Dear members of the Whitefriars family
There are so many inspiring and uplifting things that happen every day at Whitefriars. Some are obvious and attract much deserved fanfare and accolade. Others are more hidden, subtle, and understated, but no less powerful and deserving of recognition and celebration. This idea was brought home to me last week when I enjoyed an opportunity to take a prospective family on a tour of the College after school hours.
The first stop on our tour was the Undercroft. Every afternoon, after school, this space becomes a study hall for our students. On this day, we were greeted by the sight of a considerable number of students engaged in study under the supervision of our dedicated study hall supervisor Michael Douglas, and alongside other teachers providing extra support for their students. We observed students studying alone, as well as those studying in collaboration with each other, as they discussed and discerned everything from a tricky Chemistry problem to the complex themes of an English novel. This space is open every day at Whitefriars from 3.20pm until 6pm, and the boys tell me it is a wonderful place to get a couple of hours study done before heading home for dinner.
Our next stop on the tour was the Fr Frank Shortis Library. As we entered this thoughtfully designed boy-friendly space, we again observed a number of boys focussed on study. This time however, most of them were being tutored by a more senior student or Old Collegian. It is a wonderful blessing here at Whitefriars to have generous senior students, present and past, who give of their time, energy, and expertise in support of our younger students. Students tutoring students is an immensely powerful and productive way of connecting students with learning and reinforcing the concepts learnt during the day’s classes. Of course, our ever present and highly resolute librarians, led by Jenny Corbin, were on hand to offer extra resources and encouragement to these studious young men.
Next, my small tour party and I wandered the corridors of the Butler Building, home to our Visual and Performing Arts learning areas. As we ventured down the Performing Arts corridor, we passed one of our many practice rooms where we heard a student intently practicing his flute. A little further along we came across our brass and woodwind ensemble rehearsing for an upcoming music soiree under the baton of Ensembles Leader Nicholas Fitter. Our Performing Arts Area is alive with the sounds of music and drama from well before school commences in the morning until late in the day; such is the dedication of our students and the teachers who support them.
Next stop, the McPhee Gymnasium, where we witnessed an enthusiastic group of Year 8 students training for the upcoming ACC basketball season, well supported by their coach and PE teacher Anthony Loprevite. It is not unusual to see multiple teams, both before and after school, engaged in a variety of sports using our amazing sports facilities.
A short detour past the Product Design classrooms, in our Science and Technologies Centre, revealed a Year 12 student sanding a piece of furniture designed and crafted for his final SAT of the year.
Finally, we walked through the Duncan Centre and came across a group of sixty-four resolute and enthusiastic Year 11 students who were participating in a Student Leadership Program under the guidance of Josh Vujcich and Kelly Hoinville-Catania. I explained that each of these young men were currently discerning their role as future leaders at Whitefriars and are spending each Monday after school learning about what it means, and what it takes to be, a servant leader at Whitefriars.
By the time we had finished our tour, our group could have been forgiven for thinking we had set up all these activities and opportunities up for their benefit. Of course, this is not true. Of course, too, none of this would be possible without the commitment and diligence of our students and equally importantly, the dedication and generosity of our staff. This brief journey around our College said much about these two groups of people but more so, it spoke volumes about who we are as a vibrant place alive with a keen sense of community, fraternity, kindness and good will which has always been a hallmark of Whitefriars College.
With enrolments for Year 7, 2024 closing today, it is indeed an extremely exciting time to think about all of those who have come before, about our current students, and about the young gentlemen of 2023 and 2024, who have no idea the of the opportunities, learning and life-long friendships, which lay before them.
Mr Mark Murphy