Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,
I am often asked what defines Whitefriars as an educational community. It is a difficult question to encapsulate with brevity. As I sat in the Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash University transfixed at our recent Celebration evening, the answer to that question was clearly presented.
The evening began, as we usually do at Whitefriars, in prayer, which grounds us in who we are. Prayer exemplifies our identity as a Carmelite school where contemplation is encouraged and practiced. This was closely followed by our Acknowledgement of Country which reminds us of the people who have lived in and cared for the lands and waterways passed from generation to generation. Both reflections were beautifully delivered by students. In fact, the entire evening was presented by students – typifying our approach here at Whitefriars, where students are encouraged to take the lead and provided with opportunities accept responsibility and ownership for many aspects of school life.
At Whitefriars we speak about excellence. The celebration evening is a night to celebrate, observe and acknowledge excellence in all its forms at Whitefriars. From the student who presented a piece of Slam Poetry, to the group of boys who sang with feeling and perfect harmony. From the many young men whose consistent and disciplined efforts had earned them academic excellence, endeavour and service awards, to the boys in the band who lifted the roof off the auditorium with their incredibly professional rock sound.
What struck me too throughout the evening, were the mature and thoughtful reflections provided by a number of the students about their year at Whitefriars. There were three Year 7 boys who spoke with excitement and awe about the year just gone and with equal eagerness about what was to come. Then there was a Year 12 student who spoke with gratitude and understanding about their six-year journey through the College with a sense of realisation of the gravity of what they had achieved, and the depth of generosity, commitment and love of the many people who had got them here.
This evening was quintessentially Whitefriars. It was entertaining, fun, inclusive, collaborative, energetic, reflective, creative and very entertaining. Most of all it was genuine and authentic, without pretence or fanfare, which is the way we Carmelites like it.
As the year draws to a close, I wish to thank all those who have contributed to the life of our great school in 2023. Our College Board who work tirelessly and with a great sense of commitment, wisdom and understanding of the needs of our College, led by our outstanding and dedicated Chair Margaret McKenna. Our Parents’ Association, led by Mark Trajcevski, who are equally dedicated and who spend their time reflecting on the development and presentation of valuable opportunities for our community to come together, for us to both enjoy but also to benefit the needs of the College.
Thanks to our parents who continue to work closely with us in partnership and who continue to entrust the education of their son to us, and to our amazing staff whose skill in providing our young men with the best possible learning environment fills me with confidence, comfort and admiration every day.
Finally, to the young men of Whitefriars, thank you for walking with us, for making us smile, for giving us the energy we need to do our job and who love their school.
I would like to wish you all a very safe, happy, holy and joyous Christmas and I look forward with great enthusiasm and anticipation to another exciting year at Whitefriars in 2024.
Mr Mark Murphy