Tag Archives: Academics

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 4.38.45 PM copy

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. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.54.33 PM

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.

Maclean’s Magazine: Private Schools Feature, September 19th Issue

IMG_2145

Ridley College: Elite Opportunity

Written by John Southerst, edited by Allison Grande

As the only International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum boarding school in Canada, Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont. stands tall in academics. But what may surprise some is their powerhouse status in hockey.

When eight members of the Ottawa Senators, including Mark Stone and Zack Smith, took to the ice with the elite boys’ and girls’ hockey teams at Ridley last April, they were working with players who are accustomed to top-level instruction in a premium facility.

25977791943_38d8ef0ec3_k

“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to not only meet these world-class athletes, but also to get a chance to learn from them during the practice sessions,” says Ridley headmaster Ed Kidd. The hockey program at Ridley, he adds, is designed to give students “the independence and responsibility that teaches the leadership and discipline to be an elite athlete.”

Ridley’s hockey tradition goes back to the 1800s, when teams played on Twelve Mile Creek running alongside the St. Catharines, Ont., campus and in Nicholl’s Hall – a covered rink built at the turn of the 20th century. Today, Ridley’s $11-million arena and fieldhouse project, funded out of alumni donations, houses the ice surface, a state-of-the-art strength- and-conditioning centre, athletic therapy clinic, custom locker rooms and a generous top-level concourse area above the seats displaying hockey photos over the years.

“The arena project turned the old arena into an adjoining fieldhouse subdivided into sections, allowing multiple uses simultaneously, including a rubberized competition-grade floor for other sports,” says director of athletics Jay Tredway. Five Ridley teams use the arena, he adds – boys’ and girls’ “first” teams of elite players, varsity boys’ and girls’ “second” teams, and a co-ed under-14 team.

But perhaps most importantly, Ridley has leveraged its facility byhiring team trainers and a dedicated strength-and-conditioning coach, along with respected head coaches. Mike McCourt, a former Canadian national team, AHL and European league player and NCAA and OHL coach, leads the boys’ first team. Former Team Canada player and under-22 national team summer coach Amanda Benoit-Wark coaches the elite girls.

Nevertheless, Tredway says the overall hockey program’s objectives are directed at all students, not just elite athletes, and remain educational. “Being active makes you a better student,” he says. “We want to ingrain the importance of daily play activity. We are all athletes. Life is athletic even if you’re not in a competitive framework.”

Get to Know Your Prefects: Hunter B. ’17

Introducing Hunter Bettens ’17; a Prefect whose dream Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 11.00.41 AMbecame a reality when he discovered a place he could skate, learn and grow all under one roof. Now, as he enters Grade 12, he has big dreams for his final year and his future.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of hockey and the education. Since I was young, I always dreamed about attending a private school and playing hockey at the same time. I felt Ridley gave me the best of both worlds; a great hockey schedule with many opportunities to showcase yourself, and a challenging academic schedule that I feel is really preparing me for university and the real world.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Mentally, I always wanted to attend a private school, so I knew what it was going to take and I had the right mindset coming to Ridley. The thing I didn’t expect is that I didn’t decide to come to Ridley until a week before school actually started! I came to school with the mindset, but everything sort of hit me in the face so quickly! I had to buy supplies, I had to leave everyone home in a hurry, and I needed to adapt. So in the physical aspect, I definitely didn’t feel prepared. However, within weeks of meeting new people and getting used to Ridley, I eased into a routine and got very comfortable, which abled to me to overcome any unpreparedness I had going into the school year.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

Even though each faculty member at the school is unique and each relationship between each faculty member is different, I would have to say my favourite faculty member is Mr. Park. I love geography, and this was the first time I could ever take an actual geography course outside of my own curiousty within the subject. In taking this course, my teacher was Mr. Park, and he shares the same passion for geography that I have, as well as being a person who loves and appreciates sports. When I am away for hockey, Mr. Park always jokes about how I missed a very important lesson, or that I missed some crucial piece of information that was only discussed on the day I missed. But besides the jokes he always asks me how the games went, and that is something for me that never goes unnoticed and is why he is my favourite faculty member.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley would definitely have to be Math. I am from Nova Scotia, and the math course I took in Grade 10 was to prepare a student who was taking Grade 11 Math the following year in Nova Scotia. However, I clearly didn’t stay in Nova Scotia for Grade 11; instead I came to Ridley. My parents and I discussed that the IB Programme would really challenge me and that it would be best for me to do. When we came to Ridley for orientation day and the time came to pick my courses and IB Math came up, a prerequisite credit for the course was Grade 11 Functions from Ontario, which I didn’t have. However, I was let in to IB SL Math. Accompanying IB, I receive an OSSD credit for Grade 12 Advanced Functions, so, I went straight from Grade 10 Math in Nova Scotia to Grade 12 Math in Ontario. So, balancing other courses, hockey and other things, finding time to catch up in math was and still is difficult, however, with the help of Mr. DeVellis and my tutor Ms. Sendzik, I was determined to fill in those learning gaps.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley thus far would definitely be balancing my busy schedule. Going into the year I knew it would be very difficult and demanding, but I ended up managing my time very well and was able to accomplish my goal this year of balancing my academic schedule with my hockey schedule.

24827869639_e250d4ce03_z 24564889134_e0127f1aff_z

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience would have to be Chapel. Coming into Ridley I knew that we had to go to Chapel three days a week, but I wasn’t upset or worried, I was actually curious to how these Chapel sessions were going to go, because looking at the schedule, I thought that the time we spent there was short compared to what normally goes on at a church. But I was blown away. Chapel has been nothing but a positive experience for me. Yes, you have to get up early but it doesn’t matter, you will be woken up by the hymns that the entire school sings together. Chapel really brings the whole school together, and when you are in there during a hymn you really feel the power that the Chapel has to put all of Upper School into one room, and to make each individual in there feel like they are part of the Ridley community.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life would have to be boarding. You get to become more independent, such as doing laundry, going to Wal-Mart for shampoo and toiletries, all the stuff that for the most part, is typically done for you at home. But the cool thing about Ridley is that you’re becoming more independent with the people who are in the same boat as you. My roommate from China and I always tell each other when a washer is open, or tell one another if one goes to the store if they could pick something up. These situations might seem simple, but it is a completely different experience than you figuring it out on your own at an apartment as compared to figuring these things out with your new friends from Nigeria, China, or Jamaica. Boarding also makes friendships even stronger, you really get to know people because you are with them 24/7, and you cherish these moments that you spend so much because one day, you will graduate and you won’t be able to spend as much time with these friends you have made.

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

I am most excited about being able to be there for the students. I love helping people and hope that I can deliver on that. Some people will have issues while at school, almost everyone does, and I am excited to be able to help those people with any issues they may have. Hopefully students will feel like they can approach all the Prefects next school year, and that each and every one of us can be there for them.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has matured me and gave me the tools to interact with people on many different levels. For me, being taught the principle of being able to network with a multitude of people early on in my life is important, as I am potentially going to pursue a career in business, and to have this skill is essential. With the help of our great Guidance team at our school, they make the career and university talks much easier, and honestly, without them, I don’t think I would be half as prepared as I am for the future. Being able to have good conversations with them, made me really narrow down university choices, as well as career paths. Many aspects of Ridley come together to really prepare each and every one of us for our future.

What are your plans after graduation? (i.e. university, college, gap year, degree of study, city you plan to live in, extracurricular pursuits)

My plans after graduation are to go to school, hopefully still playing hockey, but definitely going to school. I want to major in Business, and if I were to stay in Canada, I plan on studying on the Quebec-East side of the country. However, I would really like to go to a Division III school in the Eastern part of the United States and play hockey, however, I realize that things may not go the way everyone likes them to and I would be very content with studying in Canada. Following university and my potential hockey career, I plan on staying on the East Coast, and preferably living in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. But again, you don’t know what could happen, so we will have to wait and see!

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice for prospective students, especially boarders, would be to ease your way into the Ridley community. Being homesick is natural, and by joining sports, clubs, or activities that interest you, these keep your attention on Ridley and not so much on how much you miss home. By going at your own pace and by not feeling rushed, you will learn to enjoy the Ridley community so much more, and you will really feel like you have developed a second home by the time you leave.

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

TransfORmingGraphic

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Jordan Brock Fowler ’05, who took the road less travelled and founded his own eco-friendly business – Echo Farms.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.35.06 AM

Jordan attended Ridley from Grade 6 to 12. During the course of his Ridley career, Jordan excelled in academics, was actively involved in sports – especially Rugby – and could often be found backstage during many of Ridley’s theatrical performances. He embraced every aspect of Ridley life, and because of that, he formed lifelong relationships, obtained useful skills and tools and built character. Six years later, Jordan found himself at graduation, addressing his classmates as the Valedictorian; on that day, he was taking home more than just a diploma.

“My time at Ridley greatly affected my career path but not in the way that you would expect. Ridley didn’t particularly help me realize my passion for agriculture, but it was integral in the formation of my character, helped me establish my hard work ethic, and prepared me for the relationship building that would be key to building my business.”

– Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

image3

image4 image5

After graduation, Jordan attended the Toronto Film School for Film Production. He was certain that a job in the film industry would satisfy his creative drive, but it soon became apparent he was missing something. The career opportunities he found himself in left him yearning for more meaningful interactions with the environment and the people within it.

In need of a change of scenery, Jordan moved to Vancouver, where he became involved with a not-for-profit organization called the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). At the time, this organization was advocating community and school gardens in the city core. While working on a media project for the SPEC, Jordan witnessed how strongly a connection with nature can impact someone.

“The wholesome, instinctual reaction of the youth to the food they were growing was infectious. I became increasingly interested in ideas around sustainable design and the serious impact climate change was having on our environment.”

– Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

Equipped with his new-found passion for the environment, Jordan set out to gain the knowledge he’d need to make a difference. He travelled to the United Kingdom, where he partook in a course led by a number of climate activists. It was this life changing experience at the Schumacher Institute where Jordan realized the importance of sustainable agriculture. He then studied Organic Agriculture at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

Travelling down a new path, Jordan returned to Niagara in 2010, where he began to grow a business known as Forworld Farmstead. Utilizing family owned land, Jordan experimented with organic vegetable production, community supported agriculture and began raising livestock. In 2015, after purchasing a 50-acre farm in Cayuga, Ontario, he and his wife, Whitney (Peterson) Fowler ’05, started Echo Farms.

julyfirstmarket

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.44.32 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.36.56 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.35.57 AM

Echo Farms is an all-organic farm that produces wholesome, high-quality, organic produce and meat. This naturally grown food is sold to local restaurants and at markets. Echo Farms just launched its newest product, known as Minigreens™ – a packaged blend of microgreens, packed full of nutrients and flavour, that can be used to garnish sandwiches or as a salad mix. These greens are delivered fresh, each week, to grocers and health food stores in Southern Ontario, such as Grand Oak, the Good Earth, the Peanut Mill and 13th Street Winery, all located in the Niagara region.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.34.11 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.33.47 AM

Wanting to continue to help in restoring the earth, Jordan hopes to continue to grow Echo Farms and shorten the supply chain between farmers and consumers.

“Working alongside nature has its challenges… I find that we humans seem to be in a perpetual war with nature, constantly searching for ways to control it. Whether it’s the miracle cure to a disease caused by environmental degradation, playing God with genetic engineering or dowsing our food in chemicals, it is our reluctance to change which keeps us from unlocking Mother Nature’s vast wisdom – a wisdom cluttered by modern conveniences.”

– Jordan Fowler ‘05

Although his journey was long and winding, Jordan was able to uncover his passion and with it, grow a business; one that is giving back to the community and to the earth, one seed at a time.

To all those who are on their own winding journey through life, Jordan says this:

“Remember what it means to be a positive part of a community. Don’t get caught up trying to clamor to the top. Build strong supportive relationships with your peers and your competitors, think globally, act locally.”

TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.

 

 

 

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.

FW

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.

FW4  FW3

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 11.25.30 AM

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.

FW6