Tag Archives: athletics

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

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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.

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“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: Monika M. ‘17

Introducing Monika Morcous ’17 – a Prefect who discovered the importance of not only exploring her own passions, but discovering Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 1.43.03 PMnew ones. Read how she dove into all that Ridley has to offer and is finishing her Ridley career with new skills, new friendships and a new perspective on life.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley simply because of the greater opportunity that it inherently offers as an international boarding school. I also knew of its academic rigor and its mandatory student involvement activities when applying and wanted to challenge myself so that I could grow to become more dedicated, enthusiastic and involved in my education.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

No, honestly I felt extremely intimidated. I remember walking into my interview with a portfolio of all my elementary school achievements, my art work, a creative story, and an assortment of other miscellaneous items that I felt would impress my admissions councilor, Mrs. Whitty. Even then I didn’t feel prepared and doubted whether I would be granted a place at Ridley; however, looking back I recognize how silly this was. Ridley is definitely not as intimidating as it seems. It is a welcoming community where everyone can and is able to find a place of comfort.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

I personally do not have a single favourite faculty member. Each brings something to the table that is unique to them and they all excel as teachers in different ways.

Some teachers that I would like to mention are those who helped me and encouraged me personally, such as Mrs. Blagona and Mrs. Marrone.

Mrs. Blagona truly believed in my artistic ability in theatre, also training me and supporting me throughout my years at Ridley, starting as my first advisor in Grade 9. She also knew me on a personal level and helped me through certain obstacles. She is one of the most enthusiastic, passionate, and encouraging teachers I have ever met. You can really tell that she loves what she does.

Mrs. Marrone also had a great impact on me, most notably through seemingly simple lines that she would always say when I was feeling extremely stressed. “Well the sun will still shine tomorrow” and “well the earth will still turn.” These helped me put my worries into perspective which in the long-term really help me out as I still continue to say these to myself in times of stress and doubt.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge is something that I’m still overcoming, which is my time-management skills. I have a tough time allocating appropriate amounts of time to certain tasks and often overdo assignments in the pursuit of perfection, which results in disappointment, limited sleep, and overdue tasks. I believe I am slowly getting better at this, but this is a trait that is basically engrained in my character and I know it is an improvement that can only happen overtime, rather than in the short-term. I am slowly trying to let go, as I know that perfection isn’t humanly possible, and many people at Ridley are helping me achieve this along the way.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment is probably winning Best Supporting Actress in a Musical in the Niagara Region through the CAPPIES program, which I became involved with through Ridley. I am extremely proud of this award because acting is one of my passions, but I honestly cannot really take credit for this award. Without the help of the cast and most of all, my directors, Mrs. Blagona and Mrs. Fournier, I wouldn’t have been in a position to win that award. They both pushed me so hard so that I could achieve my best, and really guided me through every aspect of the dramatic arts. They supported me and advised me during rehearsals and most of all inspired me as an actress. I really look forward to working with them again next year.

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What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience is going to camp at the beginning of each new school year. This is because I get to meet, not only my previously made friends who went back abroad in the summer, but also new Ridleians. I think I can speak for everyone at Ridley when I say that you really can’t go to camp without at least making three new friendships, even as a returning student.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part about Ridley is how tightly knitted the community is. For example, you really get to know your teachers on not only an academic level but also a personal level. This creates a community of people which is aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses, and although that sounds like a scary thing, it in turn helps you, for it allows teachers to be able to focus on helping you in the aspects that you are struggling with. Rather than receiving a general education, you get one that is slightly customized in your best interest, which is one of the really awesome aspects of having small classroom sizes and a smaller-scale student body.

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

The most exciting part about prefectship is the opportunity to represent the student body and the ability to suggest positive changes that will advance the school further. Also, I am honoured to be part of a group filled with passionate individuals and I am thrilled at the opportunity to work alongside all of them this coming school year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me in many different ways for life after high school. I am more culturally aware than I would have ever been inherently, because of the diversity within the student body. I am more involved and well-rounded than I have ever been because of the mandatory nature of the sports and activities at Ridley. I am also more confident than I have ever been because of my personal achievements and improvements that I have made during my time at Ridley.

Ridley is a type of school that doesn’t just allow you to be great at what you do, but forces you to become greater….You cannot attend Ridley without flourishing or improving in some way.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am currently undecided on most of my plans after graduation – such as the subject of study and the location of study – but I am fairly positive that I will be attending a university, rather than a college, the year immediately after graduation. As for my extracurriculars, I really would want to stay in touch with my artistic side and will audition for the plays/musicals that my future university will put on. I’m sure that I’ll also be eager to get involved in a variety of the clubs available at my future university – artistic or non-artistic.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Get involved. Stay focused! At the end of the day (in my opinion) education is the most important thing, so your priority should always be to stay focused on your studies; however, you can grow as a person, if alongside this, you step out of your comfort zone and try something new outside of the classroom.

For example, I’ve never excelled in sports, however, I tried out and made the U16 volleyball team in Grade 9 and 10. I became a better player than I was walking in (At the end of the day I still wasn’t that great, but that isn’t the point). Even though I didn’t become a volleyball star, I became more well-rounded, gained experience on an athletic team, and made lifelong friendships that I wouldn’t have made if I just focused on the activities that I was best at. My good friends, Felicia and Masha, were both introduced to me through that team, and even though Felicia [and I] don’t play volleyball anymore, the friendship between the three of us remains.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Sarah K. ’17

Introducing Sarah Kohut ’17 – a student who sees Ridley as a place where she can pursue both her academic and athletic dreams, without compromise. Hear how she is taking every opportunity to reach her full potential.

Why did you choose Ridley?

Before coming to Ridley, I’d played hockey in the arena a few times and fully believed Ridley was a university. When I learned it wasn’t, my parents asked me if I’d be interested in touring the school. When I toured the school, the welcoming atmosphere, strong academic and athletic programmes and the multitude of extracurriculars helped me realize that Ridley was the place for me. I had my mind set that I’d be attending Ridley for my Grade 9 year.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

In all honesty, I was not prepared coming to Ridley, whatsoever. I didn’t know what to expect, and had never been to a brand new school before. Growing up in a small town, I was petrified to go from knowing everyone to knowing no one. In the long run, I’m happy I was so terrified! Being terrified forced myself to reach outside of my comfort zone and build the necessary confidence to form the friendships I have to this day!

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

I have too many favourite faculty members to name; I think they’re all incredible people. If I had to name a few, they would be: Mr. Straus, Mrs. Darby and Ms. Scott. Mr. Straus never fails to make me laugh, and never gave up on trying to teach me Grade 10 Math (it wasn’t easy), Mrs. Darby has given me constant support throughout my time at Ridley, and Ms. Scott always encourages me to reach outside of my comfort zone.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge has definitely been adjusting to the busy lifestyle. At Ridley, you often have a lot on your plate at one time – whether it be academics, athletics, activities… or all of the above. From initially developing my time management skills when I started Ridley, to redefining them as I transitioned into the International Baccalaureate Programme, it has always been something that I’ve needed to keep on top of. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

The accomplishments achieved throughout my time at Ridley – big or small – have been never-ending. My smaller accomplishments – such as mastering an about-turn in cadets, or learning to manage my time efficiently – have provided the foundation for the larger achievements in my later years – such as earning rank in the Cadet Corps or taking on the IB Programme. Even though I’m very proud of how far I’ve come, my greatest accomplishment will always be being appointed as a school Prefect.

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What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience has been either going to Camp White Pine at the start of each school year, or Snake Dance. Getting the school together and being able to just have fun with your peers and celebrate your school pride has always been something I look forward to, and has created memories I’ll never forget!

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

It’s hard to put my finger on one specific part of Ridley life that’s my favourite! I definitely love the way Ridley incorporates both academics and athletics into your school life. Both are things I value tremendously and it’s great to have them both incorporated into your daily schedule, without conflict! I also enjoy the house system. I’m a day student, and it’s an incredible feeling to be a part of a house and have a group of 50 girls that are always there for you! Go G-West!

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

I’m most excited to have a better opportunity to be able to connect with the student body, and be able to encourage each student to push themselves and reach their full potential. Students identify a Prefect as someone to confide in or reach out to for advice, and I’m more than excited to be able to be that person!

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me immensely for the future. The values that are taught at Ridley are applicable to all areas of your life, at any age. My time management skills, work ethic, collaborative skills and consideration for others, that have developed throughout my years at Ridley, are something I will take with me for the rest of my life, and I’m extremely grateful for!

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend university in Canada and pursue a degree in criminology, and then a degree in criminal law.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would tell prospective students to “go get ‘em tiger!” Once you start at Ridley, you become a part of a group of incredible Ridley Tigers before you and after you, that have all had the opportunity to call Ridley home. Ridley offers so many different things that are just waiting to be tried; the opportunities are endless. Making the most of your time at Ridley would be experiencing everything you can, and never holding yourself back. Take Ridley by storm and go get ‘em!

Ridleians Use CPR Training to Save Lives

This summer, two former Ridleians found themselves at the forefront of life or death situations and thanks to their physical education at Ridley, they knew exactly what to do.

Ridley’s physical education programme aims to contribute to the healthy development of our students physical, mental and social well-being. A part of that means discovering how students can contribute to the well-being of peers and their community. Among their lessons, students are taught how to appropriately respond during an emergency situation, to better prepare them if someone is in need.

Upon entering Upper School, our students are taught basic life-saving skills during their physical education classes. By Grade 11, students are certified in Basic Level CPR, Standard/Emergency First Aid and are taught how to operate AED (defibrillator) units. The students have the chance to further enhance their training if they choose to pursue their National Life Saving (NLS) certification as a co-curricular activity.

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“From our point of view, these are life skills that everyone should learn. You never know when you are going to find yourself in a position to help someone in need.”                                 – Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics

Retired physical education teacher, Mr. Dave Whitty, said that during his career, the students were keen to learn the skills needed to appropriately respond in an emergency situation. He also recalls numerous occasions where students and staff members – himself included – were required to take action in order to save another’s life.

Recently, two former Ridleians were put into harrowing situations where their CPR training, confidence and quick reactions saved lives.

On July 20th, 2016, 19-year-old Jarrod Camroux-Peacock ‘15 and his father Erik Peacock came to the aid of a customer and family friend, who began choking while dining. Acting quickly, Erik and Jarrod both performed the Heimlich maneuver and tried to clear the obstruction, as the man began to lose consciousness and turn blue from oxygen deprivation. Jarrod and his father were able to dislodge the obstruction from his airway prior to the ambulance arriving on site.

Soon after the incident Jarrod made a phone call to his high school teacher and basketball coach at Ridley; expressing his gratitude to him for having taught him how to react in emergency situations and for providing proper emergency response training.

Another former Ridley student, Nick Prestia ’16, has used his CPR training twice since attending Ridley. The first incident occurred in 2015, when Nick was attending a hockey training camp in Boston. A two-year-old girl was left unattended at the hotel swimming pool and had fallen into the water. Nick saw the young girl and pulled her out of the water. When he realized she wasn’t breathing, he began to perform CPR that had been modified for an infant – another skill he had learned during his physical education at Ridley. Nick managed to revive the two-year-old and alert her parents.

The second incident occurred last month on July 26th, 2016, when Nick’s hockey instructor was concussed during drill training and began experiencing seizures. The instructor wasn’t breathing, so Nick began performing CPR until someone nearby – who was also trained in CPR – came to relieve Nick. By this time, the concussed instructor had begun to breathe again. Nick too reached out to Ridley to express his gratitude for his training.

“Always remember to trust in your abilities because you never know when your actions can affect someone’s life. I’m blessed to have been able to use my knowledge of CPR to help to people and I encourage others to go out of their way to learn CPR. You never know when you might need to use it, take my word for it.” – Nick Prestia ‘16

In all three incidents, these former Ridleians sprang into action without hesitation. Congratulations to Jarrod and Nick. Ridley is proud to have had the privilege to guide these students, and many others.

TransfORming Our Globe – Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Ridley Rowers Cap 50th Successful Season

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As two Ridley rowers prepare to take on competitors from across North America at an elite international regatta in July, Ridley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of our school’s highly successful rowing programme.

The latest rowing milestone for Ridley came with the recent announcement by Rowing Canada Aviron that student athletes Clark Schultz ’17, of Grimsby, Ontario, and Seth Moyer ’18, of Beamsville, Ontario, have been selected among 48 athletes from across Canada to compete for the Junior National Team, which includes teams for both the CanAmMex Regatta and Junior World Rowing Championships.

Clark and Seth will join the CanAmMex team at a training camp in Sarasota, Florida beginning July 11, 2016 before competition on July 16 and 17.

Having the two student athletes named to the CanAmMex team helps cap what has been a great 50th anniversary season of rowing for Ridley, where the program is led by our head coaches Siobhan McLaughlin and Dereck Schwandt.

“We’re extremely proud of Clark and Seth,” said Coach Schwandt. “Both of them worked extremely hard and earned great results throughout the season. It’s a remarkable achievement for them to be selected to this team and face the best young rowers across North America.”

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Earlier this month Ridley crews qualified in eight final events at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Regatta, winning a total of four medals — gold, silver and two bronze. In May, Ridley’s rowers and dedicated coaches hit the road to compete in the Stotesbury Cup in Philadelphia and the Welland SNRC Invitational, performing well at both regattas. Ridley captured first place in the Junior Men’s 4x in Philadelphia. The following day in Welland, Ridley crews captured first place in the Senior Men’s 4x, Senior Girls’ Lightweight 1x and Senior Girls’ 4x (mixed 4x event) races. Seth Moyer also achieved two third place finishes in the Men’s 1x and Men’s 72kg 1x at the SNRC Invitational.

After launching the rowing programme with a single racing shell in the spring of 1966, Ridley quickly established itself as a contender. Just two years after the program hit the water, Ridley claimed its first Calder Cleland trophy as Canadian Schoolboy Champion (Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Champion) and placed second in standing for overall points.

Over the past five decades Ridley has continued this tradition of excellence and established itself as one of Canada’s most successful secondary school rowing programs.

Highlights over the past 50 years include:

  • 14 Ridley alumni have rowed at Olympic Games.
  • Since entering the CSSRA Championships in 1968, Ridley College is third among all secondary schools in gold medals between 1941 and 2015.
  • 82 gold medals won at CSSRA Championships.
  • 25 victories at Stotesbury Cup Regatta (American Secondary School Championships).
  • Five Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup victories at the Henley Royal Regatta in England — arguably the most prestigious rowing regatta in the world. This is tied for second most among all schools and leads all overseas schools.
  • Two Thames Challenge Cup victories at the Henley Royal Regatta.
  • Ridley hosts the Ontario Ergometer Championships annually, attracting the best rowers from across the province.

 “Over the past 50 years, we’ve established an incredible standard in this sport and we look forward to building on our reputation in the years ahead,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics. “Our student athletes represent the school extremely well, both on and off the water. We are not only developing excellent athletes, but also leaders and global ambassadors.”

Read the Niagara this Week article.

Listen to CKTB’s interview with Ridley’s Director of Athletics.

Ridley’s Unique Playscape Supports Physical Literacy Goals

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Ridley’s all-natural playscape, which officially opened in late 2015, is at the forefront of physical literacy promotion by encouraging creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills, prescribed in Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan.

The concept of physical literacy came to Ridley College through Brock University and Dr. James Mandigo and it has long been promoted by Sport Canada and Sport for Life. Physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills, such as running, skipping, jumping and throwing. In practice, varying sets of skills are introduced to children at appropriate ages and stages of development. For years, Ridley has drawn upon leading physiological and psychological research on the topic to promote physical literacy; which is also pivotal in mental and social development.

Since this model was introduced at Ridley, our competitive sports programmes have experienced phenomenal success, while Lower School physical literacy programmes have been implemented to improve overall fitness, health and well-being through increased active play. This paradigm helps students develop a lasting relationship with physical activity and better prepares student athletes for successful long term athletic careers. Active play, of which our younger students enjoy three times a day for 20 minutes, has also been linked to notable cognitive function and development.

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The all-natural playscape – which was a part of the 2014-2015 annual giving campaign – is a very tangible example of how Ridley is maintaining its leading edge on physical literacy promotion in independent schools. The idea for the playscape was born from students’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition projects and Ridley decided that a unique, topographical landscape with obscure apparatuses would be the ideal way to encourage active play and reach school-wide physical literacy goals. The playscape creates a far more engaging and creative experience than the traditional, manufactured playgrounds and also enacts our objective to be more environmentally conscious.

“Our challenge was to create a Lower School playground that encouraged more open-ended and creative play, while at the same time, promoting a connection with nature.”

– Mrs. Hanna Kidd

Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian playground designer and builder, brought forward the perfect solution – a playground constructed of all-natural elements, that could be designed to fit the needs of the students. Founded in 1982 by Adam Bienenstock, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds aims to bring nature back into the lives of children, so that they can develop an appreciation for the environment, while engaging in active play.

“Over time, somehow what we thought was fun disappeared from kids’ lives. Their roam rates dropped right down, their world got smaller and their screens got bigger, and the need for this [type of playscape] grew.”

– Mr. Adam Bienenstock, CEO and Founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds

It was clear that Bienenstock’s values aligned with Ridley’s, and the common goal of educating students on the importance of environmental conservation made for the perfect fit. After consulting with Bienenstock and receiving input from Ridley’s faculty, staff and students, the Playscape construction officially begun. Ridley was able to select playground elements that would challenge the students, encourage curiosity and creative thinking and be utilized at each age and stage of development.

The Playscape officially opened in December of 2015, but has since grown and has already become the perfect place for students to have fun, get active and even relax. It currently includes a number of large elements, such as a tree fort with a rope bridge, a rock climbing wall, a multipurpose amphitheater (outdoor classroom) and gaga ball court, tunnels, log clusters, a barrel swing, a willow dome and a sand area that includes a water feature and slides. As time passes, Ridley hopes to add several new elements, while the current elements continue to grow and evolve.

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According to Lower School faculty, instances of playground conflict have dramatically decreased with the opening of the new Playscape and the Athletics Department has already observed instances of creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills – elements that are viewed as positive markers in physical literacy studies.

The Playscape offers the perfect place for our younger students to have daily physical activity, while exploring movement and improving their social and emotional well-being. “The natural playscape will continue to help our students develop an appreciation, curiosity and respect for their world, leading to better physical and mental health.” – Mrs. Hanna Kidd

This Playscape was made possible with the support of generous donors. It is with this continued support that will Ridley be able to grow our school’s arts, academics and athletics programmes, and continue to provide students with the opportunities and tools necessary to live flourishing lives.

Slam Dunk for Ridley College and OSBA

The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) welcomes Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team into its elite Canadian league.

After more than a decade-long run as one of most competitive basketball teams in the CISAA and following a record-breaking season ­­– winning six tournaments and three major titles ­– Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team has been formally accepted into the OSBA for the 2016/2017 season.

The OSBA is an elite league, governed by Ontario Basketball that helps prepare players for post-secondary, national and international levels of competition. The goal of the association is to increase the number of quality basketball players competing in Ontario and to promote the Train to Compete (T2C) stage of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model – of which Ridley was an early adopter and remains a proponent of, school-wide.

The team’s promotion means that the Ridley Tigers will not only compete against top basketball prep schools from around the Greater Toronto Area, but the athletes will also participate in at least three international showcases and host several others throughout the year. Ridley will become the first and only IB Continuum school that is a member of the OSBA, offering the gold standard in academics and athletics in Canada.

“We are excited to add an outstanding institution like Ridley College to the OSBA. We are confident that Ridley College will be able to provide student-athletes with a world-class education, as well as a high-quality basketball experience that supports their development.”

– Carmelo Mallia, Manager of High Performance at Ontario Basketball and OSBA League Commissioner.

With support from the current coaching staff, Ridley Athletics has hired Mr. Tarry Upshaw as head coach of the new OSBA team. Coach Upshaw’s dynamic career has included coaching at the professional national and international level; coaching national team programs in Hong Kong, China, Jamaica and right here in Canada. His wealth of experience in developing young athletes and his relationships in the basketball world will be invaluable as the school’s basketball programme continues to develop into one of the best in the country.

“This is a natural progression for us as an institution with the right people in place at the right time,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “I am very excited about the support network we have in place for our student athletes, and adding the competitive environment of the OSBA will no doubt challenge all of us to become even better at what we do,” he added.

Read the St. Catharines Standard’s article.

The Weekend Programme – April 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This April, the Weekend Programme was chalked full of highly anticipated events, Ridley traditions and exciting outings!

Students witness a battle of epic proportions on the big screen

Saturday, April 2nd

There’s nothing better than seeing an action-packed movie on the big screen, so that’s what nearly 30 students spent their Saturday evening doing. Our Ridleians loaded up the bus and ventured to Landmark Cinemas to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice; an epic motion picture, that pits two beloved superheroes against one another. As always, our students enjoyed an evening out with their peers.

House trip to the Great Wolf Lodge

Saturday, April 9th

Members of the boy’s houses travelled to Niagara Falls for an evening of fun at the Great Wolf Lodge, a waterpark resort, located not far from campus. There, they hit every water slide, lazy river and water challenge in site! It was a wonderful outing and a great opportunity for the boys to bond before Summer begins.

 “Best night of the year.”

– Mrs. Jessica Roud, Housemaster of Dean’s House

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Students took part in some friendly competition on the court

Saturday, April 9th

On Saturday, students hit the badminton court for a tournament. It was a great opportunity to practice their skills, bond with their classmates and get active. At the end of the tournament, students enjoyed a pizza party, provided by Ms. Margaret Lech, Assistant Head of Upper School and talented badminton player.

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“Going to badminton on Saturday was a really good time! I think everyone that attended brought the best energy they could (including Ms. Lech!) My favourite part of the night had to be when I played Victoria and our competitive sides came out; the game really took a turn. Calling a rematch with Victoria and Ms. Lech!”

– Rachel Overbeeke ’17

“Badminton on Saturday was a blast. At the beginning it was quiet, but once everyone started to come out it was loads of fun. Everyone’s competitive and fun side came out, which made it even more exciting to play. My favourite part of the night was having a match against Ms. Lech (when I said I needed competition), even though she beat me. It was okay because I was taking it easy on her. P.S. I call for a rematch against you Ms. Lech. The challenge has been accepted.”

– Victoria Dabanovich-Mahoney ’18

Students sang their hearts out at MNO Music Night

Saturday, April 16th

Students gathered in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre for the annual MNO Music Night, hosted by Merritt North. Our talented Ridleians hit the stage, where they sang, danced, showcased their talents and even participated in a little bit of karaoke. This annual student-led event proves to be a hit, year after year.

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Ridleians ventured ‘In the Woods’ for the annual Cadet Ball

Saturday, April 23rd

Our Grade 11 and 12 students experienced a night they’d never forget on Saturday, April 23rd. The annual Cadet Ball is a long-standing Ridley tradition, where our students don their crisp cadet uniforms and their prettiest gowns for a night of dinner, dancing and good company. This year, Club Italia’s ballroom was transformed into an enchanting forest, inspired by the children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are. The Family Guild and Grad Committee planned a fantastic event for our senior students and faculty members. To view photos from this year’s whimsical Cadet Ball, click here.

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With adventurous day trips, tournaments and one of the most memorable events of the year, April was a month to remember for many of our students. As the school year winds down, the Weekend Programme still has some fantastic events planned. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for our students.

 

Ridley College students net ice time with Ottawa Senators

The National Hockey League came to town as a special treat for our Ridleians on Friday, April 22nd.

Students belonging to our hockey programme joined Chris Neil, Cody Ceci, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Zack Smith, Mark Stone, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Nick Paul, players from the Ottawa Senators, for an hour of fun on-ice sessions and scrimmages at Tiger arena.

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“This was an incredible opportunity for our students to not only meet these world-class athletes, but to also get a chance to learn from them during the practice sessions,” said Ridley’s Headmaster, Ed Kidd. “We want to thank the Ottawa Senators, Mr. Eugene Melnyk and members of the organization for visiting the school and spending valuable time with our students and players. It was truly an experience we will not forget.”

After a successful season for Ridley’s First Boys and First Girls hockey teams, the players will be eager to put to use what they learned from the NHLers next season.

Due to its incredible performance this season, the First Girls hockey team has been promoted to the Junior Women’s Hockey League  (JWHL) for upcoming 2016/2017 season. Coached by two-time Women’s World Hockey Champion, Amanda Benoit-Wark, the girls team will take on an elite level of competition in this North American league that helps prepare players for NCAA and CIS athletics.

Not to be outdone, the First Boys hockey team, coached by former European league player and Niagara resident Mike McCourt, is coming fresh off its MPHL Championship and silver medal win at the National Independent School Invitational Hockey Championship.

In addition to spending time on the ice with students, the Senators also toured the campus, visited classrooms and checked out the newly built Lower School Playscape, designed for students in JK to Grade 8.

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This past fall, the all-natural playscape was integrated into the existing, mature trees on the school grounds to help promote physical literacy amongst our younger students.

“The idea behind the playscape is that our students will reach physical literacy milestones sooner, which then puts them on the path to athletic success in later years,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “Unique playscapes like this have been proven to positively impact learning and academic achievement and build fundamental movement skills, promote resilience and increase creative and imaginative play. The introduction of the playscape is just one of the ways that Ridley is supporting its physical literacy goals and the Long-Term Athletic Development plan.”

The all-natural playscape, was built as part of the annual giving campaign for the 2014/2015 school year and Ridley College is currently undertaking an observational study to capture how students are demonstrating fundamental movement skills and imaginative play.

Thank you to the Ottawa Senators and Mr. Eugene Melnyk for giving our students such an incredible opportunity.

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To see photos from the Senators visit, click here.

To view the video from the Senators visit, click here.