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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

OSLC 2016 - The League of Extraordinary Leaders

IRHS attendance at the Ontario Student Leadership Conference (OSLC) is a well-established annual tradition at this point. Each year, select students from all grades are sent together as a team of delegates to represent The Ridge at the conference and bring back valuable leadership lessons that can be applied at our school.

The Ontario Student Leadership Conference has existed longer than our school has. It's a three-day event where delegates can listen to guest speakers from all across the country and meet with other students across the province to network and learn from their peers. This year was the 38th annual OSLC, but there is not one aspect of the conference that feels stale or outdated. Having gone to OSLC two times before (once in Grade 9 and once in Grade 11), I can attest to the fact that each year is a reinvention of the leadership message to help the conference stay fresh and relevant for each generation of young leaders. This year, OSLC's theme was "The League of Extraordinary Leaders", which ties into the current superhero craze and brings home the idea that as leaders, each and every one of us can be a hero in some way.

This year, our school sent 33 students, lead by the four planning committee members who are in charge of organizing the trip - Nyle Arora, Megan Smith, Hanna Jandrew, and Thomas Desmarais. This team of 33 is the largest delegation our school has ever sent to the conference (last year our school sent 26 students). Part of the reason was because this year, four students from our school who have gone to OSLC in the past were selected to go again as Spirit Leaders (students who are involved in running the conference). The four Spirit Leaders from our school were Hanna Jandrew, Natania Olusanya, Derrek "Chowder" Chow, and Shannon Copeland; all of whom played a prominent role in helping the conference run smoothly. Needless to say, the Ridge was well represented at the conference and able to maintain it's strong reputation among the 100+ schools there.

Of course, as the conference keeps reinventing itself with new themes every year, the delegation from our school strives to progress our school's presence at the conference. In previous years, our school's done this through the video and display competition by winning awards for "Best Representation of School", "Best Representation of Conference Theme", and even bringing home "Best Overall" in the display contest last year. This year, IRHS continued to hit new highs as we raised nearly $600 for OSLC to donate to the Canadian Red Cross, more than our school has ever fundraised before. 

As the largest and oldest leadership conference in Canada, OSLC gathers over 2000 students from across the province. With so many teenagers in one room during the general sessions, the energy at OSLC was through the roof as the aforementioned Spirit Leaders played songs and danced during morning energizers that pumped up the OSLC spirit. As always, Ian Tyson and Stu Sanders were the Masters of Ceremonies throughout the event and introduced all the keynote speakers and workshops. The speakers who came to the conference were the best of the best as they each shared their messages in an educational, yet highly engaging way that drove home their ideas about leadership. Some of the notable keynote speakers who spoke at this conference included Mark Scharenbroich, a comedian and author, Cara Filler, a former twin with a powerful story, and Mike Smith, a self-dubbed "professional teenager" who is also the CEO and founder of multiple non-profit organizations. Meanwhile, workshops ranged from "ThankULive" by Blake Fly to "Make Your Own Lunch" by Ryan Porter, showcasing how diverse the sessions were. However, each seminar contained valuable presentations, anecdotes, and messages that helped us grow as leaders.

Another unique aspect of OSLC is the opportunity to network with student leaders from all across the province. Sometimes, we learn best from our peers and the conference facilitated that by setting aside "Spirit Sessions" where we would bounce ideas off each other by sharing some of the stuff we do at our school and hearing some cool things other schools are doing that we could adopt. Between the workshops and these sessions, there was much to learn at the conference and our team is already brimming with ideas to bring back what we saw at OSLC and apply it to IRHS. The last night of the conference helped energize the delegates with a special Student Evening Program, which included a dance, inflatables, a movie night, and a Mario Kart competition.

Next year, OSLC will be celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary with the theme Red, White, Ignite. While I'm sad that I won't be attending next year, I'm unbelievably excited for what our team is going to be doing throughout the year to continue to grow as leaders and make IRHS a better place. Looking even further, I know IRHS will help bring the national spirit to OSLC next year and I look forward to hearing all about the journey a new group of students will be embarking on next November.

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