From the Principal – Excellence

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

The beginning of the school year is one full of activity and possibility, of relationship building, refocussing and reconnecting. It is particularly a time of gathering. Coming together as a College is one of the most vital elements in building a strong and vibrant community of learning, life and faith here at Whitefriars. Over the past couple of weeks our College community has gathered together on many occasions to celebrate achievement, participate in community building activities and to pray. We have inducted new students to Whitefriars as official members of our eight Houses at our annual House gathering masses. We have competed in a spirit of friendly competition and rivalry at our House Athletics Day. Our community has gathered in prayer and thanksgiving to welcome in the new year at our whole school mass and Ash Wednesday service. We have come together to congratulate and induct our new student leaders and staff new to Whitefriars.

On each of these occasions our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that what is experienced on these occasions illicits a strong sense of who we are as a Catholic School in the Carmelite tradition as well as being of the highest quality. I am extremely grateful to all the dedicated staff at Whitefriars for the thoughtfulness, skill and dedication they bring to these significant events. I am also grateful to our students who always attend to these gathering with respect, reverence and maturity.

Below I have printed my address from the recent High Achievers Assembly held at Whitefriars this week.

Good morning students, parents and staff of the Whitefriars College family. It is wonderful to be with you today as we celebrate the efforts and achievements of the Class of 2023 and others from the Class of 2024. I would particularly like to welcome back our 2023 graduates and to wish you all the very best as you embark on the next stage of the journey beyond.

Many of you may have heard that recently our dedicated and visionary Whitefriars College Board have gifted our College with a new strategic directions document. This seminal work provides Whitefriars with a renewed sense of purpose, clear direction and solid foundations on which to build the future of our great school over the next 5 years.

The document begins by presenting the purpose of Whitefriars College being… one which provides a quality education for young men  grounded in the Carmelite tradition that emphasises critical thinking, the search for meaning and how to contribute to the common good of society. These three ideas form significant signposts which will guide our community of learning, of life and of faith. As I look out on this fine group of young men I see before me today I believe that you are models of this aspirational statement.

To achieve well with your studies you needed to be students who cast a critical eye of everything you read, hear and every task you undertake. You are students who question, challenge, analyse, interpret, evaluate and make a judgement about the validity and truth of all that you come across in your studies and in your life, now more than ever. The term critical comes from the Greek word kritikos meaning “able to judge or discern”. You have judged, discerned, sifted and sorted to ensure that you do not blindly taken things at face value.

You have also been young men who search for meaning and purpose in your life. You have learnt here at Whitefriars that we need to look beyond the day to day and to reflect on the bigger questions of life, who am I, where am I going, what do I believe. Discerning these important ideas helps us to discover the path we will take in all aspects of our lives. 

Most importantly you have learnt that our lives should be not just focused on our own needs and that we need to constantly lifts our eyes to the needs of others and reflect on how we can be active contributors to the needs of society. That’s the Whitefriars way. The Carmelite way.

To assist us in putting this new strategic plan into effect we have been gifted by the board with five important values which are at the heart of who we are as a Catholic School in the Carmelite tradition. These values are faith, gentleness, excellence, respect and justice.

As we celebrate the efforts and achievements of this group of young men I think it is fitting that I speak to one of the these values in particular. That is the idea of excellence in the context of our College. At our school, excellence is not about being the best it as about doing your best. It is partly about individual success but more about collaborative accomplishment. Excellence at Whitefriars challenges each of us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be whilst also supporting others to be their best. Excellence is about having the courage to aim high and the resilience to pick yourself up and dust yourself off when we fail. Attaining excellence provides us a moment where we can be proud of ourselves whilst always remembering to ground ourselves and to be grateful to all those who have helped us along the way. At Whitefriars, excellence is about remembering to give thanks to God for the many gifts and talents God has given us and remembering that it is our responsibility to use those gifts for the benefit of others, particularly those in greatest need.

Today, gentlemen, I am filled with awe and admiration of everything you have achieved here at Whitefriars. You have done exactly what we at Whitefriars and your parents hoped you would do when you started here all those years ago. You have prepared, you have grabbed hold of every opportunity that has been presented to you and I suspect too you have understood the secret of success at school and that is to reach out to others for support when you have needed it.

This morning, we are privileged to have amongst us a group of great Whitefriars boys who have prepared exceptionally well for the next stage of their life journey. These young men have shown courage in committing themselves to being the best version of themselves in their studies and to setting goals for themselves uncertain as to whether or not they would succeed. You are great examples to all members of this community and I am personally grateful for the way you have provided yourselves as models of self – discipline, diligence, dedication, determination and excellence here at Whitefriars.

I would like to congratulate each of you for the commitment you have shown, the courage you has displayed and the example of you have been to all those who will follow you as fine gentle men of Whitefriars.

Well done to you all!


Mark Murphy