Tag Archives: Canada

Positive Change Ignites at Ridley College

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

– Nelson Mandela

December 10th is Human Rights Day – observed globally to commemorate the day, in 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Ridleians went above and beyond to enact positive change in the world by participating in a number of events that took place on campus. Throughout the day and around every corner there were new opportunities for students, staff and faculty to get involved.

Students arrived on campus wearing red and green in support of Arthur Bishop West’s house charity, Congo Leadership Initiative. Contributions from this dress-down “grub” day were donated to the charity in support of a recently relocated Syrian refugee family.

In Upper School, from 8:00a.m. into the night, the Matthews Library was transformed into the drop-in workshop for Ridley’s own Amnesty Group. All students were invited to pay a visit to the library and write letters that took a stand on human rights issues. Within half an hour, 125 letters had already been written; by lunch, over 245 had been signed by Ridleians, pleading to end a number of unjust cases. Throughout the day, teachers brought their classes, faculty and staff dropped by to write their own letters, and students from Lower School stopped by to learn about this amazing cause.

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As the entire Ridley community continued to contribute to the Write for Rights event, another inspiring act had taken place in the Great Hall. Every table and wall in the Great Hall had been adorned with Post-It Notes. Each one with an inspiring message, urging its readers to “stay strong” or “never give up.” Led by the Positive Spaces Group, these positive sticky notes infused the dining hall with an optimistic energy.

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As classes concluded for the day, a group of Ridleians assembled in the Second Century Building (2CB) to help change the world. Each Thursday, this team joins together to make a difference in the lives of women living in developing countries. Led by Ms. Linda Chang and Prefect, Grace Lowes, members sew and prepare feminine hygiene kits for an organization called Days for Girls. These kits allow women, in developing countries, to carry on with their daily lives when they would otherwise be forced to forego school or work up to two full months each year.

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As the sun went down on the school day, so many acts of kindness and positive change had taken place on campus that it was impossible not to feel inspired.

Meanwhile, the Write for Rights event was forging ahead. Students piled in the library to help reach Ridley’s goal of writing 500 letters. Ms. Shelley Thomas, Faculty Advisor to Ridley’s Amnesty group, documented Ridley’s progress and along with her team, joined in on a twitter chat with the Secretary General of Amnesty Canada. By 10:00p.m., as the Write for Rights event came to a close, not only did had Ridley won Amnesty’s photo challenge, but an astounding 565 letters had been written for Amnesty International; a record breaking number for Ridley College.

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The winning photo of Amnesty International’s photo contest, taken by Ms. Shelley Thomas.

Whether they were writing, sewing, donating or posting, Ridleians made an impact and gained perspective on serious global issues. We all learned to be grateful for our circumstances and to use our power to assist others who are not as fortunate and wage a personal war. Each and every student joined together to make a difference and transform the globe. Their passion and kindness has inspired us all to be a part of positive change.

 

Adding Dimension to Ridley’s Digital Learning Studio

Ensuring that our students learn and grow in an exemplary environment is a part of our vision at Ridley College. It is of utmost importance for us to provide our students with access to cutting-edge technology and rich learning experiences, whenever possible.

Thanks to our generous donors, we were recently able to fulfill this promise by introducing three 3D printers to our Digital Learning Studio! This state-of-the-art rapid prototyping device has been revolutionizing the way the world creates and what better way to teach modern technology then with hands on experience.

Last year, Mr. Giles Campbell, Co-ordinator of Design and Technology, carefully researched which model of 3D printer would best suit our students’ needs ­­– one that would be easy and safe to use, while providing high quality results. As school let out for summer, Mr. Campbell was still undecided on which model to select, until a student submitted a project he had completed using the Ultimaker² 3D printer. It soon became clear that this brand of rapid prototyping device would provide Ridleains with the best features to explore three dimensions.

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Ultimaker² printers work in a very interesting way – using high heat and fused filament to create clean and accurate 3D models of any design that is input into the system. Our Ultimaker² 3D printers, which arrived over the summer, temporarily reside in the Design Technology classroom, while a dedicated lab is established for them.

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Students have just begun their term project that utilizes the 3D printer’s capabilities to create iPhone speakers that amplify sound without electricity. They’ve begun designing their projects on paper; filling their sketchbooks with ideas and concepts.

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Next, they will bring their final design to life on the computer screen before sending them to be printed on the new printers.

Ridleians represent at International Public Speaking Competition

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On the weekend of October 23rd-26th, Ridley participated in the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition hosted by The York School in Toronto. Nearly 200 students from 45 schools throughout the world were involved in this annual event that features a wide range of the speaking arts­–debate, drama, and public speaking. Schools from Canada, the U.S.A., Bermuda, India, China, Peru, Scotland, England, Hong Kong, and Australia competed in a four-day tournament that brought together some of the best international high school speakers..

Each participant selected three events from various categories that included: persuasive, after-dinner, and impromptu speaking; parliamentary and cross-examination debate; dramatic interpretation, interpretive reading, and radio newscast. Ridley was ably represented by Arwyn Workman-Youmans, Eduardo Deliyannis, and Philip Brenninkmeyer, who excelled in parliamentary debate, interpretive reading, and impromptu speaking respectively.

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Ridleians, Eduardo Deliyannis, Arwyn Workman-Youmans and Philip Brenninkmeyer pose with students from the Shanghai American School

Although Ridley did not reach the finals, each student presented his/her event in each of the two rounds, demonstrating growth and progress throughout the tournament.  All students are congratulated and thanked for their outstanding efforts.

– Mr. Paul O’Rourke, Department of Social Sciences & Coordinator of Speaking Arts

Speaking Arts at Ridley College has long held great stature within the gates and beyond, as it has helped many students reach their potential. With this activity, students are able to refine their public speaking skills, gain confidence in their own ability and become active leaders in the Ridley community and society, as a whole.

Students are encouraged to attend the weekly Speaking Arts activity, which takes place on Thursdays at 4:00p.m. in room 203 of Lower School.

Upcoming competitions include the Fulford Cup hosted by Ashbury College in Ottawa from November 6-7th, followed by the National Qualifier at Appleby College in Oakville on November 24th.

Good luck to all the students participating in these upcoming competitions!

Art Toronto Inspires Our Young Artists

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On Friday, October 23rd, the senior Visual Art students visited Art Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This event is Canada’s largest exhibition of contemporary visual art. For the past 16 years, this event has drawn art dealers from Canadian and International galleries to exhibit some of their best pieces. It offers a chance for galleries to make connections to collectors or cultural institutions; but for students, it offers a glimpse into the world of contemporary art.

“The primary point of the visit was to allow students the opportunity to see first-hand artworks by professional practicing artists working in an enormous array of styles and media.”

– Mr. Duane Nickerson, Department of Visual and Performing Arts

With wall-to-wall art and 62 gallery exhibits, every student was able to discover an artist or style that spoke to them.

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This year, our Ridleians dove into the experience. As they made their way through the exhibition, our captivated students asked questions about the art market and the work that surrounded them. The art dealers and agents were happy to share their knowledge and passion with the students.

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It was apparent that the exhibit had an obvious and positive impact on our receptive young Ridleians. These students will be able to take their experience and the inspiration they absorbed from Art Toronto and carry it with them as they explore visual arts in the coming terms here at Ridley College. With access to a wide array of brushes, paints, canvases and more, these students will be able to channel their new favourite artists and their creativity into every project they complete.

 

Get to Know Your Prefects: Annie S. ’16

Introducing our final Prefect in our blog series, Annie! Annie is a part-time boarder with us from Chippawa. She proudly wears the number 11 for Ridley’s First Girls hockey and field hockey teams.

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I chose Ridley because of hockey. I had been scouted for
the women’s hockey program in the summer of 2012. 

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I was terrified coming to Ridley. I knew absolutely no one here and it was going to be my first year of high school. I had also just moved to a new city a few weeks before school started.

 What are your plans after graduation? 

I plan on playing university hockey, somewhere in Canada or the US. I’m interested in studying health sciences because I want to work in a rehabilitation center for trauma patients.

 Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

That’s a hard one. I’d probably have to say my Housemaster, Mrs. Filion, or my coaches, Mrs. Wark and Ms. Doucet. All three of them have been a huge part of why I am the person I am. They all have been here for me since my grade 9 year and will continue to be, even after I graduate. I can comfortably talk about every aspect of my life with all three faculty members.

 What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley has been time management. Being at Ridley, you need to learn how to use your time wisely. I play on first team sports and I am an 80% and above student. Therefore, being able to manage Ridley’s workload and being away for hockey almost every weekend can get extremely difficult. Although it’s been my biggest challenge, I have also improved a lot when it came to managing my time so I am thankful for that.

 What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

I’d say my greatest accomplishment would have to be earning the honour to be a school Prefect. Only a certain amount of grade 12’s get chosen to represent the school and I was 1 of 16.

 What has been your favourite Ridley experience (thus far) and your favourite part of Ridley?

Choosing one favourite Ridley experience is impossible. The two things that came to mind would be our long lasting tradition, Snake Dance, and being able to represent Ridley on the ice and on the field. Both things have been a privilege to be a part of.

My favourite part of Ridley would most definitely be how Ridley is it’s own community within a community. Until you experience the Ridley community, you won’t understand it. Every single person at Ridley is family. You spend approximately 16 hours of the day with other students. We see each other at our best and we see each other at our worst. I can honestly say that leaving this school will be heartbreaking.

 What are the most important things you have learned from your time at Ridley?

As stated before, one of the most important things I can take out of my time at Ridley and into the real world would have to be the capability to manage my time. No matter what I do in life, being able to have the skills to use my time appropriately will only benefit me.

 What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The most intimidating thing coming to Ridley, for most students, is the fear of no one liking them and not being able to fit in. Therefore, my biggest piece of advice I give new students is to just be yourself. Often people forget that you don’t need to change to “fit in” at Ridley.

 

Thank you Annie and all of our prefects for contributing to our introductory blog series. To review our past interviews, please click here.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Shamar B. ’16

Introducing Shamar; a boarder from the Bahamas, who represented his country for two Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 1.01.33 PMconsecutive years at the Youth Olympics for basketball – now our First Boy’s Basketball team Captain! We are thrilled that he has brought his talents on and off the court to Ridley. Read our Q&A with Shamar to learn more about this Ridley Prefect.

Why did you choose Ridley?

The decision to attend Ridley was a collective group decision between my family members and I. Ridley was chosen because of the high standard of education, large sporting background, and mainly the quality of the school. It has diversification between different cultures; this allows students to bond and grasp a better understanding between self-culture and outside cultures. Ridley offered different facilities, a unique experience and exposure to a variety of programs. Lastly, Ridley is an elite school that assists, guides, and prepares students for university and the real world.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

My parents and I knew that I was prepared to attend Ridley College, and make the next big step in my life as a growing teen, but there are always some obstacles to face, even when you feel most prepared. Some of these obstacles were leaving family and friends behind in Nassau, Bahamas, seeking new opportunities and creating new friends; also making tough decisions on my own without mom or dad being by my side making the decisions for me.

What are your plans after graduation? 

Graduation is something I am really looking forward to. However, knowing that it will be my last time in high school will make the moment even more special, but also tough and possibly an emotional experience. After graduation I plan to attend university, possibly do some traveling, and gain a little more work experience before I’m completely enrolled into university. 

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

There are so many great faculty members at Ridley College. It’s quite tough to single out a faculty member as most favourite because they all are unique in many ways. 

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge at Ridley thus far has been, possibly, time management. This is because of traveling to different places for basketball, staying on top of assignments, and preparing for quizzes and tests.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley was being selected as school Prefect and also winning the first ever OFSAA ‘A’ Basketball Championship for the first time in Ridley history with an unbelievable group of teammates and coaching staff.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me academically, socially, and mentally for the real world. This is because the Ridley College community is a very social environment, which helps with your social skills in a formal and informal way. Academically, because of the different rigorous courses, the responsibility to research, study, and take on tasks independently or even sometimes with fellow classmates. Lastly mentally, because of the Ridley Guidance Team, which enlightens students in many different areas for future goals, plans, and decisions 

What have been your favorite Ridley experience (thus far) and your favorite part of Ridley?

Camp at the beginning of the school year, because of new people coming into the Ridley community, and taking part in house activities together. This creates a bond between you and other kids. Secondly, Snake Dance was an unreal experience for me because of the intensity and excitement of everyone participating. Snake Dance creates motivation for me to start off the school year in an enthusiastic way.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice to all prospective students is; to always remain open minded, to be polite with others, and to try your best to be welcoming to others. Seize every opportunity and be determined, to tackle and overcome any obstacles that come before you in your Ridley journey. Lastly be respectful, mannerly and always take advantage of all opportunities given.

Students Brave the Elements in Algonquin Park

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Each year, a group of adventurous students sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This award encourages grit, as students set goals that test their skills, push them to find adventure and work as a team. Student complete stages that increase with difficulty, moving up upon the completion of each level. At the end of the programme, students are awarded a pin and certificate to show their accomplishments.

This past weekend, students took to Algonquin Park for the first Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (D of E) trip of the school year! The students set out on a canoe trip on the chilled waters of Northern Ontario. The group was comprised of 16 students, chaperoned by Mr. Giles Campbell, Mr. Clyde Dawson, Mr. James Leslie and Mrs. Hanna Kidd.

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Unphased by the cold and ferocious winds, the group kept a positive and keen attitude – a trait emphasized by D of E. The group camped on Parkside Bay before paddling over to Big Porcupine Lake for the remaining nights.

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On Saturday, the day was spent paddling to Bonnechere Lake where participants enjoyed a much-deserved lunch. After filling up on a hot meal, a few very students took a dip in the lake. Needless to say, the swim was a refreshing one!

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After a weekend spent embracing Mother Nature, this group of adventurers proved their strength, endurance, teamwork and positivity.