Within these grounds lies a community like no other. A community that has the strength and power to guide each young man’s journey of self-actualisation, where with relentless support and faith, they may find an unwavering acceptance of who they are or who they may become. As the Whitefriars Captain for 2022, it’s my privilege and honour to be able to give back and support this same community that has helped make me the gentle man I am today. Alongside my Co-Captains, Jordan Goss and Luke Verhoeven, we will continue to adhere to our Carmelite values of community, contemplation and service to represent all those boys, staff and families that make up Whitefriars College.
Initially, the idea of coming to an all-boys school was sometimes a difficult concept. Coming from a household of primarily women, I was uncertain how my upbringing under the guidance of my mother and sisters would complement my journey at Whitefriars. However, it was clear that from my first day of Year 7 that in these grounds was one where each boy was supported by our College motto Almae in Fide Parentis (In the Care of a Loving Mother). This nurturing and supportive guidance has filled me with a personal identity and an authenticity and vulnerability to be myself. The friends, leaders and individuals within the community who are now apart of my everyday have granted me the opportunity to develop, weaving all aspects of my education, sociality’s and passions together holistically.
Despite our varying places within our journeys at Whitefriars, we’re all invited to share and undertake in all the opportunities afforded to us. In a nurturing and supportive environment, we all have the ability to achieve our absolute best. Whether it be in the classroom, on stage or the sporting field, it’s crucial that we take a leap of faith and strive for our highest endeavours, and take each opportunity that is presented to us. We are all granted an individual pathway to manhood, in whatever sense that may be, free from stereotypical expectations and pressures, creating and fostering a sense of multiple masculinities within Whitefriars. Through this, we encourage our individuality, whilst binding together on our similarities. Our education isn’t single-sided, but instead a multi-faceted connection between faith, learning, wellbeing and community, ensuring that together, we grow as gentle men.
It’s through this that we embrace our College theme of Community – a celebration of all the individuals that bind together to make Whitefriars. We are encouraged to belong to our community, as we come together to collaborate and foster our binding positive relationships. We’re taught to believe in a community that celebrates God’s presence in all aspects of our life. And together, we become a community that creates gentle men of compassion, who contribute to the creation of the development of a right and just future of innovation.
Facing our final chapter within the College, I, alongside my Year 12 cohort, feel an inexhaustible gratitude for the experiences and opportunities we’ve shared together. From bright eyed and hopeful Year 7s, with blazers way too large, to the young men that we are now, it’s imperative that everyone of us takes the time to pause, reflect and observe each of the many wonders of life. However, despite the end of our time as students, we are all comforted by our legacy as future Old Collegians – a lifelong connection to Whitefriars, shared with 57 generations before us.
As I walk down the main drive every morning to see the blissful grounds of the College and our leafy surrounds, I am constantly reminded of my blessings. The opportunity to journey alongside my closest friends and peers. The opportunity to be guided and supported by a community. The opportunity to support and lead the young men of tomorrow. I’m beyond excited to see the hope and prospects that 2022 will bring for all within the College, as we continue to belong, believe and become together.
Evan O’Connor, 2022 College Captain