As a school, our core purpose is learning. As a Catholic, Carmelite school, this learning takes place in a unique context. As a College community, we seek to form ‘gentle men’ of compassion, service and tolerance, grounded in this context.
Today I received an email from a couple who were camped by the Rubicon River, near where our Year 7 students were engaged in their Outdoor Learning Program. The email stated that the couple were “extremely impressed by our boy’s behaviour and their courteous conversations. It is a compliment to your values as educators and mentors to these students and we congratulate you on your culture and educational values which will undoubtedly produce fine upstanding young people for our future generations.”
Last week at the College Presentation Night – Celebrating 2019, I spoke of the evening being a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the achievements and success of our boys as developing gentle men.
The following is an extract of what I spoke to on the night:
“The butterfly is a wonderful symbol for change and growth.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely concede the changes it has gone through to achieve it. Similarly, in our own world, nothing is permanent. Some things go and they are replaced by new ones. Sometimes we have to consciously let go of the old – so that the new can be accommodated.
With biological and intellectual plasticity, humans are the most adaptive species on the planet. Despite this, we don’t always enjoy the process of change, often preferring routine, safety and comfort.
While it can generate discomfort, change is healthy, because it provides challenge and opportunity for growth.
So it is for you, the young men, and your families here tonight.
There is an old Japanese saying: ‘If you love your child, send them on a journey’.
This is because change comes about through the journey.
- As parents, we are the ultimate role models for our children.
- No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than a parent.
I am not sure how many boys here know of the exact time of their birth ……but your parents will know.
Their aspirations for you began before you were born and remain as strong as ever today.
As a mother or father, we make a decision:
- to have children
- about where they will live
- how they should be raised
- which school they should attend
- what influences they will have, especially at a young age.
There is no magic guide book to this process. As boys grow, at first, they model themselves on their parents. This is both sobering and flattering to us.
As a boy is given more choice he relies less and less on parents, he is given options, choices and has to make decisions. This brings us back to the process of change and growth – which is both challenging and exciting.
After all, ….. if there is no change ……. there can be no butterflies!
As a College community, it is important that we celebrate the milestones of this growth.
To the boys, it is important to recognise the journey that you are on, but it is equally important to celebrate your achievements along the way, remembering that it is not where you come from that counts, but where you want to get to that matters.
I would also like to recognise the efforts of our staff – who will always have the welfare of your sons at heart, even in challenging times.
Whitefriars staff view their role as a vocation, not merely a job, and they have been instrumental in ensuring that school has been a happy and productive place.
I salute them for their dedication, candour and commitment.
As teachers we have been fortunate to have spent some time with the young men here tonight, and we have seen them:
- Use their creative talents in drawing, acting and debating
- Play music like they never thought possible
- Excel on the sporting field
- Speak other languages
- Live in harmony with their classmates on camps and immersions
- Work to overcome challenges with their learning
- Befriend, support and respect one another.
Your parents and teachers remain committed to working together to enable you to explore and define who you are – and who you want to become;
- to enable you to learn to develop healthy, positive relationships
- to continue to step out of your comfort zone
- to pursue your potential and aspirations.
I hope you will all agree that these are outcomes worth celebrating.
So ‘gentle men’ of Whitefriars College, congratulations on your awards and prizes – and may they spur you on to continued change, growth and success in the future.”
As we approach Advent I wish all of our families every blessing for the Christmas season and hope that it is Holy, restful, reinvigorating and family-focused time.
Mr Greg Stewart, Principal
Almae In Fide Parentis