People will never forget how you made them feel

It has been an energetic start to the year. Well done to our new students who have settled well into a very different environment from their past schooling. Your sense of enthusiasm is wonderful to experience. We are also delighted with the start of our new staff. They bring great expertise and care to their respective roles.

The Year 7 students are on camp this week and I look forward to joining them with their various activities. The Manyung setting at Mornington is ideally suited to this age group.

Our Opening of School Year Mass was held at the Cathedral last Thursday. It was a fitting celebration that included the induction of new staff and the recognition of our high achievers from the Class of 2014.

People may forget what you said
People may forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel

From another school I remember Matthew who was a staff member. He worked on a multitude of jobs around the school including parcel deliveries, grounds work, and basic maintenance and cleaning. He seemed to be everywhere. He was as well-known to the students as to staff. Mark suffered from an intellectual disability which was the result of an illness at a very early age. This caused physical issues, particularly in relation to his speech. He was difficult to understand.

He travelled by public transport every day to and from school, as he wasn’t able to drive, and often sat with the boys in the tram. He was famous for his singing at masses and at other formal events. By anybody’s standards he had a poor voice, tone deaf and very, very loud. In fact sometimes so loud that his voice was often heard over the top of the choir. He attended sporting events and would use that same loud voice to good effect.

No one ever minded. He was much admired and much loved. He had a remarkable memory and would often engage in a conversation about events you had told him about long ago. He genuinely listened and was interested in you as a person. He made you feel wanted.

And so it is for all of us that we have the capacity to do the same. Making sure that people are a part of our Community should be fundamental to us.

People may forget what you said
People may forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel

There are many ways to judge success over the coming year. From a College point of view will we be successful if we:

  • Have good VCE results?
  • Produce the best school musical in Melbourne?
  • Win more Premierships than anyone else?
  • Design more buildings and ovals?

All of the above form a part of the conversation for any school but ultimately none of them are possible without a sense of concern for, and commitment to, other people.
In keeping with our theme this year it is a sense of BELIEF that we can make a difference to others through our actions in the classroom, yard, sporting field, stage and other places.

I watched with interest when I saw our Year 12 students mix with the Year 7s on Friday of last week. I doubt whether the Year 7s will recall the activities they did in years to come but they will remember how they felt about school that day.

And that is the point.

We all have the power to make other people feel valued and wanted.

As we succeed we celebrate our achievements and those of others and if there are times we fail to live up to our expectations and those of others we learn from that and move on. Genuine mistakes are part of our education at Whitefriars. We enter into our own learning wholeheartedly and without reservation. We are here to learn and to learn together. The rest will follow from that.

To our Year 12s, we look to you to believe in and model the fact that being gentle-men is a sign of strength, character and resilience and should be aspired to. We look forward to the many ways all Year 12s will lead our community in prayer and service this year.

People may forget what you said
People may forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel

We have:

  • a Catholic school in the Carmelite tradition
  • willing students
  • a talented and committed staff who are focused on the needs of the students
  • an environment of beauty
  • excellent facilities
  • parents and guardians who value education

There is good reason to be motivated and we, as a staff, are committed to giving you every opportunity to succeed. We also have reasonable expectations that you use your God given talents to develop yourself and to benefit others.

The College staff hope for students is that you find imagination, passion, commitment and belief in what you do this year and that you have supportive friends who accept you for who you are and what you can do.

I wish to pay a special recognition to the Carmelites who have created and fostered Whitefriars as a living community. We here today recognize the contribution you have made and continue to make strongly. The staff and students of the College commit themselves to not only preserve the heritage we have been gifted but more so, to see it prosper and grow. Your gentle invitation for us to take up the Charism and walk with you is valued and deeply appreciated. We commit to continue your mission and values.

Just as the Wurundjeri people did
Just as the first Carmelites at Mt Carmel did in the 12th Century
Just as the first Carmelites and staff who began our school 54 years ago did
We commit to being people of faith and hope

Every blessing for the week ahead.

Almae In Fide Parentis

13 February 2015
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