In the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, Robyn Williams plays a maverick English teacher and inspires a class of male students to seize the day and follow their dreams as unique individuals of value.
“They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
When we consider opportunity and change, we realise that they both come about through the journey.
With the conclusion of Year 12 classes this week, it is time to give thanks and reflect on the schooling journey that these young men have been on for the past 13 years, including for most, the past six at Whitefriars.
As the Class of 2019 moves through the final phase of this journey, we share our joy in both the individual and collective gifts they have brought. As we gather to honour and celebrate these young men with us today, we do so with an understanding that they are now different to those somewhat tentative and ingenuous boys who began their Whitefriars journey as Year 7 students in 2014. In the intervening six years, there has been a plethora of opportunities for growth and maturity of both thought and action.
It has been incredibly heartening to hear this group of young men speak confidently, authentically and appreciatively throughout the year of their experience of Whitefriars. Their varied pathway and community experiences, genuine appreciation of their parent’s and teacher’s efforts to support their growth and development and their pervading optimism for the future are all welcome and inspiring.
This group have led our community by example, and there have been many occasions when they have shown great compassion to their peers, parents and staff. This has been reflected in their willingness to go beyond the school gates in service of local, national and international causes. Many have challenged themselves and others with both fundraising and immersion in health-compromised, indigenous Australian and Timor-Leste communities.
To the parents, guardians and families of these young men, we say thank you for the trust and support you have given us over the journey. As is sometimes said, ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child,’ and we know that a strong relationship between the school and home is essential for good outcomes.
As teachers we have been fortunate to have spent time with this group. In essence, we have grown up with them, forming strong and enduring relationships along the way. The staff are to be commended for their incredible gift of service and care.
To the graduating Class of 2019, we sincerely say thank you, knowing that you now move to the next stage of your journeys, imbued with the irrefutable legacy of a Catholic, Carmelite education and emboldened by the promise of a fulfilling, purposeful life. May you always remember your time at Whitefriars with great fondness. Every best wish for the future.
Almae in Fide Parentis
Mr Greg Stewart