Ridley Junior Scientists Win at Science Fair

Six Lower School students competed at the Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NRSEF) held on March 29th at Brock University. The Grade 7 and 8 students worked hard all year to get their projects ready for the competition and it showed, as the group won the Junior Division with the highest combined score.

Ella Belfry ‘22, Chloe Cook ‘22, Olivia Massis ‘22, Taylor Searle ‘22, Syni Solanki ‘21, and Isha Walia ’22 combined to win nine awards. Syni and her project “A Novel Approach to Causing Apoptosis in Ovarian Cancer Cells,” which tested the use of garlic and hot pepper extracts on reducing ovarian cancer cells, were chosen to represent Team Niagara at the Canada Wide Science Fair in Regina, SK. This is the second time Syni will represent Ridley and Team Niagara at the event.

Continuing Ridley’s tradition of fostering global mindedness and service to others, the science projects focused on finding alternative and accessible ways of bettering the lives of the less fortunate. This year’s projects included solutions to water transportation, filtration, and purification. “It’s something they were passionate about,” says Mr. Ben Smith, a MYP science teacher.

The 55th Niagara Regional Science and Engineering Fair is dedicated to encouraging students within the Niagara Region in science pursuits. Over 200 young scientists participated in the fair, with their projects reviewed by approximately 100 judges composed of local scientists, engineers, and businessmen.

Ridley Reflects on 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge

On April 9th, Ridley will look back 100 years to commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge. A battle which saw six graduates make the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of victory and the birth of a nation.

The battle, which began on April 9th, 1917, was a turning point in Canadian history, where all the Canadian divisions fought together for the first time. By the end of the battle on April 12th, some 3,598 Canadian soldiers were killed, including six Old Ridleians. The impressive victory over German forces is often cited as the beginning of Canada’s evolution from dominion territory to independent nation.

During the March break,  students had the chance to relive history, on the Vimy Ridge trip, that visits monuments and battle sites in France and Belgium. This trip was made even more special when Charlotte Westcott ’18 and William Clayton ’22 discovered the names of Old Ridleians who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Situated in northern France, the heavily-fortified, seven kilometre ridge held a commanding view over the Allied lines. The Canadians would be assaulting up a ridge that the French Army had failed to capture. In numerous attempts, they had suffered over 100,000 casualties trying to retake it from the German Army. It would be up to the Canadians to take the ridge.

The first of the Old Ridleians to fall was Lt. Fred “A.J.” Norsworthy (1901-04), who was killed by artillery in the week before the battle, when the two opposing armies traded artillery barrages, in preparation for the upcoming battle. A week the German forces would later call “The Week of Suffering.”

After the call to go “Over the Top” was made at 5:30 a.m. on April 9th, five more Ridleians fell; including Gunner Jack “J.L.” Hart who was killed by an artillery shell in no man’s land. He was with friend and fellow Old Ridleian, Gunner Jack “J.M.” Wainright, who was mortally wounded by the same shell. He would perish in the days after the battle.

Lt. J.F. Manley (1910-14) a Mason Gold Medal winner in 1914, and one of the school’s most accomplished cricket players, was killed battling up the ridge with his unit, the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. Lt.-Col. Dick “R.W.F.” Jones (1896-1901) and Capt. Alfie “A.S.” Trimmer (1893-1901) died on the ridge at the height of the battle. Trimmer had previously won the Military Cross and bar award for his actions at the Battle of Ypres a few months earlier. The Midsummer 1917 edition of the Acta Ridleiana— the former monthly magazine —noted that Trimmer “had come through so many dangers that we hoped he would be spared.”

“It was inspiring and also heartbreaking to find the graves. Seeing them for myself really drove home the sacrifice that they made during the war. It showed me the value of what they fought for and how much I have to be thankful for,” says Charlotte. “Seeing their names below the Canadian maple leaf really drives home that these Ridleians really were consumed in service.”

After the war ended on November 11th, 1918, the government of France granted the ridge and 250 acres of the battleground to Canada, to serve as a memorial park to commemorate the fallen Canadians. Hill 145, the highest point of the Ridge, is now the site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. After the war, Ridley commemorated the six Old Ridleians who fought and died at Vimy Ridge, along with 55 others who died in WWI, with the building of the Memorial Chapel. The Chapel was dedicated on June 23rd, 1923.

Today, the Ridley community continues to remember the students who made the ultimate sacrifice many years ago. Be it in the classroom, the Archives or the Memorial Chapel, the students continue to honour those who lost their lives.

Tigers Show Selflessness on Service-Learning Trips

During the 2017 March break, three groups of Ridley students embarked on life-changing trips to developing countries around the world. At Ridley, emphasis is placed on global mindedness and service (It’s in our motto: Terar Dum Prosim), so it is no surprise that so many Tigers were willing to dedicate their holidays to bettering the lives of the less fortunate in distant communities. One group travelled for 24-hours before arriving in Malawi, Grade 7-10 students ventured to Guatemala, and the final group made its way to El Salvador for two weeks of dedicated work with Habitat for Humanity.

Malawi Service Trip – Jacaranda School
Headmaster, Ed Kidd, Mrs. Hanna Kidd and Mr. Rob Burke were among the 21 Ridleians who made the long journey to Malawi, where they would spend the break working with the Jacaranda School for Orphans. Ridley’s connection to the Jacaranda School started in October 2016, when founder, Marie Da Silva visited our campus to educate students on her mission in Malawi.

During the inaugural trip to Malawi, our students helped renovate the orphanage. While there, they also bonded with the talented students of Jacaranda School; through music lessons and theatrical performances. One of the many highlights of the trip was presenting 50 feminine hygiene kits to the girls. Our Days for Girls group worked tirelessly to prepare the hand-sewn packages before the leaving at the beginning of March. It was a heartwarming moment for all present.

Ridleians in Malawi

Guatemala Service Trip – The Doppenbergs in Guatemala
Nearly 14,066 kilometers away, 17 students and their chaperones, Mr. Paul O’Rourke and Mrs. Kim O’Rourke, embarked upon the third-annual Guatemala service trip, to volunteer with The Doppenbergs in Guatemala (The DIG). This organization helps build local schools, provides water and nutrition solutions to traditional Mayan villages, and most recently, developed the Centre of Hope, the area’s only centre for special needs children.

Each year, our Middle Years Programme (MYP) students spend 10 days in Guatemala, working on the Centre of Hope in El Progreso. During the first trip in 2015, our Ridleians broke ground on the Moran Primary School, and this year, they were a part of the final touches. Beyond the work our students put in, they also fortified relationships with the Doppenbergs and community members through bonding activities, cultural experiences and discussions about sustainability and the community. Our students even participated in a water walk, which replicates the daily hike that local patrons must complete to obtain fresh water for the village.

Nearing the end of the journey, students received a special visit from alumna, Gaby Florido de Luna ’99, which created an even more personal experience for each student.

“The MYP Service Trip to Guatemala was once again a great success. In equal measure, the group worked hard, enjoyed new experiences, and further developed the relationship between Ridley College and DIG… In every respect, the 2017 group members were terrific ambassadors of the school and were positive examples of service in action.” – Paul O’Rourke, MYP Coordinator

Ridleians at the Moran Primary School in Guatemala

El Salvador Service Trip – Habitat for Humanity

Not too far away, a group of 14 Upper School students and chaperones participate in a Habitat for Humanity build in El Salvador. This long-standing relationship with the organization has provided students with the opportunity to make a difference in countries such as India, Cambodia and of course, El Salvador.

This year, the two-week trip allowed students to experience this Central American country, while making a difference for the people in the community. Aside from their hard-work and dedication, the students climbed the highest mountain in El Salvador, Volcan de Santa Ana, visited El Carmin Coffee Plantation, saw the Mayan Ruins of San Andres and explored the national cathedral of El Salvador. Upon their safe return to the Toronto airport, the students were exhausted but enlightened by this trip of a lifetime.

“The Tigers had an excellent and fulfilling trip to El Salvador. The Tigers worked hard under the rain, wind and heat to make a difference in the province of Sonsonate. This mission was putting our school motto from words into action.” – Gerardo Martinez, Department of Classical and International Languages

Ridleians in El Salvador

Equipped with new knowledge, memorable stories and an increased understanding of the world, our students arrived safety back home, ready to begin another term and proud of how they transformed our globe.

View photos from the service trips.

Experiential Learning Away from Home

Ridley students participated in three experiential learning trips over the March Break: a South African science adventure, Vimy 100, a history trip commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and our Ridley rowing crews hit the shores of Vancouver Island for pre-season training.

In South Africa, students had the opportunity to learn about and contribute to ongoing field research. They visited the Balule Game Reserve, where our young scientists participated in lectures and collected data on insects, herbivores, and birds—they even experienced a mock-charge by an elephant. The second week was spent at Sodwana Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with scuba diving—five students earned their PADI open water certification—reef ecology lectures, snorkeling, rock pool tours, dune walks, and a surprise visit from some local Zulu dancers. View photos.

North of the equator, Ridley students had a chance to relive history as they toured the many historic sites from both World Wars in France and Belgium. They visited the Vimy Memorial—which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the WWI battle, Passchendaele—where they experienced a recreation of a WWI battlefield, and Juno Beach—the site of Canada’s D-Day Landing in WWII. Other stops included Ypres, the Menin Gate, Dieppe, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Napoleon’s Tomb. The group visited the graves or memorials for nine Old Ridleians, who died fighting in the two World Wars.

“It was a moving, rewarding, and emotional trip” – Mrs. Linda Chang, Ridley Parent

Leaving behind the thawing Royal Henley course in Port Dalhousie, our competitive rowing crews spent part of their March  break practicing on Canada’s West Coast, at Shawnigan Lake School. The trip focused on team-building and technical development. Ridley crews rowed through snow during one training session, while (before another in Victoria) they enjoyed a visit from a group of seals. Ample time on the water and competition with rowers from the University of Victoria, Victoria City Rowing Club, and the Canadian National Team, have our crews ready for upcoming spring regattas.

Our Ridleians showed how dedicated they are, using their March break–a time for rest and relaxation–to better themselves, better their team and better the environment. There is no doubt that these students returned home with stories to tell and memories that they will carry with them.


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

The St. Catharines Standard: Cappies Reviews of Ridley’s ‘The Tempest’

THE CAPPIES: Ridley presents The Tempest

Students peer review Ridley Colllege’s stage production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Show leaves audience breathless

Shayla Kirk 
Greater Fort Erie Secondary School

Themes of power, oppression, romance, and sorcery combine to create an exceptional story full of ebullient comedy, wondrous musicality and the unpredictability of human experience.

What was believed to be William Shakespeare’s last play, Ridley College’s rendition of The Tempest explores the ideas of power and powerlessness. The original Celtic Maritime songs created eeriness and euphoria throughout the scenes. Staged at the turn of the century in Nova Scotia, the play recounts the story of the sorcerer and rightful Duke of Milan Prospero, played by Uju Nwadike, and her ravishing daughter Miranda, played by Monika Morcous, who have been marooned on the island.

Conjuring up a powerful and deadly storm which Ridley’s lighting, sound, and props depicted marvelously, Prospero lures her usurping sister Antonia, played by Cassandra Mitchell, complicit King Alonso of Naples, played by Wyatt Niblett-Wilson, and numerous other characters towards the island they inhabit. There, Prospero’s machinations along with the help of her loyal servant Ariel, played by Anastasia Guzenko, bring about the disclosure of Antonia’s lowly nature, the redemption of the king, and the joyous marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda.

The play creates moments of seriousness among impromptu dance numbers, unexpected songs, and fast-acting sleeping spells that leave the audience breathless. Although, the show’s brilliance heavily relied on Ridley’s mastery of the balance between comedy and drama, and the supernatural and mystical. Through each character’s experiences, you’re transported backwards in time to an age of subjection and discovery, recognizing how a thirst for power can consume your identity.

In terms of visual and technological effects, stage manager David Biggar and assistant stage manager Emma Jenkins excelled in their performances behind stage.

The original projection work used on the sail of the life-like ship was amazingly crafted, and constantly changing to set the scene for each new occurrence. The lighting and sound operated expertly, especially during the beginning storm scene. Through the use of fog, co-ordinating flashes of light, booms of thunder, and outstanding actions from the talented cast, a sense of foreboding was created.

The music proved to be a highlight of the show as the cast, on various occasions, sang collectively in perfect harmony. It was truly music to the ears. Right from the start as Stephano, played by Padraic Odesse, began his singing narration to the end when the entire cast sang farewell, this musical transformed the emotions of the audience.

This impressive work is proof of the extensive skills of the cast and crew. Through their ability to utilize the setting and musical elements, they created an exceptional rendition of The Tempest.

This musical truly deserves the name of magnificent masterpiece.

Maritime twist given to 400-year-old play

Stephanya Zimakas 
Saint Paul Catholic High School

Hunger for power and control, the good and evil in humanity, the blossoming of romance, and magic — all with a musical twist — what’s there not to love? Ridley College’s musical interpretation of the Shakespearean classic The Tempest is a spectacular production that will have you tapping your toes and wanting to sing along.

The Tempest, one of Shakespeare’s final masterpieces, recently celebrated its 400th anniversary.

The play was given new life on the stage of Ridley, with the addition of a Maritime musical sound track. Ridley’s rendition of The Tempest had musical pieces written by the talented Stan Rogers, and performed by the amazing school music ensemble All The Boatswain’s Crew, giving the audience a vision of the Maritimes at the turn of the century.

The Tempest is set on an isolated island, inhabited by the power-hungry Prospero (Uju Nwadike). Prospero takes siege of the island, with its magical inhabitants, and causes a tempest that strands new inhabitants on the island, creating new alliances and relationships, as well as a hunger for control.

Nwadike’s portrayal of Prospero was fantastic. Ridley’s director made a bold choice by casting a female lead as Prospero, but Nwadike brought a unique sense of power and regality to the stage, giving a portrayal of this character that was deep and real.

Aquila Wibisono gave an outstanding performance as Caliban, a native to the island and slave to Prospero. Wibisono brought to light Caliban’s deep emotions, his desire for freedom, and the anger at getting his homeland taken away. Aquilia also gave a stunning vocal performance in singing his song Creep.

However, what really made the musical shine was its talented supporting cast. Anastasia Guzenko, who played Ariel and also choreographed, was wonderful in her role and gave Ariel a sense of mystery and magic with her voice and spectacular use of movement. The romantic relationship between Miranda (Monika Morcous), daughter of Prospero, and Ferdinand (Nicholas Hayward) was dramatic and extremely comedic. Padraic Odesse, who played Stephano, gave an amazing vocal performance at the opening of the show with Barrett’s Privateers and lead the closing song Northwest Passage.

Furthermore, along with Trinculo (Raylon Chan) and Caliban, he gave a hysterical comedic and vocal performance that had the audience in stitches.

Choreography created by Anastasia Guzenko was mesmerizing and mysterious, and worked well with the ensemble work of the magical and whimsical spirits. The lighting and special effects complemented the show, and the technical crew did a great job of creating a realistic storm. Foregoing the use of microphones offered a challenge to the actors, but gave the show a more intimate feeling for the audience.

Overall, this production of The Tempest is a remarkable musical rendition of a classic that should be seen by all. Ridley has produced a piece of dramatic and musical art that will leave audiences wanting for more.

Tempest musical a risk well-rewarded

Michaela Bax-Leaney 
Eden High School

Two unlikely worlds collided masterfully during Ridley College’s musical adaptation of The Tempest.

This utterly unique take on the show merged the last of Shakespeare’s works with turn-of-the-century Canadian Maritime folk music. Mysticism and dry humour paired perfectly, and the cast and crew flawlessly married drama and comedy on the stage.

Prospero the sorcerer (Uju Nwadike) with the help of the spirit Ariel (Anastasia Guzenko), crashes her sister Antonia’s (Cassandra Mitchell) ship onto the island where Prospero lives.

Previously, Antonia had dethroned Prospero and abandoned her on the island with her daughter, Miranda (Monika Morcous). Prospero is hungry for revenge.

The shipwrecked party finds themselves split into groups, and the story follows their trials and tribulations as they roam the island, each in search of something different — power, romance, or simply another drink.

Guzenko’s breathtaking movement pieces, all of which were original, were invaluable to the narrative. For the untrained ear, Shakespeare can be difficult to understand. The way in which movement and body language was used helped enormously in bridging that gap. This was particularly evident in scenes with the ensemble of Spirits, where the fluid and well-synchronized motions conveyed emotions more intimately than dialogue ever could.

Caliban (Aquila Wibisono) and Antonia (Cassandra Mitchell) had incredible stage presences bolstered by their mastery of physical movement. The horrifying elegance of Mitchell’s tortured seizures, and the groveling postures of Wibisono made theirs two performances not likely to be forgotten.

The raw power in Nwadike’s performance was another unforgettable element of the show. Her rich purple robes glittered in the spotlight, and her voice commanded the attention of every audience member during her monologues.

With the integration of Canadian folk music came live instruments performed both on and off stage. However, there was also some original music written and performed on the violin by Petrina Mo. Mo’s pieces keened as the characters struggled, and heightened the emotion so that it was nearly palpable.

Emma Jenkins many masterpieces appeared in this production, from her makeup and projection design to the lighting and sound designed alongside David Biggar.

The projection was a particularly unique element on the main set piece, the jutting carnage of the shipwrecked vessel. The sail of the ship shifted between patterns and colours, which not only matched the tone of the play, but in some cases aided in the telling of the story.

Turning The Tempest into a musical may have been a risk, but it was a risk well rewarded. The music matched the tone of the show perfectly, and made comedic scenes infinitely funnier.

But beyond the punchlines, the show raised questions of power, influence, and morality — questions that, in an ever polarizing political climate, cannot go unanswered. It explored the concept of power, and how power dynamics shape our personal relationships as well as the world around us. How do we get power, why do we seek power, and what happens when our power is lost?

What are the Cappies?

Cappies Niagara is a critics and awards program for high school theatre and journalism that’s all about student reviews of student productions.

Schools in the region participating in Cappies train high school theatre and journalism students as critics, who then attend shows at other schools and write reviews.

Their reviews are submitted, anonymously, for review by a Cappies teacher. The top three reviews are published in the newspaper after each of the plays is performed. At the end of the season, the student critics and performers gather for a formal Cappies gala and awards ceremony.

Cappies programs run throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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.

Tigertales – A blog about life at Ridley