Tag Archives: international

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.

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.

The Weekend Programme – January 2016 Highlights

Launched in 2015, the Weekend Programme provides students with fun activities – on and off campus – every weekend. This January, the Weekend Programme was stocked full with fun activities that were great for Ridleians of all ages!

Grade 9’s have a ball at Residential Life Bowling!

Thursday, January 7th
By: Jack Petrunick ‘19

What better way to start off 2016 than with Residential Life Bowling! I find that our days can be quite busy; filled with classes, sports and homework and sometimes it seems that we don’t get much of a chance to catch up with one another. This made a night of bowling with classmates a perfect opportunity to reconnect. Did you know that in the Golden Era of the 1960’s and 1970’s, bowlers made twice as much money as NFL stars? Pro bowlers signed million dollar contracts and were heralded as international celebrities. Today, the glitz and glamour has faded, however, this changed as the Ridley College Class of 2019 arrived at Parkway Lanes! The students were all bright-eyed with thoughts of a strike, a spare or even just praying they wouldn’t get a gutter ball! Speaking of strikes…did you know that in the sport of bowling, if you see a picture of a turkey on your scoring screen, it refers to three strikes in a row? A ham bone is one better, with four strikes in a row! Best of all is a golden turkey, which represents nine strikes in a row!

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Well, I definitely don’t recall seeing a golden turkey on anyone’s scoring screen, but I do remember Ms. Lech knocking down nine pins at one time, which resulted in her doing a happy dance!

Ms. Lech and staff, thank you for organizing an exciting event for us. It was an evening enjoyed by all! Thank you!

– Jack Petrunick ‘19

” I have never been bowling before. I played games like this on my console, but because my parents are really busy and there are not many places like this near me, I [had] never gone before. It was a lot of fun!” – Grade 9 student

Ridleians show their Tiger pride during the Carl Dorland Basketball Tournament

Saturday, January 9th
By:
Liam Wilson ’16

Carl Dorland Champions

January 9th, 2016 – a night that I won’t forget for a very long time. Ridley wins the Carl Dorland Tournament against powerhouse rivals from Illinois, Lake Forest Academy. Although the game was very exciting, it wasn’t the shots made or the impressive moves that made this night so memorable for me, it was having the Ridley community supporting us. Students, faculty, parents, and even partner basketball programs – like Noble Preparatory Academy from Nassau, Bahamas – were all packed into the Griffith Gym to make as much noise and give as much support as possible. When Brett Warren ‘16 scored on an amazing drive or Shamar Burrows ‘16 made a great stop on defense, the crowd just got louder and louder.

Spirit Night  Saturday Jan 23

There is no better feeling than being able to look to the other side of the court and see your classmates cheering as loud as they can for you. Seeing my teachers in the crowd fostered school spirit and enthusiasm like you would not believe. As the game got tight and the clock started to run out, it was our fellow Ridleians that gave us the energy to close the game off and bring home the gold on our home court. Thank you, Ridley.

– Liam Wilson ’16

Students enjoy feature films with their friends!

Saturday, January 16th

On Saturday, January 16th, Ridleians piled on the Movie Bus and headed to Landmark Cinemas at the Pen Centre. Students had the chance to see the latest blockbusters on the big screen, with all of their friends! Following the Movie Bus, students were invited to the Great Hall for Café, where there was music, hot chocolate and cookies!

“Café is amazing!”- Noel Cousins ’16

Sports, spies and snacks – students hang out on campus for a fun-filled Saturday!

Saturday January 23rd

Students had a fun-filled evening on campus this past Saturday! Students were able to participate in tons of sporting activities such as swimming, badminton, basketball and soccer! Students who wanted a more relaxing Saturday night were invited to watch the movie The Kingsman in the Ross E. Morrow Theatre. Café followed, featuring DJ Lech, where the students joined in the Great Hall to hear wonderful music from the 1980’s to today.

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January’s Weekend Programme line-up started the term off right! Ridley pride arose during Spirit Night and students stayed active inside as the snow piled up outdoors. There were no shortage of smiles and laughs here on campus.

Next month, the Weekend Programme kicks off with Dean’s Dance, the annual semi-formal dance, followed by fun activities throughout the month! Check back in February to read more!

Preparing international students for success

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Throughout the school year, Ridley is bustling with students from 44 countries around the globe and we are committed to providing as much support as possible to our international students as they adjust to life away from home. Helping them overcome a language barrier can often make all the difference in their ability to thrive.

Ridley’s English as a Second Language (ESL) programme is a course offered through our Guidance Department. It offers students – whose native language is not English – additional learning support intended to strengthen their conversational English, grammar, spelling and help them grasp nuisances. Furthermore, the ESL programme uses cognitive learning skills that can be applied in students’ daily lives. All of these resources result in improved communications and confidence on a personal and academic level.

Students begin with Level C and D ESL, as well as a Learning Strategies course in their first year here at Ridley. Throughout this first year, students work with our ESL Teacher, Ms. Loretta Whitty, as they build a set of skills that help with their English language proficiency in addition to their organizational skills, time-management, writing, public speaking and note taking. Students who might benefit from a more gentle transition into the school year, our Summer Programme also offers Level B ESL.

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In 2nd term, the students are introduced to the research essay project. Utilizing Brock University’s program, Academic Zone, the students take a step-by-step journey through the essay writing process. This process allows them to tackle one component of an essay at a time, while learning tips and tricks and developing their own writing style.

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Throughout the term, the students are encouraged to discover their own learning style. By developing character profiles and assessing their own personal skills, accomplishments and goals, the students are then able to determine what is the best way for them to learn and retain information. These skills are used throughout their time at Ridley and carried forward into their eventual careers.

“That’s the beauty of our ESL course; it gives [students] the resources and strategies that they can use at Ridley and beyond.”

– Ms. Loretta Whitty

Upon completion of Level C and D, these Ridleians progress to Level E in their next year of schooling; where they complete a course that aligns with a Grade 10 level of English.

Ms. Loretta Whitty has seen students progress with such success over the years. Students develop a passion for writing, find the confidence to speak in front of large groups of people with ease and projection and discover skills and strengths that they didn’t know they had.

“The Ridley ESL programme provided me with an opportunity to practice my English skills in a familiar and comfortable environment. The teachers are friendly and very helpful.”

– Wenze Guan ’16

This programme was designed to align with the Ridley curriculum and international culture. Its goal is to help our students reach a point in their education that they can confidently apply to post-secondary school, prepare for university and begin their flourishing lives. It is clear that this ESL course has done just that; and proves to be a great transition for our international students into life here at Ridley.

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Ridley’s Exchange Programme provides an opportunity of a lifetime

For over 20 years, Ridley’s International Student Exchange Programme has given audacious Ridleians and students from partnering schools around the world the opportunity to experience another country, appreciate a foreign culture and adapt to a new way of life at an international boarding school.

Dr. Ellen Foster has been coordinating the programme for the past 10 years, having organized approximately 200 exchanges in total. What began as a partnership with only a few schools has now expanded to offer Ridleians the chance to travel to South Africa, Australia, China, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and England. Whether they fly across the world to the land down under, make the trek to South Africa or hop across the pond to Paris, these students leave behind their routine lives to become Ridley’s global ambassadors.

Our Ridleians studying abroad may be away from St. Catharines anywhere between 6-12 weeks. During this time, they attend classes, live with their exchange families, absorb a new cultures and sometimes even learn new languages.

For every Ridleian who travels abroad, Ridley welcomes an eager student from the partnering school. For many of these visiting Upper School pupils, Ridley is their first exposure to Canada ­– which might include their first encounter with snow.

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Having the opportunity to travel, learn and grow in a new environment allows students to expand their knowledge of the world, overcome obstacles independently and discover new skills and strengths that they never knew they had. According to Dr. Ellen Foster, Coordinator of the International Student Exchange Programme, it also offers a great opportunity to improve language proficiency in places such as Spain and France.

Recently, Ridley said goodbye to this year’s visiting exchange students, as they returned home with unforgettable memories and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“I know from this amazing experience, that Ridley does not just focus on academic strength but also produces well-rounded, confident and worldly people who have the ability to make an impact in whatever they choose to do after school.”

– Eliza Hannah, Australia

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.

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

 

Ridleians represent at International Public Speaking Competition

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On the weekend of October 23rd-26th, Ridley participated in the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition hosted by The York School in Toronto. Nearly 200 students from 45 schools throughout the world were involved in this annual event that features a wide range of the speaking arts­–debate, drama, and public speaking. Schools from Canada, the U.S.A., Bermuda, India, China, Peru, Scotland, England, Hong Kong, and Australia competed in a four-day tournament that brought together some of the best international high school speakers..

Each participant selected three events from various categories that included: persuasive, after-dinner, and impromptu speaking; parliamentary and cross-examination debate; dramatic interpretation, interpretive reading, and radio newscast. Ridley was ably represented by Arwyn Workman-Youmans, Eduardo Deliyannis, and Philip Brenninkmeyer, who excelled in parliamentary debate, interpretive reading, and impromptu speaking respectively.

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Ridleians, Eduardo Deliyannis, Arwyn Workman-Youmans and Philip Brenninkmeyer pose with students from the Shanghai American School

Although Ridley did not reach the finals, each student presented his/her event in each of the two rounds, demonstrating growth and progress throughout the tournament.  All students are congratulated and thanked for their outstanding efforts.

– Mr. Paul O’Rourke, Department of Social Sciences & Coordinator of Speaking Arts

Speaking Arts at Ridley College has long held great stature within the gates and beyond, as it has helped many students reach their potential. With this activity, students are able to refine their public speaking skills, gain confidence in their own ability and become active leaders in the Ridley community and society, as a whole.

Students are encouraged to attend the weekly Speaking Arts activity, which takes place on Thursdays at 4:00p.m. in room 203 of Lower School.

Upcoming competitions include the Fulford Cup hosted by Ashbury College in Ottawa from November 6-7th, followed by the National Qualifier at Appleby College in Oakville on November 24th.

Good luck to all the students participating in these upcoming competitions!