Tag Archives: independent school

Get to Know Your Prefects: Sarah K. ’17

Introducing Sarah Kohut ’17 – a student who sees Ridley as a place where she can pursue both her academic and athletic dreams, without compromise. Hear how she is taking every opportunity to reach her full potential.

Why did you choose Ridley?

Before coming to Ridley, I’d played hockey in the arena a few times and fully believed Ridley was a university. When I learned it wasn’t, my parents asked me if I’d be interested in touring the school. When I toured the school, the welcoming atmosphere, strong academic and athletic programmes and the multitude of extracurriculars helped me realize that Ridley was the place for me. I had my mind set that I’d be attending Ridley for my Grade 9 year.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

In all honesty, I was not prepared coming to Ridley, whatsoever. I didn’t know what to expect, and had never been to a brand new school before. Growing up in a small town, I was petrified to go from knowing everyone to knowing no one. In the long run, I’m happy I was so terrified! Being terrified forced myself to reach outside of my comfort zone and build the necessary confidence to form the friendships I have to this day!

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

I have too many favourite faculty members to name; I think they’re all incredible people. If I had to name a few, they would be: Mr. Straus, Mrs. Darby and Ms. Scott. Mr. Straus never fails to make me laugh, and never gave up on trying to teach me Grade 10 Math (it wasn’t easy), Mrs. Darby has given me constant support throughout my time at Ridley, and Ms. Scott always encourages me to reach outside of my comfort zone.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge has definitely been adjusting to the busy lifestyle. At Ridley, you often have a lot on your plate at one time – whether it be academics, athletics, activities… or all of the above. From initially developing my time management skills when I started Ridley, to redefining them as I transitioned into the International Baccalaureate Programme, it has always been something that I’ve needed to keep on top of. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

The accomplishments achieved throughout my time at Ridley – big or small – have been never-ending. My smaller accomplishments – such as mastering an about-turn in cadets, or learning to manage my time efficiently – have provided the foundation for the larger achievements in my later years – such as earning rank in the Cadet Corps or taking on the IB Programme. Even though I’m very proud of how far I’ve come, my greatest accomplishment will always be being appointed as a school Prefect.

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What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience has been either going to Camp White Pine at the start of each school year, or Snake Dance. Getting the school together and being able to just have fun with your peers and celebrate your school pride has always been something I look forward to, and has created memories I’ll never forget!

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

It’s hard to put my finger on one specific part of Ridley life that’s my favourite! I definitely love the way Ridley incorporates both academics and athletics into your school life. Both are things I value tremendously and it’s great to have them both incorporated into your daily schedule, without conflict! I also enjoy the house system. I’m a day student, and it’s an incredible feeling to be a part of a house and have a group of 50 girls that are always there for you! Go G-West!

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

I’m most excited to have a better opportunity to be able to connect with the student body, and be able to encourage each student to push themselves and reach their full potential. Students identify a Prefect as someone to confide in or reach out to for advice, and I’m more than excited to be able to be that person!

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me immensely for the future. The values that are taught at Ridley are applicable to all areas of your life, at any age. My time management skills, work ethic, collaborative skills and consideration for others, that have developed throughout my years at Ridley, are something I will take with me for the rest of my life, and I’m extremely grateful for!

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend university in Canada and pursue a degree in criminology, and then a degree in criminal law.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would tell prospective students to “go get ‘em tiger!” Once you start at Ridley, you become a part of a group of incredible Ridley Tigers before you and after you, that have all had the opportunity to call Ridley home. Ridley offers so many different things that are just waiting to be tried; the opportunities are endless. Making the most of your time at Ridley would be experiencing everything you can, and never holding yourself back. Take Ridley by storm and go get ‘em!

Get to Know Your Prefects: Amelia R. ’17

Introducing Amelia Ritchie ’17, a Ridleian who has truly immersed herself in all that Ridley has to offer – from sports, to academics, to extracurriculars. This fall, Amelia begins her final year at Ridley. Read our Q&A with Amelia to learn more about this Ridley Prefect.

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I chose Ridley because I loved the environment, and I realized how many things Ridley could give me, as opposed to a regular, public high school.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I did feel prepared coming to Ridley. I was definitely nervous, but I also felt ready to take on a bunch of different activities.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

I can’t pick just one, however, my top three would have to be Miss Blagona, Mrs. McNiven and Mrs. Darby, because all three of them have supported me so much, in multiple different ways. I always love seeing them in the halls and having them there to talk to!

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge thus far at Ridley has probably been realizing what is actually important for me to be focusing on. When so many responsibilities are piled onto you, and there a lot of things you want to do on top of those, it’s hard to realize what is really important and to keep your eye on the prize.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

I think my greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley has been taking advantage of the activities and extracurriculars. I have been in a lot of different activities over my three years, and I have managed to find my niche within those.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience…wow it’s hard to pick just one! If I had to choose one, I would have to say Snake Dance. The amount of school spirit everyone has is awesome to see and be a part of! I also really enjoyed OFSAA basketball in the fall of 2015!

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of life at Ridley is the sense of community it gives. It’s not just that we are living in such close quarters, it’s knowing that everyone else is doing the same things as you are and feeling the same things as you are.

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

The part of being a Prefect I am most excited for is having the platform to meet every new person who comes to this school and being to have conversations with them and learn interesting things about them. I am also looking forward to potentially being a mentor to those who want/need one.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has prepared me for the future by teaching me, through the opportunities presented and through a need for time management, that I can do whatever and however much I want to do. It has given me a taste of my full potential.

What are your plans after graduation? 

I plan on going straight to university after graduation. I’m not yet sure which university, however, I think I want it to be in a big city and I would like to pursue law and international relations.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t be nervous, and don’t be afraid. Those two emotions limit the things that a lot of people partake in at this school, and they stop people from doing the things they really want to do – not just what activities and sports they do, but also the classes they take, the friends they pursue, and the fun they have. Remember everyone is in the same boat as you are, everyone is feeling what you are feeling. It’s the people who overcome these feelings that feel like they got the most out of their experience.

Ridley’s Unique Playscape Supports Physical Literacy Goals

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Ridley’s all-natural playscape, which officially opened in late 2015, is at the forefront of physical literacy promotion by encouraging creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills, prescribed in Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan.

The concept of physical literacy came to Ridley College through Brock University and Dr. James Mandigo and it has long been promoted by Sport Canada and Sport for Life. Physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills, such as running, skipping, jumping and throwing. In practice, varying sets of skills are introduced to children at appropriate ages and stages of development. For years, Ridley has drawn upon leading physiological and psychological research on the topic to promote physical literacy; which is also pivotal in mental and social development.

Since this model was introduced at Ridley, our competitive sports programmes have experienced phenomenal success, while Lower School physical literacy programmes have been implemented to improve overall fitness, health and well-being through increased active play. This paradigm helps students develop a lasting relationship with physical activity and better prepares student athletes for successful long term athletic careers. Active play, of which our younger students enjoy three times a day for 20 minutes, has also been linked to notable cognitive function and development.

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The all-natural playscape – which was a part of the 2014-2015 annual giving campaign – is a very tangible example of how Ridley is maintaining its leading edge on physical literacy promotion in independent schools. The idea for the playscape was born from students’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition projects and Ridley decided that a unique, topographical landscape with obscure apparatuses would be the ideal way to encourage active play and reach school-wide physical literacy goals. The playscape creates a far more engaging and creative experience than the traditional, manufactured playgrounds and also enacts our objective to be more environmentally conscious.

“Our challenge was to create a Lower School playground that encouraged more open-ended and creative play, while at the same time, promoting a connection with nature.”

– Mrs. Hanna Kidd

Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian playground designer and builder, brought forward the perfect solution – a playground constructed of all-natural elements, that could be designed to fit the needs of the students. Founded in 1982 by Adam Bienenstock, Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds aims to bring nature back into the lives of children, so that they can develop an appreciation for the environment, while engaging in active play.

“Over time, somehow what we thought was fun disappeared from kids’ lives. Their roam rates dropped right down, their world got smaller and their screens got bigger, and the need for this [type of playscape] grew.”

– Mr. Adam Bienenstock, CEO and Founder of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds

It was clear that Bienenstock’s values aligned with Ridley’s, and the common goal of educating students on the importance of environmental conservation made for the perfect fit. After consulting with Bienenstock and receiving input from Ridley’s faculty, staff and students, the Playscape construction officially begun. Ridley was able to select playground elements that would challenge the students, encourage curiosity and creative thinking and be utilized at each age and stage of development.

The Playscape officially opened in December of 2015, but has since grown and has already become the perfect place for students to have fun, get active and even relax. It currently includes a number of large elements, such as a tree fort with a rope bridge, a rock climbing wall, a multipurpose amphitheater (outdoor classroom) and gaga ball court, tunnels, log clusters, a barrel swing, a willow dome and a sand area that includes a water feature and slides. As time passes, Ridley hopes to add several new elements, while the current elements continue to grow and evolve.

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According to Lower School faculty, instances of playground conflict have dramatically decreased with the opening of the new Playscape and the Athletics Department has already observed instances of creative play, risky behaviours and fundamental movement skills – elements that are viewed as positive markers in physical literacy studies.

The Playscape offers the perfect place for our younger students to have daily physical activity, while exploring movement and improving their social and emotional well-being. “The natural playscape will continue to help our students develop an appreciation, curiosity and respect for their world, leading to better physical and mental health.” – Mrs. Hanna Kidd

This Playscape was made possible with the support of generous donors. It is with this continued support that will Ridley be able to grow our school’s arts, academics and athletics programmes, and continue to provide students with the opportunities and tools necessary to live flourishing lives.

THE NATIONAL POST: REPORT ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS, June 4th, 2016

Ridley College earns a rare scholastic distinction

Iris Winston

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Ridley College, already one of the best-known independent boarding schools in Canada, now has a prestigious new designation.

Early this year, Ridley became an International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school. It is the only boarding school in the country to have achieved this distinction and one of just 15 schools across Canada to offer the world-class international programme. Only two other independent boarding schools in North America offer IB continuum programming.

Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organization is a non-profit educational foundation that offers “highly respected programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Schools must be authorized, by the IB organization, to offer any of the programmes. Schools usually develop the IB continuum over time, adding programmes as the school grows.”

“Ridley has been on a six-year journey with IB,” says Ridley’s headmaster Ed Kidd, who returned to Canada to take the position with Ridley four years ago after 14 years at the Shanghai American School, where he was also involved with and taught the IB programmes.

Developed for students from three to 19 years of age, the IB framework comprises three segments: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). Holistic in style, they all encourage individual learning styles, open communication and compassion, as well as cognitive development and international thinking.

Ridley has run the PYP and DP programmes for the last five years. It was certified for the MYP programme earlier this year, completing the rare designation as an IB continuum school.

The PYP, designed for students aged three to 12, focuses on encouraging inquiring minds, inside and outside the classroom. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, the PYP focuses on teaching students to see the connections between subject areas.

The MYP, designed for students aged 11 to 16, focuses on intellectual challenge and encouraging students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. It aims to foster skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement, crucial for success in the 21st century.

The Diploma Programme is for students ages 16 to 19 and focuses on intellectual breadth and depth. Through all three programmes, students are challenged to excel in intellectual curiosity and development, personal growth, empathy and high ethical standards, while working through a broad curriculum. As described in the background material, the aim is to develop “internationally minded people with a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.” This leads to greater success at the post-secondary level and eventually in the students’ professional lives.

“IB is meant to teach students how to think from a very young age,” says Kidd. “Rather than a curriculum — although we are still using the Ontario K to 12 curriculum and offer an optional Ontario Secondary School Diploma — it is an approach to learning, a pedagogical philosophy that incorporates the best of 21st-century education.”

He describes IB as “student-centred, inquiry-based, inter-disciplinary and international,” noting “it brings the world and global-mindedness and global competency into the curriculum.”

Kidd points out that every aspect of the IB approach, which is “founded on taking action and service to others,” is in line with the philosophy and internationalism of Ridley College.

“We have Canadians from all over the country and a long history of bringing students from around the world to the school. Currently, 44 different countries are represented. The IB philosophy also fits in with our commitment to service.” The Ridley College motto is Terar dum prosim  (May I be consumed in service.)

Most of all, he says, “it’s good teaching. The IB framework makes learning a rich and rigorous experience. We’ve adopted a world-class approach to teaching and learning that allows us to prepare students from around the world for living in an increasingly global society.”

All this augurs well for the future success of IB students. Their training places them at the forefront in their post-secondary studies, as well as putting them ahead in the selection process at top universities around the world.

Established in 1889 as a boys’ school, and co-educational since 1973, Ridley is one of the oldest and most prestigious independent schools in Canada. From the beginning, Ridley, which is located on an attractive 90-acre campus in the Niagara region, has combined high academic standards, a wide range of extra-curricular activities, a service commitment and internationalism.

This story was produced by Postmedia Content Works on behalf of Ridley College for commercial purposes. Postmedia’s editorial departments had no involvement in the creation of this content.

TransfORming Our Globe – Megan Breukelman ’11

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For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of an Old Ridleian, Megan Breukelman ’11, who transformed her passion into a business that connects and inspires people all over the world – Atlas Magazine.

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Megan Breukelman began her Ridley career in Grade 5 and carried out the duration of her secondary school studies here at Ridley. With a passion for visual arts and more specifically, photography, Megan took advantage of every opportunity she had to refine her craft. She was a photographer for the ACTA Ridleiana, could often be found photographing major Ridley events and frequently used the stunning Ridley campus as a backdrop for her personal projects. In addition to her artistic pursuits, Megan ensured her school curriculum aligned with her goals, taking courses such as AP Visual Art and Media Arts.

“I had a leg-up in my career thanks to the Media Arts programme at Ridley, taught by Mr. Reimer – I was comfortable with the Adobe Suite way ahead of time!”

– Megan Breukelman ‘11

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By the time Megan was graduating high school, she was well versed in the world of art, had the experience necessary to jumpstart her career and had the work ethic and time management skills necessary to succeed. It was then that Megan made the move to Florida, where she attended Ringling College of Art and Design. After a few years in the sun, Megan decided that in order to advance her career, New York was where she needed to be. Megan took a year off of school to intern in Toronto, while she prepared for her new life in the Big Apple. In the Fall of 2014, Megan moved to New York to finish her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

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SVA gave me a focused education on the business of photography, rather than just the creative and technical aspects. Both sides are essential to a career in the arts.”

– Megan Breukelman ’11

While attending school, Megan met Olivia Bossert, her overseas business partner, on an online photography community. Both had similar goals, and after some discussion, they founded Atlas Magazine. Atlas is a quarterly publication that showcases creative talent from all over the world. “The publication found its focus in fashion while maintaining its roots in fine art, setting it apart from the typical fashion magazine,” says founder, Megan. It began as an online publication, but two years after releasing the first issue, Megan and Olivia launched a crowd funding campaign with Kickstarter that allowed them to begin selling print publications in the United Kingdom. As of today,  Atlas is now available internationally.

Since its inception, Atlas has grown in size and popularity within the art world and now receives thousands of submissions, releases both print and digital issues and maintains a robust website – with lookbooks, articles and editorial sections.

“The best part of creating Atlas is seeing the spectrum of work that is submitted to us every issue. We receive thousands of submissions from artists of all parts of the world, and I am always surprised and delighted at how much pure talent there is out there.” – Megan Breukelman ’11

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Alongside Atlas, Megan has maintained a flourishing career. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at SVA and over the years has gained professional experience at agencies, magazines and even a fashion brand. She intends to continue working in creative production and says, “…as long as I’m doing something I’m passionate about, I’ll be happy.”

For anyone who is trying to discover what they want to do or where they want their path to lead, Megan says this:

“Take your time in figuring out what you want to do. There is a lot of pressure to pick something and stick with it, but I think careers and passions grow and evolve just as we do.”

Megan’s story shows that your passion can evolve into a flourishing career and that art can truly connect people.

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.

Grade 6 Students ‘Share the Planet’ for the PYP Exhibition

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle

It is imperative that every Ridleian – past, present and future – is instilled with a desire to change the world. Commitment to service, contribution to community, the desire to take action: all of these qualities make up a true Ridleian. The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme aligns perfectly with the values and core beliefs of our school. The same global mindedness is encouraged in both the IB programme and at Ridley. The shared values of both organizations create a perfect partnership.

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a programme for students aged 3-12, offered by IB World Schools. Ridley is proud to implement the PYP into our Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum. The PYP curricular framework focuses on the whole child; developing their social, academic and emotional well-being. Incorporated into the curriculum are six transdisciplinary themes that focus on local and world issues and can be explored in each subject. The students are asked to explore these themes, find connections between them and determine how they relate to their course work.

In their final year of the PYP, all Grade 6 students take part in an exhibition that combines all of the skills, strengths and techniques that they’ve developed and learned during their primary years’ education. Each year, the exhibition focuses on one of the six transdisciplinary themes.

“Students are required to engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process that involves them in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to a real-life issues or problems.”

– Ms. Marcie Lewis ‘03, Grade 6 Teacher and PYP Coordinator

On May 11th, our Grade 6 students participated in this year’s PYP Exhibition. This year, the theme chosen was ‘Sharing the Planet’, focusing solely on current world issues and how to take action to solve them. The exhibition featured a gallery walk and presentations on topics ranging from the ethical treatment of animals to natural disaster recovery. The students were encouraged to pick topics that interested them and ignited a fire within to make a difference. Choosing something that aligns with their own passions allows the students to form a personal connection to their research, resulting in a desire to learn.

Once the students chose their topics, they were required to form a central idea. This central idea focused on how one could take action to contribute to the resolving of their world issue. Through extensive research and inquiry, the students were required to provide research that supported their central idea and visually display the information for the exhibition.

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The students created incredible presentations, using well-made visual aids and slideshow displays. Many also included demonstrations and interactive elements that students, staff and members of the Ridley community could partake in. The projects included:

  • ‘The Ethical Treatment of Animals’ by Emily Abbey-Rupnik ’22 and Olivia Massis ’22
  • ‘Natural Disaster Recovery’ by Calum Murphy ’22 and Lucas Vigna ’22
  • ‘Global Warming and the Effect on the Global Food Supply’ by Shakirah Zaidi ’22 and Ire Oloketuyi ’22
  • ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases with a Focus on the Zika Virus’ by Chloe Cook ’22
  • ‘Mental Health in Developing Countries’ by Lindsey Siao ’22 and Taylor Searle ’22
  • ‘Living with Disabilites’ by Keji Adeyemi ’22
  • ‘Community Based Sports Programs’ by William Clayton ’22 and Phillip Stroganov ’22
  • ‘Child Labour’ by Brooke Loranger ’22 and Isha Walia ’22
  • ‘Global Warming and the Effect on Global Water Supply’ by Bradley Mattocks ’22 and Sascha Jansen-Rudan ’22

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“The exhibition allows the students to have greater independence. It allows students to see their strengths as learners and feel empowered by being in control of their own learning.”

– Ms. Marcie Lewis ‘03, Grade 6 Teacher and PYP Coordinator

The projects presented by the students during the PYP Exhibition clearly demonstrated the inquisitive nature of our students and showed that they are well on their way to becoming globally minded individuals. It was a thought provoking experience for both the students and all who explored the exhibition. We look forward to seeing what next year’s students can discover.

View photos or watch the video from the PYP Exhibition.

 

Slam Dunk for Ridley College and OSBA

The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) welcomes Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team into its elite Canadian league.

After more than a decade-long run as one of most competitive basketball teams in the CISAA and following a record-breaking season ­­– winning six tournaments and three major titles ­– Ridley College’s First Boys basketball team has been formally accepted into the OSBA for the 2016/2017 season.

The OSBA is an elite league, governed by Ontario Basketball that helps prepare players for post-secondary, national and international levels of competition. The goal of the association is to increase the number of quality basketball players competing in Ontario and to promote the Train to Compete (T2C) stage of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model – of which Ridley was an early adopter and remains a proponent of, school-wide.

The team’s promotion means that the Ridley Tigers will not only compete against top basketball prep schools from around the Greater Toronto Area, but the athletes will also participate in at least three international showcases and host several others throughout the year. Ridley will become the first and only IB Continuum school that is a member of the OSBA, offering the gold standard in academics and athletics in Canada.

“We are excited to add an outstanding institution like Ridley College to the OSBA. We are confident that Ridley College will be able to provide student-athletes with a world-class education, as well as a high-quality basketball experience that supports their development.”

– Carmelo Mallia, Manager of High Performance at Ontario Basketball and OSBA League Commissioner.

With support from the current coaching staff, Ridley Athletics has hired Mr. Tarry Upshaw as head coach of the new OSBA team. Coach Upshaw’s dynamic career has included coaching at the professional national and international level; coaching national team programs in Hong Kong, China, Jamaica and right here in Canada. His wealth of experience in developing young athletes and his relationships in the basketball world will be invaluable as the school’s basketball programme continues to develop into one of the best in the country.

“This is a natural progression for us as an institution with the right people in place at the right time,” said Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics at Ridley College. “I am very excited about the support network we have in place for our student athletes, and adding the competitive environment of the OSBA will no doubt challenge all of us to become even better at what we do,” he added.

Read the St. Catharines Standard’s article.