Tag Archives: Get to Know Your prefects

Get to Know Your Prefects: Thomas D. ’18

Meet Thomas Dunbar ’18 – a Prefect who is carrying on his family’s legacy at Ridley. Read how this Ridleian made his Ridley experience his own and looks forward to the opportunities that await him as a Prefect.

Why did you choose Ridley? I am a 3rd generation Ridleian; my father and grandfather both attended the school, as well as some of my uncles and cousins, so I was eager to continue the family tradition.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? Yes, I felt very prepared coming to Ridley. I had been to campus many times and had already met my advisor and Head of House, so I felt like a part of the community before I even arrived.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? My favourite faculty member is Mr. Martinez. We shared some great bonding time on last year’s service trip to El Salvador. He has a great sense of humour and never fails to make me laugh.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The biggest challenge I have experienced at Ridley is juggling the rigor of all my academic, athletic and co-curricular commitments.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley was winning an MPHL Championship with the First Boys’ hockey team during the 2015-2016 season, capping off a historic season as the most successful Ridley hockey team to date.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience is the annual trip to camp at the start of each school year. Camp provides a great opportunity to get to know the incoming students and your housemates, while developing a great sense of house pride.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of life at Ridley is the boarding environment. Being able to live in a dorm with other kids my age is a very unique and fun experience, that few kids outside of boarding schools get the opportunity to experience.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I am most excited to participate in the annual Snake Dance and go “inside the ropes” as a Prefect. Snake Dance is a big part of Ridley’s history and spirit, so I am looking forward to continuing the tradition.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has taught me a lot about independence and has taught me how to become a self-sufficient individual. Through living away from home, my accountability has grown immensely and I feel much more confident heading into university.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduating, I will likely take a gap year before heading to university. I hope to continue pursuing my athletic goals at the collegiate level, either domestically or in the US.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? I would advise incoming students to take some time to learn about Ridley’s history and traditions. The better you can understand and immerse yourself in the Ridley culture, the more you will appreciate the school and everything it has to offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Eva S. ’18

Introducing Eva Sabine ’18 – a Prefect who was brought to Ridley by fate and never looked back. Read about this aspiring aerospace engineer’s achievements, challenges and goals. 

Why did you choose Ridley? Beginning my last summer as a student of my previous school, I had no idea that I would choose to pack up and leave Ottawa for Ridley. I had attended my old school since Junior Kindergarten and was soundly comfortable. However, after the culminating regatta of the school season, CSSRAs, I visited Ridley on a whim. Upon arrival, the energy of the student body was palpable. I was shown around on a tour, increasingly amazed at the school and its population. Most importantly, I noted the devotion of the teaching staff and the Guidance Department towards the success of their pupils. Finally, after countless hours of daydreaming with my friends during study hall about a boarding school, I was witnessing its impact firsthand. Driving off campus that afternoon, I knew I had to go to Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
 Yes, I felt prepared as I moved to Ridley. However, after a day or two I realized that nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience; the bonds you make with your housemates, the various extravagant Ridley traditions, the successes, the failures. That experience is one that is utterly unique to the Ridley environment and one that cannot be understood well enough to prepare for until one has already experienced it.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
 My favourite faculty member is Mr. Maki, as he is one of the major reasons I moved to Ridley. While touring the school, I was introduced to him in the Guidance Department. The obvious attention he paid to each student was incredible. Where my previous counsellor cut me off and told me to aim lower, he saw potential and identified the path to achieve my goals. Throughout my transition to Ridley, he made sure to check in and see how I was doing.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
 My greatest challenge was moving away from my peers and crewmates, some who I’ve known for up to 13 years. It was strange not seeing their faces passing in the halls, to not be able to debate with Linnea or row with Charlotte, but I quickly made new friends and long lasting memories.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?
 My greatest accomplishment this past year was earning a silver medal in the women’s quad event at the CSSRA championship. It was so rewarding to see the hard work and dedication each of my crewmates and I invested over the course of the year pay off.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience?
 My favourite experience was camp at the beginning of the school year. During the few days we were there, I met the girls that would soon become my best friends, took risks and participated in activities that I had not expected.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?
 My favourite part of Ridley life is the incredible bonds you make with your classmates, housemates and teammates and the lasting memories you share with each of them – from dancing around at 10:00 sign-in to chatting in the dining hall.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?
 As a Prefect, I look forward to helping to improve the Ridley community with various initiatives, being a positive role model for the younger students, but above all, enhancing the school spirit. I look forward not only to hosting spirit events, such as Snake Dance, but also amplifying the everyday pulse of Ridley life.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley, in being both an IB and a boarding school provides the opportunity for students to practice the independence and responsibility required to thrive in university and beyond.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to attend Stanford University while studying a degree in aerospace engineering. I hope to row for them on the lightweight women’s crew outside of San Francisco.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?
 I would advise prospective students to actively accept all the opportunities before them. The numerous clubs, teams and academic challenges available at Ridley can help you find and develop your passion and prepare you for your future. Allow yourself to forget limitations and enjoy all the opportunities Ridley has to offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Owen C. ’18

Introducing Owen Cole ’18 – a Prefect who came to Ridley for the hockey programme, but soon realized that the school had even more to offer him. Read how Ridley helped him practice his passion and develop new skills.

Why did you choose Ridley? Originally it was all about hockey, but I also realized the value of education here at Ridley and heard through a few past students how special the atmosphere is at Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?  Not at all. I didn’t know where to stand, where to sit, when to do anything. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into…

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? Mr. Doyle is my Functions teacher and he loves to joke around with us. You can tell he loves coming to work every day. Mr. Doyle worked with me throughout the entire year to improve my mark in his class and kept a good relationship with me always. Even with it being my worst class, I looked forward to it every day.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The greatest challenge at Ridley has been balancing school, hockey and a social life, especially as a day student. However, you learn to adapt and get into a routine and you get comfortable here.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? Being named a Prefect. I didn’t really know what I was getting into with Prefectship at first, other than knowing it is a leadership position in the school. Upon realizing how great of an honour it is and how important of a role it is in the school, it has made me realize how great of an accomplishment it is.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? The road trips that the hockey team goes on and the time spent bonding. The countless hours on the bus and bonding in hotel rooms are amazing, as it creates a family feeling. You and all your teammates are living together and having the time of your life.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is going to classes every day with my teammates and then spending hours after school with them as well. The countless number of hours spent with teammates creates a special bond and you can learn so much about one another.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I’m excited to get to know as many people as I can, especially welcoming new students to the school. I’m also excited to grow as a person to be a better leader in the school and in the community throughout the year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley teaches students exceptional time management skills and I believe after Ridley, I will be very prepared for the workload in university and for my entire life.

What are your plans after graduation? After Ridley, I plan to take a gap year to go play junior hockey, possibly in Brooks, Alberta and hopefully get a scholarship to play NCAA Division I or III hockey, while gaining an education in a kinesiology or business.

 What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? This place is amazing and it is the best decision I ever made to come here. The first few weeks will more than likely be very tough, as it was for me, but hang in there and work hard because you will get rewarded and learn a lot. The atmosphere here is amazing because there are many different nationalities and you develop so many friendships that you will carry on after your schooling is over.

Also, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions. Be interested in your learning and you will benefit from it… Being in houses and being on teams creates a feeling of a family away from home, so be as involved as you can be.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Charlotte W. ’18

Meet Charlotte W. ’18 – a Prefect who has dedicated so much of her time at Ridley to serving others. Read about the challenges she overcame and the difference she has made in the community.

Why did you choose Ridley? My parents chose for me to attend Ridley because it was the best school in the region. My mom is from Niagara and growing up she had friends who went to Ridley.  I didn’t have much weight in the decision as an eight-year-old but I’ve stayed here for 10 years because I love all the friends I’ve made here.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? I can still remember being in Grade 3 and having Mr. Bowie assist me with writing every spelling test. I went from full French immersion to learning everything in English. I could barely read and write, but by Grade 4 the teachers in Lower School had helped me catch up to everyone else in my class. By the time I got to Upper School I was incredibly prepared and ready to tackle anything!

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? It’s too hard to pick! I love all of my teachers. Above all though, I have to thank my IB1 teachers for helping prepare me for IB2 and my exams. Ms. Anderson, Mr. Dunkley, Dr. Foster, Mr. Reimer, Mr. Mugan, Ms. Han, Ms. Braun and my extended essay supervisor, Mrs. Darby have all helped me take on the challenge of IB. With how long I’ve been at the school I also know that there are so many teachers who have helped me engage in class and numerous coaches who have fostered my love for rugby and curling.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? My greatest challenge was when I took 10 courses in Grade 10. On top of the regular eight courses you can fit into the academic day, I took World Religions and Classical Civilizations as online courses. Trying to find the time to study for and write assignments in all these different courses was extremely difficult and by second term I had to have a meeting with the counsellors in Guidance about how to solve my problems. I learned a lot about time management and my own limitations from this experience. These lessons have proved extremely valuable now that I am in IB with all the extra assignments involved in the full diploma.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment was becoming a Prefect. I’ve done a lot of other things I’m really proud of during my time at Ridley that have lead up to this. I learned how to read in English. I became one of the youngest captains of Ridley’s Cadet Colour Party. I worked with my friend Cassidy Yu ’18 to raise awareness for Dog Guides Canada. During my time at Ridley, I’ve spent my summers on 42 and 50-day canoe trips and this March break I got to visit France and see Vimy Ridge with my history teacher, Mr. Dunkley. Being a part of Ridley’s Positive Space Group, Ridley’s T.R.U.E. group for Aboriginal rights and getting to help train Billy, Ridley’s guide dog in training, have all been a part of becoming a Prefect. Trying to narrow down nine years of fantastic experiences and community supported success is impossible for me because if I’m not putting my all into every experience and making it the biggest success I can than I’m not living right. Becoming a Prefect was the culmination of everything I’ve done so far and I really look forward to getting even more involved at school next year and helping everyone have the same fantastic experiences I have.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience was going to France for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. I love history and as a passionate Canadian, it was awe inspiring to see the memorials and the way the ground has been reshaped by war. At Vimy there are still the shell holes in the ground from artillery. Seeing it for myself it wasn’t hard to imagine soldiers drowning in the massive holes if they were filled with mud and water. On a happier note, while in France we also visited Paris where I got to see Napoleon’s tomb and explore The Louvre. Seeing an old city, although partially rebuilt, was awe inspiring and reminded me just how young a country Canada is. I got to interact with passionate history students from other schools and learn a lot about the actual appearance of the battlefields fought on during the world wars and the rich history of France.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is community service. Every Ridley student has to complete at least 10 hours of service every year and it’s amazing to get out and involved in the community. In Grade 9 Civics, we could help raise awareness for a charity, so I worked with my group partners to make a video for Start Me Up Niagara. In Grade 10 we got to write letters to Canadian veterans for Remembrance Day and as a member of Drill Team, I could go to the service at the war memorial in St. Catharines. Last year, in Grade 11 as an IB student, I got to plan a CAS project (which involved showing Creativity, Action and Service) and raise both money and awareness for a cause I’m passionate about. Throughout my years at Ridley I’ve learned the meaning of community service. It’s amazing to see the difference everyone can make if they get involved and put forth their best effort every day.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I am really excited to help make this school even better. I want to reinvigorate school spirit, help make the course selection process easier and make sure that everyone gets the most they can out of their Ridley experience. As a Prefect, I think the most important thing you do is helping support your fellow students. I’ve had many friends from past years who set a great example for me to follow and I look forward to following their footsteps.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley is still very much in the process of preparing me, but so far, I’ve learned a lot about how to be a leader and a better citizen. I’ve made friends from across the globe and this has helped give me a global mindset that will help me in my future studies and career. More than that, Ridley really helped me learn what it means to be an active citizen and take an interest in what goes on around you. 

What are your plans after graduation? I plan to study computer science. I’m really passionate about computers, biology and history and I hope that in learning about computers I can work in a variety of fields that let me explore my other passions.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? Get involved! The fastest way to make friends and the best way to make the most of your time at Ridley is by doing things around campus. Join as many clubs as you can and then quit a few because they weren’t as interesting as you thought. Try out for every sports team you can to find what you love. Mix it up with your course selections to see what really interests you. Sit with people you don’t know at lunch and try to make conversation so you meet people. If you ever feel alone or uncertain about anything, find one of the Prefects or a House Captain. We’re always around and willing to help. Coming to a new school or moving up to high school can be terrifying but rest assured that there are friends out there for you to make if you get involved! There’s a proverb I like to live by that I heard while up in Brent, Ontario on a canoe trip:

“You’ve got to make like a bear with a blueberry bush. There’s a whole lot of fruit for the picking but you never know if there’s a bee hiding in the fruit until you take the first bite.”

Get to Know Your Prefects: Anthony N. ’18

Introducing Anthony Nguyen ’18– a Prefect who has attended Ridley since Grade 2 and, in that time, has been able to develop into the person he aspires to be. Read how Anthony excelled in his passions and is looking forward to sharing them with his fellow Ridleians this upcoming school year.

Why did you choose Ridley? I was basically born at the school. My brother, Augustine ’11 also went to Ridley from 2004 to 2011. In 2007, when I had my first opportunity to join Ridley, my parents enrolled me and the rest is history.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? I felt as prepared as any other Grade 2. I must note how valuable my Ridley experience has been since then. I have been immersed in countless opportunities that have allowed me to develop into the person I am today. The school has instilled traits of character, resilience and respect within me, which I believe have allowed me to continue to excel!

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? My favourite faculty members are Dr. Baird and Mr. Dawson.

Dr. Baird is one of the funniest teachers on campus. He always comes into class with a good attitude and ensures everybody’s learning is successful. He also shares a love for ultimate frisbee with me. Although he commonly indicates how I, being a part of the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) programme, have Inadequate Biceps (I.B.), I have enjoyed my time with him.

On the other hand, Mr. Dawson has been a mentor for me in terms of music. He has spent countless hours supporting my growth as a musician and has always been there to lend a helping hand!

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The greatest challenge I have faced at Ridley has been my transition from Lower School to Upper School. Like any other new student to the Upper School, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to fit in. I was very wrong about my fears. As a matter of fact, Upper School is a place where students finally get the chance to grow out of their shells and shape their own legacy. It is here where I began taking a step towards my music and healthcare careers. I had opportunities to play music at retirement homes and opportunities to volunteer my time at the hospital. So, although my transition was challenging at first, this experience was essential towards my development!

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? One accomplishment I am fond of is being accepted into the CISMF Jazz Band – an honour Jazz Band, composed of students from independent schools. I was the first Ridley student to get accepted into this band and it provided me with an amazing opportunity to play with some of the best jazz musicians in the province.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? I have absolutely loved my Jazz Band experience. We often play at a range of retirement homes, nearby venues and competitions. My favourite part of this experience is the transcending effect that music has on people. Instantly, no matter the audience, the band can electrify a crowd and brighten a room. In addition, I get the chance to bond with my peers and Mr. Dawson! I always have a fun time in the Jazz Band and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? The social life – I have met so many amazing and friendly people who I get to speak with on a daily basis. Whenever I am feeling down, I know I can rely on my newly-made friends to cheer me up. The best part about the social life at Ridley is that you know these friendships will last forever.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? The most exciting part for me would be the orientation day when new students arrive on campus and situate themselves. I am excited to get the chance to meet the next generation of Ridley students and hear every single amazing story that they have to tell.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has prepared me by providing me opportunities to do what I love. Within music, I have had countless of performing opportunities that the music department has set up for me. This includes playing in Roy Thompson Hall, Niagara’s Professional Jazz Festival and various cafés. For my healthcare dream, I have had the opportunity to shadow an athletic therapist, have the confidence to compete in National Biology contests and explore the vast world of medicine. 

What are your plans after graduation? After I finish my Ridley career, I hope to enter into a health science program. From there, I shall see where that takes me. In terms of specific universities, I would love to be enrolled in a seven or eight-year medicinal program in Canada or the U.S. It would be a bonus if that university was close to Ontario, however, I am willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill my dream.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? Don’t do it alone! At various points of the year, Ridley may be tough. An example of a tough time might be your first day moving in, a week of tough school, or even being home sick. That being said, remember that you have your housemates, friends, and teachers to help you to get through these tough times!

Get to Know Your Prefects: Monika M. ‘17

Introducing Monika Morcous ’17 – a Prefect who discovered the importance of not only exploring her own passions, but discovering Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 1.43.03 PMnew ones. Read how she dove into all that Ridley has to offer and is finishing her Ridley career with new skills, new friendships and a new perspective on life.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley simply because of the greater opportunity that it inherently offers as an international boarding school. I also knew of its academic rigor and its mandatory student involvement activities when applying and wanted to challenge myself so that I could grow to become more dedicated, enthusiastic and involved in my education.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

No, honestly I felt extremely intimidated. I remember walking into my interview with a portfolio of all my elementary school achievements, my art work, a creative story, and an assortment of other miscellaneous items that I felt would impress my admissions councilor, Mrs. Whitty. Even then I didn’t feel prepared and doubted whether I would be granted a place at Ridley; however, looking back I recognize how silly this was. Ridley is definitely not as intimidating as it seems. It is a welcoming community where everyone can and is able to find a place of comfort.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

I personally do not have a single favourite faculty member. Each brings something to the table that is unique to them and they all excel as teachers in different ways.

Some teachers that I would like to mention are those who helped me and encouraged me personally, such as Mrs. Blagona and Mrs. Marrone.

Mrs. Blagona truly believed in my artistic ability in theatre, also training me and supporting me throughout my years at Ridley, starting as my first advisor in Grade 9. She also knew me on a personal level and helped me through certain obstacles. She is one of the most enthusiastic, passionate, and encouraging teachers I have ever met. You can really tell that she loves what she does.

Mrs. Marrone also had a great impact on me, most notably through seemingly simple lines that she would always say when I was feeling extremely stressed. “Well the sun will still shine tomorrow” and “well the earth will still turn.” These helped me put my worries into perspective which in the long-term really help me out as I still continue to say these to myself in times of stress and doubt.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge is something that I’m still overcoming, which is my time-management skills. I have a tough time allocating appropriate amounts of time to certain tasks and often overdo assignments in the pursuit of perfection, which results in disappointment, limited sleep, and overdue tasks. I believe I am slowly getting better at this, but this is a trait that is basically engrained in my character and I know it is an improvement that can only happen overtime, rather than in the short-term. I am slowly trying to let go, as I know that perfection isn’t humanly possible, and many people at Ridley are helping me achieve this along the way.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment is probably winning Best Supporting Actress in a Musical in the Niagara Region through the CAPPIES program, which I became involved with through Ridley. I am extremely proud of this award because acting is one of my passions, but I honestly cannot really take credit for this award. Without the help of the cast and most of all, my directors, Mrs. Blagona and Mrs. Fournier, I wouldn’t have been in a position to win that award. They both pushed me so hard so that I could achieve my best, and really guided me through every aspect of the dramatic arts. They supported me and advised me during rehearsals and most of all inspired me as an actress. I really look forward to working with them again next year.

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What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience is going to camp at the beginning of each new school year. This is because I get to meet, not only my previously made friends who went back abroad in the summer, but also new Ridleians. I think I can speak for everyone at Ridley when I say that you really can’t go to camp without at least making three new friendships, even as a returning student.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part about Ridley is how tightly knitted the community is. For example, you really get to know your teachers on not only an academic level but also a personal level. This creates a community of people which is aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses, and although that sounds like a scary thing, it in turn helps you, for it allows teachers to be able to focus on helping you in the aspects that you are struggling with. Rather than receiving a general education, you get one that is slightly customized in your best interest, which is one of the really awesome aspects of having small classroom sizes and a smaller-scale student body.

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

The most exciting part about prefectship is the opportunity to represent the student body and the ability to suggest positive changes that will advance the school further. Also, I am honoured to be part of a group filled with passionate individuals and I am thrilled at the opportunity to work alongside all of them this coming school year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me in many different ways for life after high school. I am more culturally aware than I would have ever been inherently, because of the diversity within the student body. I am more involved and well-rounded than I have ever been because of the mandatory nature of the sports and activities at Ridley. I am also more confident than I have ever been because of my personal achievements and improvements that I have made during my time at Ridley.

Ridley is a type of school that doesn’t just allow you to be great at what you do, but forces you to become greater….You cannot attend Ridley without flourishing or improving in some way.

What are your plans after graduation?

I am currently undecided on most of my plans after graduation – such as the subject of study and the location of study – but I am fairly positive that I will be attending a university, rather than a college, the year immediately after graduation. As for my extracurriculars, I really would want to stay in touch with my artistic side and will audition for the plays/musicals that my future university will put on. I’m sure that I’ll also be eager to get involved in a variety of the clubs available at my future university – artistic or non-artistic.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t be afraid to try something new. Get involved. Stay focused! At the end of the day (in my opinion) education is the most important thing, so your priority should always be to stay focused on your studies; however, you can grow as a person, if alongside this, you step out of your comfort zone and try something new outside of the classroom.

For example, I’ve never excelled in sports, however, I tried out and made the U16 volleyball team in Grade 9 and 10. I became a better player than I was walking in (At the end of the day I still wasn’t that great, but that isn’t the point). Even though I didn’t become a volleyball star, I became more well-rounded, gained experience on an athletic team, and made lifelong friendships that I wouldn’t have made if I just focused on the activities that I was best at. My good friends, Felicia and Masha, were both introduced to me through that team, and even though Felicia [and I] don’t play volleyball anymore, the friendship between the three of us remains.