Tag Archives: private school

TransfORming Our Globe – Jillian Evans ‘06

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Jillian Evans ’06, a Toronto-based tech entrepreneur in the media and entertainment space.

Jillian began her Ridley career in 2001 as a Grade 8 student. During her five years on campus, she was a School Prefect, Editor of the Tiger Tribune and a member of the Rowing, Harriers and Golf teams. Jillian credits Ridley’s strong emphasis on developing interpersonal and public speaking skills with her success in careers that have almost exclusively involved networking and negotiation.

 

“Ridley was the best thing that could have happened to a bored and unmotivated twelve-year-old me. My teachers, coaches and friends challenged me to grow as a person every day, and I left with an unshakeable confidence and set of skills that have served me very well in my career.” – Jillian Evans ‘06

After Ridley, Jillian went on to do a gap year at Marlborough College in England as an English Speaking Union Scholar. She then returned to Canada to pursue her BAH in Political Studies at Queen’s University, where she served as President of the Arts & Science Undergraduate Society and represented the interests of over 12,000 students. Upon graduating, she headed to London to complete her M.Sc. in Political Communication at the London School of Economics, and worked in the office of a Cabinet Minister in the UK Parliament.

Having completed her Masters, Jillian moved to Washington, DC to pursue an internship in Public Affairs at the Embassy of Canada, working mainly on the educational outreach and think-tank liaison files. She also completed her U.S. Private Pilot’s Licence and Restricted Airspace designation, and once had to maneuver around Air Force One in midair!

Returning home to Toronto in 2013, she decided to pursue a career as a lobbyist at the provincial level, tackling files from special needs funding to telecom and everything in between. While she found the work both fascinating and rewarding, she had begun to pursue a side project that would soon require her full attention.

In March 2015, along with a couple of friends, Jillian founded PETE, a second-screen experience for entertainment television. Best described as “fantasy sports for reality TV,” PETE offers a comprehensive fantasy, content and engagement platform for fans of over 20 reality shows and four award shows, including The Bachelor, Survivor, Big Brother, The Oscars and The Grammys. With 20,000 users so far, PETE also offers brands and sponsors the opportunity to reach targeted, engaged audiences. As a company, PETE has raised $750,000 in seed funding and counts seven Old Ridleians (and two past parents) among its investors.

“A lot of people – even in the tech establishment – thought we were crazy. If you believe in your idea, get out there and make it happen. The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out, you learn an absolute ton, and you nail it the next time. So many decisions are driven by the fear of failure – don’t let yourself fall into that trap, and keep taking big risks!” – Jillian Evans ‘06

As the media landscape evolves over the next several years, Jillian believes the balance will shift from one-way consumption to two-way interactivity, where consumers become active participants. She hopes PETE can play a role in this process by working with media companies to better engage viewers, and by pushing the envelope on what’s possible for fans with real-time interaction. She strongly encourages young Ridleians interested in media and/or tech to pursue it – and the more outside-the-box the idea or career path, the better.


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

Ridleian Becomes National Champion in Archery

On March 5th, Reece Wilson-Poyton ’18 captured the Canadian National Indoor Archery Championships in the Cadet Recurve category, which requires archers to hit a small target from 18m away. This victory caps a remarkable run for the Ridley student, who took up competitive archery in 2015.

His goal is to make the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympics teams, and plans on beginning his training for shooting Olympic outdoor distances (70m) next year.

He was inspired to take up this less-common sport after attending the archery contests during the 2015 Pan-Am Games held in Toronto. “I love the sport so much because I am constantly improving, learning, and changing,” says Reece, who is now giving back to the archery community by becoming a Level 1 instructor for beginners at the Brockley Archery Club in Hamilton.

Athletics is an integral part of the Ridley College experience, all students participate in some form of physical activity every day. Ridley participates in the Sport for Life Society’s Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD). Which exposes students to a variety of sports as a foundation for engaging in sport for life. It provides a path to better sport, greater health, and higher achievement based on the latest sport science and best practices in coaching and training from around the world. Even when students find a passion outside of one of our over 75 co-curriculars, we do our best to accommodate.

Reece travels several times a week to Caledon, ON for training sessions, and practices on campus with Mr. Clyde Dawson. “Ridley has helped by allowing me to practice on campus under the supervision of Mr. Dawson two times a week after school as part of my sport credit,” says Reece.

Reece was recently featured in an episode of Future Legends on WIN HD Caribbean, who profiled his perseverance and determination, to overcome an eye injury to compete at the highest level. Ridley encourages students to discover and pursue their passions, persevere through challenges, risk failure, and develop grit and resilience. Accomplishment and engagement are elements of a flourishing life. Grit is a fundamental element for achievement and Reece has embodied this.

His next competition is the Multi-sites Indoor Championships of the Americas (MICA), which will involve archers from the Americas and the Caribbean. Afterwards Reece says he will be focusing on upcoming outdoor competitions in Montreal and Sault Ste. Marie, shooting at a distance of 60m, and attending a training camp in Florida.

Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk Launches The Organ Project

7-Time Grammy Award Sensation Carrie Underwood to Headline The Organ Project’s Gala in Toronto

Eugene Melnyk, Ridley parent, Owner of the Ottawa Senators, and himself an organ transplant recipient, launched a major philanthropic initiative called The Organ Project, whose mission is to end the waitlist for all transplant patients.

In May 2015, Mr. Melnyk received an anonymous liver donation that saved his life. From that moment on, he made it his mission to help all patients who are in desperate need of an organ transplant.

The Organ Project is focused on building greater awareness to organ donation, reducing organ transplant wait times and to increasing the number of people registered as organ donors.

“Every three days in Ontario, someone dies waiting. … The good news is this is truly a solvable problem because we don’t need to find a cure for waiting,” says Melnyk. “Our goal is to make organ donation as normal and expected as wearing your seatbelt. Both save lives and both are a choice you can make and embrace.”

The Organ Project is holding an inaugural gala on March 31, to help kick off April as Organ Donation Awareness Month. The Organ Project Gala will be an exclusive event held at the historic Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto and will feature a performance by seven-time Grammy winner, Carrie Underwood.  

The Organ Project is another opportunity for our school community to show its commitment to service and we hope our extended Ridley family will consider supporting this meaningful cause. 

View sponsorship and ticket details.

Get to Know Your Prefects – Helen W. ‘17

Introducing Helen Wang ’17 – a Prefect from China,  who discoveredScreen Shot 2016-09-21 at 10.51.24 AM her skills and strengths during her time at Ridley. Read how she stepped out of her comfort zone and began to flourish. 

Why did you choose Ridley?

I first discovered Ridley when I did research on school choices near Toronto. Ridley College popped up and it obviously attracted my attention with its goal of providing a balanced student life. The appearance of the school is a bonus. There were many other reasons I chose Ridley, and it is certain that I chose it because I liked it.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?

It is hard to say if you are prepared or not, when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. However, the choice was my own choice, so I wasn’t feeling unprepared in accepting new culture but I was feeling nervous, for sure.

Who is your favorite faculty member and why?

My favorite faculty member is Mr. Gordon. Mr. Gordon taught me German in Grade 9 and my International Baccalaureate course, and Spanish in Grade 10. His attitude towards learning and teaching is always very positive and encouraging, so much that he brings out my interest in studying foreign languages. Due to his unique style of teaching, I did not feel overwhelmed about learning another two languages, on top of learning English, but rather, I survived pretty well during the past three years.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?

I would say managing time. Although I am very confident in time management, my schedule is busy enough that there will always be a time when I forgot to do something (for example this Prefect Profile). Every one lives a full life at Ridley, and school life certainly trains us to manage our schedule and goals. The gain is generous, but we definitely need to first survive a busy school life.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?

Becoming Prefect is an accomplishment, but my improvement in English is the greatest one… I took the challenge and I knew I had to be more open to new ways of learning here in Canada, and now, I am the top three in IB English learning. I can see my development thus far and I cherished it.

What has been your favorite Ridley experience?

I would say travelling overseas for a Habitat for Humanity trip with my schoolmates… Friendships were also made very easily during these trips, and who wouldn’t be willing to help those families.

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What is your favorite part of Ridley life?

Although the school has planned most of your schedule, you still get chances to add your own interests. There are lots of extracurricular activities at Ridley that students can be a part of, and many courses allow you to form deeper connections, that not only help build a successful school life but also a more successful career when we enter society (ex. CAS project).

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

To be a part of school activity planning! I’ve always wanted to be a part of the school year decision making, and I am so excited that now I can take the responsibility of it.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future?

It taught me many skills in life; it especially changed my mind about grades being everything and the only goal is to have a higher grade. I know that athletics are equally as important and my self-recognition and intellectual development is also important.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to go to the U.S. for university – an Ivy League school is my goal. I am also planning a one-month long trip or even longer after my graduation to travel around the world; experiencing different cultures, and enjoying some final relaxation before getting into the competitive university life.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?

Don’t ever be afraid of new stuff, because you can never stop learning at Ridley. If you can’t change the environment, the environment will change you, and you definitely are and will be better than you think. Finally, “You don’t have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good”

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: 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!

Ridleians Use CPR Training to Save Lives

This summer, two former Ridleians found themselves at the forefront of life or death situations and thanks to their physical education at Ridley, they knew exactly what to do.

Ridley’s physical education programme aims to contribute to the healthy development of our students physical, mental and social well-being. A part of that means discovering how students can contribute to the well-being of peers and their community. Among their lessons, students are taught how to appropriately respond during an emergency situation, to better prepare them if someone is in need.

Upon entering Upper School, our students are taught basic life-saving skills during their physical education classes. By Grade 11, students are certified in Basic Level CPR, Standard/Emergency First Aid and are taught how to operate AED (defibrillator) units. The students have the chance to further enhance their training if they choose to pursue their National Life Saving (NLS) certification as a co-curricular activity.

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“From our point of view, these are life skills that everyone should learn. You never know when you are going to find yourself in a position to help someone in need.”                                 – Jay Tredway, Director of Athletics

Retired physical education teacher, Mr. Dave Whitty, said that during his career, the students were keen to learn the skills needed to appropriately respond in an emergency situation. He also recalls numerous occasions where students and staff members – himself included – were required to take action in order to save another’s life.

Recently, two former Ridleians were put into harrowing situations where their CPR training, confidence and quick reactions saved lives.

On July 20th, 2016, 19-year-old Jarrod Camroux-Peacock ‘15 and his father Erik Peacock came to the aid of a customer and family friend, who began choking while dining. Acting quickly, Erik and Jarrod both performed the Heimlich maneuver and tried to clear the obstruction, as the man began to lose consciousness and turn blue from oxygen deprivation. Jarrod and his father were able to dislodge the obstruction from his airway prior to the ambulance arriving on site.

Soon after the incident Jarrod made a phone call to his high school teacher and basketball coach at Ridley; expressing his gratitude to him for having taught him how to react in emergency situations and for providing proper emergency response training.

Another former Ridley student, Nick Prestia ’16, has used his CPR training twice since attending Ridley. The first incident occurred in 2015, when Nick was attending a hockey training camp in Boston. A two-year-old girl was left unattended at the hotel swimming pool and had fallen into the water. Nick saw the young girl and pulled her out of the water. When he realized she wasn’t breathing, he began to perform CPR that had been modified for an infant – another skill he had learned during his physical education at Ridley. Nick managed to revive the two-year-old and alert her parents.

The second incident occurred last month on July 26th, 2016, when Nick’s hockey instructor was concussed during drill training and began experiencing seizures. The instructor wasn’t breathing, so Nick began performing CPR until someone nearby – who was also trained in CPR – came to relieve Nick. By this time, the concussed instructor had begun to breathe again. Nick too reached out to Ridley to express his gratitude for his training.

“Always remember to trust in your abilities because you never know when your actions can affect someone’s life. I’m blessed to have been able to use my knowledge of CPR to help to people and I encourage others to go out of their way to learn CPR. You never know when you might need to use it, take my word for it.” – Nick Prestia ‘16

In all three incidents, these former Ridleians sprang into action without hesitation. Congratulations to Jarrod and Nick. Ridley is proud to have had the privilege to guide these students, and many others.