunity of a lifetime with their friends, connect with nature and witness the beauty of Canada.

On February 11th, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group, comprised of 17 students and their chaperones, Mr. Clyde Dawson and Ms. Caleigh Flagg, left for South River, just south of North Bay – four and a half hours by school bus. Upon arriving at Chocpaw (the dogsledding company), we received an hour instruction and then off we went to the kennel, where 380 dogs greeted us with an accolade of barking. We packed and hooked up 12 sleds, each with five or six teams of dogs, and proceeded on the first 20 km part of our trip. We arrived at camp and immediately unpacked, setup camp and prepared dinner.

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The next morning was a comfortable minus 30 degrees and we once again packed, hooked and left for the second camp – CHAR, 15 km deep in Algonguin Park. It was a beautiful day with snowfalls and scenery that could only be experienced, never adequately described. Once again we unhooked, fed, watered and bed the 78 dogs before unpacking and preparing dinner.

Saturday morning was a shock to the system with temperatures hovering around minus 40 to 45 degrees. The guide and I (Mr. Dawson) decided to allow the students to sleep-in, with the hope that the rising sun would make the day a little more bearable. After breakfast, the temperature did rise to minus 35 degrees and the students proceeded to gather wood in the forest, retrieve water from the lake, care for the dogs and build a campfire. The temperature had no affect on the students’ spirits; we enjoyed pushing each other in the snow while carrying wood cut by Andrew (our guide) a quarter of a mile, to the sleds. Others scooped water into 12 liter canteens from a hole cut in the lake by another guide, Adelia. The students then carried the water in pairs 100 meters up a hill to the camp. It was too cold with the wind-chill factor to go sledding, so the students took the dogs for a walk, gave them some very appreciated affection, cleaned the beds, refreshed the straw and continued with snow festivities throughout the day.

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Sunday was a busy day with packing, hooking and traveling 35 km back to the kennel, where they would conclude their trip.

Throughout the adventure, the students were positive, enthusiastic and helpful, and the laughter and smiles never faded; of course that might have been because their faces were frozen. Whatever the case, it was a great trip!

Mr. Clyde Dawson, Department of Visual and Performing Arts

The Weekend Programme – January 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This January, the Weekend Programme was stocked full with fun activities that were great for Ridleians of all ages!

Grade 9’s have a ball at Residential Life Bowling!

Thursday, January 7th
By: Jack Petrunick ‘19

What better way to start off 2016 than with Residential Life Bowling! I find that our days can be quite busy; filled with classes, sports and homework and sometimes it seems that we don’t get much of a chance to catch up with one another. This made a night of bowling with classmates a perfect opportunity to reconnect. Did you know that in the Golden Era of the 1960’s and 1970’s, bowlers made twice as much money as NFL stars? Pro bowlers signed million dollar contracts and were heralded as international celebrities. Today, the glitz and glamour has faded, however, this changed as the Ridley College Class of 2019 arrived at Parkway Lanes! The students were all bright-eyed with thoughts of a strike, a spare or even just praying they wouldn’t get a gutter ball! Speaking of strikes…did you know that in the sport of bowling, if you see a picture of a turkey on your scoring screen, it refers to three strikes in a row? A ham bone is one better, with four strikes in a row! Best of all is a golden turkey, which represents nine strikes in a row!

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Well, I definitely don’t recall seeing a golden turkey on anyone’s scoring screen, but I do remember Ms. Lech knocking down nine pins at one time, which resulted in her doing a happy dance!

Ms. Lech and staff, thank you for organizing an exciting event for us. It was an evening enjoyed by all! Thank you!

– Jack Petrunick ‘19

” I have never been bowling before. I played games like this on my console, but because my parents are really busy and there are not many places like this near me, I [had] never gone before. It was a lot of fun!” – Grade 9 student

Ridleians show their Tiger pride during the Carl Dorland Basketball Tournament

Saturday, January 9th
By:
Liam Wilson ’16

Carl Dorland Champions

January 9th, 2016 – a night that I won’t forget for a very long time. Ridley wins the Carl Dorland Tournament against powerhouse rivals from Illinois, Lake Forest Academy. Although the game was very exciting, it wasn’t the shots made or the impressive moves that made this night so memorable for me, it was having the Ridley community supporting us. Students, faculty, parents, and even partner basketball programs – like Noble Preparatory Academy from Nassau, Bahamas – were all packed into the Griffith Gym to make as much noise and give as much support as possible. When Brett Warren ‘16 scored on an amazing drive or Shamar Burrows ‘16 made a great stop on defense, the crowd just got louder and louder.

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There is no better feeling than being able to look to the other side of the court and see your classmates cheering as loud as they can for you. Seeing my teachers in the crowd fostered school spirit and enthusiasm like you would not believe. As the game got tight and the clock started to run out, it was our fellow Ridleians that gave us the energy to close the game off and bring home the gold on our home court. Thank you, Ridley.

– Liam Wilson ’16

Students enjoy feature films with their friends!

Saturday, January 16th

On Saturday, January 16th, Ridleians piled on the Movie Bus and headed to Landmark Cinemas at the Pen Centre. Students had the chance to see the latest blockbusters on the big screen, with all of their friends! Following the Movie Bus, students were invited to the Great Hall for Café, where there was music, hot chocolate and cookies!

“Café is amazing!”- Noel Cousins ’16

Sports, spies and snacks – students hang out on campus for a fun-filled Saturday!

Saturday January 23rd

Students had a fun-filled evening on campus this past Saturday! Students were able to participate in tons of sporting activities such as swimming, badminton, basketball and soccer! Students who wanted a more relaxing Saturday night were invited to watch the movie The Kingsman in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre. Café followed, featuring DJ Lech, where the students joined in the Great Hall to hear wonderful music from the 1980’s to today.

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January’s Weekend Programme line-up started the term off right! Ridley pride arose during Spirit Night and students stayed active inside as the snow piled up outdoors. There were no shortage of smiles and laughs here on campus.

Next month, the Weekend Programme kicks off with Dean’s Dance, the annual semi-formal dance, followed by fun activities throughout the month! Check back in February to read more!