Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,
It is very exciting for me to be writing this week’s newsletter from my desk overlooking the natural beauty of our grounds here at Whitefriars. Even more heart-warming is the sound of boys playing on the nearby basketball courts on this sunny, Thursday lunchtime at the College. It almost feels like a normal day at school. Unfortunately, it is not. It’s not because five sixths of our young men are missing along with many our staff. It’s not normal because we can’t see the smiles on people’s faces under their masks. It’s not a normal day because we cannot gather as a school community, play competitive sport, sing in choir or many other COVID-19 unsafe practices.
It is very easy to be drawn to the negative of our situation and I must admit there are times in my day when I allow my mind to wonder into that darker space. It is in those moments I need to remind myself of all the blessings I have in my life. A family that loves me, friends and colleagues who encourage me, a vocation that sustains me and a faith that nourishes me and makes me whole.
On the day of the GAT last week, I was speaking with some of our senior students as they waited outside the examination rooms at Whitefriars. I don’t think I had ever seen a more excited and happier group of students waiting to sit a 3-hour test! It was not however, the thought of the GAT that excited them, as much as they understood it’s significance, it was the fact that for the first time in many weeks they were able to catch up with their mates and to have a chat and a laugh face-to-face rather than over Zoom or on Instagram… which is just not the same.
My conversation with these boys began positively enough. They spoke enthusiastically about how good it felt to walk down the hill at Whitefriars that morning, to see mates and even to put on their school uniform! However, after a while there was a subtle shift in our chat. One boy said that he was worried how long it would be before we had a positive case which would send our school into lockdown, another said that he didn’t like having to wear his mask, another again was worried that this might be our new reality for a long time. Then one boy said “yeh, but we can’t do anything about that, so we just need to get on with it.”
I love the simple unpretentious wisdom of our boys! In one sentence that young man was able to shake us out of our negativity and remind us that there are things we can control and things we can’t. I ask myself the question, how much time do I spend thinking and agonising over the things over which I have no control? The answer is simple…too much! I am not saying we should ignore these feelings or suppress them. In fact, bottling them up and trying to always put on a brave face often only leads to increased stress and anxiety. Facing up to the realities of life but at the same time maintaining a greater focus on the things I can control, or change is what gives me the energy to keep moving forward. It reminds me of that old classic prayer – the serenity prayer…
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things, I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference.
I look forward with great anticipation to the day our community can come back together again. Until then I pray to Our Lady of Mt Carmel that we all stay safe, stay well and stay positive.
Community Service in Action
Last week I received a call from one of our parents, Duncan Bucknell. Duncan is the Captain of the Kangaroo Ground CFA. Those us who live and work in bushland settings like Whitefriars understand the indispensable value of the CFA and the amazingly generous people who volunteer their time and skills, often putting themselves in harm’s way to protect and support our community. At Whitefriars we have always been grateful to the Warrandyte South CFA who we enjoy a strong relationship with and who are on the front line in keeping our school safe.
Duncan informed me that that there is a strong Whitefriars connection at Kangaroo Ground CFA with several staff and volunteers being former and current students, parents and family of the Whitefriars community.
Much of the work of the CFA is founded on the spirit of volunteerism and fundraising. To this end I draw your attention to the flyer printed below for your discernment.
On behalf of the College, I wish to thank and commend all those who volunteer their time and talent to the CFA and to all other forms of volunteering in our community. In doing so you are actively living out two of the tenets of the Carmelite Charism – Community and Service.
Thank you all.
Due to COVID – Run for the Firies is a VIRTUAL event for 2021
For event info, please visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/RunForTheFiries/
Simply register at: Runforthefiries.com
While the amazing work our CFA Volunteers do cannot be done ‘virtually’, this year your support of our fundraiser for our local Fire Brigades can be!
Now what is a ‘virtual race’ I hear you ask? Good question.
A virtual race is a race that can be run (or walked) from any location you choose. You can run, jog, walk on the road, on the trail, on the treadmill, at the gym, or on the track. You get to run your own race, at your own pace, and time it yourself.
Due to ongoing COVID restrictions, our physical event scheduled for the 24 of October is no longer able to go ahead, so Run for the Firies is offering the same distances we would normally have on race day for its virtual event i.e., 4km, 6km and 10.6km. If you want to run further than that, go for it!
The good news is you have the whole month of October to complete your virtual run. The best news is you also get a finisher medal, so don’t forget to send us a record of your run/walk so we can post it out to you.
For further information on how to record your distance & time, see the FAQ’s page.
Simply register your details here and you’re ready to go!
- Only $25
- Medals are posted
- Complete any time during October
- Complete any distance
- Registration link: Runforfiries_registration