Recent Graduates Share Their Ridley Experience: Jacqueline O’Rourke ’14

Before our seniors graduated our summer student and Old Ridleian Nicholas ’12 interviewed a few of them about their Ridley experience. In this interview he spoke to Canadian student Jacqueline O’Rourke.


Jacqueline has been a Ridleian all of her life.  She attended the Lower and Upper School. Her father is a teacher in the Lower School and her parents are former housemasters. During her time at Ridley, Jacqueline was a Prefect, member of the choir, a debater, the minstrel in the musical ‘Once Upon a Mattress’, and a cross country runner.


1. Where is your favorite place to study on campus?
I like to study in the Matthews Library. I find it to be the most convenient place as it is quiet during spare periods, the printers are there, and if you need help there are always other students around. Plus it’s right in School House so there are always teachers close by as well.

2. What is your best memory of this past year?
My greatest memory of this past year was either Snake Dance or Cadet Ball. It was a really great feeling to be on the other side of the rope leading the cheers this year, although I must say I was terrified of carrying the fire at first! Cadet Ball was also a huge success this year, and planning it with my amazing team was fantastic.

3. What will you miss the most about Ridley?
I’ll definitely miss the community here at Ridley. I have been a part of the Ridley community as a student since Grade Five, but as my parents were housemasters, Ridley has been a part of my life since I was born. It will be sad to say goodbye to all of the amazing people I have met over the years.


4. Who are your favorite faculty members?
My favourite faculty members are Dr. Foster and Mr. Dunkley. I first had Dr. Foster in Grade 9, and then for IB French in both Grade 11 and 12. She made every class extremely enjoyable and really helped develop my passion for the French language. Dr. Foster also took the extra step to help me outside of the classroom as well…. thanks for all the reference letters!

Although I only had Mr. Dunkley for two years in IB History, he really helped me sharpen my skills in the course and become a more independent learner. Those are skills that I believe are vital to be successful in university. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of the class and the never ending seminars!

5. What have you learnt from Ridley? 
I have learnt a lot over my eight years as a student at Ridley, but I think the most important thing I learnt was to not be afraid to try new things. As cliché as that sounds, Ridley gives you amazing opportunities to do so many things such as exchanges, volunteer trips, and various sports and clubs. Ridley pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and through that I was able to develop a lot of my passions that will help me with life in the future.


6. Can you share a quote (yours or otherwise) about any aspect of Ridley/ life at Ridley (ex: academics, art, buildings, duty, history, passion, etc.)?
As Jennifer Rhines, an American long-distance runner, once said, “Life (and running) is not all about time but about our experiences along the way.” I think this quote applies to Ridley as it can, at times, be a pretty hectic place. I think it’s exremely important to take advantage of every opportunity available at Ridley, and from those experiences you will be able to create lifelong friendships and memories along the way.