3 Tips to Destress During Exam Season

By Madeline Deane

Whether you have 2 exams this year or 8, you are going to experience some stress. Here are some ways to de-stress before or after your exams.

  1. Read a book before you sleep.


Reading a book, especially before you go to sleep, can be very relaxing. The harsh light of electronics can be harmful to your sleep patterns, and can lead to guilt from being on the internet too long. Reading is educational and good for your mind, even if you are are reading a YA romance novel.

2. Take scheduled study breaks.


Make a schedule for your study breaks. If you take sporadic and spontaneous breaks, you can lose focus on your studying, and feel guilty for breaking. With schedules breaks, you can refresh your mind for a short period of time, and not feel bad about it.

3. Go outside.


If you want to revive yourself after a long day of studying, go outside! I’m not saying you have to go for a run or play any sports, but even just a walk with your dog, or to get a coffee, is enough to wake you up with the fresh air and sunny sky.

Good luck on exams, Riverdale. May the odds be ever in your favour.


Want tips to help you study? Check out Madeline Deane’s Exam Study Tips

Exam Study Tips

By Madeline Deane

With culminating activities wrapping up and exams on the horizon, most of us feel scattered and stressed this time of year. Here are a few ways to study, organize your thoughts, and prepare for this difficult time ahead.

  1. Write down all your thoughts.


There are lots of bits of information we have to cram into our heads to study for our exams, so it can be difficult to hold onto the ideas that are thought of on the spur of the moment. To effectively remember these ideas or plans, it’s helpful to jot them down in a notebook or on a piece of paper. You can then look back on your ideas, and laugh at the strange ones you wrote down at 2am.

2. Find out your learning style, and study to accommodate it.


You have all probably done tests in past grades where you determine your learning style (i.e. kinesthetic, visual, etc.). These learning styles can help you while you are studying. For example, if you are a visual learner, you can color-code your notes. If you are a musical learner, make up a song to help you remember the 5 themes of geography, or the first 20 elements in the periodic table. If your studying methods are adjusted to fit you personally, your studying will be more effective.


via Pinterest

Acronyms never fail. If you need to remember a series of words or ideas, make an acronym to remember them all. It helps if the acronym is something really crazy. It will stick in your mind, and the absolute insanity of the words that you chose will cause you to remember the list or phrase.

4. Write what you remember.

Once you are forced to put away your study notes and begin your exam, the ideas you have been frantically studying are still fresh in your mind. If there is anything you are sure you will forget, write it on your exam paper while it is still fresh in your mind. Once you get to a question with a trouble spot, you can simply refer to your memory notes.


Want tips to help you destress? Check out Madeline Deane’s 3 Tips to Destress During Exam Season

Congratulations, Sharon Yu and Edana Golbourne!


In late April, The Spectator submitted 15 entries to the Toronto Star’s High School Newspaper Awards held annually. High schools across the province are welcome to enter this contest in the hopes of being recognized in at least one of the twenty-one categories available. Hundreds of submissions are received each year. And we snagged two awards this year!

In 1st place for Sports Writing – Column, Edana Golbourne  beat out the competition with her article, The Pan Am Experience. In 1st place for Sports Writing – Reporting, Sharon Yu took home the gold with her article, Young Talents Bring Home Gold. Congratulations are in order for our two writers and very well-deserved! Well done, Edana Golbourne and Sharon Yu!

Earth Week 2016: RCI Rooting for Green

By Lilian Barraclough

During the week of April 18th-22nd the students of Riverdale Collegiate had the opportunity to participate in a variety of different events and fundraisers run by their very own Riverdale Environmental Action League (REAL).

They began the week with an environmental themed playlist for the get-to-class music including “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” by Muse, “Colours of the Wind” from the movie Pocahontas, “Pollution”, and many others as well as environmental thoughts of the day to set the tone for the week.

Photo courtesy of Riverdale’s Environmental Action League

The first two days of Earth Week involved a battery bake sale where people could recycle old batteries for baked goods. The batteries collected would be donated to Zinc Saves Lives to be recycled and extracted for children with zinc deficiency in developing countries. REAL then commenced sales of homemade, natural lip balms made with essential oils, smelling of mango! Pencils made from recycled paper, and seed-o-grams that grew indigenous flowers and plants were other gifts also available for purchase.

Photo courtesy of Riverdale’s Environmental Action League

Earth 2016 proved be an extremely productive week for a variety of projects within the school. The first set of three bins including the green bin was installed in the atrium with more sets to come! And if you still aren’t sure what goes in which bin, REAL can help! (Check out their video here). Not only can RCI now divert more waste from going to landfill, riverdalians are also more informed as to what actually belongs in organic waste, recycling and garbage. The other main project that saw extraordinary progress throughout the week was the installment and design of a living wall for the atrium. REAL leaders met with Mr. Harvey to finalize the design and start ordering the materials to begin the build within the next couple weeks!

In addition, REAL also hosted the annual Earth Week activities which included Anything But a Car day (ABC) on Thursday, April 21st, to encourage students and staff to choose sustainable forms of transportation over those that burn fossil fuels. They also organized sign-up classes to do a community clean up around RCI and make it a greener, cleaner, and more livable area.

This Earth Week was a great success: a lot of money was raised to be donated to Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF), students and staff had the opportunity to purchase more eco-friendly and healthy products, the community got cleaned up, and RCI got green bins! We, the youth, are the future, so it’s high time we started making a change for a more sustainable society – it starts with us, here in high school. As Harry Potter said to Dumbledore’s Army, “Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us?”

Shocking but Much-Needed Partnership Between SeaWorld and the Humane Society!

By Hana Koutsavlakis

01TilikumPhoto Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP (via National Geographic)

SeaWorld, the theme park situated in Orlando, Florida, is a famous marine mammal theme park known for their killer whale, sea lion, and dolphin shows. SeaWorld’s collection of marine mammals, and more specifically their orcas, have been a controversial topic over the past few years.

Over the span of 30 years, Tilikum, the largest orca in captivity (weighing in at 12500 pounds and measuring 22 feet long) has attacked and killed three trainers. Tilikum is a symbol of SeaWorld’s mistreatment towards whales and other marine mammals held at the park.

Tilikum was captured when he was only two years old, split from his family and ocean home near Iceland in 1983. After being placed in a marine zoo in Iceland he was transferred to SeaLand in B.C., Canada. In 1991, Keltie Byrne, a trainer at SeaLand, fell into the pool where all three of the orcas were being trained. Tilikum pulled her to the bottom of the pool, tossed her around, and ended up drowning her. SeaLand closed after Byrne’s death and Tilikum was sold to SeaWorld.

Over his 21 years at SeaWorld, Tilikum has shown aggression towards humans which has resulted in the death of two other trainers. Both Daniel P. Dukes and Dawn Brancheau died after being tossed around in the pool by Tilikum, much like Keltie Bryne’s death. After Brancheau’s death in 2010, Tilikum was kept in a very small enclosure, isolated from humans and other orcas. After a year of isolation, Tilikum continued to be trained and he kept performing despite the risk to the trainers at SeaWorld and his own health.

In 2013, a documentary film, Blackfish, was produced after Brancheau’s death at SeaWorld. The documentary led to a decline in SeaWorld’s attendance, profits, and overall worth.

Finally, now in 2016, SeaWorld has announced their partnership with the Humane Society of the United States. Over the next five years, SeaWorld will be donating $50 million to fight illegal fishing of whales and seals and end shark-finning. The partnership will focus on putting an end to whale breeding at all of the SeaWorld parks, making this the last generation of performer whales at the parks. At this point, releasing the remaining orcas into the wild will most likely kill them. A few have been captured from the wild but most have been bred in captivity and are unfit to survive in some of the harsh conditions that come along with the wild.

For this reason, the orcas will be kept in captivity until they all pass away. Until then, they will no longer be used in their usual shows. Apparently, the orcas will now be displayed in more “natural” settings for the public to see. But what about the other mammals that will continue to be held in captivity once the orcas are gone? Does it make it right if captive animals are placed in more “natural” settings or should having them on display in any circumstances be put to an end?

Unfortunately, there wasn’t an announcement about ending their dolphin breeding programs. According to Shawn Noren, a physiologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, before Blackfish came out, kids “were giddy to meet our dolphins. Now, they want to know why we have these animals in tanks.” Noren has studied the physiology of whales and dolphins at marine parks for 20 years. She believes that keeping some of these animals in captivity is crucial towards further understanding their development.

To most animal behaviouralists, the step towards having a whale-free SeaWorld is great news for the orcas who need much more space in comparison to the other mammals in captivity. Dolphins are much more manageable in captivity and scientists haven’t learned too much from them yet. It seems that since dolphins are so adaptable and are very valuable to researchers in different fields, they will continue to be bred at the parks.

Although a huge step has been made towards creating a free world for future generations of whales, I can’t help but feel skeptical about what is to come for other mammals in the future. Is research enough of a reason to keep animals in captivity? And how valid is the research scientists are collecting if most of their subjects are depressed and deprived of their wild, free life?

It’s fantastic that future whales, like the innocent Tilikum who has suffered in SeaWorld’s care, will be given freedom. But it is no coincidence that SeaWorld’s partnership is happening at the same time as their plummeting success and popularity.