Tag Archives: Ridley College

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.

TransfORming Our Globe – Margaret Coons ‘08

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Margaret Coons ‘08, who has developed a unique alternative to dairy cheese using cashew milk and is now selling her products throughout Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.

Margaret began her Ridley career in 2006, as a Grade 11 student. Passionate about sports, she joined the harriers, rugby and swim team; enjoying the physical activity that was and is such a crucial part of a Ridley education. After graduating from Ridley in 2008, Margaret attended the University of Western Ontario and pursued a degree in English Language and Literature.

It was while she attended university that Margaret found a job that combined her love of cooking, vegetarianism, and acute business sense. She began work at a vegetarian restaurant in London, Ontario and quickly assumed the role of chef and restaurant manager.

“I had the opportunity to perform cooking demonstrations on the local television stations and at the annual ‘Veg Fest’… in London and over the years of working as a chef greatly enjoyed creating recipes and alternative versions of more conventionally available foods” – Margaret Coons ’08

The retirement of the restaurant owner and the imminent closing of the restaurant granted Margaret the opportunity to begin designs on owning and operating her own business. The result was Nuts For Cheese, a product-based food manufacturing company that makes artisan dairy free cheeses from cultured organic cashew milk. Margaret was making many of these cheeses for the restaurant and for her own enjoyment so, in May of 2015, she decided to open a farmers’ market booth in London to sell the five varieties of vegan cheese.

The demand for this cheesy alternative was high and Margaret soon found she was renting out kitchen space late at night to make cheese for the farmers’ market and the retail accounts she had accrued. From there, Margaret has grown her business to include its own manufacturing plant distributing to nearly 50 retail locations across the country. Margaret hopes to continue to grow Nuts For Cheese into a product that is available in specialty food shops across the country as well as show people just how delicious vegan cheeses can be.

Margaret says her time at Ridley taught her a lot about discipline and focus.

“The skills that running my own business requires are backed up by an ability to be dedicated to my work and passionate about what I put my time into.” – Margaret Coons ’08

Working with food and creating new recipes are Margaret’s favourite aspect of her career. Having been a vegetarian since age 12 and having always possessed a love of cooking, she feels this is the ideal career for her to channel those passions. Margaret also enjoys working as a business owner with her great team and connecting with the “supportive and inspiring” small business support network. Her love of great vegan alternatives continues to motivate her personally and professionally.

“Consumers of products like ours have for a long time been faced with the decision to purchase low quality alternatives, giving vegan food products a bad name, or to forgo consuming a certain type of food for a variety of ethical or health reasons. Making cheese products available to people who can’t or don’t eat dairy for whatever reason is very exciting for us.”                        – Margaret Coons ’08

Margaret’s advice to any young Ridleans about to explore their academic and/or professional careers is to throw yourself at whatever you’re doing without overthinking it too much. While she says her unique career in vegan cheese was “almost by accident”, the success she has enjoyed thus far was a result of passion and deliberate dedication to her project.


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.

Students Think Big at Annual Model U.N. Conference

During the February long weekend, a group of students, along with their supervisors, travelled to Washington, D.C. for the 54th annual North American Invitational Model United Nations, hosted by Georgetown University‘s International Relations Association. This annual trip is an opportunity for our Ridleians to gain experience, develop research and thinking skills, and engage in great discussions about current global issues.

With over 160 schools and 3,500 students from around the world present, this event is a superb opportunity for students to network with peers. The Ridley College Model United Nations team – made up of Ridley’s model U.N., politics and debating clubs – was comprised of students from seven countries; adding to the diversity of the prestigious experience.

  

In addition to the debates and discussions that took place at the Model U.N. Conference, the students had the opportunity to listen and engage with experts on topics within international relations. One of the highlights was Retired Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs, Thomas Countryman’s keynote address.

While in D.C., our students were able to explore Washington’s vast cultural and political offerings – from the African American Museum of Culture and History to the Lithuanian Embassy.

“Reflecting on my weekend in D.C., I will have a lifetime of memories with friends, teachers and new friends I’ll never forget. I have learned exactly the format of real UN Conferences and now create awareness for new issues and resolutions discussed around the world through different conferences. My collaboration skills improve year by year through these experiences, and will definitely continue to only get better in the future.” – Bart Scala ‘19

“The MUN to trip to D.C. was a wonderful experience. That was my first time visiting the USA and I really enjoyed it. I had the chance learn about US and also take part in MUN and improve myself.” – Alp Sagra ‘18

“I got to know more about United Nations and different people. I went to Washington for the first time.  This was a great experience. I learned a lot and MUN indeed expanded my horizon.” – Nicole Liu ’19

The Speaking Arts at Ridley continue to thrive, thanks to the support of parents, faculty and of course, the W. Darcy McKeough ’51 Fund. The importance placed on debating, public speaking and active global commitment engages students and student interest has grown, year after year. This year’s Model U.N. Conference trip was a chance for our Speaking Arts students to further instill a love for this co-curricular, while contributing to the wider community.

TransfORming Our Globe – Nate Houghton ‘07

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of Ridley and double Ivy League alumnus, Nate Houghton ‘07, who has dedicated his life to helping Congo youth live flourishing lives through his not-for-profit, the Congo Leadership Initiative.

Nate began his Ridley career in 2005 and although his Ridley career only spanned two years, there was no shortage of lessons taught, skills learned and qualities formed. Nate came to Ridley because of the hockey programme, but soon discovered that more opportunities awaited him within the gates. As a Prefect in his final year, Nate played in the Jazz Band and went to the 2007 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in South Africa with his fellow Ridleians.

Ridley left Nate feeling well prepared for university. He had refined his time-management skills, found an interest in social impact, was held to a higher standard by his peers and teachers and the Ridley schedule had set him up for success as he moved on to his post-secondary career.

“Ridley helped me to create good habits in order to get things done… I think that a lot of the tactical habit forming things came from the rigor of the schedule.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

Nate went on to study at Cornell, where he studied economics and policy. While there, he took a trip to Congo. He had always had an interest in post-colonial Africa, and he wanted to learn more about their culture and if he could make a positive impact on the community. His visit left a great impression on both him and the youth he encountered on his trip.

It was this trip that inspired Nate to begin the Congo Leadership Initiative (CLI). The CLI is an organization that trains Congo youth to become the leaders of tomorrow – not too unlike Ridley. Through workshops, training and grants, the CLI provides individuals with the tools needed to succeed.

“We develop the next generation of leaders to be catalysts for peace and prosperity in the Congo…If you can combine leadership values with entrepreneurial skills, you have the engine for development. It unlocks the potential that a country really has.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

CLI young leaders in a training session at our Kinshasa Lea CLI young leaders at the PEREX Leadership Institute site

For two years (2010 to 2012), Nate was dedicated to establishing a firm infrastructure for the CLI. With that, he felt confident that he could divide his time to explore his other passions. He worked in New York and studied at Harvard – where he is set to complete his MBA in September – and is currently working for the investment firm, NextGen Venture Partners. Despite his busy schedule, Nate still finds time to work and connect with CLI every day. He has recently been focusing his efforts on fundraising and operations. He hopes that the CLI will be able to extend their efforts and make a larger impact by partnering with other organizations who could then administer training to those in Congo.

Nate possesses the true spirit of a Ridleian and of our school motto – Terar Dum Prosim. He saw a community in need and has ever since dedicated his life to bettering their lives and showing them their potential. To other Ridleians who are unlocking their own potential, Nate has no shortage of advice.

“There is no reason that you can’t do these [kinds of] things. There is nothing that was different about me that made that possible. Anyone can start something…The best decisions I have made are the ones where I am thinking about what is best for other people. Whether it is within the organization or more broadly in the world. The worst decisions I have made are where I knowingly or unknowingly tried to make myself look a certain way… Just being yourself and doing things for other people is really the only thing that matters.” – Nate Houghton ‘07

For those interested in supporting the Congo Leadership Initiative, there are a number of ways to give.


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.

 

 

TransfORming Our Globe – Bethany Pile ‘12

TransfORmingGraphic

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumna, Bethany Pile ‘12, who has found her passion and is now establishing herself as an artist, first locally and then internationally.

Me in studio

Bethany began her Ridley career in 2010. She took full advantage of the many different opportunities the school had to offer. Bethany was a member of the swim team; traveling to the OFFSA championships twice. She was a school Prefect in her final year; displaying leadership and acting as a role model for the younger students. Embodying the school motto, Terar Dum Prosim, Bethany also traveled to Jamaica twice with the volunteer programme.

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During her first year at Ridley, Bethany was awarded the Barbados National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Prime Minister’s scholarship for demonstrating “the greatest potential for training and development in [her] discipline”. This, in turn, paid for the first two years of her schooling at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, where she graduated with a degree in Visual Studies and minors in Psychology and Art History. During her summers, Bethany’s commissioned works were garnering attention in her home country of Barbados. As a result, Bethany moved back home and along with operating her own art practice, she began developing and producing murals for RC Designs & Decorations.

Bethany is often motivated when she sees her paintings come to life. With as much time as some of her pieces take, the thrill of finishing a piece makes it all worthwhile. Of course, listening to what others think and feel when presented with her art also keep Bethany motivated to continue her amazing works.

Tracing Time
‘Tracing Time’ by Bethany Pile
Treacherously Sweet
‘Treacherously Sweet’ by Bethany Pile

I enjoy creating paintings that elicit powerful responses from people. I either paint in my studio with my music, thinking about inspirations for my next piece, or I am working with Rosalie, painting murals – which is a lot more of a social experience. Especially when we were painting a public mural for Barbados’ Independence! Lots of people came and said hello or commented on our work every day. Both aspects of my work complement each other well. – Bethany Pile ’12

Bethany cites Mr. Duane Nickerson as “one of the best art teachers” she has ever had and is someone who made a positive impact on her career path. According to Bethany, she produced some of her best work in Mr. Nickerson’s AP Art class.

“He saw what I was capable of and pushed me, and encouraged me to do better.” – Bethany Pile ’12

It was her experiences at Ridley that helped Bethany come to the realization that art should and would become her ultimate pursuit professionally.

To those beginning their next academic or professional journey, Bethany has a simple message: do what you love. In addition to capitalizing on something you are passionate about, she also suggests enrolling in a diverse set of classes as you begin university – “there is the opportunity to dabble in many subjects that can either streamline or completely change your career choice”. For Bethany, this solidified her decision to study art and become an artist. While her parents worried at times that she may soon embody the “starving artist”, it is clear Bethany has made significant steps towards her goal of becoming an internationally acclaimed artist.


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.

 

Ridley Robotics Wins Big at First Tournament

our teams 1509 Nov 16

November 26th marked the competitive start to our robotics season and a triumphant first place finish for our junior girls team. Ridley competed at Woburn Collegiate’s tournament, which is the largest in Ontario, outside of World Championships. In total, 74 teams competed; making for a challenging, yet rewarding kick-off to our VEX Robotics season.

Ridley had four teams competing at the opening tournament: Team 1509E (James Gross, Sai-Neel Saleh, Jim Yang, Joey Bao), Team 1509 (Ryan Craig, George Ge, Allen Zhou and Alex Luo), Team 1509Z (Arnaz Wadhawan, Adia Sisson, Ira Madil, Namnam Goodarzi) and Team 1509B (Hana Huang, Katherine Ge, Tofa Oloketuyi, Delia Liu and Carly Chen).

After a long bus ride, things did not start well for us. Our rookie all-girls team (1509B) was left parterless for their first match of their career. In addition, their very first match was against two opponents that were ranked top-20 teams in Ontario. Coincidentally, our senior team (1509E) had a mechanical problem, making it two losses in a row out of the gates. In time, our teams seemed to shake off their bus-lag and started to perform well. After all teams had played six matches each, Ridley placed 9th, 17th, 18th and 19th. 

That’s when the fun started.

All Ridley teams were selected to compete in the quarter finals and Team 1509B was selected by a top performer to join their alliance. Team 1509 made it to the semi-finals, guaranteeing them a spot at the all-Ontario championships (along with 1509B) in late February.

having fun at woburn  iPhone Image 5F9F27

In the finals, Team 1509B’s robot destroyed the tournament host team and last year’s Ontario champions, by a score of 60-1. It was one of the most lopsided wins all day; in an epic performance, where the girls’ dominant effort was their best match ever and secured them a first place finish.

several from the girls team

We look forward to seeing our students in action on December 10th, when we compete at Governor Simcoe in St. Catharines.

As always, special thanks to my co-coach Mr. McCambley for his tireless help and expertise.

–  Rodney Reimer, Coach

Board Chair Named One of Canada’s Most Powerful Women

GeorginaB&W

Georgina Black ’85, Ridley’s Chair of the Board of Governors and Old Ridleian, was recently and unequivocally named one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women of 2016. Launched in 2003 by Women’s Executive Network, this award has been showcasing the accomplishments of professional women in Canada and has celebrated 939 inspiring individuals to date.

In light of this most recent achievement, we wanted to celebrate the profound impact Georgina has had on both Ridley and the globe, since her time on campus began in 1982.

“We are very proud and grateful to have Georgina as an active and engaged member of the Ridley family. As the first female Chair of the Board, parent and alumna, she is continually offering her leadership, guidance and support. Georgina is a shining example of what it means to be a Ridleian and we congratulate her on this incredible achievement.” – Headmaster, Ed Kidd

As a student at Ridley, Georgina excelled in academics, athletics and co-curricular activities. She engaged in new experiences and broadened her horizons at every opportunity. By the time Georgina had entered her graduating year, she had built friendships, learned the importance of gratitude and discovered what it takes to be a leader.

Georgina went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and her Certified Management Consultant designation. She also graduated from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Currently, Georgina is a Partner and the National Industry Leader of Health and Life Sciences at KPMG. While her career has led her down a path of great success, she has not since forgotten about Ridley.

Nearly two decades after her own Prize Day ceremony, Georgina found herself once again immersed in orange and black, when she joined the Board of Governors in 2005. After nearly a decade serving on the Board of Governors, Georgina was named the 19th Board Chair in 2014; which was a historical year for Ridley, as our school celebrated 125 years and it saw its first female Board Chair in history. Now, halfway through her term in this notable role, it is clear that Georgina has already left her mark on Ridley in more ways than one.

Georgina Black ’85 was paramount in building of Ridley’s Strategic Plan, that focuses on enhancing the student experience, mobilizing Ridley’s mission and strengthening our community. Though the Strategic Plan was officially launched in 2014, Georgina’s efforts did not end there. She has since been an active member in our community, her own community and has taken action in communities abroad. A perfect example of her dedication to Ridley’s motto, Terar Dum Prosim, was her recent service trip to India in 2016, where she chaperoned a group of Ridleians and helped build a home for a family in need. After this experience, she expressed feeling not only gratitude, but also pride for having witnessed the leaders of the tomorrow, our students, making a difference in the world.

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“As an OR, parent and Chair of the Board, I was so proud of our students… Each one demonstrated grit, perseverance, kindness and a commitment to serving others with tons of Ridley spirit.” – Georgina Black ’85, March 2016

Outside of her duties as Chair of the Board, Georgina continually displays commitment to her alma mater, by frequently attending and hosting school events, judging student competitions, and acting as a Ridley ambassador at international receptions.

While her dedication remains steadfast, it is her drive, passion and success that will live on at Ridley, inspiring students for years to come. This recent recognition does not come as a surprise, but Georgina’s appointment as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women of 2016 solidifies her embodiment of our school’s mission and vision, as she is truly living a flourishing and meaningful life, while transforming the world in which we live.

“I think it is important for the future female students of Ridley to be able to look up and see a woman’s portrait among the rest of the school leaders. There’s a first for everything, and the women who are the first to do something are brave and necessary role models for young girls everywhere.”                          – Hannah Bradley ‘17

We congratulate Georgina on her inspiring achievement. It is our hope that the Ridleians of today and tomorrow will follow in her footsteps, and face their challenges with the same determination, confidence and grace.

“Society needs more of this: women recognizing women for the amazing work that they do. Having one of Canada’s most powerful women to look up to in my community, in a world where women are not always respected the way they should be, is truly an honour. Congratulations Ms. Black!”                                 – Amelia Ritchie ‘17