In what can only be described as an unprecedented year, the Year 12s of 2020 have almost closed the chapter on their Whitefriars story. In a year usually reserved for significant milestones, they have faced many disappointments and challenges both at school and beyond. In life, it is not the situations we face which define us; it is the way we choose to respond. I was inspired by the resilience and ‘get on with it’ spirit the Class of 2020 showed throughout the year. They chose not to let the factors beyond their control sour their year. Instead, they kept bouncing back, moving forward with courage and a gentle spirit which will be the legacy of the Class of 2020.
As I walked around the yard on the student’s final day of classes, I saw the incredible bonds of friendship which had been forged over their time at school and even though many of the significant Year 12 moments in time did not occur this year, this brotherhood will endure and can never be taken away.
Below is an exert from Alex Dunmill’s College Captain address to his cohort on their final day:
‘The years passed as we grew into our blazers, we demanded top lockers and found our place in the school. Sports, plays, classes, exams, and the standard day – they all helped mould us into the people we are today. Each of our stories will be different and I know I am not capable of giving a speech that resonates with each of your memories here. However, they all share the underlying theme of brotherhood, that despite our differences, we are all Whitefriars boys.
At the end of the day, we all support each other. I have seen that this year in the way that despite our separation, we are closer than ever. We have gone through this as a group, and we have come out with a special bond that only the Class of 2020 will understand. One thing that was always repeated to us each year was to never make light of the opportunities that are offered at this school. Our time here is limited. In less than two hours we are done. We take that last trip out those gates. In roughly a month, our VCE journey will be over. I hope that as our time here runs out, we can all say we made the most of our six years. That we took on every challenge, that we tried every new idea that sparked our interest, and that we placed our mark on the College. Although the sand in the clock has almost run out, that does not mean that our connection here ceases to exist. As I said last night, Whitefriars will always be a special place. Equally, Whitefriars will always be our place. What we have done here will last on in our memories, and in the mates that surround us all today.
Finally, to the boys. The Class of 2020. At times, like all brothers do, you’ve made me want to pull my hair out. But every little thing I may have got worked up over always pales in comparison to the love I have for all of you. That may sound weird to hear that – maybe not from me particularly – but I genuinely love all of you. I have loved the time I have spent with you all and I will always wish for the best in all that you do in the years to come.’
These stirring words from a young man who has led his community so well was a fitting way to say farewell. However, Whitefriars is a home – to those who are currently here and to those who have gone before. I wish all the students well with their exams and remember; once a ‘Friar, always a ‘Friar.
Mr Mick Lafferty
Deputy Principal – Students