Dear member of the Whitefriars College family,
This past week I have felt somewhat like a bear who has come out of hibernation. Emerging from the darkness of winter the air smells sweeter, the sun feels warmer and there is a general feeling of energy and hope that envelopes us. Sorry to take a bit of poetic licence but that is what I feel as I walk down the Whitefriars driveway these days. So many of the things we have taken for granted in the past, the noise of boys charging about the school yard, the interactions between staff and students in the classroom and the simple incidental conversations in the corridor are providing us with great joy and renewed energy as we recommence our time back at school. Having said that, we greatly miss our Year 8, 9 and 10 students and look forward with excitement and anticipation to their return to school on Monday 26 October.
I would like to thank you all for your continued understanding and cooperation you have displayed in supporting us in this transition period. Above all else, our number one priority is the physical safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff. We have been impressing on our students and staff the responsibility each of them has to ensure that they are doing their part in maintaining the safety of themselves and others around them. I have been impressed with the way our students have supported our endeavours in this regard and I thank them for their continued support and understanding of the restriction and protocols we need to continue to live by.
Last week, I was privileged to interview a number of our Year 11 students who have made the courageous decision to put themselves forward for the role of College Captain at Whitefriars for 2021. Along with Mick Lafferty (Deputy Principal – Students), Joshua Vujcich (Director – Identity Mission and Service), Alex Dunmill (College Captain) and Vice Captains Toby Brown and Alex De Saram were inspired by the passion and commitment these young men displayed for their school. I say courageous because when we aim high we risk great disappointment, a risk that these brave young men are willing to take in support of their school.
One of the questions asked of these young men was with regards to the concept of servant leadership. These are some of the insights provided by the students in response to the idea of servant leadership:
- Making time for others
- Encouraging others to serve
- We need to preserve and promote the culture of service that clearly exists in our school
- Leading from amongst the group
- It is about loving one another, brotherhood, togetherness
- Servant leaders radiate humility, generosity, always putting others before themselves
- Listening before acting
- Being selfless and a willingness to collaborate
- Less about me more about them.
These responses are a credit to the boys who made them, but also to those who have formed, informed and modelled these attributes throughout their lives. I can confidently say that whoever is chosen from among these candidates will lead our College in the true Carmelite spirit of service.
Vale Matthew Farley
Last week we received the very sad news of the death of Matthew Farley. Matthew came to Whitefriars as a Year 10 student in 2018 and left the College in 2019 to pursue his interest as a swimming coach. Matthew was well known and liked by his peers in Stein House and more broadly by the other members of his year level. He was also a very talented member of the College’s swimming team.
On behalf of the Whitefriars community I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Matthew’s family, to his parents Sean and Nicole and to his sister Emma and the extended family and friends of Matthew during this time of sadness and loss.
News such as this can impact on each of us in different ways, each being as legitimate as the other. Some students may like to talk with one of our College psychologists, or their Pastoral Teacher, House Leader or another member of the Whitefriars community. Time will always be made available for these requests. May I also direct you to our Deputy Principal – Students, Mick Lafferty’s article on supporting student wellbeing particularly during this challenging time.
In dealing with death, we need to remember and cherish the value and dignity of life. Thank you for your prayers for Matthew that he will be at peace with God, and that his family will be comforted and strengthened by the love of God and their community.
I leave you with a prayer for Matthew.
We pray together:
In your hands, O Lord,
we humbly entrust our brother Matt.
In this life you embraced him with your tender love;
deliver him now from every evil and bid him eternal rest.
Remember in your mercy all those who mourn Matt’s passing;
comfort them with your care and compassion.
The old order has passed away: welcome him into paradise,
where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,
but fullness of peace and joy with your Son and the Holy Spirit
Eternal rest, grant to him, O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
May the souls of all the faithful departed
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Mr Mark Murphy