Transforming our Globe – Radley Mackenzie ’03

For this month’s installment of the TransfORming Our Globe series, we’re sharing the story of alumnus, Radley Mackenzie ’03, who recently moved to Toronto after spending seven years in China, studying the language and advising multinational companies and smaller enterprises on how to navigate the Chinese market.

Radley had a culturally enriching childhood – living in Europe, the United States and Asia, before attending Ridley.  After three different high schools in three years, Ridley became his home away from home, as he attended the school from Grade 11 to OAC (formerly Grade 13). His two younger brothers also joined the Ridley ranks, spending four years at Ridley while their parents were posted to Beijing and Shanghai. Some of Radley’s biggest Ridley accomplishments include becoming a proud hockey player and team captain of the championship-winning First soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as potentially being the only student who persevered through two unsuccessful Prefectship applications.

“I suppose I studied pretty hard and did make one appearance for Ridley Idol somewhere in the mix”, shared Radley. “My grandfather was a champ boxer at Ridley back in the 1930s and my family has always had close links to the St. Catharines community, so Ridley was the perfect fit for a proper Canadian education when my folks shipped off to Beijing in 2000.”

Following graduation, Radley pursued a uniquely rewarding career path; accepting internship opportunities in Beijing, Shanghai and Chicago. After receiving his degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, he decided to reignite the momentum he had built in China. He returned and began with two semesters of Mandarin at top Chinese universities in Hanghzou and Beijing, which he notes as an undeniable advantage for native English-speakers looking to compete in the Chinese job market.

Radley’s grit paid off and allowed him to realize his ultimate goal of working for the Beijing 2008 Olympics as a Chinese speaking host for VIP/Sponsor guests – attending the opening ceremonies, cheering on Team Canada in rowing in its quest for gold, witnessing Usain Bolt win three gold medals and receiving a high-five from the sprinter on the streets of San Li Tun Bar Street were some of his expressed highlights.

Following the Olympics, Radley went on to work for the Ernst & Young advisory team in Shanghai and spent five years working for Washington, DC-based public affairs consulting firm, APCO Worldwide. While in Shanghai he was also elected to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for two terms (2011-2015) and was the Ridley Shanghai Branch Vice-President.

As is the case for many savvy Ridleians, Radley was forced to pivot and adapt in the early years of his career, having left the corporate world in Shanghai planning to pursue an MBA to help him transition back into North America, but instead deciding to write a book about his experiences in China and start his own consulting company to help him build his footprint in the North America market.

Today, he continues to advise North American companies on how to succeed in China and is now concentrated on his recent start-up, SinoSports Development (瑞麒国际体育教育有限公司) – with teams based in Beijing and Toronto focused on youth sports development in China. SinoSports is quickly emerging as the leading camp, tournament, training and market entry support platform for athletic development institutions and foreign sports companies. Radley and SinosSports recently partnered with the Ridley hockey programme this past April, to provide the first-ever prep school hockey camp in China for 40 skaters in Beijing.

Every Ridley graduate will chart their own path, but some advice from Radley to fellow Ridleians who are about to explore professional careers include:

Don’t be complacent: “Follow your curiosity and always look for ways to improve. This may require further education and certification, volunteering with people different than you, or taking on a side-gig, but compounding curiosity will open you up to opportunities you may have never thought of.”

Don’t be a conformist: “Life can take us in so many directions and don’t be afraid to create your own opportunities in ways friends, family, or colleagues may have never thought of. I love my cottage and the Toronto Blue Jays, but it is a big world out there.”

Think big: “Make sure you have a future vision or goal in mind as you gain experience and develop your skills at all stages of your life – even if your goal at that moment is only to take time to figure out what you truly want to do with the next chapter of your life.”

Radley remains a proud Ridley alumnus (with his foursome winning the 2017 annual RCA Golf Tournament!) and is happy to share his experiences of living, working and studying in China with ORs both young and old.

 


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.

Get to Know Your Prefects: David A. ’18

Introducing David Akinyemi ’18 –a Prefect who came to Ridley for the International Baccaurleaute Diploma Programme and discovered that the school had much more to offer him. Read how he has been inspired and is eager to inspire others during his Prefectship.

Why did you choose Ridley? Initially, I was looking for a school where I could obtain an IB diploma and fortunately, Ridley College offered much more than I sought for. I saw a school which had a strong community that was willing to develop and hold steadfast unto its motto; Terar Dum Prosim.

I also strongly appreciated how culturally diverse the school was and I felt like this was the school for me, knowing that I would be able to settle in very well coming in as an international student. This is why I chose Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? The fact that I had never visited the campus before resumption meant that I did not know exactly how it would feel to live within the school, but other than that, I felt quite prepared coming to Ridley because I had done some research on my own about the education, general living standards at Ridley and what they had to offer, so I was mentally prepared to come into the school.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? It is rather difficult for me to pinpoint one member of the faculty who is my favourite because of how wonderful all of them have been to me, but nonetheless, one person who I can say I like particularly would be Mr. Doyle. I am not in any of his classes, but him being my Head of House has given me the opportunity to have a good number of interactions with him. I like Mr. Doyle because of his calm and composed nature and after spending one year with him in Arthur Bishop West, he has been able to make me feel like a genuine member of the family in the house. He also played a major role in helping me settle down quickly into the groove of things at Ridley College. He has been a great person to be friends with.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? I originally foresaw this challenge upon my arrival to Ridley and it certainly proved to be rather difficult for me. The Canadian weather is very different from Nigerian weather, as it tends to be warm all year round in Nigeria, so trying to adjust to a climate that had four different seasons was very challenging for me and there were a good number of occasions when I found the weather very cold.

In the process of acclimatization, I had to learn how to dress for different weather conditions and although the whole process seemed to be rather tasking, I am glad that I was exposed to a different environment. Now I have become more appreciative of the Canadian climate.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? I had been told before arriving at Ridley that the IB diploma would be very demanding. This obviously meant that I would have to work very hard to complete the programme and earn my diploma. The fact that I am still in the programme is an achievement for me because I have witnessed many people opt out of the programme due to the difficulties and challenges involved.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? There are two of my Ridley experiences that I would classify as my favourites. The first one would be Dean’s Dance, mainly because of the high anticipation of students towards the event. I looked forward to it since the beginning of the year and I can say that I had a pretty fun time during the dance.

The second experience would be the Prefect speeches. Sitting down to listen to my fellow students speak to us about different topics was very enlightening and inspiring for me. I could look at some issues from a unique and different perspective and some of those messages drove me to get involved in a number of things that I would ordinarily not have thought about getting involved in.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? I am a huge lover of sports and I love being able to watch Ridley students represent the school and compete against other schools. My favourite games to watch are the basketball games. They are usually very thrilling and exciting, plus they truly bring out the school spirit in us.

I also love mealtimes, especially dinner time, because this to me is when I have a great opportunity to interact with my friends and talk about many interesting things. I often look forward to this, as our conversations are very exciting.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I am excited about three things. Firstly, I am happy that I will be in a position where I can serve as a mentor/role model to my fellow students, as guiding others and helping others develop is one thing I am passionate about. Secondly, I am excited about my Prefect speech because I will have the opportunity to talk about a topic that means a lot to me and hopefully inspire others to do great things. Finally, I am excited about Snake Dance because it is a time for us as a school to show our school spirit. I feel like it is an event that really brings us together as a family, plus it is a lot of fun for everyone. Being a Prefect means that I will get to be part of the process that ensures that it is as wonderful and as memorable as possible.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has exposed me to a lot of different cultures that I have now become more aware of and this certainly would go a long way in helping how I relate with others from different cultures. Ridley has also given me a high-quality education that will help me achieve my goals and grant me success in my career. 

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan on going to either the University of Waterloo or McMaster University to study mechatronics engineering. My preferred city to live in when I start working would be either Toronto or Los Angeles. I would like to work as a mechatronics engineer that would play a huge role in advancing our current world, technologically. I would also like to start up a record label that would be able to hire different musical artists so that I can help them fulfill their dreams. I would like to do this because music is a huge passion of mine.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? As much as possible, I would strongly advise any new student to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way because you never know when next such an opportunity would come by. Furthermore, I would encourage prospective students to make a lot of good friendships, because they would cherish the memories they made with their friends, years after they graduate from Ridley.

I would also urge prospective students to be of great service to other students as well as the greater community. The effort you put into improving the lives of the people around you goes a long way in ensuring that the school community progresses to where it needs to be, and you will also benefit yourself in doing so.

Finally, I would advise any prospective student to pay close attention to the speeches during chapel, as they all contain valuable knowledge and information that could potentially transform your life.

Alumnae Make Waves to Transform the Globe

Gillian Burt ’08 and Sarah McCusker ’08 spent the last year travelling the world, filming their documentary, Tied to the Sea – a call for greater protection of the world’s oceans. With a Ridley education deeply rooted in community service and global outreach, it is no surprise that these alumnae reconnected over their shared passion for changing the world.

Sarah McCusker ’08 & Gillian Burt ’08

About Gillian

Gillian Burt ’08 grew up with environmentally and socially conscious parents, instilling in her a lifelong commitment to community service. So much so, that when she graduated from Upper School, she had completed over 300 volunteer hours. She spent her final year of high school at Ridley; actively participating in sports, such as swimming and activities that focused on bettering the environment and the world. Her Ridley experience influenced her long after her graduation – increasing her global-mindedness and inspiring her to follow her dream of entering the education sector.

Upon graduation, Gillian went on to study Sociology and Anthropology, with a focus on International Development at the University of British Columbia Kelowna. She even volunteered abroad in Haiti and Uganda. She began her career working for notable non-profit organizations such as Right to Play, Engineers Without Borders and The Centre for Social Innovation. Gillian also spent time in Korea teaching English.

About Sarah

Coming from a long lineage of Ridleians, Sarah McCusker ’08 was well-acquainted with the school before even attending it. She began her Ridley journey in 2004, spending her entire secondary school career on campus. While at Ridley, Sarah was a part of the Environmental Club with Gillian and was a devoted Tiger athlete – leading the First Girls field hockey team and playing on the soccer team for all four years.

Like Gillian, Sarah also attended the University of British Columbia, where she studied Art History, before completing a programme in Communications Design offered by Emily Carr University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Sarah currently works as a graphic designer in Vancouver, British Columbia.

During their time in university, these Ridleians remained good friends. When Gillian left the West Coast, they lost touch; not reconnecting until 2016 through social media. While catching up on lost time, Gillian shared her vision for a short documentary she was eager to create. Soon enough, Sarah became a member of the team and they were aboard a flight to Thailand, beginning their Tied to the Sea journey.

The Documentary

Tied to the Sea Teaser Trailer from Tied to the Sea on Vimeo.

Tied to the Sea is a short documentary that explores the negative impacts that humanity has on our oceans. Through personal narratives, science and shocking footage, Tied to the Sea aims to evoke a sense of urgency and illuminate what we, as citizens of change, can do to protect the world’s marine ecosystems and water sources.

The idea for this documentary transpired while Gillian was teaching and living in Korea. She was spending most her time in or on the water and began to take notice of the marine devastation that was lying just below the surface.

“I had always been aware of the vast amount of pollution in the ocean, but I don’t think it fully hit me until I was up close to it on a regular basis and began to see, firsthand, the devastating effects on the environment. My inner academic started researching the problem and watching every documentary on the topic. I found that there were gaps in information covered by other documentaries and I recognized a need to speak directly to young people, equipping them with the knowledge and resources necessary to take action,” explains Gillian.

Over the course of the last year, Gillian (Co-writer, Director and Producer) and Sarah (Visual Designer) – along with their team – travelled to nine countries, across four continents to speak to scientists, activists and individuals with a commitment to defending the future of our planet.

“From Coastal First Nations groups in B.C. to scuba diving instructors in Thailand to marine scientists in Australia, everyone has a story to share and ideas on how we can take action.” – Gillian Burt ’08

The state of the environment is at a tipping point and an urgency exists to act now. Through their travels, the Tied to the Sea team discovered just how detrimental plastics and pollutants are to the health of the ocean. Speaking with concerned citizens around the world, Gillian and Sarah devised a plan of action to reverse these negative effects. Equipped with the knowledge of both the problems and the solutions, they hope to educate and raise awareness before it’s too late.

 

Returning home, the alumnae are now focusing on sharing their message on a global scale. To complete their film, the Tied to the Sea team has started a crowdfunding campaign, seeking support from friends, family and those who believe in the cause. The finished product will be shared online, at festivals and in schools around the world.

Support Tied to the Sea.
Follow Tied to the Sea on Facebook and Instagram.

“We want the film to act as an educational tool to use in schools as well as a catalyst for change, inspiring young people to take direct action… we are the generation with the greatest capacity for bringing about positive changes in the world.” – Gillian Burt ’08

The dedication and determination to changing the world shown by Gillian and Sarah are true traits of a Ridleian. To their fellow Tigers, Gillian and Sarah left this advice:

“Be patient with yourself and stay open to opportunities you wouldn’t normally go for – as you’re starting your career, no job is “beneath” you and you never know where you’re going to find your passion.  Don’t be afraid of an unconventional path. And pay as much attention to the person you are becoming as the career path you want to take. A strong character will often take you farther than academic achievement or bullet points on a resume… Do what you love, take time to figure that out, explore all your options and always remember you have the power to make a difference.”

Get to Know Your Prefects: Dimitri N. ’18

Meet Dimitri Nitsopoulos ’18 – a Prefect who truly appreciates his time spent at Ridley and does all he can to make the best of it. Read how he is busy preparing for his future and gaining the skills he needs to succeed.

Why did you choose Ridley? Truth be told, I personally did not make the decision to come to Ridley. It was in fact my sister who chose Ridley and I just came along for the ride. However, I am thankful that I did because I cannot imagine myself anywhere else than Ridley for the conclusion of my high school year. Ridley College is a phenomenal school that has offered me opportunities for academic success and personal growth that I would never have found at my previous schools. I cannot wait to see what more Ridley has to offer in my final year of high school.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? I did feel somewhat prepared coming to Ridley, due to the fact that I knew that I had to make changes to adapt to Ridley’s workload. However, the greatest adjustment that I had to make was the amount of time needed to be spent at Ridley. At Ridley, there are some nights where I stay until 9:00 or 10:00 at night. This is because of sports, activities, dinner and tutorial. Even though this may seem like a long time, I absolutely love staying this late because it gives me the opportunity to hang out with friends and to ask teachers for special help at their tutorials. It may seem daunting constantly being at school but after a while, Ridley College becomes your home and you begin to love every second that you are there.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? I don’t personally have a favorite teacher at Ridley. I cannot simply pick one teacher as my favourite because each teacher at Ridley does a significant amount to creating the best high school experience as possible for the students of Ridley College. For instance, my math teacher, Mr. Burke is constantly staying later or coming earlier to school so we can ask him questions to help us further our understanding of IB Math. That is just one example of many of what teachers at Ridley do for their students.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The greatest challenge thus far at Ridley is perhaps the workload. Since we are dealing with eight classes all year long, at times it can be quite difficult because each class can give a great amount of homework, assignments and tests. This is where time management is vital to learn, because without it, you can get into serious trouble. Unfortunately, I am a victim of procrastination. There have been moments where I haven’t used my time wisely and have suffered; staying up until an awful hour, finishing an assignment due the next day. Ridley’s workload is a challenge daily but by working on the skill of time management, it becomes easier.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment at Ridley thus far is becoming a Prefect. I am so excited that I have the pleasure of accepting the responsibility of Prefectship. I cannot wait until the beginning of the school year, so the Prefects can lead the student body into a phenomenal year. 

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience has got to be Ridley camp at the beginning of the school year. This is where all the boys of Ridley go up north to a camp. It is so much fun because this is where you have the first real opportunity to meet new friends and to reconnect with old ones. Believe me, I am not at all a camper but even I have fun because you make unforgettable memories up there. From sailing, to zip lining, to competing against other houses for the Bermuda Cup: it is a fantastic start to the beginning of the school year.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is dinner in the Great Hall. I love this time of day because it is just after sports and right before study. It is the only part of the day where we can relax, eat and hang out with friends. I always find myself laughing and at ease with myself because I’m around all my good friends. It is yet another experience where I make unforgettable memories. I have already made a couple fantastic memories and I know that next year, there will be even more.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? Being Prefect, the part I am most excited for is the ability to lead the students in pep rallies, especially at Snake Dance. I believe that pep rallies are important because it not only showcases school spirit but additionally, allows Ridley College to become more of a community than just a school. That is what I want to show, especially at Snake Dance. This is where Prefects ignite the campfire, which represents the beginning of the school year. I cannot wait to hear the cheers while we run around the campfire celebrating our final year of high school.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has and is still preparing me for the future. For instance, time management. As mentioned before, with Ridley’s workload, it has taught me the value of time management and how to use it. I know that I will need this for the future because life is just one deadline after another and the only way to meet them is to ensure that you time manage. Another key skill that Ridley is continually teaching me is responsibility, which will be especially important next year. Along with maintaining good grades, I will additionally have to write university resumes, go to meetings, join new and existing clubs, etc. This is great preparation for the future because as an adult, you have a huge amount of responsibility and you need to be able to handle it.

What are your plans after graduation? My plans for after graduation is to go straight into university. I am most likely going to study in Canada for my undergrad, but I have not ruled out Europe and the States quite yet. Wherever I go, I would like it to be in a city because I love the atmosphere of big cities. Additionally, I would like to study economics or business since my long-term goal is to become a corporate lawyer.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? The advice that I would give prospective students is to try and to involve yourself in every aspect at Ridley. This includes joining clubs, sports, art, and activities. This is one thing I should’ve done from the start when I began at Ridley in Grade 10. By joining co-curricular activities, you learn so much about who you are and what you’re good at. Additionally, you make unforgettable memories and potentially meet the friends that will stay with you all your life.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Thomas D. ’18

Meet Thomas Dunbar ’18 – a Prefect who is carrying on his family’s legacy at Ridley. Read how this Ridleian made his Ridley experience his own and looks forward to the opportunities that await him as a Prefect.

Why did you choose Ridley? I am a 3rd generation Ridleian; my father and grandfather both attended the school, as well as some of my uncles and cousins, so I was eager to continue the family tradition.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley? Yes, I felt very prepared coming to Ridley. I had been to campus many times and had already met my advisor and Head of House, so I felt like a part of the community before I even arrived.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? My favourite faculty member is Mr. Martinez. We shared some great bonding time on last year’s service trip to El Salvador. He has a great sense of humour and never fails to make me laugh.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The biggest challenge I have experienced at Ridley is juggling the rigor of all my academic, athletic and co-curricular commitments.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? My greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley was winning an MPHL Championship with the First Boys’ hockey team during the 2015-2016 season, capping off a historic season as the most successful Ridley hockey team to date.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? My favourite Ridley experience is the annual trip to camp at the start of each school year. Camp provides a great opportunity to get to know the incoming students and your housemates, while developing a great sense of house pride.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of life at Ridley is the boarding environment. Being able to live in a dorm with other kids my age is a very unique and fun experience, that few kids outside of boarding schools get the opportunity to experience.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I am most excited to participate in the annual Snake Dance and go “inside the ropes” as a Prefect. Snake Dance is a big part of Ridley’s history and spirit, so I am looking forward to continuing the tradition.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley has taught me a lot about independence and has taught me how to become a self-sufficient individual. Through living away from home, my accountability has grown immensely and I feel much more confident heading into university.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduating, I will likely take a gap year before heading to university. I hope to continue pursuing my athletic goals at the collegiate level, either domestically or in the US.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? I would advise incoming students to take some time to learn about Ridley’s history and traditions. The better you can understand and immerse yourself in the Ridley culture, the more you will appreciate the school and everything it has to offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Eva S. ’18

Introducing Eva Sabine ’18 – a Prefect who was brought to Ridley by fate and never looked back. Read about this aspiring aerospace engineer’s achievements, challenges and goals. 

Why did you choose Ridley? Beginning my last summer as a student of my previous school, I had no idea that I would choose to pack up and leave Ottawa for Ridley. I had attended my old school since Junior Kindergarten and was soundly comfortable. However, after the culminating regatta of the school season, CSSRAs, I visited Ridley on a whim. Upon arrival, the energy of the student body was palpable. I was shown around on a tour, increasingly amazed at the school and its population. Most importantly, I noted the devotion of the teaching staff and the Guidance Department towards the success of their pupils. Finally, after countless hours of daydreaming with my friends during study hall about a boarding school, I was witnessing its impact firsthand. Driving off campus that afternoon, I knew I had to go to Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?
 Yes, I felt prepared as I moved to Ridley. However, after a day or two I realized that nothing could prepare me for what I was about to experience; the bonds you make with your housemates, the various extravagant Ridley traditions, the successes, the failures. That experience is one that is utterly unique to the Ridley environment and one that cannot be understood well enough to prepare for until one has already experienced it.

Who is your favourite faculty member and why?
 My favourite faculty member is Mr. Maki, as he is one of the major reasons I moved to Ridley. While touring the school, I was introduced to him in the Guidance Department. The obvious attention he paid to each student was incredible. Where my previous counsellor cut me off and told me to aim lower, he saw potential and identified the path to achieve my goals. Throughout my transition to Ridley, he made sure to check in and see how I was doing.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley?
 My greatest challenge was moving away from my peers and crewmates, some who I’ve known for up to 13 years. It was strange not seeing their faces passing in the halls, to not be able to debate with Linnea or row with Charlotte, but I quickly made new friends and long lasting memories.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley?
 My greatest accomplishment this past year was earning a silver medal in the women’s quad event at the CSSRA championship. It was so rewarding to see the hard work and dedication each of my crewmates and I invested over the course of the year pay off.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience?
 My favourite experience was camp at the beginning of the school year. During the few days we were there, I met the girls that would soon become my best friends, took risks and participated in activities that I had not expected.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life?
 My favourite part of Ridley life is the incredible bonds you make with your classmates, housemates and teammates and the lasting memories you share with each of them – from dancing around at 10:00 sign-in to chatting in the dining hall.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for?
 As a Prefect, I look forward to helping to improve the Ridley community with various initiatives, being a positive role model for the younger students, but above all, enhancing the school spirit. I look forward not only to hosting spirit events, such as Snake Dance, but also amplifying the everyday pulse of Ridley life.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley, in being both an IB and a boarding school provides the opportunity for students to practice the independence and responsibility required to thrive in university and beyond.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to attend Stanford University while studying a degree in aerospace engineering. I hope to row for them on the lightweight women’s crew outside of San Francisco.

What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley?
 I would advise prospective students to actively accept all the opportunities before them. The numerous clubs, teams and academic challenges available at Ridley can help you find and develop your passion and prepare you for your future. Allow yourself to forget limitations and enjoy all the opportunities Ridley has to offer.

Get to Know Your Prefects: Owen C. ’18

Introducing Owen Cole ’18 – a Prefect who came to Ridley for the hockey programme, but soon realized that the school had even more to offer him. Read how Ridley helped him practice his passion and develop new skills.

Why did you choose Ridley? Originally it was all about hockey, but I also realized the value of education here at Ridley and heard through a few past students how special the atmosphere is at Ridley.

Did you feel prepared coming to Ridley?  Not at all. I didn’t know where to stand, where to sit, when to do anything. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into…

Who is your favourite faculty member and why? Mr. Doyle is my Functions teacher and he loves to joke around with us. You can tell he loves coming to work every day. Mr. Doyle worked with me throughout the entire year to improve my mark in his class and kept a good relationship with me always. Even with it being my worst class, I looked forward to it every day.

What has been your greatest challenge thus far at Ridley? The greatest challenge at Ridley has been balancing school, hockey and a social life, especially as a day student. However, you learn to adapt and get into a routine and you get comfortable here.

What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far at Ridley? Being named a Prefect. I didn’t really know what I was getting into with Prefectship at first, other than knowing it is a leadership position in the school. Upon realizing how great of an honour it is and how important of a role it is in the school, it has made me realize how great of an accomplishment it is.

What has been your favourite Ridley experience? The road trips that the hockey team goes on and the time spent bonding. The countless hours on the bus and bonding in hotel rooms are amazing, as it creates a family feeling. You and all your teammates are living together and having the time of your life.

What is your favourite part of Ridley life? My favourite part of Ridley life is going to classes every day with my teammates and then spending hours after school with them as well. The countless number of hours spent with teammates creates a special bond and you can learn so much about one another.

What part of being a Prefect are you most excited for? I’m excited to get to know as many people as I can, especially welcoming new students to the school. I’m also excited to grow as a person to be a better leader in the school and in the community throughout the year.

How has Ridley prepared you for the future? Ridley teaches students exceptional time management skills and I believe after Ridley, I will be very prepared for the workload in university and for my entire life.

What are your plans after graduation? After Ridley, I plan to take a gap year to go play junior hockey, possibly in Brooks, Alberta and hopefully get a scholarship to play NCAA Division I or III hockey, while gaining an education in a kinesiology or business.

 What advice would you give prospective students about Ridley? This place is amazing and it is the best decision I ever made to come here. The first few weeks will more than likely be very tough, as it was for me, but hang in there and work hard because you will get rewarded and learn a lot. The atmosphere here is amazing because there are many different nationalities and you develop so many friendships that you will carry on after your schooling is over.

Also, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions. Be interested in your learning and you will benefit from it… Being in houses and being on teams creates a feeling of a family away from home, so be as involved as you can be.

Tigertales – A blog about life at Ridley