Tag Archives: CAIS Boarding School

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: Debbie D. ’20

Meet Debbie ’20 – a student who had a life changing experience during her Grade 9 year, that inspired her and her friends to start a service-learning trip of their own! Read more to see how leadership and service have guided her Ridley career and how she plans to lead in the coming school year.

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

When I first saw Ridley, I was attracted by all the smiley faces when I walked around campus. After my tour of the school, I was attracted again by all the buildings at Ridley, and also the feeling of multiculturalism. I was thinking if I can study in such a pretty building and with people from so many different countries I would be really grateful for that.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

Ridley has inspired me, taught me to flourish and really changed my perspectives in variety different ways. I have learned a lot and become much more mature in my time at Ridley. I am very proud to be a Ridleian.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? 

My favorite part of Ridley is residence life. Ridley is my second home and living on campus makes me feel peaceful and happy. Being part of my residence makes me felt very included, and I like to share my life with the rest of my housemates.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley experience was during my Grade 9 March break. In 2017, my friends and I attended a service trip and travelled to Guatemala together. 

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

Mandeville is a united House, and every member in this house is very kind and helpful. All students in Mandeville House knows how to respect each other and love each other. All the faculty and staff in Mandeville offer help and advice, and care about the students in this house. Also, the students from Mandeville felt happy and enjoyed staying in this House, and all of us felt included and loved. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I think my greatest accomplishment at Ridley would be organizing a brand-new service trip to China with a few of my friends at Ridley. In my opinion, this service trip did not only help the local students in China; it also allowed Ridley students to experience a different culture, so I think my friends and I have provided and created a really good opportunity for the Ridley student body. 

Who is your favorite faculty or staff member and why?

I like all faculty in Ridley College, and one of my favorite faculty members at Ridley is Mrs. Thompson, because she has been my Head of House since Grade 9, and in all these years, she has cared for me and helped me a lot when I needed it. She’s very kind and funny, and she made me feel really included and welcomed since the first day I joined the Ridley community, so I’m really grateful for her

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

In the upcoming year, I am very excited to help out as many students as I can, and try to come up with more creative ideas to make a better and more enjoyable life for the student body. 

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Both the academic and co-curricular programmes at Ridley have prepared me for my future. All the awesome teachers who taught me before, and all the faculty who helped me before, they all are my preparation for the future. I have learned a lot from them. All the activities I have participated in is another great way to prepare me for future because each different activity teaches me a new perspective.  Ridley has inspired me. 

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The advice I would give prospective students about Ridley based on my three years experiences would be: enjoy every second and moment at Ridley, learn from Ridley and be inspired. 

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: Max C. ’20

Meet Max ’20 – a boarder from California, who has found home at Ridley, as a member of Dean’s House. Although he can often be found in the Tiger Arena, this athlete has a knack for science as well! Read some of the highlights of his first year at Ridley below.

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

Coming to Ridley, the thing I was most excited for was to play ice hockey and be a part of the Ridley boarding school culture.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am proud to be a Ridleian because of the variety of things that Ridley strives and excels in. At Ridley, our culture cannot be defined as solely a sports school or academic school because we have a student body that can be and is successful in so many different aspects.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley is the boarding life offered. Boarding life truly adds to the Ridley culture and atmosphere of connecting us and bringing our community together. The culture within our boarding Houses has allowed me to form some of the strongest bonds and friendships that I have in my life.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

Road trips with my hockey team have been some of my greatest Ridley experiences in the last year. Road trips were a huge part of the journey last year with my team. In the moments from hotel room fun to warming up at the ice rink, I have had the time of my life with my best friends and teammates.

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

Having my friends nearby all the time. This makes living in the house always a super fun experience with many friends to share the good times with.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

Winning the award for the best medical sciences project in the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair. This reward was the accumulation of countless hours, help from my teachers, and dedication into a project that I was truly passionate about. That is why winning this award and receiving the recognition for my project has been one of the most meaningful and greatest accomplishments of my life.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Mrs. Roud. As both a teacher and Head of House, she is so caring and helpful. Without her constant love and support there is no way that I could have had such an amazing first year at Ridley.

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

I am very excited for many things in the role of a Prefect. What I am most excited for however is to be a role model in the Ridley community and have the chance to inspire other students. Coming to Ridley, I looked up to the Prefects and they were a great inspiration to me. Now, I am excited be a role model for other students and inspire them just as I was as a new student.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has taught me how to challenge myself and has shown me that when I push myself, I can accomplish so much more than I previously thought. The opportunities that Ridley has given has influenced me to step out of my comfort zone and learn so much more about who I am and want to be in the future.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The one piece of advice that I would give to Ridley students is to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that Ridley has to offer. Ridley has so many opportunities for students of all interests. For me, this meant pursuing the IB Diploma and also playing Prep Hockey. And, even if you have never tried some of these things or are nervous of stepping out of your comfort zone, Ridley is an amazing opportunity to try new things with a student body and faculty that will be nothing but supportive.

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: Johnathan A. ’20

Introducing Johnathan ’20 – a student-athlete, who truly bleeds orange and black. Check out our interview with him below to see what makes him proud to be a Tiger.

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

Aside from basketball, I was most excited about the boarding experience. Boarding school was going to be a new experience for me at the time and I didn’t know what to expect. I had a lot of questions going through my mind in the weeks leading up to the start of the school year: “Will I miss home? How am I supposed to do my own laundry?”. I was also looking forward to building relationships with my peers outside of the classroom and gaining a new perspective on life by learning from kids from other countries around the world. It has been amazing, and I’ve loved it so far!

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I’m proud to be a Ridleian because of the school’s rich and prestigious history, strong alumni network that supports the school, and the school’s commitment to service in the St. Catharines and global communities.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life are the spirit nights. It’s an opportunity for the student population to come together and show their Tiger pride and unite. Drums…Hank the Tiger…face paint…air-horns…the atmosphere created is electric and second to none. Both as a player and a spectator cheering on other teams, some of my best memories from this past school year were from spirit nights.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience has been the annual tradition of Snake Dance. The best of part of the event is the anticipation and excitement that builds in the Houses as we get painted and fired up to prepare for a fun night around the gigantic fire.

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

The best part of Arthur Bishop West (the best House on campus), is the people from the top down. The house residential team of Mr. Doyle, Mr. Vasquez, and Mr. Sullivan have a lot of fun with us while maintaining order. All the students come together to watch big sporting events in the common room, which are fun events. We also have special traditions at night for birthdays. And I can’t forget to mention that we have the best cleaning ladies on campus (Patty and Emily)!

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

Becoming a Prefect has been my greatest accomplishment at Ridley. I worked really hard this past year in and out of the classroom and am honoured to have been selected by my peers and faculty to serve in this leadership role.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

Ms. Becken is my favourite faculty member. As a teacher, she always challenges our thinking to find the deeper meaning and brings out our best as students. I engaged in a lot of great discussions in her history class this past year and she made learning fun. She cares a lot about our well-being and shows interest in our personal lives. I have a lot of great conversations about basketball and life with her that I enjoy.

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

I’m most excited about collaborating with the Prefect team to make this upcoming school year a memorable one and creating a legacy that the younger generations will remember and can look up to.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has offered me great opportunities with its high academic standards and elite basketball programme that have challenged me to be the best version of myself. Its unique programming has improved my organisational skills and discipline which will facilitate my transition to university and set me up for success in the future. Furthermore, the boarding experience has taught me how to live independently and I’ve developed life skills.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

After completing my first year at Ridley, my advice to prospective students is that time management is important. Especially as a student-athlete, it is important to find a good balance between your academics, athletics, and social life and ensure that you’re always being productive. Secondly, cherish every moment you have with your friends and peers, time flies by. You’ll be building relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Also, utilize the great resources available for extra support when needed.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Lucie U. ’20

Meet Lucie ’20 – a boarding student, who calls Gooderham West her home away from home. Read about all the opportunities and life-changing moments she experienced during her first year at Ridley and what she hopes the final year of high school holds for her.

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

My family proposed the idea of going to Ridley, so that I could gather more life experience, since my previous school was very small. I went to class with the same nine people throughout my entire life and that is why Ridley was such a great opportunity to meet new people. Suddenly I knew so many people and I was forced to get to know new people, which was not only very exciting, but is an important experience to have. 

In addition to this, I knew that Ridley has several options when it comes to developing new skills. All these sports, activities and clubs were a great opportunity to try out new things and maybe even find different hobbies.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

Ridley College has a very unique school culture. Ridley really values traditions and legacies, but also principles innovation and positive change. Additionally, Ridley has an amazing reputation and history to be proud of. I am proud to be a Ridleian because it makes me part of a community, which is very special to me and which nobody will be able to take from me.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

The aspect of Ridley that I like the most is the boarding. We, as boarders, and also day students, become a part of this wonderful community. I love this idea of living with friends, developing independence but also experiencing this alternative way of living. Especially the late-night conversations with friends, the spa nights or simply the sharing enhances this experience.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

I have made an enormous number of great experiences and memories in this past year, but one of the most incredible, is the service trip to Malawi. In addition to learning so many things and creating remarkable memories, this trip taught me a lot about life. It also helped me to create unique relationships with some of the students in the Jacaranda School, from our trip and with some of the adults and teachers of our trip.

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

Throughout the past year, I got to know a huge number of incredible girls in my boarding house, Gooderham West. The diversity in nationalities, talents and much more, is not only extremely inspiring but it makes each of us unique. I found so many friends in my house, but I can’t call them friends anymore: many of them are now my sisters. We live through every phase and emotion together, we support each other and if that means staying awake till late at night to comfort somebody you might not even be close friends with, so it is.

Being in a boarding house together just creates this connection and community. We are a big family and even though we might not know each other perfectly, it is comforting to know that there is this supporting light in some darker times.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I found a lot of new friends at Ridley and I got to know so many amazing and talented people. For me this is a personal accomplishment, since I came from a small school and never got to know many people. 

Also, I feel like I finally found a relatively balanced lifestyle that is suitable to my environment. 

Lastly, I developed many skills that I would have never dreamed of. If you had told me two years ago that I would actually enjoy playing ice hockey, a sport which is not very popular in Germany, I would have never believed it. But I tried it, and even though I am very far from good at it, I count it as a new skill and activity that I enjoy.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

I really enjoy being around so many of the faculty and staff members in different departments. From the cleaning ladies in my house, the security ladies, the sewing room ladies to all my teachers and other employees I have gotten to know, I feel like I established the most wonderful relationships with them, even if it is nothing too major. This is especially true with our former Assistant Head of House, Ms. Delaney, who helped me through a lot of personal and academic challenges and she was there for me whenever I needed a friend.

Also, several of my teachers, specifically Ms. Covent, gave me a lot of power and self-esteem throughout the year. She was very supporting with whatever I needed, and she taught me a lot of things, that are not only useful in our end-of-year exams, but life.

Lastly, I am very grateful for the health center team for being this steady rock of help whenever we students need it. They care so much about us students, not only physically but also mentally.

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

I am very excited about seeing great outcomes of certain events such as the organization of Snake Dance, some of the other dances or maybe even simple weekend activities. I am also extremely excited about working together with new departments of the school, that I am unfamiliar with until now, in order to make positive changes and see great outcomes.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

The biggest thing that Ridley prepared me for is that it encouraged me to take on challenges. Ever since I am in Ridley I am much braver, even about the most minor things, but this is an important life skill that Ridley gives to us by presenting us with so many opportunities. A good example of this is public speaking, which was a skill I simply just did not possess before, but now I challenge myself more and more and I try to overcome my fears.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t order too much food, even though everybody goes through that phase. It’s nice in the moment but your money is gone in a heartbeat!

Looking at a broader scope; always keep your spirits lifted and don’t get pulled down by something relatively insignificant, which won’t affect your life in the long term. High school tends to have a lot of unnecessary drama, but it is important to learn from it and overcome it.

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. 

Ridley Becomes the First Visible Wellbeing™ School in North America

Three years following the launch of our Strategic Plan, Ridley is confidently enacting our mission to inspire flourishing lives in a novel and intentional way. Recently, our school launched an exciting two-year partnership with Professor Lea Waters (PhD), a leading researcher and global expert in the field of positive psychology – making Ridley the first Visible Wellbeing TM Foundational School in North America.

Developing well-rounded individuals has been a focus at Ridley for over a century, however, over the past five years we have deliberately and consciously applied the science behind positive education – the notion of improving students’ emotional, psychological and physical well-being in order to help them flourish in the classroom and in their lives.

In 2012 Ridley began to effect applied positive psychology methodologies, such as Martin Seligman’s PERMA-V model, which breaks down the core elements of psychological well-being and happiness. Since then, our faculty has been participating in professional development, becoming deeply familiar with key frameworks and integrating them into their classrooms, on the sports field, within the boarding houses and even in their own lives. Today, it would not be out of the ordinary for one to walk into the Grade 3 class to witness mindfulness breathing exercises taking place, or to hear students at the lunch table talking about their top character strengths.

With this school-wide exposure to positive psychology, the introduction of a dedicated Upper School Counselor and the PERMA-V model being adopted by faculty and Ridleians alike, it became clear that Ridley was quickly becoming a leader in positive education within North American schools. It was with this realization that we decided to embark upon a fundraising effort to bring a world-class expert in this field to Ridley. With the support of our generous community, Ridley successfully raised more than $100,000 towards a ‘Positive Education Fellowship’ during the 2016-17 Annual Fund campaign.

The search for the most suitable positive psychology expert, who would advance our school’s mission, led Ridley straight to Professor Lea Waters.

    

Although she playfully refers to herself as a “pracademic,” Professor Lea Waters is more formally a psychologist, researcher, author and facilitator who specializes in positive education, positive parenting, and positive organizations.  She is the Founding Director of Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Melbourne – where she has also published over 90 scientific articles and book chapters in 21 years. Professor Waters is the President of the International Positive Psychology Association, has affiliate positions with Cambridge University and the University of Michigan and is the Ambassador for the Positive Education Schools Association.

Among her many contributions to the field, the multi-award winning research professor has designed and developed a framework known as Visible WellbeingTM (VWB), which is an approach that combines the science of well-being with the science of learning and teaching to make well-being visible in all classes and across co-curricula. Over the next two years, Professor Waters will bring her scientifically-grounded techniques in VWB to Ridley, which will enable teachers to use the learning process itself as a delivery mechanism to build student well-being. Unlike some rigid curriculum, VWB is a flexible approach which can be applied in a trans-disciplinary manner across all grades and amongst faculty and staff. With the VWB approach, academic learning and well-being are truly integrated and produce a positive feedback cycle.

Professor Waters’ drive to develop the VWB approach was in reaction to staggering global rates of teen depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide. According to the World Health Organization, 10 to 20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental disorders worldwide. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death amongst 15 to 19-year-olds. Ridley responds to this teenage need for support, explains Head of Upper School, Michele Bett, “At Ridley, we believe a child’s physical and emotional, psychological well-being will underpin everything they do – not just in school, but beyond school.”

To launch VWB at Ridley, Professor Waters recently spent two days facilitating faculty and staff workshops. During these dynamic sessions, she introduced concepts such as the SEARCH Framework, which helps identify character strengths, as well as delivery methods and measurement techniques for VWB. Professor Waters also shared why she was keen to partner with Ridley. “What made me feel that [Ridley] would do well by Visible Wellbeing is that I know that the intention of Ridley is truly and genuinely to make flourishing lives. It’s not just a statement on a document…The school has the right structure, it has the right people, it has the right ethos…From an organizational psychology perspective it ticks all the checklist of organizational readiness for change,” says Waters.

Professor Lea Waters facilitating Visible WellbeingTM workshops with faculty and staff.

“I truly feel that the adoption of Professor Waters’ Visible Wellbeing approach and positive education expertise will provide the exact direction, resources and consistent language that our community requires to forge ahead as the trailblazer for positive education in Canada…and North America for that matter,” remarked Headmaster, Ed Kidd. Ridley looks forwards to enhancing the student experience through this ongoing VWB initiative and to sharing our outcomes with other schools around the world.

Ridley faculty show off their copies of The Strength Switch by Professor Lea Waters (PhD), the selection for this past summer’s professional development reading.

“This is a world-class school to take on this new innovation and to marry together the science of learning with the science of well-being to help everyone thrive at the school.” – Professor Lea Waters (PhD)