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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.


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.


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!

Snake Dance 2011

As soon as school’s over on Friday afternoon, orange and black start creeping in around the campus, first in the form of hats, scarves, shirts, shorts, socks, shoes, and all manner of normal clothing, and then slowly but surely on to eyes, ears, noses and toes…

And then the madness in the houses starts after the basketball game. Someone breaks out paint, and then another person, and another, first walking then running up and down the stairs from one floor to the next, passing each other looking perfectly normal on the way in, but like wild men on the way out! The frenzy builds up, paint is passed around, the floor starts to accumulate overspill in the form of a gooey mass like an oil tanker gone wrong…

Video by Anna Breun, Grade 11






Some prefer a conservative approach, choosing to swipe some Ridley stripes down the side of their cheeks and muss up their hair a little bit. Others want a more aggressive look, and so sported orange and black daubs over various parts of the body.  The artists within us do handprints, and sacrifice our school neckwear and bowler hats for the cause. And then there’s the approach favored by the large majority, which is the brutally effective but also brutally blunt splattering, smattering, and smearing black and orange paint all over!

The snake is off! Everyone running and trying very hard to scream and shout at the same time, houses joining one by one as the shrill screeches of girls merge with the deep bellows of the boys, and around the fields we go, slipping and sliding through the grass and muddy puddles fresh from the rain, some braving powerslides or even a few strokes in a particularly deep one. Encircling the fire pit, the noise is tremendous, one can’t hear anything but the screams of those on either side. “LIGHT THE FIRE! LIGHT THE FIRE!”










Eventually, after what seems like an eternity, the torches arrive, and the prefects lead a screaming and shouting and general mayhem session of what is certainly longer than one’s average Sunday morning sleep-in with the help of a hosepipe, and the sheer intensity of the moment, which out-powers even that of the extremely scintillating jazz band rehearsals.

Then, fireworks, everyone still screaming and shouting but completely mute at the same time, on account of their voice having excused themselves until tomorrow morning…









And then, slowly and reluctantly, everyone trudges back to their respective houses, ready to begin the long and arduous task of cleaning up themselves, cleaning up the washrooms, cleaning up the trash, and then stuffing down pizza. Water black as the night sloshing about in the basements, laughing at where we’ve failed to scrub paint off ourselves, laughing at which surfaces people actually managed to get paint onto…

So ends another day at Ridley College. That, my friends, is the SNAKE DANCE!

As told by Sam Wolski, Grade 11 student


Snake Dance: ARE YOU READY!!??

Singing, dancing, a HUGE bon fire and orange and black as far as the eye can see – it can only mean one thing – it’s Snake Dance! If this is your first year at Ridley you are probably wondering what this event is all about. Snake Dance is a Ridley tradition that has been around since the 1940s! Students dress in school colours and sing school songs around a huge bon fire on campus! It’s a lot of fun and a great way to show school spirit, but you still might have some questions….so I enlisted the help of a few students to come up with some tips for Snake Dance:

  1. Paint alone is not enough, even if it seems like it covers everything… a shirt and some pants are a necessity.
  2. Get into the spirit of things – wear as much orange and black as possible and be creative with your outfit!!
  3. Stock up on tea and honey for the day after…or say goodbye to your voice right now.
  4. Make sure to shower right after snake dance ends. Or you will be the one person on Monday morning with a tiger paint paw on your cheek.
  5. Don’t wear shoes or your school tie to snake dance. You might not recognize them after.
  6. Even though it’s called snake dance, there are no snakes involved. Only some Ridley tigers….
  7. Stay behind the rope – unless you want this night of fun to be your last for awhile.
  8. Bring a waterproof camera and take lots of pictures.
  9. Have fun – Snake Dance is a memorable event at Ridley and participating makes you a true Ridleian.
  10. If you come back sweaty, wet and paint even in your mouth, then you did everything right.
*Tips provided by Anna B., Grade 11 student
Snake Dance - clothing 'DON'T!' As demonstrated by the Prefects
Snake Dance Clothing 'DO' as demonstrated by the Prefects