Tag Archives: toronto

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

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.

Ridleians represent at International Public Speaking Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Toronto Inspires Our Young Artists

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On Friday, October 23rd, the senior Visual Art students visited Art Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This event is Canada’s largest exhibition of contemporary visual art. For the past 16 years, this event has drawn art dealers from Canadian and International galleries to exhibit some of their best pieces. It offers a chance for galleries to make connections to collectors or cultural institutions; but for students, it offers a glimpse into the world of contemporary art.

“The primary point of the visit was to allow students the opportunity to see first-hand artworks by professional practicing artists working in an enormous array of styles and media.”

– Mr. Duane Nickerson, Department of Visual and Performing Arts

With wall-to-wall art and 62 gallery exhibits, every student was able to discover an artist or style that spoke to them.

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This year, our Ridleians dove into the experience. As they made their way through the exhibition, our captivated students asked questions about the art market and the work that surrounded them. The art dealers and agents were happy to share their knowledge and passion with the students.

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It was apparent that the exhibit had an obvious and positive impact on our receptive young Ridleians. These students will be able to take their experience and the inspiration they absorbed from Art Toronto and carry it with them as they explore visual arts in the coming terms here at Ridley College. With access to a wide array of brushes, paints, canvases and more, these students will be able to channel their new favourite artists and their creativity into every project they complete.

 

Ridleians Explore Mars

Yesterday, six lucky students from Ridley’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme had an out of this world experience, as they explored the astrophysics presented in recent blockbuster, ‘The Martian’.

The York University Department of Physics and Astronomy put together an event that these students would never forget.

The evening began with a special screening of ‘The Martian‘ at the Cineplex IMAX theatre in Vaughan. This film follows an astronaut, as he tries to survive on the red planet after being stranded on a mission. The students were able to discover how physics plays a role in the world (and galaxy) around us.

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After the screening, the students were treated to a dinner, with physicists, professors and fellow students. Dinner began with remarks made by a number of York professors, including Dr. Marshall L. McCall, and special guest, Dr. Allan Carswell, a Canadian physicist who worked on the NASA Mars Pheonix Lander Mission from 2007-2008.

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Professor Marshall McCall, Chair of the Department Photo courtesy of www.physics.yorku.ca
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Professor Allan Carswell, Pheonix Mars Lander Mission Scientist Photo courtesy of www.physics.yorku.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

York science students then presented an array of research that they are conducting and showcased the work being done at the on-campus observatory. Hearing students – not much older than our Ridleians – excited the students about all of the possibilities on the horizon.

By dessert time, students were keen to participate in a Q&A session to learn all they could about the factual science in the film.

This excursion gave the students a chance to experience advanced science from a new perspective, with experts in the field. Thank you to our colleagues at York University for this unique learning opportunity.

 

Ridleians Ignite Positive Change at WE Day 2015

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In 2014, when we launched our Strategic Plan, we declared that our vision was to, “inspire flourishing lives to transform our globe”. Today, at WE Day in Toronto, a group of Ridleians have made our school proud, as they live out this vision alongside thousands of young minds devoted to improving the world we live in.

WE Day, started by Free The Children, “…is the movement of our time, empowering a generation of young global citizens through an inspirational event and a year-long educational initiative”. As it enters its eighth year, WE Day has grown significantly – with more attendees, social coverage and famous speakers than ever before.

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This year, a group of Ridley students had the chance to hear from global leaders, activists and cultural icons, like Joseph Boyden, as they shared their powerful stories before the crowd at the Air Canada Centre. The incredible line-up, including Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Shawn Mendes, spoke about what motivates them to make a difference and encouraged youth to work together to do they same.

Our students returned to campus feeling empowered to be the best versions of themselves, to inspire their peers and to turn their dreams into a reality.

 

 

 

Grade 12 Students Experience North America’s Largest University Fair

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Photo courtesy of Ontario Universities’ Fair. https://twitter.com/OntarioUniFair

Yesterday, the Ridley Guidance Office accompanied our grade 12 students to Toronto, for the Ontario Universities Fair (OUF).  The OUF takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and is the largest University Fair in North America with all 21 Ontario universities represented. Each school had massive and elaborate displays, staffed by their own students, recruiters and school administrators.  It was a unique opportunity for our seniors to ask questions, learn first-hand from current post-secondary students, and to come away with important information about programmes of interest.

With four busloads of 125 students, we were certainly the largest contingent of the day!  As it happens, we left the fair at exactly the same time as the Toronto Blue Jays won their final home game of the season!  With 50,000 fans spilling out onto the streets, it took a logistical miracle to get us back to campus safely and soundly.

Photo courtesy of Ontario Universities’ Fair https://twitter.com/OntarioUniFair

Many thanks to Counsellors, Mr. Matt Bowie and Mr. Michael Maki, as well as Residential Don, Mr. Josh Farkas (AB East), for chaperoning the event.

One final note to parents; all 21 Ontario universities will also visit campus this fall, along with approximately 65 other universities from around the world.  Details and updates on their visits to Ridley are available to students and parents through the Naviance Family Connection portal.

– Mr. Stephen Clarke, Head of Upper School