Introducing Hunter Bettens ’17; a Prefect whose dream became 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.
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.