Tag Archives: boarding school

Get to Know Your Prefects: Steven Q. ’20

Introducing Steven ’20 – a proud Tiger who has truly taken advantage of all that Ridley has to offer. Read about the challenges he overcame and the success he has experienced in the interview with Steven below.

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

When I first visited the campus, I was deeply attracted by the energy of the students and the community. Everyone was super friendly and there is always something to do and something happening. I simply couldn’t wait to throw myself into the action and get started. 

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

Definitively the unbreakable bond between Ridleians. There is no better feeling than to bump into an OR on the street or at a university that I visited and still be able to chat like old times while grabbing a coffee. The connection you build during your time at Ridley will be priceless later on in your life. It really gives you a sense of belonging and unity. Also, can’t forget Snake Dance! 

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favorite part of Ridley life is strolling through the campus at daybreak, watching the sunrise as the fog slowly clears from the fields. Getting takeout with friends and eating them on the field as the sun slowly sets is definitely a bonus as well! Not to mention the sweet, sweet feeling when you see a level 7 on your test or scoring the killing blow on the tennis court. 

What has been your favorite Ridley experience/trip/memory?

Well… It’s hard to say because I have so many! I appreciate every day I spend at this school, and everyday holds something different and unique for me to discover. I have made so many irreplaceable memories with my friends, my teammates and my teachers it would take forever to count them. Therefore, I am afraid I can’t give you a good answer, not before my graduation. 

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

The best part of belonging to a boarding house is the feeling of home.  I have been both a day and boarding student in Merritt North House, and the boys I have met and became friends with throughout the past three years are all very easygoing and friendly. The Head of House and Residential Dons are always there for you. The overall environment of my House will make you feel right at home. No matter if you returned tired from a heavy day of school or sports, you can always count on your housemates to relax together and play some pool in the common room. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

It depends on how you define accomplishments. For me, I don’t like to define my accomplishments at this school by the prizes I won. They are merely a token of recognition. My real, greatest accomplishments at this school would be that I have really grown as an individual. In Grade 7, I was this shy student that wasn’t very good at English and was afraid of this foreign and vast country. Now I am a proud Ridley student, enrolling in full IB diploma, member of the 2019-20 Prefect team, president of the Ridley College Model United Nations society, and a senior member of the Choir. I have made the best memories of my high school life at this school, and I have learned indispensable transferrable skills that I will most definitely need even after I graduate from Ridley College. 

The Drowsy Chaperone, by Michelle Scrivener

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

Wow… You are putting me in a tight spot here. All the faculty and staff members around have all supported me in their own unique way. And I always appreciate their help and their dedication to educate every student here at Ridley, so that they may be better prepared for the world beyond the gates. 

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

I am most excited to continue the legacy left by the previous Prefects while working with my current, fellow Prefects to innovate and create new student-led initiatives in order to make Ridley College a place enjoyed by both students and faculty members alike. 

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley College has taught me so much. I learned teamwork and perseverance on the sports field, I honed my public speaking and debating skills on stage as an actor and debater. I polished my singing in Chapel along with rest of the Choir. I learned what it means to learn and flourish through my teachers, and how to love myself and others around me through my friends. 

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

DON’T PROCRASINATE!!!!!! Seriously, please, please, please, please, don’t procrastinate, especially if you are a boarder. It is so easy to get lost in all the stuff Ridley has to offer and you will wind up crunching away at a major project, two hours before its due… (ahem that guy definitively wasn’t me…) Ridley College is a school that places heavy emphasis on academic excellence, especially if you are planning on taking the full IB Diploma. And it only gets worse busier once you start Grade 10 and beyond. Make sure you make yourself a schedule and STICK TO IT. Ask teachers and your Head of House for help– they will more than happy to help you out because they care about your well-being. Only when you have an organized life can you enjoy all the wonderful things Ridley has to offer. 

Get to Know Your Prefects: Sydney M. ’20

Introducing Sydney M. ’20 – a boarding student from Trinidad and Tobago, who has made a home for herself amongst a flock of flamingos. Read about her experience in the boarding house and what has made it her favourite part of Ridley life.

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

I was most excited to attend Ridley so that I could meet new people, make friends from all around the world and have the ability to learn about different cultures and lifestyles .

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

The sense of community at Ridley makes me so proud to be a Ridleian. Every single person that attends Ridley – whether it is the students, faculty or staff – is involved, encouraged and welcomed in some way and it is truly beautiful to see and to be a part of. 

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite  part of Ridley life is the residential life.

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

The best part of my boarding house are the girls that make up Gooderham West. I  have made so many friendships and had so many experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life and I owe it all to them. They are such a welcoming, easygoing, accepting and friendly group of people, and they are like my second family…we even share rooms! I am beyond grateful.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

My  greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been becoming a Prefect.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

My favourite faculty member is my Advisor, Ms. Scott. I can go to her with any problem or situation I have and she will always give me great advice on how to go about the problem effectively and responsibly . She is very kind, giving, selfless and easy to talk to. She is like a mother away from home for me, not to mention she is a math teacher and helps me whenever I am struggling.

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

I am most excited to work with the other members of the Prefect team, as it is a very diverse group of people and I think we can brainstorm and create some really fun and exciting activities for the student body to participate in. 

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has encouraged me to become an independent individual, taught me how to manage my time effectively and how to be aware of what is expected of me. I believe these new skills will help me in the future whether it’s in the workplace or beyond.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

As I was a new student not too long ago, I believe you should look at all of your options and imagine yourself attending the school. I visited three schools including Ridley and from the minute I walked onto the beautiful campus of the school , I knew this was where I wanted to go. Meeting students, witnessing the classes and experiencing the sense of family and community at Ridley only cemented my ideas.

Get to Know your Prefects: Simon H. ’20

Introducing Simon ’20 – a student who found countless opportunities to flourish, learn and succeed once he walked through the Marriott Gates. Check out our interview with Simon below, to see how Ridley’s community has made him proud and encouraged him to grow.

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

It’s certain that here at Ridley, there are infinite opportunities and possibilities in the activities, sports, and courses I could choose. In the first term, I was so excited about joining the Second soccer team and robotics team in which I experienced different challenges and surprises every day. Choosing computer technology and art courses, which I hadn’t had a chance to learn, additionally enriched my Ridley life. The caring and inspiring peers and faculties motivated me to overcome challenges, pursue dreams, and be enthusiastic for every day. 

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

There is no doubt that the global vision and engagement at Ridley makes me proud to be a Ridleian. The culturally diverse community at Ridley has allowed me to learn and reflect on cultures and issues happening in every part of the world. My friends come from Germany, Nigeria, Ukraine, Korea, Mexico, and more, and we all have unique stories and experiences to share. The experiences provide me valuable visions on the global scale and encourage me to care about and contribute to global issues.

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

My favorite part of Ridley life is the athletic programme. I have always wanted to have more opportunities to play soccer and tennis before coming to Ridley, and Ridley does give the opportunity. These sports really relax me, giving time away from a busy academic life and keep me energetic. Moreover, I enjoy collaborating with friends and competing with other schools.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley memory has been the VEX Robotics World Championship which took place in Kentucky. In the competition, I chatted and made friends with like-minded peers from diverse countries. They were all very kind and are as enthusiastic about robotics as I am. We found a lot of common topics including robotics, new technologies, and cultural differences. Moreover, during the games, we were able to communicate and collaborate with teams from the US, Mexico, Norway, and more, and engaged in global collaboration. I also realized how intense global competition is. There are top teams from different countries represented, which make the game difficult. The experience in the VEX robotics tournament is intense, inspiring, and memorable; I not only learned from competitions but also enjoyed it a lot with Mr. Reimer, Mr. McCambley and my teammates. 

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

The best part of my boarding House are the people in the house. Everyone in Arthur Bishop West is really nice and supportive. Mr. Doyle, Mr. Vasquez, and Mr. Sullivan give me a sense of security to live in my boarding house. I have many friends in my house, and we play and study together and help each other out.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley is winning the highest proficiency award in Grade 11. The IB courses are all very interesting but challenging. I learned a wide variety of knowledge and acquired new skills which prepared me for future learning and occupations. To me, the award confirms that passion and hard-work will always create good results. With the encouragement of the award, I wish to continue sailing in the sea of knowledge and curiosity, exploring new lands out of the horizon. 

Undergraduate Prize Giving 2019

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

It’s really hard for me to decide the criteria of favourite faculty, and my teachers are all very supportive and inspiring to me. Thinking about my teachers, as I was looking at this question, the more experiences I recalled, the more confused I am, because I love all my teachers though each of them has different shinning points that touch my heart. The first faculty I thought about is Mr. Reimer, my computer science teacher and robotics coach. Not only did he give me a lot of profound and ingenious ideas in academics and life, but also did he share a lot of funny stories and experiences with me.

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

I am really excited to contribute to Ridley community and make it better following the great example set by last year’s Prefects. On the way, I would face challenges and difficulties, but I’m excited to overcome them.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley leads me to develop myself and remain balanced. I have participated in sports, services, and activities which improves my leadership, global vision, and social responsibility and the IB curriculum has given me high self-reflection ability and passion for applying knowledge learned. I’m confident that I’m better prepared for study at university and a career in the engineering and entrepreneur field.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Never could one imagine how energetic and supportive the Ridley community is before being a part of it. My teachers, coaches, and friends all help me a lot when I explore new ideas and plans. So, bravely pursue your dream no matter if it’s academic, athletic, artistic or service inspired and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The whole community will support and be behind you. However, when we go for our dream, we cannot lose sight of the busyness of Ridley life. We need to manage our time wisely so that we could finish all the work in good quality and seize opportunities.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Jason L. ’20

Meet Jason ’20 – a student who stepped out of his comfort zone and has embraced every opportunity during his time at Ridley. Read Jason’s powerful thoughts on the community at Ridley and the environment that has allowed him to flourish.

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

I didn’t have the idea of studying aboard until the year before. I realized that I will have more opportunities and really be able to do what I like. I was most excited to meet new people and maybe become friends for life. That process took me a while because I spoke poor English when I came to Canada. There were uncertainties, which actually motivated me to explore the possibilities at Ridley. I didn’t expect the great amount of activities and sports here, and I started my Ridley journey trying each one of them.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

The community in which I live makes me proud as a Ridleian. As a new comer three years ago, I was deeply touched by how welcoming the Ridley community is. Those fantastic spirits definitely passed down and still exist. The legacy that generations of Ridleians carry is growing stronger and firmer every year. The community is encouraging, supportive, caring and enthusiastic. Even in the toughest times, members of Ridley come together and stay strong. We face obstacles, solve problems and reflect as a whole instead of an individual. The amount of support I have received in the past three years is sensational, which is leads to an extraordinary experience for me.  

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favorite part of Ridley is the arts. I love the arts and have had a passion for it starting a long time ago. The fact that Ridley is able to teach and let students explore a variety of arts is incredible for me because I didn’t have those in China. I will be either working in a visual art studio or acting on stage. There are two theater productions each year, one is a play and the other is a musical. Both of them are fantastic and give me different experiences as an actor. Of course, the co-curricular programme also has clubs and activity for the arts. I am involved in the arts council and choir for example, it’s always exciting to hear new initiatives in the arts, especially those driven by students.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley experience so far has been the winter theater production of 2018-2019, The Drowsy Chaperone. No one can argue that the excitement of being involved in a musical is amazing. From auditions to the final show, students actors, designers, managers and faculty directors put great efforts into this production. For me, to learn and present a tap dance number with my co-actor on stage. There is always learning no matter what you do. I believe that it is the process of learning, engaging and committing in such a large production gives me lessons of inspiration and life. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this experience possible.

The Drowsy Chaperone, by Michelle Scrivener

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

The best part of being in Merritt North is to share. Houses are like smaller communities, divisions of the entire Ridley community. Merritt North is my home away from home and the people are my second family. There’s no doubt that every year we get extremely emotional for graduation, but excited for the next year. There is a huge possibility that your best friend in Ridley is someone in the House. One of the highlights of 2018-2019 was watching the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Championship in the common room together. Although there were only few people left in the house, our enthusiasm didn’t fade at all.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been being offered a role as Prefect. This has been my goal since Grade 9. A Prefect from the Class of 2017 inspired me as a person and student, so this has been a long time promise too I suppose. Thanks, Hunter. Besides becoming a Prefect, the best feeling ever has been to be recognized and encouraged by the community. I am extremely thankful to everything that Ridley has given to me and it’s time to serve back. Terar Dum Prosim is not only a school motto, but also a motivation and an inspiration.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

Mr. Jones is my favourite teacher at Ridley. Mr. Jones was my advisor in Grade 9, and he has been here for all Merritt North boys for five years now, which is incredible. Mr. Jones is a great science teacher with knowledge, a passionate hockey coach with enthusiasm, an Assistant Head of House with great skills and a mentor with wisdom. Mr. Jones has helped me through the toughest year of my life, and he is always there to assist the boys when they need it. He is also going to be the Merritt North Head of House next year and I look forward to work with him for my final year.

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

I am most exited for all new encounters. Whether it is people or things, I do want to make this a year that I will remember forever. I want to have conversations and possibly find some new friends. I am also excited to develop my initiative as Prefect, as well as hold a torch at Snake Dance.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me well in academics, sports and characteristic development, especially in leadership. Throughout my three years, I have developed new skills and gotten better in general. Without the help and support from the community, that would not have been possible.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Be brave, be open, be positive, be thankful and be yourself. And most importantly, be true to yourself and false to no man. I believe every student has potential to be great and I wish your journey in Ridley will be good as mine.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Tom F. ’20

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

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

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

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

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

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

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

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

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

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

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

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

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

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

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

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

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

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

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

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

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

Get to Know Your Prefects: Christopher H. ’20

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

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

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

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

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

What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

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

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

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

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

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

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been becoming Prefect!

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

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

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

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

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

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

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

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

Ridleian Published in Medical Journal

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

View Online Journal co-authored by Arnav.

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Inspiring Alumnae to Celebrate

Driven, ambitious and passionate are a few words you may use to describe an inherently inspirational woman in your life. Today is International Women’s Day and we’d like to celebrate a few of Ridley’s alumnae who have made their mark on the world.

Georgina Black ’85

Georgina Black ’85: As the first female Chair of the Board of Governors at Ridley College, Georgina has paved the way for young women to succeed in both leadership and governance. In addition to her role at Ridley, she is a Partner at KPMG Canada and was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in 2016.

Michele-Elise Burnett ’86: Michele-Elise founded the Indigenous festival, Celebration of Nations, which takes place every September. In addition, during the 18th annual Women in Business Awards this past November, Michele-Elise Burnett ’85 was recognized for her commitment to helping the arts thrive in Niagara; winning the Cultural Arts Award.

Sarah Eyton ’86: As Vice President of Fund Development at Special Olympics Canada, this alumna has dedicated her career to supporting those with intellectual disabilities in realizing their dreams of competing in sport. In addition, she serves Ridley College as a member of the Board of Governors and the Advancement Committee.

Nadine Karachi-Estrada ’87: Passionate about social justice, this alumna was appointed the Honorary Consul for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016. In addition, she has served on a number of Boards, including Ridley College, Patrons of Contemporary Art in Mexico and MEXFAM. She was also a founding member of Camp Deen, which is a camp that empowers Muslim Canadians to be proud of their heritage.

Michele-Elise Burnett ’86 & Nadine Karachi-Estrada ’87

Wendy O’Brien ’88: This alumna started her own casting company in Los Angeles, Wendy O’Brien Casting, and has been the Casting Director for hit television shows such as: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sons of Anarchyand Prison Break.

Hilary Caters ’89: Hilary was once an entrepreneur and marketing agency owner, until she realized her path was leading her down a different direction. Now, she is a passionate life coach and motivational speaker. During the Niagara Leadership Summit for Women in October of 2018, Hilary spoke to aspiring leaders about taking control of ones’ life and the importance of seeking and uncovering both passion and purpose.

Jane Lewis ’90: This Canadian singer-songwriter has always been involved in the arts. While she began her career as an author and editor, she shifted towards music in 2009. Since then, she has honed her skills, released a number of CDs and launched both a solo career and her band, Gathering Sparks. She will be performing at our Toronto Branch event, Curating Connections, on April 2nd.

Jane Lewis ’90

Alison Loat ’94: This alumna co-founded Samara Canada, a charitable organization that works to improve political participation in Canada. In addition, she has published several notable books, is the Managing Director at FCLTGlobal, serves on both Ridley’s Board of Governors as well as Ai-Media and has been named one of WXN’s most influential women in Canada.

Jeanette Stock ’09: This alumna is paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse tech landscape through Venture Out. Venture Out is an initiative launched by Jeanette and her peers in 2016, with the goal of connecting LGBTQA+ people, working in technology, with career and networking opportunities. In 2017, Venture Out held its first conference; welcoming over 450 individuals to Canada’s first conference for LGBTQA+ students and professionals, seeking careers in the tech industry.

Jeanette Stock ’09

Laura Court ’14: After a unanimous vote, former Ridley rower and current Brock Badger, Laura Court ’14 was named Brock University’s OUA Female Athlete of the Year—the first coxswain to receive this honour. With a number of gold medal wins behind her and a promising future ahead, it is no surprise that she was recognized for her grit, determination and skill.

 

TURNING ADVERSITY INTO OPPORTUNITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prefect-led Pep Rally on Opening Day 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headmaster Kidd and Julie Cameron welcoming Asmat to Ridley College.

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

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

David K. Carter ’88 Elected 20th Chair of the Board of Governors

The attributes of a great leader are often listed as integrity, influence, commitment, innovative thinking and clear communication. An effective leader inspires action, cultivates relationships and has a passion for a cause that is bigger than themselves. For Dave Carter ’88, that cause is Ridley College and for this loyal alumnus, all of these qualities (and more) ring true. Having contributed to several facets of Governance and proven his profound care for our school over several decades, Ridley College is honoured to welcome David Carter as the Chair of the Board of Governors, made official at the Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2018.

Dave’s relationship with our beloved school began in 1981 when he arrived to Lower School as a Grade 7 boarder from Oakville, Ontario. He admits that his first term at the school was challenging, but he overcame homesickness and made the most of his Ridley experience by forging friendships and becoming entrenched in a variety of activities. Over seven years, these included rowing, theatre, choir, harriers, working on Acta Ridleiana, Cadet Drill Team, and serving as a school Prefect in his senior year.

“[My parents] wanted me to have more peers around me, and it really did turn out to be some blind wisdom,” Dave says, reflecting back on his lasting connections and his seven years as a domestic boarder. For him, Ridley was the beginning of great things to come.

An accomplished business leader, Dave earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Western University and later completed his CA and CPA designations. According to him, it was the work ethic and self-discipline he gained from rowing, Cadets and his Prefectship that have propelled him in his career. After university, he was hired by Deloitte Canada to do his articling and ended up as a forensic investigator, where he worked nearly 10 years in both Toronto and Grand Cayman helping to litigate asset recoveries inside one of the largest global cases of bank fraud in history.

Returning to Canada, Dave pivoted into Business Process Innovation in healthcare, before being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. He has since exercised proficiency in finance, strategic communications, health care, and technology by partnering in and managing different ventures across multiple sectors.

Despite his varied interests, Dave has always made time to give back to Ridley. Terar Dum Prosim resonates for him and is what inspired him to get involved with Ridley’s Board Committees in his early thirties. First joining in 2000, and eventually chairing, the Finance Audit and HR Committee, Dave was formally elected a Governor in 2009. He proceeded to volunteer additional time to Chair the Monarch Gala, and as part of the small Headmaster search team in 2011. Having been nominated as Board Chair-elect, he became Vice Chair in 2017.

“My work with the board has been continually stimulating…but the fundamental reason is to serve. Our motto couldn’t really be more appropriate in my thinking. If you have that first, chances are that the other dividends you require in life will come.”              – Dave Carter ’88

For the next four years, Dave will lead our school as the 20th Chair of the Board of Governors, the office held by Georgina Black ’85 since 2014. When approached to consider this significant position, Dave recalls, “I was humbled. I think Georgina struck a path and was transformational for many things at Ridley…and she has served honourably.” As he weighed the decision, Dave reflected on how he felt he could contribute to the school’s strategic vision, mission and succession planning. He turned to his wife Hilary, who he notes has always supported his commitment to the school—both she, and Dave’s children Angus and Clare, know the degree to which he values his relationship with Ridley. With their support, Dave could proudly accept this new role and responsibility.

In addition to bringing expertise and enthusiasm, Dave is focused on assisting school leadership to secure Ridley’s prosperity, while maintaining the importance of positive education, flourishing, and student-centeredness.

“I think one of the strengths of Ridley’s recent past has been the supportive and trusting relationship between the Head and the Chair – there is a lot of literature suggesting that this parternship is a key indicator of school strength and stability.  I have been blessed to work closely with two excellent past Chairs, and now look forward to sustaining this strength under Dave’s leadership.  He has proven himself a devoted servant to Ridley and a wise counselor to me and the management team.” – Headmaster, Ed Kidd

About Headmaster Ed Kidd, Dave notes, “being part of the search for this dynamic Headmaster was a source of pride for me, and fulfilled the Board’s most important mandate—the securing and sustenance of a Headmaster to lead the school. I’ve been proud to watch his leadership evolve and the energy and commitment he brings. The Board and I have the utmost confidence in Headmaster Kidd to continue steering Ridley through the next era.”

As he takes his seat as the leader of our community, Dave states that what he’s most energized about contributing to is solidifying Ridley’s strong position: “I want to make sure that the hard work of the board is relevant in helping the school deliver against the solid path we are on. It is a team effort, and there is no one individual who can accomplish this alone,” he says, “I’m most looking forward to seeing the school enter an exciting next chapter.”