Ridge Report Writing and Photography Contest

This year, you can submit a short story, poetry piece, and/or photography connecting to one of three possible themes. Your options are "Hush", "Bang", and "Click". Be as creative as you want!

Entries will be accepted starting Monday May 1st 2017

The deadline for entering is Friday May 20th 2017

First place winners in each category (short story, photography, and poetry) will have their entry published on the Ridge Report website and will be awarded a prize.

Click on each category to submit and know about the rules and requirements.

Short Story

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

IRHS BRidge Day Closes The Gap Between Grade Eight And High School

On Thursday April 21st, over three hundred grade eight students from all over Oakville came to Iroquois Ridge High School for BRidge Day, this year’s exciting student engagement conference for grade eight students. These students had the amazing chance to spend a whole school day at their future high school and experience a conference with workshops designed to prepare these future Trailblazers for success at IRHS next September.

The exciting day started with IRHS students in bright blue shirts greeting guests at the front doors, and directing them to a registration desk, where each student got a name tag, a schedule, a map of the school, and were assigned a colour. The students then made their way to the theatre where they broke into groups based on the colour they were given. Within these groups, they got the chance to interact with other grade eights from different schools, as well as Link Crew Leaders; senior students from IRHS who would be helping the future grade nines during their transition into high school next fall. Ron Duberstein, one of the many Link Crew leaders who participated in BRidge Day described the conference as, “a celebration of the introduction of new members to the Ridge.” When asked why it was so important to hold such a conference for new students Duberstein said that it was important to “welcome people who were in the same position as him” when he started high school.
As the theatre filled with students, Ms. White, Iroquois Ridge’s principal told me, “I’m very proud of the student leaders for all the work they’ve done to organize this day for the grade eight students.” The student leaders, easily identified by their bright blue attire, were responsible for the entire conference and included the members of Student Voice, Link Crew, and CommCo. Grade eight students got to see the student-run organizations in action all day long. Once all the students were ready, the day officially began with an introduction in the school theatre. The principals all  introduced themselves, and welcomed the future class of 2020 to the school. Leaders from Link Crew also took the stage to introduce themselves and explain how they would be a resource to students next fall. Ms. Patterson, the school’s student success coordinator and supervisor of Student Voice also spoke about the day and the wonderful opportunities students would receive.

Link Crew leaders then escorted students to different locations throughout the school to do some quick icebreakers. Students got to have a laugh by playing a game of Ninja or Human Knot before they moved on to the keynote presentation and their workshops. The games were meant to engage students from different schools to work as a team, and help them feel more comfortable so that they could make new friends throughout the day. After the games ended, the
grade eights headed to the gymnasium for the opening keynote presentation called “Give Where You Live” presented by Martin Paul and Tanicia Reedon from Free The Children. One of the main sentiments of the presentation included “We’re all in this together”, a quote that highlights the importance of a supportive community, and how one small action can change the world around us. Martin and Tanisha shared their inspiring stories of community and urged the grade eights to help others during their jump from elementary to high school. The message was clear, whether it’s fighting bullying in your school, changing local poverty, or combating world hunger the grade eights have the ability to change the world around them.

After a quick snack break, grade eights moved on to their first workshop session. This part of the day was titled “Believe!” Workshops included a session with Danielle’s Place to learn about positive body image, a session with IRHS Red Cross group on being yourself, a session with SAVIS Halton called “Be A Man” and a session with Ridge alumni Cheryl Joseph about authoring your own high school experience. After their first workshop, students had a well-deserved lunch break, but the activities did not cease. The cafeteria stage was down and the grade eights got a taste of music at the Ridge.
IRHS students played live music, opening with Wi-Fi Down, a new and hot student band of grade nine students who have had lots of success playing for school events while still only being in their first year of high school. After the music finished and lunch ended students moved on their second workshop session, which was titled “Beyond!” Workshops included an Extracurricular School Survival Guide, a session with the Canadian Cancer Society on Leadership, a workshop with the United Way called
“Lifeline”, a “More than 40” workshop, and a workshop run by the IRHS Athletic Council on healthy and active living.

In the final workshop session, called “Balance!”, every student attended a “High School 101” workshop where a panel of IRHS students shared their stories, experiences, and knowledge on all of the most important aspects of the transition to high school. They advised their younger peers through anecdotal prose about time management and stress relief, how to excel academically, where to get support if you need it, volunteering and extracurriculars and how to balance all of this with a social life. Students got the opportunity to listen to these stories from current high school students and then got the chance to ask them questions of their own.

Finally, students made their way back to the school’s gymnasium for the closing session. The Student Voice Co-Chairs, Emily Chu and Wendy Dong, delivered closing remarks, thanking everyone for participating in the day, and all those who contributed to its realization and success. The IRHS CommCo Team, who had been hard at work throughout the day documenting the conference’s events, to give the grade eights an amazing send-off in typical IRHS style in the form of an amazing video. Students saw themselves participating in workshops, playing games, and exploring the school. The video ended the day on a high note, as grade eights started to leave for their home-schools.

I caught up with a couple of the visitors after the closing session to see what they thought about the day they had just experienced. Teachers looked forward to their students feeling more comfortable and excited about high school. Students agreed that even though they were still nervous, they were a little less worried about high starting school in the fall. Others shared that they were excited to get involved in some of the extracurriculars at the school. While some were still just marveling at the size of the school, others, like Will Sauro, told me just how excited they were to come to the Ridge. “It seems like a really awesome school,” Sauro said, “I can’t wait! This is definitely going to be my pick.” The conference had an ambitious goal - to invite, entertain, and teach over three hundred grade eight students about Iroquois Ridge, and what they could expect of their high school experience. The Ridge delivered that goal with enthusiasm, preparedness, and heart. The day’s experiences were invaluable, but the job is not over yet, IRHS will continue to welcome new students next school year. As Ms. Ansett said, “Our Ridge family has got new members, we are excited to make them feel welcome!”

By: Alessia Collia 

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