Tag Archives: 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: David X. ’17

Introducing David Xue ’17 – a Prefect who discovered what it means Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 10.08.16 AMto become a global citizen. Hear how he adapted to life abroad, and discovered comfort, confidence and culture within the Marriott Gates.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because of its size. I am talking about the perspectives of cultural diversity, the physical size of the school and its open-mindedness to connect to the global society. This year alone, Ridley welcomed students from more than 44 countries, which is a perfect opportunity for us students to interchange our cultural practices and get comfortable with becoming a global citizen. On top of the rare cultural diversity offered by Ridley, the school itself is 90-acres, which is spacious and gives plenty of choices for sports, activities and scientific research. Lastly, Ridley’s mindset is in line with what I am looking for; the motto is “may I be consumed in service”. I have always been looking for the connection between Chinese culture and western culture; through the humbleness of the motto, I have found the commonness.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Of course I felt prepared coming to Ridley! Although it was quite scary to think of coming to an English-speaking country for the first time in Grade seven, I managed to watch all of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies and five seasons of ‘Friends’ during the summer of 2011 in preparation…I would say if you are an international student, definitely try to get a good grip on English conversations before coming to face the academic demands. However, there is no need to panic; the students and faculty here are very friendly and are more than happy to help us through the bottleneck of overcoming the difficulties of the language.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

To me, every single faculty member I know is unique, and very important. Mr. Hutton, Mr. Bett and Mr. Jones are my parents abroad and keep me safe. My teachers are absolutely experts at every subject and are awesome friends that I know I could feel comfortable talking to whenever I encounter an obstacle. The nurses and sewing room members keep me healthy and classy, respectively. Therefore, I am equally thankful to every single one of them.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

As an international student, my greatest challenge at Ridley was stepping out of my comfort zone and blending into the Canadian culture. The difficulty in language was minor; it was the decision of whether or not leaving the herd of Chinese speaking students, step into western culture and make friends from other countries, the most challenging. I have to admit that it was a hard time in the beginning; most of the times I did not understand what my peers were talking about. However, I soon adjusted myself to learn things my Canadian friends would be interested in and had made myself a part of the international community. I would say that the decision I made five years ago was absolutely beneficial to my global perspective.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley would be the appointment as a Prefect. At Ridley, being a Prefect requires high academic performances, the trust from the student body and faculty, and the ability to be highly responsible. I am grateful that Ridley has gradually shaped me into a person that is seeking knowledge and willing to contribute. Therefore, I think prefectship is just a reflection of the cumulative efforts I have made from my five years of experiences here.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favorite Ridley experience has been joining and enjoying the competitive sports programme. I have been lucky to have played so many sports that I would have never had a chance to play before, such as softball, rugby, basketball and soccer. Not only was I able to play with my fellow peers, but the athletic department would always organize road trips to schools in the province and we were able to compete against them… I think to some extent, the sports programme at Ridley has created a bond between us and the school; it gives us a sense of pride. Thus, I enjoy and will never forget the experience of playing competitive sports at Ridley.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is knowing that I can put my head on the pillow at the end of the day and feel safe. At Ridley, any adult is approachable and is there to support us. When we experience homesickness or illness, the Head of House’s door is always open for us. Whether it was Ms. Thacker driving you to the health centre at 3:00 in the morning, or Mr. Jones trying to console you after a breakup, Ridley is a place that any of us could open ourselves up and it is guaranteed that we will be supported. Ridley is my second home.

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

I am most excited for planning the future activities for the student body. The Prefect team this year is dedicated to focusing on student lives, and I am very excited about the upcoming events, such as Saturday activities, house competitions and semi-formal dances.

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How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Well, I have to say, basically in every way. Academically, the full IB programme challenges me to take risks and step up to become a global citizen. Athletically, Ridley reminds me to always keep myself fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the rest of my life. Aesthetically, Ridley gives me opportunities to take on several musical instruments and provides me abundant art supplies to express myself in the universal language. Lastly, the faculty members act as role models and always keep me positive, which I will do the same to others in the future.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to pursue further education from a university in the United States. I am glad that the guidance counsellers are experts at Ridley, to help me through the difficult process. I would like to pursue my degree in either architecture, law or chemistry because I am absolutely excited about chemical reactions, designing buildings and defending a case.

On top of that, I will keep playing the violin because it has become my companion during my time of homesickness.

Although Ridley has given me a breathtakingly fresh and exciting experience, I also had some times of hardship. First and foremost, homesickness… So I found a place to heal my homesickness – the basement of the Second Century Building, where I could play the violin. There, I enjoyed playing music, because not only the sound of music brought me happiness, but also it became a friend to me. From then, I knew that I could always retreat from the fast pace school environment to slow down and balance myself with healing music. This helped me to overcome another obstacle – stress… When things are overwhelming, I just clear my mind and play music for an hour. Trust me, after concentrating in my violin piece, the overwhelming assignments did not seem impossible anymore! Of course, music is only one of the ways that could help you through your difficulties here at Ridley. There are many other options such as painting, filming, and meditation club that you could enjoy in order to feel the flow and find your centre.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

I would say definitely seize every opportunity you can, because Ridley provides us privileges that other schools do not offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Shaun D. ’17

Introducing Shaun Donnelly ’17 – a Prefect who learned the value of Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 10.19.48 AMspontaneity and risk-taking during her time at Ridley. Read how she grew and discovered who she is by stepping out of her comfort zone.

Why did you choose Ridley?

Three of my older siblings attended Ridley before me, which made me very aware of the incredible range of opportunities, programmes, and facilities that would be available to me. This is the main reason why I chose to enroll; though the sunny and college-like atmosphere of the campus was also very appealing.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

I did have some sense going into Grade 9 (my first year at Ridley) that it would be quite the challenge and a significant step-up from elementary school, but I figured I would eventually adapt to the extra demands. I didn’t feel prepared, but I felt prepared to be unprepared. 

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite teacher is passionate, committed, patient, enthusiastic, wise, entertaining, and treats teaching as a vocation. To be completely honest, I really can’t pick one because they’re all like that.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

The greatest challenge I have faced thus far at Ridley was the transition from Grade 10 to full International Baccalaureate (IB). Going into Grade 11 (year one of IB) I knew that balancing the added demands of IB, such as an even more rigorous curriculum, night classes, and the extended essay – along with being a member of the rowing team – would be a lot to manage. This schedule was indeed very overwhelming at the start, but the skills and knowledge that I acquired by working through this challenge made it more than worth it.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? 

My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley has been my development into the person I am today. My personality going into Grade 9 was very simple; I was very shy and obsessed with perfection… The prospect of me ever even applying for prefectship seemed absolutely absurd in my mind at the time. Throughout the past three years, I have been forced outside of my comfort zone and humbled by the increased difficulty of my classes and athletic pursuits. I tried a number of new things, such as debate team, Mandarin class, and meditation, and discovered new passions (computer programming and rowing). These experiences taught me the value of spontaneity and risk-taking. Even if your leap of faith turns out to be a total failure, you’ll certainly learn something or at least have some fun trying.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My absolute favourite Ridley experience has been rowing. I joined the rowing team in Grade 10, and despite all of the sore muscles and blisters, it has been incredibly fun. The rowing team is like one big, crazy family; through training together, sometimes between three and four hours a day, we have become so close. Highlights of my Ridley rowing experience have been travelling to Miami for our annual March break training camp and to Philadelphia to race in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta – the world’s largest high school regatta.

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What is your favourite part of Ridley life? 

My favourite part of Ridley life is the diversity. Having friends from all over the world is truly fascinating and enlightening. In a world riddled with conflicts and prejudice surrounding cultural and racial differences, it’s refreshing to see such a diverse population living together in this little community, becoming as close as family.

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

I am most excited to use this position of influence to serve as a role model for younger students and show them the value of taking advantage of all that Ridley has to offer. Of course, Prefects do get to do a few especially fun things. Of these, I was most excited to light the fire and lead the cheering at Snake Dance. 

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How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has molded me into a person who I hope could survive quite well under the wrath of the “real world”, and I attribute this development to the ongoing challenge that is the rigorous Ridley schedule and its high-functioning environment. I was forced to break out of my shyness, taught the value of professionalism, and encouraged to develop a certain boldness, that I see serving me well in all kinds of situations. I learned the importance of preparedness, but also came to understand the role that feeling and seeming confident plays in success, even in times when one does not feel completely prepared.

What are your plans after graduation?

Following graduation next year, I want to study computer science and economics. I hope to then go on to work at and eventually manage a computer software company. In terms of extracurricular activities, I hope to be a member of my new university’s lightweight women’s rowing team and continue to pursue my passion for improving the well-being of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

The simple advice that I would give to anybody thinking of coming to Ridley is to go for it; and once you’re here, you have to maintain that “go for it” attitude. Ridley has so much to offer, but you will only get out of it what you put into it. This being said, be sure not to spread yourself too thin by committing to too many different things, which can be very tempting in such a busy place.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Graham D. ‘17

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 11.00.18 AMIntroducing Graham Devitt ’17 – a Prefect who has grown during his Ridley career – from Lower School, through to Upper School. Read how he has been driven to succeed during his time at Ridley and where he hopes his future will lead him.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I chose Ridley because it is one of the best schools in the area. I am a day student and choosing to go to Ridley was an easy decision, as it is both academically and athletically renowned. Ridley presents unique opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else and I knew it would be a great fit for me!

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Yes, I felt prepared coming to Ridley. I came in Lower School and integrating into the culture was much easier there. I was a bit nervous going to a new school – as Ridley’s reputation preceded itself – but as soon as I arrived I was accepted and became immersed in Ridley life.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member is Mrs. Roud. She taught me Grade 10 History and is also my housemaster. She has helped me evolve academically, in addition to encouraging me to push my limits and become a better person. She has helped me with everything from school work to personal projects and has always been a very caring and dependable person. I look forward to working with her to make Dean’s House and the rest of Ridley as enjoyable for everyone else as it has been for me!

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What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I think the greatest challenge has been making the most of all the opportunities Ridley presents. On top of academics, athletics and extra-curriculars, Ridley provides many other opportunities to advance and develop one’s education. Being able to – on top of everything else – go on exchanges, participate in service trips, and apply for awards is definitely a challenge, but one that can be extremely rewarding.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment would be winning the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize to travel to Europe during two weeks in the summer and visit various WWI and WWII memorials and battle sites. Although it took a substantial amount of work, the payoff is extraordinary and I am proud to have won this prestigious award.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite Ridley experience is going to camp at the beginning of every year. Getting to know all the new boys and doing everything from wake boarding to zip lining is both a fun and involved adventure!

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What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life is being a part of a house. Being a part of Dean’s House and playing the other houses in sports, participating in house events and BBQs is truly a unique experience to Ridley and one that I thoroughly enjoy!

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

I am looking forward to being a role model to all younger students and especially the new students this next year. Showing students how to make the most of Ridley life, do well in school, and more importantly, enjoy all the other aspects of Ridley – from sports, to dances, to trips – is something I’m looking forward to. The opportunity to lead others and help them make the most of there time here will be very rewarding.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

As you progress through Ridley, you gain more independence. This parallels life in university and beyond. In addition, Ridley life is very different than other schools. From simple things like waking up for class on your own, to tasks like touring prospective students, Ridley reinforces qualities and values that many kids don’t learn until much later in life. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go on to university to get a bachelors and most likely a master’s degree. I haven’t quite chosen what my degree will be yet but it will be something within the social sciences for sure. After that my only ambition is to move to a big city and start working. Wherever that takes me, we’ll have to see.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Make the most of Ridley. However you ended up here, you are extremely privileged. Understand this and take all the opportunities you can, because soon enough you will be finished Ridley and those opportunities won’t be there. If you balance your academics and also have fun, Ridley will be one of the best experiences you will have in your life.

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.

Get to Know Your Prefects – Kai S. ‘17

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 9.02.01 AMIntroducing Kai Scott ’17 – a Prefect who has an appreciation for hard work and perseverance. Read how he has found success during his time at Ridley.

Why did you choose Ridley?

As a local student, I felt like Ridley provided a unique learning experience, that made it stand out from other high schools in the area at the time. My family and I also felt that Ridley provided a much more well-rounded and multi-faceted schooling than I could have gotten at another place. I think this level of involvement really drew us in to the school.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Definitely not! As somebody who had changed schools only once before and had never really been in such a diverse community like Ridley’s, I certainly felt a bit overwhelmed with the whole experience right at the beginning. As soon as I realized how understanding and ready to help the students and teachers around me were, I settled in pretty quickly. I think it was also important for me to realize that I was far from the only kid going through this process!

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite teacher would have to be Dr. Foster. She’s always ready to laugh and she definitely keeps TOK [Theory of Knowledge] and French classes entertaining and engaging. There’s never a dull class with Dr. Foster!

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I’d have to say that my toughest challenge throughout my time at Ridley has been balancing my sports and school schedules. A major part of the Ridley experience is just how busy you are kept from eight in the morning, through to the time your head hits the pillow each night…Despite this, I persevered and worked through the difficulties.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

The greatest accomplishment I’ve had with Ridley was winning the bronze medal this year at the CSSRA championships in the Junior 72kg Coxed Four category. While I rowed in a faster boat the year before, I felt as though the bronze medal that I won this past year came from a group that, throughout the year, had struggled and persevered through some trying experiences. The amount of grit and will that went into that boat made our medals carry a sense of accomplishment and pride that only comes from success following hard work.

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What has been your favourite Ridley experience?

I’d have to say being involved in Snake Dance was one of my Ridley experiences that stands out. There is a sense of togetherness and excitement that is hard to replicate with any other activity during the year. The raw energy that Snake Dance brings out of people is powerful. It is one of my favourite Ridley traditions to take part in.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

Even though I’m a day boy, house life is part of the Ridley life that I like to be a part of. Houses become like big families, and this makes it really fun to spend time in the evenings talking and hanging out with your housemates. The comfortability that the house setting gives students makes it easy for us to relax and be a bit more open and I think that this makes it a really important part of Ridley existence.

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

I’m super excited for the chance be a part of this year’s Prefect team. I think that I’m most excited to, as a Prefect, be able to help out the students around me and be able to hopefully have a positive impact on my peers. As a Prefect I want to be as approachable as possible and give other students an outlet to talk to.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

Ridley has put me in a position to be able to deal with the stresses of the real world. Ridley has given us, as students, the ability to balance and manage our lives in a way that would have taken years of painful university cram sessions and all-nighters otherwise. Life is busy and Ridley has given us an opportunity to learn how to deal with it properly. On top of this, Ridley has given us a view into the increasingly globalized world of today. I’ve been able to meet people from places throughout the world, and through this, I’ve learned to widen my horizons and gain a new understanding of the world.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on taking a gap year to travel and get involved in volunteer projects abroad. I think that there is a lot that can be learned about the world around us and to truly understand it I believe that we need to get outside of the classroom and into the multitude of cultures around the world.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Ridley, at first, can seem a bit daunting and scary, but try to move past that initial fear and you’ll see Ridley for the welcoming, diverse and open community that it is!

Get to Know Your Prefects: Michael S. ’17

Introducing Michael Steier ’17 – a Prefect who is looking to have a Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 1.19.27 PMpositive impact on the school and the student body in his final year at Ridley.

Why did you choose Ridley?

I came to Ridley in Grade 5 because my brother had come three years earlier. My brother has been a big influence on my life and I followed him to Ridley. I had seen him mature in the three years since coming to Ridley and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

Before coming to Ridley I went to a Montessori school, so when making the transition, I felt I was better prepared than most kids. However, the Ridley lifestyle is so unique that it took a bit of adjusting.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?

My favourite faculty member is Mr. Clarke. I never had him as a teacher, but he was my Grade 9 golf coach and that’s where I got to see the real Mr. Clarke. He was the Head of Upper School, so he always seemed intimidating, but on the course, we would talk about sports and anything but school. We were able to talk to him like he was a teenager, like us, which is why he is a favourite of mine. I think it’s really important that the faculty are able to connect with their students outside of the classroom and on a personal level.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

My greatest challenge at Ridley has been adapting to the Ridley schedule. Learning how to balance all my different commitments and learning to prioritize things can be difficult… It took a while getting used to the fact that you won’t be getting home until 6:00p.m., or later, when your friends at other high schools are coming home at 3:00p.m. Even though it was difficult getting used to, it did help me manage my time much more efficiently.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

My greatest accomplishment at Ridley has been becoming Prefect; not because I’m one of the leaders in the school, but because of how I have changed over the past year. Grade 10 was a tough year for me and to be seen as a leader in the eyes of the faculty and my peers again was a great relief. I worked really hard to rebuild my relationships… and to be chosen was a great achievement.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

My favourite part of my Ridley experience has been how different it is from other high schools. The diversity of the people at this school has exposed me to different cultures, that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. I now have friends from all over world, that speak all different languages. The other part that I love is the lifestyle. Fellow Prefect, David Xue ‘17 said “Ridley isn’t a school, it’s a lifestyle”. This quote really carries a lot of meaning because when you’re a student a Ridley, you don’t just come to class and then leave. Ridley keeps you involved beyond the classroom, whether it be on a sports team, or in the dorm. Ridley really does keep you involved in every way possible.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?

My favourite part of Ridley life has been the friends I have met. All of my close friends are people that I met through Ridley. I met them all several years ago and are still very close friends with them today. What Ridley has also allowed me to do is to make friends from around the world. I have friends all over the world that I am now able to visit if I am ever travelling. It has allowed me to expand my network of friends and my exposure to people all around the world.

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

I am really excited for being able to speak for my peers. I have been a student in Upper School for three years and have seen many Prefects. I have also had many ideas and suggestions throughout my years and I now have a good opportunity to voice those opinions. I feel I am qualified to speak for the student body because I have been in their position for the past several years. I know what students want, what they like and what works for them. I feel, now given this position, I am able to make an impact.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

The biggest thing that Ridley has given me to prepare me for the future has been my time management skills. I have been managing my busy schedule for the past three years with balancing my athletic, social and academic life. It has also prepared for a college workload and how to write a college research paper. All of these things I can take with me to the next chapter in my life.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan on going to university somewhere in the United States. Both of my parents went there and my brother is currently in school there, so I would like to follow in my family’s footsteps. I feel Ridley has prepared me for the next step.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

My advice to prospective students is if you’re considering Ridley as an option, take your time to make the decision. Ridley is a challenging place and if you decide to attend, then you need to be prepared to fully immerse yourself in the Ridley lifestyle. I highly recommend attending because of how much you can learn and how you can develop as a person. Ridley has a lot to offer and the doors it can open are endless.