Tag Archives: Canadian independent school

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.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Hunter B. ’17

Introducing Hunter Bettens ’17; a Prefect whose dream Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 11.00.41 AMbecame a reality when he discovered a place he could skate, learn and grow all under one roof. Now, as he enters Grade 12, he has big dreams for his final year and his future.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of hockey and the education. Since I was young, I always dreamed about attending a private school and playing hockey at the same time. I felt Ridley gave me the best of both worlds; a great hockey schedule with many opportunities to showcase yourself, and a challenging academic schedule that I feel is really preparing me for university and the real world.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Mentally, I always wanted to attend a private school, so I knew what it was going to take and I had the right mindset coming to Ridley. The thing I didn’t expect is that I didn’t decide to come to Ridley until a week before school actually started! I came to school with the mindset, but everything sort of hit me in the face so quickly! I had to buy supplies, I had to leave everyone home in a hurry, and I needed to adapt. So in the physical aspect, I definitely didn’t feel prepared. However, within weeks of meeting new people and getting used to Ridley, I eased into a routine and got very comfortable, which abled to me to overcome any unpreparedness I had going into the school year.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

Even though each faculty member at the school is unique and each relationship between each faculty member is different, I would have to say my favourite faculty member is Mr. Park. I love geography, and this was the first time I could ever take an actual geography course outside of my own curiousty within the subject. In taking this course, my teacher was Mr. Park, and he shares the same passion for geography that I have, as well as being a person who loves and appreciates sports. When I am away for hockey, Mr. Park always jokes about how I missed a very important lesson, or that I missed some crucial piece of information that was only discussed on the day I missed. But besides the jokes he always asks me how the games went, and that is something for me that never goes unnoticed and is why he is my favourite faculty member.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley would definitely have to be Math. I am from Nova Scotia, and the math course I took in Grade 10 was to prepare a student who was taking Grade 11 Math the following year in Nova Scotia. However, I clearly didn’t stay in Nova Scotia for Grade 11; instead I came to Ridley. My parents and I discussed that the IB Programme would really challenge me and that it would be best for me to do. When we came to Ridley for orientation day and the time came to pick my courses and IB Math came up, a prerequisite credit for the course was Grade 11 Functions from Ontario, which I didn’t have. However, I was let in to IB SL Math. Accompanying IB, I receive an OSSD credit for Grade 12 Advanced Functions, so, I went straight from Grade 10 Math in Nova Scotia to Grade 12 Math in Ontario. So, balancing other courses, hockey and other things, finding time to catch up in math was and still is difficult, however, with the help of Mr. DeVellis and my tutor Ms. Sendzik, I was determined to fill in those learning gaps.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley thus far would definitely be balancing my busy schedule. Going into the year I knew it would be very difficult and demanding, but I ended up managing my time very well and was able to accomplish my goal this year of balancing my academic schedule with my hockey schedule.

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What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience would have to be Chapel. Coming into Ridley I knew that we had to go to Chapel three days a week, but I wasn’t upset or worried, I was actually curious to how these Chapel sessions were going to go, because looking at the schedule, I thought that the time we spent there was short compared to what normally goes on at a church. But I was blown away. Chapel has been nothing but a positive experience for me. Yes, you have to get up early but it doesn’t matter, you will be woken up by the hymns that the entire school sings together. Chapel really brings the whole school together, and when you are in there during a hymn you really feel the power that the Chapel has to put all of Upper School into one room, and to make each individual in there feel like they are part of the Ridley community.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life would have to be boarding. You get to become more independent, such as doing laundry, going to Wal-Mart for shampoo and toiletries, all the stuff that for the most part, is typically done for you at home. But the cool thing about Ridley is that you’re becoming more independent with the people who are in the same boat as you. My roommate from China and I always tell each other when a washer is open, or tell one another if one goes to the store if they could pick something up. These situations might seem simple, but it is a completely different experience than you figuring it out on your own at an apartment as compared to figuring these things out with your new friends from Nigeria, China, or Jamaica. Boarding also makes friendships even stronger, you really get to know people because you are with them 24/7, and you cherish these moments that you spend so much because one day, you will graduate and you won’t be able to spend as much time with these friends you have made.

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

I am most excited about being able to be there for the students. I love helping people and hope that I can deliver on that. Some people will have issues while at school, almost everyone does, and I am excited to be able to help those people with any issues they may have. Hopefully students will feel like they can approach all the Prefects next school year, and that each and every one of us can be there for them.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has matured me and gave me the tools to interact with people on many different levels. For me, being taught the principle of being able to network with a multitude of people early on in my life is important, as I am potentially going to pursue a career in business, and to have this skill is essential. With the help of our great Guidance team at our school, they make the career and university talks much easier, and honestly, without them, I don’t think I would be half as prepared as I am for the future. Being able to have good conversations with them, made me really narrow down university choices, as well as career paths. Many aspects of Ridley come together to really prepare each and every one of us for our future.

What are your plans after graduation? (i.e. university, college, gap year, degree of study, city you plan to live in, extracurricular pursuits)

My plans after graduation are to go to school, hopefully still playing hockey, but definitely going to school. I want to major in Business, and if I were to stay in Canada, I plan on studying on the Quebec-East side of the country. However, I would really like to go to a Division III school in the Eastern part of the United States and play hockey, however, I realize that things may not go the way everyone likes them to and I would be very content with studying in Canada. Following university and my potential hockey career, I plan on staying on the East Coast, and preferably living in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. But again, you don’t know what could happen, so we will have to wait and see!

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice for prospective students, especially boarders, would be to ease your way into the Ridley community. Being homesick is natural, and by joining sports, clubs, or activities that interest you, these keep your attention on Ridley and not so much on how much you miss home. By going at your own pace and by not feeling rushed, you will learn to enjoy the Ridley community so much more, and you will really feel like you have developed a second home by the time you leave.

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Jordan Brock Fowler ’05, who took the road less travelled and founded his own eco-friendly business – Echo Farms.

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Jordan attended Ridley from Grade 6 to 12. During the course of his Ridley career, Jordan excelled in academics, was actively involved in sports – especially Rugby – and could often be found backstage during many of Ridley’s theatrical performances. He embraced every aspect of Ridley life, and because of that, he formed lifelong relationships, obtained useful skills and tools and built character. Six years later, Jordan found himself at graduation, addressing his classmates as the Valedictorian; on that day, he was taking home more than just a diploma.

“My time at Ridley greatly affected my career path but not in the way that you would expect. Ridley didn’t particularly help me realize my passion for agriculture, but it was integral in the formation of my character, helped me establish my hard work ethic, and prepared me for the relationship building that would be key to building my business.”

– Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

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After graduation, Jordan attended the Toronto Film School for Film Production. He was certain that a job in the film industry would satisfy his creative drive, but it soon became apparent he was missing something. The career opportunities he found himself in left him yearning for more meaningful interactions with the environment and the people within it.

In need of a change of scenery, Jordan moved to Vancouver, where he became involved with a not-for-profit organization called the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC). At the time, this organization was advocating community and school gardens in the city core. While working on a media project for the SPEC, Jordan witnessed how strongly a connection with nature can impact someone.

“The wholesome, instinctual reaction of the youth to the food they were growing was infectious. I became increasingly interested in ideas around sustainable design and the serious impact climate change was having on our environment.”

– Jordan Brock Fowler ‘05

Equipped with his new-found passion for the environment, Jordan set out to gain the knowledge he’d need to make a difference. He travelled to the United Kingdom, where he partook in a course led by a number of climate activists. It was this life changing experience at the Schumacher Institute where Jordan realized the importance of sustainable agriculture. He then studied Organic Agriculture at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College.

Travelling down a new path, Jordan returned to Niagara in 2010, where he began to grow a business known as Forworld Farmstead. Utilizing family owned land, Jordan experimented with organic vegetable production, community supported agriculture and began raising livestock. In 2015, after purchasing a 50-acre farm in Cayuga, Ontario, he and his wife, Whitney (Peterson) Fowler ’05, started Echo Farms.

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Echo Farms is an all-organic farm that produces wholesome, high-quality, organic produce and meat. This naturally grown food is sold to local restaurants and at markets. Echo Farms just launched its newest product, known as Minigreens™ – a packaged blend of microgreens, packed full of nutrients and flavour, that can be used to garnish sandwiches or as a salad mix. These greens are delivered fresh, each week, to grocers and health food stores in Southern Ontario, such as Grand Oak, the Good Earth, the Peanut Mill and 13th Street Winery, all located in the Niagara region.

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Wanting to continue to help in restoring the earth, Jordan hopes to continue to grow Echo Farms and shorten the supply chain between farmers and consumers.

“Working alongside nature has its challenges… I find that we humans seem to be in a perpetual war with nature, constantly searching for ways to control it. Whether it’s the miracle cure to a disease caused by environmental degradation, playing God with genetic engineering or dowsing our food in chemicals, it is our reluctance to change which keeps us from unlocking Mother Nature’s vast wisdom – a wisdom cluttered by modern conveniences.”

– Jordan Fowler ‘05

Although his journey was long and winding, Jordan was able to uncover his passion and with it, grow a business; one that is giving back to the community and to the earth, one seed at a time.

To all those who are on their own winding journey through life, Jordan says this:

“Remember what it means to be a positive part of a community. Don’t get caught up trying to clamor to the top. Build strong supportive relationships with your peers and your competitors, think globally, act locally.”


TransfORming Our Globe is a blog series where we share the exciting stories of alumni who are leading flourishing lives and changing the world. It is important to Ridley College to support our alumni and share the stories of Old Ridleians, who discovered their passion and found success and happiness down the path of their choosing. 

Do you know of any classmates that are living flourishing lives or transforming our globe? Email any suggestions for the TransfORming Our Globe blog series to development@ridleycollege.com.