From the Principal – Defining success

Dear members of the Whitefriars family,

One of the hardest words to define is success, let alone measure it – and in education it is particularly difficult. Is it about letter grades or percentages, or it is ATAR scores or NAPLAN results? I think we would all agree, as important as these measures are, they are fleeting snapshots rather than the complete picture of success.

I was reminded this week about the concept of success at our High Achievers evening for the Class of 2022, and some students from the Class of 2023. Even though these young men achieved outstanding academic results, they would be the first to tell you that the number on the piece of paper was not their measure of success. Their measure lay in the knowledge that they had given their best, that they had left nothing on the park, to coin an oft-used sporting analogy. To these students, the measure of success lay less in the grades they achieved and more in the story of how they got there.

On the night, we heard from two of these amazing young men who spoke with passion and pride about their journey, the discipline and determination it took to reach their goals, the process and strategies they employed and most importantly about the people who walked with them throughout this significant year in their lives. One of these students was the recipient of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning Excellence Award, Harry Apostolopoulos, who named the many staff who had supported him throughout his schooling, particularly at more challenging moments. Harry has recently been granted an apprenticeship at Box Hill Golf Club as a Greenskeeper whilst he is studying Sports Turf Management at TAFE. The other student who spoke was our 2022 VCE DUX, Liam Gilmore. Liam spoke about how he had organised his year, how he at drawn on the support of his family and his mates, and how ‘being the best version of himself that he could be’ was his measure of success. Liam has now gone on to commence a double Degree in Engineering (Honours) and Commerce at Monash University.

Each of these young men had different measure of achievement, each defined success differently, but each too, shared several similar notions on how they achieved their measure of success. The most important of these, I believe, is that they did not reach their potential and beyond by themselves. They both understood the vital part that others played in their success. They both opened themselves to the care and support of their teachers, classmates and parents. Both too possessed a quiet belief in themselves and their abilities, fuelled by the belief that others had in them. Perhaps, that is the true measure of success.


Whitefriars College Open Day 2023

I have heard some people say that school open days are a little passé. Some might even go as far as to say that they are not a true reflection and representation of a school. I am hopeful that the thousand-odd people who attended the Whitefriars College Open day last Sunday have a different view!

Obviously, on an open day schools make sure that the grounds are neat and tidy, and the classrooms are looking their best, with information and student work on display in the various subjects offered by the school. Yes, all these elements are important but not as important as a community who are so passionate about their school that they are prepared to spend a very warm Sunday answering questions and giving their opinion to families who are discerning the next stage in their child’s education.

As I wandered around Whitefriars on our Open Day I observed enthusiastic, knowledgeable and dedicated staff engaging in deep and thoughtful conversations with parents about the many benefits of a Whitefriars education.

I witnessed many fun and interesting activities presented by the various Learning Areas to give our young visitors a taste of secondary school life.

I observed our generous and committed parents from our Whitefriars Parents’ Association who provided such warmth, hospitality and insight to prospective families throughout the entire day.

Most significantly, I witnessed our students in action, taking tours, chatting with families, answering questions and being wonderful examples of the Whitefriars gentle man. Over one hundred of our young men volunteered their time to support this important day, and I believe they did so because they love their school and enjoy the opportunity to tell the story of our College and their unique experience of it.

I would particularly like to thank all staff (including Maintenance, Administration and many others) who ensured that Whitefriars was presented at its absolute best on this significant occasion.

And lastly to welcome you, our current families, to encourage your friends with Grade 5 children to register for a tour. It would be my absolute pleasure to meet them here and show them everything the College has to offer.


Mr Mark Murphy