Tag Archives: CAIS

CHAPEL TALK: THANKS-GIVING

Written by Head of Upper School, Michele Bett

With our Thanksgiving break rapidly approaching, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect upon why we should give thanks. In this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” in the words of English poet John Keats, ripened fruits and swollen gourds signal that the wondrous bounty of mother nature’s harvest has arrived. And yes, we have much for which to give thanks.

We give thanks that at Ridley:

our teachers have high expectations of their students;

our students come to school ready to be stretched and challenged;

our teachers support and scaffold curiosity in their classrooms daily;

our students are inherently curious and motivated learners;

our teachers arrange their learning opportunities, carving out space for imagination, wonder and reflection; and

our students flourish when they find passion and relevance in their studies.

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk writes on the power of gratefulness. He encourages us to see each new day as a gift where the only appropriate response is gratitude. He urges us to open our hearts to all our blessings.

It is quite radical to see each new day as a gift. If you were caught thanking the sun for rising each morning, people might wonder about your sanity. Normal people don’t go around being grateful all the time. But why not?

I believe that it behooves us to show respect for – and be grateful to – nature, other people, and the past.

We have all stood transfixed and filled with awe in the presence of nature’s marvels – Niagara Falls is an obvious and near-by example. At moments like that, it is not hard to feel a sense of gratitude and to think to ourselves, “what a wonderful world!” The feeling is probably like that of a child playing in the garden. The difference is that, unlike us, the child does not need a raging cascade to get her attention. Here is how John Keats’ older contemporary William Wordsworth put it:

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

The poet goes on to say that this time is gone: “The things which I have seen I now can see no more.” And yet, despite our obliviousness and routine and normalcy, nature does not stop being the miracle that it is. As a later 19th century English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins put it: “And for all this, nature is never spent; / There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.” Even in this time of climate change and global warming, an appreciation for the blessings of life on this earth is still the right way to respond. In fact, I wonder if things might be different on our planet if more people felt more grateful to nature.

At Ridley, we frequently emphasize the importance of thanking each other as often as we can. By doing so, we are recognizing the worth and significance of other people. It turns out that admitting the reality of what is outside ourselves is a necessary step toward well-being. Furthermore, by thanking others, we are acknowledging the other’s presence as a gift. We are saying to the other: “You have given me something that I did not deserve; you have been to me more than a friend.” What almost inevitably comes next is: “I will do the same for you when I can. I will try to be a gift to you.” It is a virtuous circle that fosters and celebrates loving relationships.

Being thankful for the past might seem somewhat strange, even suspicious; some of us might feel much more inclined to reject the past in our struggle for a better world. But human civilizations and cultures throughout all time have universally honoured those who have lived and died in earlier times. Similarly, our society commemorates heroes and martyrs and wise people who have done or said things that remain meaningful to us today. One of those we remember is Martin Frobisher, who in 1578 arrived in Canada and held a formal ceremony in which he gave thanks for surviving the long voyage from England. (Some 43 years later, the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts and did something similar.) This nation began by opening its heart in gratitude to the blessings of life.

And that’s why I am so grateful to be part of a community that has opened its heart to all its blessings. Every student in our community is a blessing, and regardless of their academic trajectory, they are cared for and valued. They are loved.

As in so many of my chapel talks and conversations with parents and students it is the character strength of love that I find myself returning to so often. Love, it seems, underpins nearly everything we do at Ridley.

In the gospels, God tells who we are, and we know that it can be the hardest thing in the world for us to receive love, especially the love of God. Whether you are a Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist, non-believer, let’s be united in the idea that love is the strongest thing in the world, and to receive it demands that we begin by loving ourselves.

Unlike the bees in Keats’ ode to “Autumn,” we know that these warm October days will cease, but giving thanks at Ridley is not limited to the season of thanksgiving. At Ridley, we practice gratitude daily, all year round. May I wish all our families at Ridley a Thanksgiving break filled with joy, appreciation and, of course, much love.

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: Catherine F. ’20

Meet Catherine ’20 – a talented student-athlete, who can often be found skating up and down the ice in the Tiger Arena or supporting her fellow Crocodiles in Gooderham East. Read more to discover the milestones and accomplishments that have influenced Catherine’s Ridley career.


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

I was most excited to start my journey at Ridley and meet new friends coming from all-over the world. I was also very thrilled of being part of its very well-known hockey programme and school curriculum. Ridley College is modern and well-organized in all aspects. The second I stepped under the arches of Ridley, I knew this is where I wanted to be. 

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am extremely proud of being a Ridleian for numerous reasons. Firstly, there is no better sense of community than at Ridley College – people care for each individual’s growth and flourishment.  Secondly, this school embraces modern philosophies, and new technologies for greater learning and experiences.  Lastly, I’ve realized that this school has an extremely great reputation.  When someone is wearing a Ridley sweater, she/he will cross paths with another that knows a Ridleian or has gone to Ridley themselves.  Day-to-day, I go to school knowing that someone cares about each other’s development and success.  I am extremely proud to be a Ridleian.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

I have enjoyed my hockey experience in many ways – the team experience, friendships, development and success. I made lifetime friends and memories. From bus rides to plane rides, we ended up creating a strong connection with trust and loyalty. I also loved social life at Ridley – we’ve had a lot of laughs and amazing interactions during events and activities such as school dances, café, Bradley shield competitions, etc. 

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley memory was when my team and I went to play hockey in Vancouver. It was our first trip on the plane together. We were all so excited to go on a trip across Canada with each other. We had a lot of fun while visiting a suspension bridge – this activity helped us bond as a team. We were at first a little scared to walk on a moving bridge up in the air, but then we crossed it laughing. It was a key moment for the growth of our team and friendships.

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

Gooderham East is a very positive environment. I would say that people make G-East one of the best Houses of campus.  My Head of House and Assistant Head of House are both very positive and outgoing people. They deeply care for every single girl in the House.  They guide us towards growth, for us to achieve a better self. They are always there to help us. Also, our house maintenance ladies are tremendously caring – they assure that Ridley is welcoming and homey. All in all, G-East is a House full of trust – this is my home away from home.

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I am extremely proud of having won the CISAA league championship with my hockey team.  We worked so hard throughout the year to develop our skills and team chemistry to achieve this goal. On a personal note, I have to mention my commitment to play hockey at Boston University after graduation. My coaches and teachers helped me achieve that goal by pushing me every single day to become a better student-athlete.

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

There is lots of special faculty and staff members; Mrs. Postma, my Head of House, being one of them. She is an exceptional person, being very positive and caring. She is always there to make me feel at home, and support me throughout the year. Her continuous smile helped me stay positive the whole year.

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

Being a Prefect at Ridley College means a lot to me, particularly to be part of this special group of students. We, as a group, are very diverse. I have no doubt that we will all bring different ideas and perspective to the table. I am looking forward to doing different activities and initiatives with this group to help and improve the Ridley College community. I want to positively participate in others’ memorable time at Ridley College.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley helps me to be more open-minded to new ideas and new ways of learning.  The exceptional teaching staff give me tools and responsibilities to help me be more prepared for future challenges. The IB programme is very well-structure and challenging to further develop skills and knowledge for post-graduation experiences. On the other hand, my hockey coaches help me every day to improve and have an impact at the next level, not only as a hockey player, but also as a person. I’ve learned how to trust my abilities and knowledge.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My best advice for all prospective students would be to take advantage of all the resources offered at Ridley. If you always wanted to be part of a certain club, sign up for it, if you want to be part of an activity and it does not exist, create one. There are so many opportunities, so take advantage of them. Here, at Ridley College, we can go out of our personal comfort zone in many different ways. Always be in the moment and trust yourself. You can do more than you could ever think of. Make your experience at Ridley the best imaginable.

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: Jessica Z. ’20

Meet Jessica ’20 – a student who brought her passion for culture and diversity to the forefront when she started a multicultural club in Upper School. Read about her service-learning and the moments that have shaped her Ridley career in the interview below!

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

I was actually most excited for Ridley’s beautiful campus. I have always been living in the south of China where there is only summer and winter, so I was especially excited to experience fall at Ridley.

What makes you proud to be a Ridleian?

I am very proud of the loving and encouraging atmosphere here. Being in such a great environment really impacted the way that I treat others and transformed me into a more positive and caring person. I am very grateful.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is the student events such as Snake Dance and spirit nights. I love it when the whole community comes together to cheer each other on. It makes me feel like I belong to something special and meaningful that’s not about individual achievements, but the school community as a whole. 

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley trip has definitely been the March service trip to the Jacaranda School for Orphans in Malawi. I met the lovely students at Jacaranda and got to know more about their lives. That was also the first time that the Days for Girls club ever brought their feminine hygiene kits to Jacaranda. After seeing their presentation and how happy the girls were for receiving the kits, I decided to become a part of the Days for Girls club. The trip has not only allowed me to get to know life at Jacaranda in Malawi, but also transformed me into a more socially responsible person. 

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

The best part of being in Mandeville is that all the teachers are all very caring and warm-hearted. I love that I can talk to them about anything, free of judgment and criticism. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment at Ridley?

I personally think that successfully establishing the Multi-Culture Club at Ridley is one of my greatest accomplishments. This experience has really taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance, especially in adverse situations. I am especially proud of the school-wide cultural trivia that the club hosted, as it allowed students to gain more knowledge of the cultures around us (since we are an international boarding school).

Who is your favourite faculty or staff member and why?

One of my favourite faculty members at Ridley is my Head of House, Ms. Thompson. Throughout the years that I have been at the school, she has been like a motherly figure to me. She made me feel welcomed and loved when I first came here and didn’t know anyone. She has also been like a friend, talking with me and giving me advice when I need it.

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

I am very excited to be working with a new group of people on exciting initiatives next year. After getting to know more about each other, I believe that we will work very well together. I am also very excited for the potential initiatives that will be undertaken by the team next year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has taught me to be a balanced and well-rounded person. In addition to the academic commitments, athletic and co-curricular activities are also vital in the student life at Ridley. I learned the importance of time-management, and I believe that this skill will be highly applicable to my life beyond Ridley.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would advise prospective students to learn how to prioritize and balance between their activities both in and outside of school. The amount of work (academic, sport and co-curricular activities) can be overwhelming at first (especially if you are a full IB student), but once you start to plan and prioritize your activities, things will be much easier. 

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: 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.