Tag Archives: Canadian independent school

Ridley Reflects on 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge

On April 9th, Ridley will look back 100 years to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge. A battle which saw six graduates make the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of victory and the birth of a nation.

The battle, which began on April 9th, 1917, was a turning point in Canadian history, where all the Canadian divisions fought together for the first time. By the end of the battle on April 12th, some 3,598 Canadian soldiers were killed, including six Old Ridleians. The impressive victory over German forces is often cited as the beginning of Canada’s evolution from dominion territory to independent nation.

During the March break,  students had the chance to relive history, on the Vimy Ridge trip, that visits monuments and battle sites in France and Belgium. This trip was made even more special when Charlotte Westcott ’18 and William Clayton ’22 discovered the names of Old Ridleians who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Situated in northern France, the heavily-fortified, seven kilometre ridge held a commanding view over the Allied lines. The Canadians would be assaulting up a ridge that the French Army had failed to capture. In numerous attempts, they had suffered over 100,000 casualties trying to retake it from the German Army. It would be up to the Canadians to take the ridge.

The first of the Old Ridleians to fall was Lt. Fred “A.J.” Norsworthy (1901-04), who was killed by artillery in the week before the battle, when the two opposing armies traded artillery barrages, in preparation for the upcoming battle. A week the German forces would later call “The Week of Suffering.”

After the call to go “Over the Top” was made at 5:30 a.m. on April 9th, five more Ridleians fell; including Gunner Jack “J.L.” Hart who was killed by an artillery shell in no man’s land. He was with friend and fellow Old Ridleian, Gunner Jack “J.M.” Wainright, who was mortally wounded by the same shell. He would perish in the days after the battle.

Lt. J.F. Manley (1910-14) a Mason Gold Medal winner in 1914, and one of the school’s most accomplished cricket players, was killed battling up the ridge with his unit, the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. Lt.-Col. Dick “R.W.F.” Jones (1896-1901) and Capt. Alfie “A.S.” Trimmer (1893-1901) died on the ridge at the height of the battle. Trimmer had previously won the Military Cross and bar award for his actions at the Battle of Ypres a few months earlier. The Midsummer 1917 edition of the Acta Ridleiana— the former monthly magazine —noted that Trimmer “had come through so many dangers that we hoped he would be spared.”

“It was inspiring and also heartbreaking to find the graves. Seeing them for myself really drove home the sacrifice that they made during the war. It showed me the value of what they fought for and how much I have to be thankful for,” says Charlotte. “Seeing their names below the Canadian maple leaf really drives home that these Ridleians really were consumed in service.”

After the war ended on November 11th, 1918, the government of France granted the ridge and 250 acres of the battleground to Canada, to serve as a memorial park to commemorate the fallen Canadians. Hill 145, the highest point of the Ridge, is now the site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. After the war, Ridley commemorated the six Old Ridleians who fought and died at Vimy Ridge, along with 55 others who died in WWI, with the building of the Memorial Chapel. The Chapel was dedicated on June 23rd, 1923.

Today, the Ridley community continues to remember the students who made the ultimate sacrifice many years ago. Be it in the classroom, the Archives or the Memorial Chapel, the students continue to honour those who lost their lives.

Ridleian Becomes National Champion in Archery

On March 5th, Reece Wilson-Poyton ’18 captured the Canadian National Indoor Archery Championships in the Cadet Recurve category, which requires archers to hit a small target from 18m away. This victory caps a remarkable run for the Ridley student, who took up competitive archery in 2015.

His goal is to make the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympics teams, and plans on beginning his training for shooting Olympic outdoor distances (70m) next year.

He was inspired to take up this less-common sport after attending the archery contests during the 2015 Pan-Am Games held in Toronto. “I love the sport so much because I am constantly improving, learning, and changing,” says Reece, who is now giving back to the archery community by becoming a Level 1 instructor for beginners at the Brockley Archery Club in Hamilton.

Athletics is an integral part of the Ridley College experience, all students participate in some form of physical activity every day. Ridley participates in the Sport for Life Society’s Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD). Which exposes students to a variety of sports as a foundation for engaging in sport for life. It provides a path to better sport, greater health, and higher achievement based on the latest sport science and best practices in coaching and training from around the world. Even when students find a passion outside of one of our over 75 co-curriculars, we do our best to accommodate.

Reece travels several times a week to Caledon, ON for training sessions, and practices on campus with Mr. Clyde Dawson. “Ridley has helped by allowing me to practice on campus under the supervision of Mr. Dawson two times a week after school as part of my sport credit,” says Reece.

Reece was recently featured in an episode of Future Legends on WIN HD Caribbean, who profiled his perseverance and determination, to overcome an eye injury to compete at the highest level. Ridley encourages students to discover and pursue their passions, persevere through challenges, risk failure, and develop grit and resilience. Accomplishment and engagement are elements of a flourishing life. Grit is a fundamental element for achievement and Reece has embodied this.

His next competition is the Multi-sites Indoor Championships of the Americas (MICA), which will involve archers from the Americas and the Caribbean. Afterwards Reece says he will be focusing on upcoming outdoor competitions in Montreal and Sault Ste. Marie, shooting at a distance of 60m, and attending a training camp in Florida.

Making Global Connections on Exchange

Making global connections is an important part of Ridley life. To not only meet and interact with those from around the world, but to also be able to experience and understand other cultures allows our students to become global citizens.

This term, Ridley welcomed ten exchange students, from Australia and South Africa. For many of our visiting exchange students, it was the first time they would be experiencing Canada and life at a boarding school. Although they are only part way through their exchanges, they have already made unforgettable memories to return home with.

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“Although Ridley originally seemed like a very intimidating school, I am now learning that it is very loving and fun environment that I’ll be sad to leave. The teachers and the students have all been very welcoming and so far, my first two weeks have been great. “

Ashleigh Bakin
Tara Anglican School for Girls, Sydney, Australia

“My last two months at Ridley have been hectic, exuberant and absolutely memorable. I still remember my first few days and weeks here vividly, it somehow seems like forever ago and just yesterday simultaneously… All the students at Ridley are diverse and individual, everyone here comes from different corners of the world, from a miscellaneous array of countries, identifying as a variety of different cultures with complex identities. I am so thankful that I received the opportunity for this exchange, without this opportunity there are so many amazing people that are now in my life that I would have otherwise never crossed paths with.”

Zara Paleologos
Abbotsleigh School, Sydney, Australia

“Making the decision to come on exchange has definitely been amongst the best decisions of my life. It has been such an amazing experience so far, and there is still plenty of time to go! Not only coming on exchange that was such a good decision but coming to Canada was too. It has been such a pleasure to get to know all of these amazing people and experience all of these enjoyable things.”

Tom Bell
The King’s School, Sydney, Australia

The experience had on an exchange can be life changing, and can open up a world of opportunities for the participating students. For the ten visiting students this year, Ridley has given them a place to make connections with students from beyond Canada, and create memories from experiences they may not have otherwise had.

In a few months’ time, our Ridleians will travel to South Africa and Australia for their exchange trips, where they will reunite with their exchange families and begin their own adventures. We wish safe travels to both our students and our visitors, and we hope they have a rewarding experience abroad.

If you’re interested in the International Student Exchange Programme or have any questions, contact Dr. Ellen Foster; ellen_foster@ridleycollege.com.

Get to Know Your Prefects: David X. ’17

Introducing David Xue ’17 – a Prefect who discovered what it means Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 10.08.16 AMto become a global citizen. Hear how he adapted to life abroad, and discovered comfort, confidence and culture within the Marriott Gates.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of its size. I am talking about the perspectives of cultural diversity, the physical size of the school and its open-mindedness to connect to the global society. This year alone, Ridley welcomed students from more than 44 countries, which is a perfect opportunity for us students to interchange our cultural practices and get comfortable with becoming a global citizen. On top of the rare cultural diversity offered by Ridley, the school itself is 90-acres, which is spacious and gives plenty of choices for sports, activities and scientific research. Lastly, Ridley’s mindset is in line with what I am looking for; the motto is “may I be consumed in service”. I have always been looking for the connection between Chinese culture and western culture; through the humbleness of the motto, I have found the commonness.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Of course I felt prepared coming to Ridley! Although it was quite scary to think of coming to an English-speaking country for the first time in Grade seven, I managed to watch all of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies and five seasons of ‘Friends’ during the summer of 2011 in preparation…I would say if you are an international student, definitely try to get a good grip on English conversations before coming to face the academic demands. However, there is no need to panic; the students and faculty here are very friendly and are more than happy to help us through the bottleneck of overcoming the difficulties of the language.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

To me, every single faculty member I know is unique, and very important. Mr. Hutton, Mr. Bett and Mr. Jones are my parents abroad and keep me safe. My teachers are absolutely experts at every subject and are awesome friends that I know I could feel comfortable talking to whenever I encounter an obstacle. The nurses and sewing room members keep me healthy and classy, respectively. Therefore, I am equally thankful to every single one of them.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

As an international student, my greatest challenge at Ridley was stepping out of my comfort zone and blending into the Canadian culture. The difficulty in language was minor; it was the decision of whether or not leaving the herd of Chinese speaking students, step into western culture and make friends from other countries, the most challenging. I have to admit that it was a hard time in the beginning; most of the times I did not understand what my peers were talking about. However, I soon adjusted myself to learn things my Canadian friends would be interested in and had made myself a part of the international community. I would say that the decision I made five years ago was absolutely beneficial to my global perspective.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley would be the appointment as a Prefect. At Ridley, being a Prefect requires high academic performances, the trust from the student body and faculty, and the ability to be highly responsible. I am grateful that Ridley has gradually shaped me into a person that is seeking knowledge and willing to contribute. Therefore, I think prefectship is just a reflection of the cumulative efforts I have made from my five years of experiences here.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley experience has been joining and enjoying the competitive sports programme. I have been lucky to have played so many sports that I would have never had a chance to play before, such as softball, rugby, basketball and soccer. Not only was I able to play with my fellow peers, but the athletic department would always organize road trips to schools in the province and we were able to compete against them… I think to some extent, the sports programme at Ridley has created a bond between us and the school; it gives us a sense of pride. Thus, I enjoy and will never forget the experience of playing competitive sports at Ridley.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is knowing that I can put my head on the pillow at the end of the day and feel safe. At Ridley, any adult is approachable and is there to support us. When we experience homesickness or illness, the Head of House’s door is always open for us. Whether it was Ms. Thacker driving you to the health centre at 3:00 in the morning, or Mr. Jones trying to console you after a breakup, Ridley is a place that any of us could open ourselves up and it is guaranteed that we will be supported. Ridley is my second home.

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

I am most excited for planning the future activities for the student body. The Prefect team this year is dedicated to focusing on student lives, and I am very excited about the upcoming events, such as Saturday activities, house competitions and semi-formal dances.

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How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Well, I have to say, basically in every way. Academically, the full IB programme challenges me to take risks and step up to become a global citizen. Athletically, Ridley reminds me to always keep myself fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the rest of my life. Aesthetically, Ridley gives me opportunities to take on several musical instruments and provides me abundant art supplies to express myself in the universal language. Lastly, the faculty members act as role models and always keep me positive, which I will do the same to others in the future.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to pursue further education from a university in the United States. I am glad that the guidance counsellers are experts at Ridley, to help me through the difficult process. I would like to pursue my degree in either architecture, law or chemistry because I am absolutely excited about chemical reactions, designing buildings and defending a case.

On top of that, I will keep playing the violin because it has become my companion during my time of homesickness.

Although Ridley has given me a breathtakingly fresh and exciting experience, I also had some times of hardship. First and foremost, homesickness… So I found a place to heal my homesickness – the basement of the Second Century Building, where I could play the violin. There, I enjoyed playing music, because not only the sound of music brought me happiness, but also it became a friend to me. From then, I knew that I could always retreat from the fast pace school environment to slow down and balance myself with healing music. This helped me to overcome another obstacle – stress… When things are overwhelming, I just clear my mind and play music for an hour. Trust me, after concentrating in my violin piece, the overwhelming assignments did not seem impossible anymore! Of course, music is only one of the ways that could help you through your difficulties here at Ridley. There are many other options such as painting, filming, and meditation club that you could enjoy in order to feel the flow and find your centre.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would say definitely seize every opportunity you can, because Ridley provides us privileges that other schools do not offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Shaun D. ’17

Introducing Shaun Donnelly ’17 – a Prefect who learned the value of Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.19.48 AMspontaneity and risk-taking during her time at Ridley. Read how she grew and discovered who she is by stepping out of her comfort zone.

Why did you choose Ridley?

Three of my older siblings attended Ridley before me, which made me very aware of the incredible range of opportunities, programmes, and facilities that would be available to me. This is the main reason why I chose to enroll; though the sunny and college-like atmosphere of the campus was also very appealing.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I did have some sense going into Grade 9 (my first year at Ridley) that it would be quite the challenge and a significant step-up from elementary school, but I figured I would eventually adapt to the extra demands. I didn’t feel prepared, but I felt prepared to be unprepared. 

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite teacher is passionate, committed, patient, enthusiastic, wise, entertaining, and treats teaching as a vocation. To be completely honest, I really can’t pick one because they’re all like that.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

The greatest challenge I have faced thus far at Ridley was the transition from Grade 10 to full International Baccalaureate (IB). Going into Grade 11 (year one of IB) I knew that balancing the added demands of IB, such as an even more rigorous curriculum, night classes, and the extended essay – along with being a member of the rowing team – would be a lot to manage. This schedule was indeed very overwhelming at the start, but the skills and knowledge that I acquired by working through this challenge made it more than worth it.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? 

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley has been my development into the person I am today. My personality going into Grade 9 was very simple; I was very shy and obsessed with perfection… The prospect of me ever even applying for prefectship seemed absolutely absurd in my mind at the time. Throughout the past three years, I have been forced outside of my comfort zone and humbled by the increased difficulty of my classes and athletic pursuits. I tried a number of new things, such as debate team, Mandarin class, and meditation, and discovered new passions (computer programming and rowing). These experiences taught me the value of spontaneity and risk-taking. Even if your leap of faith turns out to be a total failure, you’ll certainly learn something or at least have some fun trying.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My absolute favourite Ridley experience has been rowing. I joined the rowing team in Grade 10, and despite all of the sore muscles and blisters, it has been incredibly fun. The rowing team is like one big, crazy family; through training together, sometimes between three and four hours a day, we have become so close. Highlights of my Ridley rowing experience have been travelling to Miami for our annual March break training camp and to Philadelphia to race in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta – the world’s largest high school regatta.

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What is your favourite part of Ridley life? 

My favourite part of Ridley life is the diversity. Having friends from all over the world is truly fascinating and enlightening. In a world riddled with conflicts and prejudice surrounding cultural and racial differences, it’s refreshing to see such a diverse population living together in this little community, becoming as close as family.

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

I am most excited to use this position of influence to serve as a role model for younger students and show them the value of taking advantage of all that Ridley has to offer. Of course, Prefects do get to do a few especially fun things. Of these, I was most excited to light the fire and lead the cheering at Snake Dance. 

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How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has molded me into a person who I hope could survive quite well under the wrath of the “real world”, and I attribute this development to the ongoing challenge that is the rigorous Ridley schedule and its high-functioning environment. I was forced to break out of my shyness, taught the value of professionalism, and encouraged to develop a certain boldness, that I see serving me well in all kinds of situations. I learned the importance of preparedness, but also came to understand the role that feeling and seeming confident plays in success, even in times when one does not feel completely prepared.

What are your plans after graduation?

Following graduation next year, I want to study computer science and economics. I hope to then go on to work at and eventually manage a computer software company. In terms of extracurricular activities, I hope to be a member of my new university’s lightweight women’s rowing team and continue to pursue my passion for improving the well-being of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The simple advice that I would give to anybody thinking of coming to Ridley is to go for it; and once you’re here, you have to maintain that “go for it” attitude. Ridley has so much to offer, but you will only get out of it what you put into it. This being said, be sure not to spread yourself too thin by committing to too many different things, which can be very tempting in such a busy place.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Michael S. ’17

Introducing Michael Steier ’17 – a Prefect who is looking to have a Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 1.19.27 PMpositive impact on the school and the student body in his final year at Ridley.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I came to Ridley in Grade 5 because my brother had come three years earlier. My brother has been a big influence on my life and I followed him to Ridley. I had seen him mature in the three years since coming to Ridley and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Before coming to Ridley I went to a Montessori school, so when making the transition, I felt I was better prepared than most kids. However, the Ridley lifestyle is so unique that it took a bit of adjusting.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member is Mr. Clarke. I never had him as a teacher, but he was my Grade 9 golf coach and that’s where I got to see the real Mr. Clarke. He was the Head of Upper School, so he always seemed intimidating, but on the course, we would talk about sports and anything but school. We were able to talk to him like he was a teenager, like us, which is why he is a favourite of mine. I think it’s really important that the faculty are able to connect with their students outside of the classroom and on a personal level.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge at Ridley has been adapting to the Ridley schedule. Learning how to balance all my different commitments and learning to prioritize things can be difficult… It took a while getting used to the fact that you won’t be getting home until 6:00p.m., or later, when your friends at other high schools are coming home at 3:00p.m. Even though it was difficult getting used to, it did help me manage my time much more efficiently.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been becoming Prefect; not because I’m one of the leaders in the school, but because of how I have changed over the past year. Grade 10 was a tough year for me and to be seen as a leader in the eyes of the faculty and my peers again was a great relief. I worked really hard to rebuild my relationships… and to be chosen was a great achievement.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite part of my Ridley experience has been how different it is from other high schools. The diversity of the people at this school has exposed me to different cultures, that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. I now have friends from all over world, that speak all different languages. The other part that I love is the lifestyle. Fellow Prefect, David Xue ‘17 said “Ridley isn’t a school, it’s a lifestyle”. This quote really carries a lot of meaning because when you’re a student a Ridley, you don’t just come to class and then leave. Ridley keeps you involved beyond the classroom, whether it be on a sports team, or in the dorm. Ridley really does keep you involved in every way possible.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life has been the friends I have met. All of my close friends are people that I met through Ridley. I met them all several years ago and are still very close friends with them today. What Ridley has also allowed me to do is to make friends from around the world. I have friends all over the world that I am now able to visit if I am ever travelling. It has allowed me to expand my network of friends and my exposure to people all around the world.

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

I am really excited for being able to speak for my peers. I have been a student in Upper School for three years and have seen many Prefects. I have also had many ideas and suggestions throughout my years and I now have a good opportunity to voice those opinions. I feel I am qualified to speak for the student body because I have been in their position for the past several years. I know what students want, what they like and what works for them. I feel, now given this position, I am able to make an impact.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

The biggest thing that Ridley has given me to prepare me for the future has been my time management skills. I have been managing my busy schedule for the past three years with balancing my athletic, social and academic life. It has also prepared for a college workload and how to write a college research paper. All of these things I can take with me to the next chapter in my life.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan on going to university somewhere in the United States. Both of my parents went there and my brother is currently in school there, so I would like to follow in my family’s footsteps. I feel Ridley has prepared me for the next step.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice to prospective students is if you’re considering Ridley as an option, take your time to make the decision. Ridley is a challenging place and if you decide to attend, then you need to be prepared to fully immerse yourself in the Ridley lifestyle. I highly recommend attending because of how much you can learn and how you can develop as a person. Ridley has a lot to offer and the doors it can open are endless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get to Know Your Prefects: Hannah B. ‘17

Meet Hannah Bradley ’17. This school Prefect has dedicated her Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 3.47.16 PMtime to giving back in the local community, and in her final year at Ridley, she’s hoping to give back to the students.

Why did you choose Ridley?

My mother teaches French in Lower School for Grades 6 – 8. From working at the school, she knew what a great place Ridley was and she wanted to send my sister and I here.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I didn’t go to Ridley as soon as my mom was hired… so I was so excited when I found out I was finally going to Ridley. It was always my dream to come to Ridley and it has certainly lived up to all my expectations.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member (other than my mom of course) is Ms. Barranca because she makes everything fun. She is also a super nice and cool person. She makes me laugh all the time (not always on purpose).

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I was always very shy as a kid so I was not highly skilled in making friends and I kept to myself a lot, so one of my biggest challenges has probably been making friends. Meeting new people each year at Ridley has helped me get used to making new friends.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at the school has been joining groups like Green Tigers, Positive Space Group and the Syrian Refugee Committee. I have always liked doing good things for other people and the planet, but it’s hard to know what you can do to help. Working with a group of people to make the world a better place is a lot easier and a lot more fun than doing it on your own.

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 What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

 One of my favourite Ridley experiences has been joining Film Club. I have only been in Film Club for one year, but I love it a lot. I don’t take any art courses, so it’s a good way for me to stay creative. We have a good group of hardworking, dedicated and fun students, working together to make a short film.

Another one of my favourite activities at the school is the Alzheimer’s Society activity. We go to a local nursing home and spend time with the residents there. Most of them have Alzheimer’s or another strand of dementia. It is a very rewarding experience and the residents are a lot of fun to hang out with. Some of my best friends are at the nursing home. I think they do more good for me than I do for them.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is the variety of activities offered at the school, there is truly something for everyone. There are many arts programs and lots of sports teams to join. There are also many community service opportunities. The variety of activities attracts a variety of students which creates a more diverse community.

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

I am very excited to plan fun things for the student body to do. I am also looking forward to having a chance to give back to the school that has given so much to me. I am excited to meet the new students and I am looking forward to being someone they can turn to for help in their first days at Ridley and throughout the year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has helped me learn how to manage my time, as Ridley life gets very busy, very quickly. Learning time management will probably help me a lot in university and with adult life.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go to university for life sciences or perhaps medical school. I am interested in becoming a doctor or a medical researcher. I might also go into neuroscience.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The beginning of the year is nothing like the end of the year, and this is a good thing. At the beginning of the year, you’ll probably feel intimidated. You’ll have to make all new friends and you’ll be far away from home. You might even have to start speaking your second (or even third) language. All of this can make feel nervous or scared. These feelings will go away very soon. People are very friendly at Ridley, so you’ll make friends in no time. Once the year starts and you start participating in sports or activities, you’ll have something to be interested in and it’ll give you something to look forward to each day. Before you know it, the year will be over and you’ll think back to the first day of school and feel good that you accomplished so much in one year.