Welcome back to the 2019 academic year. A particularly warm welcome to those families who have sons joining the College for the first time. The message I conveyed to the Year 7 and 12 students on their first day last week was that, we all have our own story, so it is always important to take the time to find out a little about each other’s – and to be comfortable and confident in sharing them. At Whitefriars, it is certainly our hope that your son will find friendship, challenge and success in many forms.
While understanding that new beginnings can be a little uncomfortable, it is also worth noting that they are usually wonderful experiences that enable possibilities such as new; friends, subjects, personal growth and challenge. All of us who are either new to Whitefriars or new to particular roles at the College have the opportunity to share the journey and accompanying emotions.
The remainder of the student body returned a day after the Year 7s and 12s, with the Year 12s transported to Deakin University for an Academic Program where they were able to immerse themselves in preparations for an academic focus which is required for the year ahead.
Our Year 7 students have subsequently begun their journey at Whitefriars with great excitement and enthusiasm. I was with both camp groups this week, joining them on Monday and Thursday afternoon and evening. It is wonderful to see that the basis of strong friendships are already being forged amongst these boys. They have enjoyed ideal weather for their beach-side activities and have engaged in some very creative games. I congratulate the parents of these boys for the preparation of their sons for secondary school.
Teaching staff also returned last week to a day facilitated by Mrs Rosemarie Prosser. Rosemarie is an adult educator in Practical Theology, Faith, Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Society and was able to work with all staff on our understanding of this contextualised Adolescent Spirituality. This is one of the many opportunities planned for staff and students in which we are seeking to further understand and inform our Carmelite spirituality.
With our College community theme this year being one of action through Service, it is imperative that this is more so in what we experience, rather than in what we hear. The three tenets of Carmelite life are community, prayer and service. All lead to the aim of servant leadership and we aspire to ensuring that graduates of Whitefriars are able to take their place in the world confident that they can not only make a living but also make a difference. No-one wants to be remembered as the person who was half-hearted in all that they did. We want Whitefriars boys to
become wholehearted in family, work and society. So as both individuals and as community we remember and pray that:
‘Who and what we are tomorrow, begins with what we do today.’
There has been a great deal of activity over the summer break in preparation for the new school year. The Maintenance, Administration, IT and Library areas of the College have all been diligent in laying the groundwork for the return of both staff and students. There were also a small
number of new staff appointments and several current staff have taken up new or expanded leadership roles. The list of staff leadership roles for 2019 will be finalised and communicated to you shortly.
We look forward to gathering the College for our Opening Year Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Tuesday 19 February at 10am and parents are very welcome to attend. There will also be a formal induction of our new student leadership group and a recognition of our high achieving 2018 VCE students on that morning.
It is sometimes said that schools are almost soulless without the students as they give it character, life and purpose. It has been wonderful to see students, staff and parents return to and gather together at Whitefriars over the past few weeks and breathe life back into our wonderful College community. I look forward to the upcoming Year 7 House Welcome Evenings (February 12 – 27), Grandparents morning and College Open Day (Sunday 3 March) and the numerous school gatherings over the year to come.
We ask that you please keep the family of Sean Cleary Year 10 Stein 4, in your thoughts and prayers on the sudden passing of his uncle, Brian McMahon recently. May they find strength and comfort at this difficult time with their memories, family, friends and faith.
Almae In Fide Parentis
Mr Greg Stewart