Last Sunday, our College opened its gates to the broader community for our annual Open Day. This is a day when schools are supposed to polish themselves up to look nice for the visitors who come to discern the future of their sonâ€™s education. The test for anyone coming to such a day is to see whether this is a real and authentic reflection of the schoolâ€™s identity, purpose and offering or just some clever marketing illusion.
So, I decided to observe, to listen and to learn from the hundreds of people who wandered down the drive to see what they thought. The comments of our prospective families varied, however there were a couple of important themes which kept emerging.
First, they were taken by the unique environment of Whitefriars. Many said that they felt a sense of calm and peace as they entered the College. They commented too on many of the facilities which they could see would engage their sonâ€™s in learning, as well as our beautiful grounds and ovals which provide boys with ample space to move and to play.
Many commented on the sense of community they felt, from the welcome they received by our Development and Enrolment staff, to the sausage and the smile from the wonderful folk of the Whitefriars Parentsâ€™ Association.
They spoke of the dedicated and passionate staff of our College, that they met at the various Learning Area displays around the school. The parents appreciated the deep knowledge these teachers demonstrated as well as their understanding of each individual student in their classes and how they would best cater for their diverse learning needs.
Most importantly, I heard these prospective parents speak in glowing terms about the their highly energetic, vibrant and conversant tour guides, the fine young men of Whitefriars. Parents spoke with great enthusiasm, not only about the way these boys conducted their tours, but the kind of thoughtful, attentive and supportive young men they were. Our boys are not scripted on these tours, we ask only that they speak from the heart and through their own experience when presenting all that Whitefriars has to offer. In this regard, parents commented on the authenticity of our students and the obvious love they have for Whitefriars.
These are the comments I have heard and read from the families who came to our Open Day.
I am very grateful to all of our students, parents and staff who gave of their time and dynamism to assist with this most significant of days in the life of our College. I look forward to participating in many other opportunities to showcase our College, as together we celebrate all that is great about our unique and remarkable Catholic Carmelite school for boys.
ACC Swimming Championships
Last Thursday evening, our College participated in the annual ACC Swimming Championships held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. It was wonderful to see so many families and supporters of our boys there on the night and I know the swimmers appreciated this very much. Our swimmers have braved many early mornings, along with their supportive parents, to attend training sessions across Term 4 2019 and Term 1 this year. The dedication of these young men has been inspiring and their care and support of each other, very encouraging. I am grateful to all our boys for giving so generously of their gifts and talents in support of this team. I would like to thank our senior students and particularly our Swimming Captains Jack Gurrie and James Key for their work in supporting the younger members our team. I would also like to thank Shane Cotter and Malcolm Legge for their dedicated and passionate support of this team both now and over many previous years of commitment to this endeavour.
Last week saw the celebration of our final House gathering Masses for this year. I am very grateful to all involved in organising and presenting these wonderful celebrations of our important House groups here at Whitefriars. I would like to thank Joshua Vujcich, Director â€“ Identity, Mission and Service, for providing us with such meaningful and prayerful Masses along with the ever positive and talented Fr Paul Sireh, O.Carm., who celebrated all our Masses over three weeks. I would also like to acknowledge the presence of our Deputy Principal â€“ Students, Mick Lafferty and Director – Middle Years, Trent Collins who came to all Masses over that time. A big thank you to the House Leaders who did so much to ensure these occasions reflected the flavour of their House along with the Pastoral Teachers for their presence and support on the night. Finally, thank you to the incredibly generous parents of our Whitefriars Parentsâ€™ Association who were there every night serving supper to our families, prepared by past parent Michael Mimmo (Casavini Events and Catering), and exemplifying our Carmelite spirit of service and hospitality.