From the Principal – Contemplation, Community and Service

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

As you may remember the three tenets of the Carmelite ethos are Contemplation, Community and Service. These are not just some fluffy words we place on our letterhead and in PowerPoint presentations, they are words steeped in over eight hundred years of tradition. The words were first initiated on a small mountain in Israel called Mt. Carmel by a group of hermits who devoted their lives to Jesus and the community they served. These were people understood what it truly meant to live in community. A community founded on unconditional love, trust, faith, justice, respect, empathy, compassion and mercy. Eight hundred years later, I have the joy every day of seeing these values lived out by students, parents and staff at Whitefriars whose words and actions enhance and grow the Carmelite culture of Contemplation, Community and Service.

In this term at Whitefriars, I have witnessed many examples of community in our school. I would like to share just a couple of examples with you:

Anzac Day service

On ANZAC Day, I attended the ANZAC Day service held at the Templestowe Cenotaph. Our Ensembles Leader Matt Balassone and Deputy Principal of Faith and Mission, Josh Vujcich, supported a group of Whitefriars boys who led the service. The Whitefriars Choir sang a beautiful hymn and Sourav Gray led the community in singing the Australian and New Zealand national anthems. Our College Captain and Vice Captains, Tom, Max and Jack, led the service along with the local President of the Templestowe RSL. Over one thousand people attended this service, many of whom commented on the reverence, respect, maturity and wonderful sense of community our boys displayed in leading this service.

Mother day Breakfast

Almost eight hundred people attended our amazing Mother day breakfast recently. It was wonderful to see our boys and their mums gathered round the table sharing breakfast and conversation with each other and with other mums and their sons. I would like to pay particular thanks to our Community Relations and Admissions team led by Linda Dingley, and including Mel Alexander, Dannii Mandjian and Kristy Sanbrook, who along with our Canteen provider Culinary Canteens provided great dedication and diligence, delivering our mums such a special experience. Thanks also to the Maintenance team who continue to do a wonderful job in transforming venues into wonderful places of gathering and welcome. Thanks also to all staff who attended the morning in support of our mums.

World’s Greatest Shave

Our senior leaders are an amazing group of young men who devote themselves to building community at Whitefriars, and at the same time developing initiative to support those in greatest in in our community. One such example was their work in with our annual World’s Greatest Shave event. Our boys did an impressive job in sacrificing their locks and raising over $13,000 for a very worthy cause.

Rosies Street Mission

Our Rosies Street Mission initiative, led by teacher Joshua Chia, is another example of the concept of community being lived out at Whitefriars. It is very encouraging to see the substantial number of our Year 12 students who are lining up to participate in this community outreach activity. I am grateful to them and to the staff who walk with them in this moment of community.

Association Catholic Colleges Arts and Technology Expo

Many in our community may think that the ACC is purely a sporting competition, but it is far more than that! Last week saw the opening of the ACC Arts and Technology Expo at “The Edge” at Federation Square. The exhibition featured works from Whitefriars students from Years 8 to 12, across all areas of the Arts and Technology at Whitefriars. Our students work demonstrated a high level of skill and aptitude, and I want to thank the staff who supported students to complete work of such a high quality. The Arts Captain of Whitefriars Phil Deane delivered an inspiring address to the 100s of people gathered at this opening about the benefits of the arts and his experience of the vibrant and supportive Arts community at Whitefriars. I am particularly grateful to Ros Leach and Michael Johnston who had a leading hand in supporting this event.

Year 12 Formal

Last Friday evening, I attended the Year 12 formal at Leonda by the Yarra. I was so impressed by the sense of community on display at this positive and fun evening led by Clare Allemand, Director – Senior Years and our wonderful student leaders.

Funeral for Jed Beaton

Each of the examples of community presented above bring moments of joy and excitement to our College. There are other moments when community comes together to wrap its arms around its members in moments of grief and despair.

One such moment, that recently defined and exemplified our identity and purpose as a community, followed the loss of our amazing friend, peer and great Whitefriars young man, Jed Beaton. During this time, I witnessed Whitefriars as a community at its absolute best. Staff who stood beyond expectation in their support of a family in their moment of grief and despair, and students who understood the significance of the moment, demonstrating empathy and compassion, all in loving memory of one of their own.

I am grateful beyond words for all those who generously lent their time, their support and their heart to this moment. I am grateful to all staff who attended the funeral and ensured that our boys were well cared for. I am grateful to our Maintenance team who ensured that the setting for Jed’s funeral was as dignified as it could be, and that guests were supported as they entered our gates. I am grateful to our Health Care Centre Nurses who ensured everyone was supported and well. I am grateful to our IT and AV staff who ensured that everyone could be heard, and the images of Jed’s life could be displayed for the community to remember. I am grateful to staff who supported guests via parking and way finding, to staff who acquired flowers for the event, and food for the immediate family, demonstrating wonderful Whitefriars hospitality. I am grateful to Fr Paul who sat quietly with Jed prior to the commencement of the service, enabling the family to have some quiet time alone, and to our Leadership Team who oversaw the million and one things that nobody sees. I am grateful also to our Risk and Compliance Manager Tatiana, who ensured that all went seamlessly in planning, as well as ensuring the safety of all present. I am grateful to the 200+ students who stayed on that Friday afternoon to honour their fellow student and mate.

Above all this, I am grateful to Elise, Jason and Olivia, who honoured us with the privilege of being able to farewell Jed at Whitefriars.


How blessed we are to live and learn in a place with such a rich and meaningful tradition which truly understands the meaning of the word community and who lives that ideal every day in support of each other.


Mr Mark Murphy