How do we all allow God’s grace to enter?

February 26th, 2021

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

There are those moments in all our lives when we have important decisions to make and we are not sure which way to turn. But then, all of a sudden, we have a moment of clarity, of epiphany even, which sets us on the right path and gives us the confidence we need to move forward. Such a moment befell me last week.

Even before the news broke last Wednesday, of a return to on site learning, as a leadership team we were discerning whether we should go ahead with our House Athletics carnival. Our prime concern was the safety of our students and staff. Could we provide an environment where over 1,100 boys and 150 staff would be safely brought together within the appropriate COVID protocols? To support us in our decision we took advice from the experts, we read the protocols provided by DHHS and Catholic Education and I consulted some Principal Colleagues. The answer was still not clear.

We eventually headed over to the College Gymnasium to discuss the matter with our Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator of Sport Kristan Height and Ali Rock. Even after all this perspicacity and discussion, I still was not clear on the direction we should take. Then I spied a basketball on the court, so I picked it up and we started throwing some baskets. In that moment, I looked around and the group was smiling and laughing, having put aside for a moment, the reason we were there. Then it came to me. Didn’t our students and staff deserve this same moment? To put aside all the challenges and anxieties that we face and to just go out and have fun. Then the decision was as clear as day.

Some may say that all we needed was a ‘circuit breaker’ to assist as in coming to the right response. Personally, I like to think that these moments are the work of the Holy Spirit or perhaps the Grace of God. Sometimes we need to stop in those difficult moments, when the way ahead is not clear and breath, reflect, pray or shoot some hoops. It’s all the same thing. Because that is the moment, we allow the spirit to enter in to do the rest.

It is one thing to make a decision, it is another all together to put it into practice. From the moment the decision was made, our community swung into action. Kristan Height and Ali Rock were already set to go having put in place every contingency and protocol to ensure a successful day. Our wonderful House Leaders had were mobilised and ready to unleash the spirit of their Houses. Our staff arrived on the day fully committed to ensuring our students experience would be enjoyable and safe. Then there were the boys themselves, full of energy, gratitude and a strong passion for their house which inspired them to run, jump, throw and cheer their way through the day. What more could we ask for? At the end of the day I looked back and wondered how we could ever have thought that this may not have been a good idea!

A prayer which inspires me and which I quote often is the prayer for St. Oscar Romero which says:

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realising that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

The question I leave us all with today is this:

How do we all allow God’s grace to enter and to do the rest?


Mr Mark Murphy



Leading Learning – Student Perspectives

February 26th, 2021

Earlier in the week, I had an amazing experience discussing learning at Whitefriars with our College Academic Captains. In sharing a meal, dialogue flowed as to how our student leaders see their place in the College in leading and developing a learning culture for students in Years 7 to 12. We are blessed to have such wonderful and articulate men in our community who are passionate about learning, their subjects, and serving others. Mr Murphy, Mr Lafferty, Mr Clifford and I were all buoyed by the hope, optimism and enthusiasm of each of our student leaders.

Each leader spoke eloquently about their understanding of the Academic Captain role – to be a role model for all students, promote the academic learning area, encourage students to achieve their best, and to have discussions with boys to open their mind to the different opportunities and pathways. At the same time, they also articulated the notion that they too had to progress themselves with their academic pursuits.

Collectively, the boys spoke of how they were each going to promote global leadership, intercultural understanding and learning. Each captain spoke of the myriad of activities, learning area weeks, clubs, performances, and competitions that they are involved in leading across the College. Likewise, they too understand the importance of their role at Open Day, Activities Week, subject selection and morning tours as a vehicle to promote their learning area.

I congratulate our Academic Captains for 2021 and wish them well in their studies and in serving others in our community: Over the next three In Fide’s, I will introduce each of our Academic Captains.

Mr Mark Ashmore

Deputy Principal


Student Leadership Role What would you like to achieve in your role in 2021? What strategies are you going to use to create a learning culture in the learning area or school?

Simon Kruyer


Drama Captain


To inspire more students to get involved in the drama learning area. If there is a performance coming up, some actors could preview a scene from the play at a lunchtime on the canteen decking and students can watch, if they like what they see they can come watch the full play. if they enjoy the play, they might want to participate in plays thus increasing student interest.

Callum Tham

Music Captain Bring a greater focus to music at our school.
Foster budding musicians of every genre.
Provide greater flexibility for the types music that students wish to play.
Introduce a Digital Music Production club.
Attend and assist at junior rock workshop.

Look for students who enjoy playing music and have musical talent

Make music both a social and a learning environment. Music is learnt better this way because it makes people want to practice. e.g. allow younger students during music in smaller groups but still provide a deadline for performances as this still motivates them.

Joshua Tapley

Science and Technology Captain I would like to encourage younger students to participate in STEW club Introduce more practical and fun activities for Middle Years students. Most kids enjoy the hands-on aspect of science and exploring things concepts and ideas through observation. Try and get them to learn of each other through observation. Students ask the questions

Witton Liang

Science Captain I would like to promote science subjects within the school. Increase practical activities that correlate to different year levels in science.

Henry Ameer

Health and PE Captain As the inaugural captain for Health and PE, I hope to learn from my mistakes and better myself individually. I also hope to build a pathway for the following Health and PE captains to ensure they are successful in their endeavours. I will access and require the help of the staff, students and rest of the Student Representative Council, much like they will require my help.

Nicholas Stackpole

Drama Captain I would like to bring new interest and life to the performing arts learning area so that it thrives in the future. I would like to get more students to participate in performing arts and to bring more awareness to my area.


The Resilience Project

February 26th, 2021

These statistics present society with a significant challenge – our youth are struggling and many don’t ask for help. As a microcosm of society, at Whitefriars we need to play a role, along with parents, in helping young people develop the capacity to better cope with challenges in their lives and arm them with the skills required to be the best that they can be. As the cliché goes, prevention is better than cure.

In 2021, we have entered a formal partnership with ‘The Resilience Project’; an emotionally engaging program providing practical, evidence-based, positive mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness. The Resilience Project has delivered programs to over 500 schools around the country and worked with many elite sporting teams including Australian cricket, netball and soccer, NRL and AFL clubs.  Through presentations, wellbeing journals and an extensive school curriculum which will be delivered in our Wellbeing Program, The Resilience Project will seek to help our community become more mentally healthy. The program is built around 4 key principles: Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness.

Martin Heppell launched the program this week with our staff and challenged them to see the world through the eyes of our students. In a world where adolescents live so much of their lives online, they are faced with challenges never seen before.  As teachers, we are in a privileged position to make a difference in the lives of our boys. The Resilience Project provides an extensive curriculum which will be delivered weekly in our Wellbeing Program.  We will be teaching our young men how to be grateful, how to empathise with others and how to be mindful.

Martin also presented to all our students in a series of presentations reinforcing the critical nature of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness in being happy and mentally healthy. Here are some of the reactions of our boys:

Today’s presentation with Martin was really enjoyable and it was a pleasure to watch. I really enjoy the way how he engaged the audience and ‘picked on people from the crowd’. This included everyone as a whole into the presentation which made it more relatable and pleasurable. With this as an intro to our Wellbeing theme, I am really looking forward to participating in it as it not only teaches how to be resilient, but to be grateful for the things that you have, to have empathy for others and to always practise mindfulness, which I thought all were useless and irrelevant before being with Martin. He has changed the way I think in only an hour and once again, can’t wait to participate in this for wellbeing. (Johnny Papadopoulos)

Martin’s presentation on the Resilience Project touched on the importance of young men’s mental health and how it can affect our day to day actions, he taught us the simple ways to deal with mental health and the benefits they bring. He explained in great detail how trauma is different in every person and how nobody can tell you to toughen up from your experience this was very valuable to all of us young men listening as it was all very applicable in specific ways (Joshua Tovey).

Martin’s presentation about the resilience project today highlighted the key aspects gratitude, empathy and mindfulness and explored the different stories throughout his life and others which portrayed these values. His presentation was very funny and engaging because of his ability to involve the crowd, making us think of our own personal life and even cracking a joke every so often (Cristian Ciampa).  

As a whole school program, the learning cannot stop at the school gates. For parents via a webinar, Martin outlined the key principles of program, their importance to the health and wellbeing of their sons and urged parents to engage with these key principles which underpin the program and model them for their sons. Below is a link to a section of The Resilience Project website for parents.

TRP at Home — TRP@HOME (

TRP at Home provides a suite of activities and ideas to bring Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness to day-to-day life: from kitchen table conversations, to bedtime stories and backyard expeditions.

While The Resilience Project is not a silver bullet, we hope that as staff, students and parents engage in the program, we can contribute to the holistic development of our boys and help to create happy, gentle men.


Mr Mick Lafferty

Deputy Principal – Students


3rd place at ACC Athletics Carnival!

February 26th, 2021

What a huge result yesterday, with Whitefriars finishing 3rd in the ACC Athletics!

In what was a beautiful day, the team headed to Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park, determined to make an impact in 2021, after the event was cancelled last year. The ACC Athletics squad has been in full training since the start of the term and Coaches Mr Worner, Mr Savage and Mr Kellar were confident of a good showing. Captains Lachie Parrott, Ethan Wu and Trent Seegets led the team well, ensuring that the squad was fully prepared.

After a strong showing throughout the day, Whitefriars was in contention to achieve their goal. The reigning champions, Parade, were announced as the winners of the evening, leaving the Friars in 3rd place! A big congratulations to the U/16 boys who won their age group and the boys/teams that won their events, some achieving ‘Personal Best’ results.

There were many contributors throughout the day and all the boys really put in a lot of effort for the Whitefriars team. Over the past 3 weeks, the team had over 80 students in attendance at training (Tues and Thurs mornings from 7am) which provided the fitness and grit required to achieve such a great result.

A huge thank you must go to the Athletic Captains and coaches, Lachie, Ethan, Trent, Mr Worner, Mr Kellar, Ms Bates and Mr Savage for all of their hard work preparing and coordinating the team. Planning is already underway preparing for the 2022 Carnival where we will hopefully see the Whitefriars boys take the next step and challenge for the Division 1 shield.


Mr Kristan Height

Sports Coordinator



Granger wins Robot Wrestling Championship!

February 26th, 2021

On Wednesday 24 February the STEW Club (Science Technology and Environment Club) met for the first time this year, to compete in the robot wrestling competition. People who were interested in robots, science and technologies came down to have a bit of fun and enjoy one of the College’s co-curricular offerings. We brought out the Ollies and competed against each other; the goal to become the 2021 Robot Wrestling champion. We had to stay in the arena, marked out by tape, longer than the other competitor. Each winner would then compete against another winner. In the end, there could only be one winner, but it was a great experience for all of us.

Congratulations to Granger Wheatley for being the Robot Wrestling champion.


Joshua Tapley

Science and Technology Student Captain


2021 House Athletics carnival

February 26th, 2021

With the five day lockdown, the annual House Athletics carnival was in jeopardy! But luckily (and good job Victoria!), we were given the all clear. It was great to see all the teacher and students participating throughout the day making sure everything ran smoothly and the great sportsmanship amongst the students. Despite social distancing, the cheers of each house was still heard throughout the day.


The fastest friars race finished off a fantastic day! With students from Years 9-12 participating in the main event, it was Trent Seegets from Corsini edging out the win with a time of 11.57. Brothers, Lachie and Matt Parrott, took out second and third with a time of 11.70 and 11.71. Big congratulations to those who qualified as well.




Matt Parrott also broke the Whitefriars record in the long jump, 200m and 400m for the U/16 age group.

Angus Taig (Year 10, Videographer) and Oscar Trajcevski (Year 10, Editor) created some spectacular drone footage of the day.



In the end, Soreth was the dominant winner leading by over 100 points.

A big congratulations to Soreth, captained by Matt Leeson and Ben Duffy who are now the winners of the House Athletics carnival for 2 years running.

Lastly good luck to those competing in the ACC Athletics on the 25th, long awaiting since missing the ACC Aths last year.

From Ethan Wu, Trent Seegets, Vice Athletics Captains


Friars Hivers Beekeeping Club Honey Harvest

February 26th, 2021

Monday 22 February was an exciting day for the Friars Hivers Beekeeping Club. Fifteen kilos of pure honey were extracted from the College hive for the first time. The hive was installed in the College bushland in June, last year. The Italian Queen bee has created a calm and efficient community where out of a possible 24 frames in the hive, only 7 frames were taken to extract the honey. Seventeen frames filled with honey were left for the bees to have over winter. 30 x 500g jars have been filled with this amazing substance, produced by the bees, after collecting nectar from the Mullum Mullum Valley manna gum and messmate gum flowers. Friars Hivers Beekeeping Club have learnt about bee behaviour, beekeeping tools, safety, maintenance and keeping the bees healthy and happy. The Friars Hivers Beekeeping honey is for sale for $15/500g. Contact for orders. And as our resident beekeeper Will S states “It’s delicious!”

Ms Jo Menzies

Sustainability & Environment Team


Br Sean and Opening Mass

February 12th, 2021

Dear members of the Whitefriars College family,

Working in schools is a wonderfully privileged activity. Everyday we have the opportunity to walk with young people as they navigate all the joys and pitfalls life has to offer. They make mistakes, as all of us do, but they also do amazing things and reveal to us glimpses of the of the fine gentle men they all have the capacity to become. As we begin our year at Whitefriars, I have already been witness to many examples of all that is possible for the boys of Whitefriars as our community gathered for two significant events.

On Monday last week, we gathered as a school community to remember and pray for our beautiful friend Br. Sean who died early in the new year. On Tuesday, we gathered to celebrate the commencement of our school year at which we inducted our new College Captains, as well as celebrating the efforts and achievements of the Class of 2020. On both occasions our students demonstrated a clear understanding of the importance of these moments and each displayed unwavering maturity and reverence through the services. Put very simply, each young man rose to the occasion. I am grateful to our young men for the way they approached these significant events in the life of Whitefriars. I am equally grateful to the many people who provided us with meaningful, prayerful and memorable opportunities to celebrate all that is great about Whitefriars, and to give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives. I would particularly like to thank Josh Vujcich, for his leadership and thoughtful planning of these liturgical events, along with Fr Paul Sireh, College Chaplain and the Ministry team for their support. I would also like to thank the Whitefriars College Choir led by Mr Nick Fitter, and supported by members of the Performing Arts staff, for contributing a beautiful musical dimension to our mass. Thanks also to our maintenance team and IT staff for the behind-the-scene work in setting the space and providing live streaming. Finally, I wish to thank Fr Paul Cahill, The Provincial of the Carmelites of Australia and Timor-Leste who celebrated our senior mass.


Mr Mark Murphy



Below you will find extracts from the eulogy I presented at the memorial service for Br Sean, as well as the address I gave at the Opening Masses.


Eulogy for Brother Sean – 8 February 2021

When I was a student at Whitefriars College, I was blessed to be taught and supported by many Carmelite Priests and brothers. They were my teachers, my footy coaches, my Principal’s and my counsellors. Their gentle presence, generosity, good humour and warmth was ever present. Mostly, they made each of us boys feel supported and cared for. Looking back, I suppose we took these gentle men in the brown habits for granted.

For the last 25 years, one of these amazing men has been a constant presence among us. Br Sean Keefe; man of boundless energy which he poured into supporting those in greatest need in our community. One of Sean’s enduring legacies will be the work he has done to secure a better future for the people of Timor-Leste.

But he leaves an even greater legacy with the Whitefriars community. He leaves us with a lasting example of what it means to be Carmelite. Even though Br Sean appeared to be constantly on the move, as a Carmelite, Br Sean did spend time in contemplation. Most mornings, he would celebrate mass with his fellow Carmelites at the house called Merinda, just over the hill, or spend time in personal prayer. More than this, everything Sean did, every action and interaction, was motivated by his desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Most of his time during the day was spent in community here at Whitefriars, always on the lookout for the lost or the vulnerable, always brightening our day with a smile and a “Hi There” in his broad American accent. Always doing what Therese of Lisieux would describe, as the small things with great Love. Small acts of love and kindness that would brighten a person’s day and make them feel like they were his special friend. We were all Sean’s special friends.

Br Sean too, was a man of service. He got out of bed everyday with one thought, one question in mind – how can I serve my community today? That was his way. He devoted over 50 years of his life to the service of others, whether it be here at Whitefriars, in the local community as a member of the Kiwanis club or internationally with his many fundraising efforts in support of the people of Timor-Leste. Such were his efforts, that in 2016 Br Sean was awarded and Order of Australia for services to the community. You would not know it though, such was the humility of the man.

So, what does all that mean for us here at Whitefriars today? I believe on this day, when we honour a man who exemplifies everything we stand for, there is a great opportunity for us to reflect on how we will continue to keep the spirit of the Carmelite alive. Br Sean has shown us the way. Now it is our turn. We need to be Carmelite for each other. We need to do those small acts of kindness and do them with great love. I hear people say, that Br Sean will leave a huge gap in our community. Well I think it is up to us to fill it. To live out the Carmelite tenets of Contemplation, Community and Service everyday, both here, and beyond the gates of this great school. Then, like Br Sean, we can truly say we are Carmelite.



Principal’s Address – Opening Mass 2021

It is great to be with you as we induct and commission our College leaders for 2021 and celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of the high achievers from the Class of 2020. I am sorry that due to restrictions, we are unable to meet at St Patrick’s Cathedral, as is the tradition, and greatly appreciate your cooperation and support in this space today.

At our induction ceremony with Year 7 and 12 students a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a story about the very first day of Whitefriars College – 14 February 1961. On that warm February morning, a lone Year 7 boy walked down the unmade, dusty driveway toward a school that still resembled a building site. According to the first Principal of our College, Fr Frank Shortis, a couple of Carmelite Brothers were busily polishing floors and clearing away building debris, when they noticed the young student struggling with a school bag bigger than himself. Fr Shortis writes that seeing the boy in the distance, the brothers immediately dropped everything and ran to greet the boy. In that one action, these young brothers exemplified what being part of a community means. Seeing a need, they dropped everything to attend to it.

Whitefriars College was built on the bedrock of community. In fact, without the community coming together in all sorts of ways, Whitefriars would not exist. In the late 1950’s, well before Whitefriars was built, it was the community who came together to raise much need funds to build the original classrooms. On 16 January 1962, a raging bushfire approached the College, coming with tremendous speed and ferocity from the north. It jumped the Mullum Mullum Creek and roared up the gully towards the College. If not for the courage and commitment of the Carmelites and the support group of neighbours and passers-by, who maned hoses and who beat the flames back with wet sacks, the College would have been lost. They even helped prevent the flames from again crossing Park Rd, at the top of our drive, saving a number of properties in the process.

Since that time, there have been countless other examples of the community coming together. From our ever present Whitefriars Parents Association, to our dedicated canteen volunteers, to parent working bees. Staff who have always gone far above and beyond their roles, in providing education and wonderful experiences for their students. The students themselves, who have contributed countless hours of their own time at school tours, open days, fundraising activities, and the list goes on.

At Whitefriars we stand on the shoulders of giants, who for the past 60 years have built our community. It is therefore fitting, that this year, our College theme is ‘community’.

Having said all of that, all these examples of community are hypocritical, deceitful even, unless we practice the idea of community among us every day. Unless we reach out in support of our classmates, our teachers and our staff. Unless we do something about the needs we see around the College. It could be as simple picking up some rubbish, throwing a ball back to a game of downball, chatting to a boy who looks like he is on his own, giving your full attention to a teacher in class. We don’t have to fight a bushfire to build community, but we have to do something. It could be as simple as forgiving someone who has done us wrong or being a listening ear to someone who is doing it tough. St Paul tells us that we should bear with each other and forgive one another; ‘If any of you has a grievance against someone, forgive as the Lord forgave you’.

If we can do these things, then at the end of this year, Whitefriars College will be a stronger community than it was at the beginning, and we will have given honour to those from the past who did that too.

So, in this year of Community, this 60th anniversary year, my challenge to all of us is – that when we see a need, drop everything and do something about it.


National Mathematics Summer School – Roger Luo

February 12th, 2021

The National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS) is held annually over the summer break every year. This selective camp caters for Year 11 students from all over Australia. Roger Luo was lucky enough to have been invited to participate in this gifted program. Topics ranged from number theory through to chaos and topology. Below is a report from Roger about his experiences in this gifted and talented program which was restricted to 75 students nationally.

I enjoyed every course (and actually received the award of most discord messages sent). I am sure you have heard from past students attending NMSS, but we learned about Number theory and Algorithms. In Number theory, clock arithmetic’s and proving by axioms sparked my interest in studying and researching pure mathematics. We familiarised ourselves with the Euclidian

 Algorithm and it’s many uses (including magic tables and applying Euclidian algorithms backwards, known as dilcue). In algorithms, we learned the primary principles behind the making and designing of many different algorithms, this sparked my interests in computer science and the new mathematical area of computing algorithms (I particularly loved designing Turing Machines) – Roger Luo Year 11

Outside of the main course, Roger also got to meet many other students who also shared their interest and passion in Mathematics. I wish to congratulate Roger on this wonderful achievement and is due recognition for the work he has put into his mathematics over his time at the College.


Mr Ashley Payne

Learning Leader – Enrichment and Data

Welcome to the 2021 Academic Year

February 5th, 2021

 As we begin a new year, I have once again had the privilege and opportunity to speak to many boys and parents during the first week of school.

Conversations in the classroom, Academic Study Centre, in the yard and at the bus stop with students have been about how happy the boys were with their teachers and the learning experiences that were afforded to them. There is a wonderful sense that students across all year levels have enjoyed returning back to school and have begun working hard to improve themselves and their peers’, skills, knowledge and understanding.

An exciting moment each year is meeting students in their class/es and building the relationships that will allow for positive learning throughout the course. I am fortunate to have met a wonderful group of young men in my Year 10 VCE Unit 1 Religion and Society class. The boys were polite, grateful and demonstrated an interest in the subject content through thoughtful and measured responses.

Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to join our Year 12 students in a new College initiative, the Year 12 Formation Program. An important component of the program is six faith enrichment sessions beginning with a session at Middle Park facilitated by the Ministry Team. Each session supports students to engage with ideas surrounding their own identity, their relationship with God and how this is experienced in relationships within our community and beyond. The program also provides support and guidance for students to achieve excellence in their academic studies. These valuable sessions included information about academic results, careers and pathways and listening to old collegians to learn about their experiences.

The Academic Study Centre and Maths Help sessions are starting to be filled with Senior students relishing the support beyond the classroom. I observed students working together in groups to solve problems, discussing issues and planning pieces of work. Other students choose to seek feedback from teachers. Some preferred to quietly study.

It is also reassuring that there is such a strong parent-school-student partnership at Whitefriars. This week it was wonderful to present to a large number of Year 11 and 12 parents on consecutive evenings with Mr Murphy, Mr Clifford, Mr Notting and Mrs Gasparini, about their son’s holistic learning as they embark upon important school years.

Our 2020 Year 12 students were very successful in their studies considering the challenges associated with COVID-19 and Home Learning. The cohort achieved one of the school’s best results in the past 8 years – a median study score of 31 with 5.9% of students achieving a study score over 40. The destination choices highlight that our boys have varied pathways, undertaking opportunities to learn or serve others in a variety of fields, with the majority of boys entering into university at Swinburne, Deakin, Melbourne, Monash or La Trobe Universities. All VCE students achieved their VCE certificate and the 9 VCAL students each entered into an apprenticeship or have entered into further study.

Congratulations to our 2020 College Dux, Adrian De Saram who achieved 99.20. Runner up Dux, Joseph Chim achieving 99.15 with Lachlan Barr also achieving 99.00. Congratulations to Joshua Hannan who achieved a perfect 50 for VCE Music Investigation. These students join 24 students who achieved an ATAR over 90, highlighting that our boys can produce exceptional results by implementing key strategies and hard work to improve their learning.

College staff have analysed the results of each subject, the Year 11 and 12 cohort and individual results. This is allowing us as teaching staff to improve our practice and subsequently improve the learning and academic results of our current students. The upcoming Professional Learning Afternoon provides time for staff to effectively plan and implement high impact teaching strategies.

As a College we are challenging each student to achieve personal excellence. As such, we have high expectations of your son achieving very good results. Our intention is to communicate to you if your son is not performing at or above his expected level of achievement and put in place interventions both in the classroom and after school in the academic study centre.

I wish your son all the best with his learning in 2021.


Mr Mark Ashmore

Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning

From the Principal – Advent

November 26th, 2020

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

I always feel at this time of the year that there is a sense of urgency among us. It’s like we are all rushing to meet a deadline and that deadline is Christmas day! How many times do we hear people say, I have so much to do before Christmas. Some of us even count down the days, often though, not with a sense of excitement but with fear and dread for all the things we need to do between now and then. There are so many boxes to tick between now and when the Christmas roast comes out of the oven – and the list just seems to get longer!

How nice would be if we could just buy a bit of time to stop and be reflective at this time of the year. What a gift it would be just have a couple more days to give us some breathing space. Unfortunately, I think we would probably just find more things to do to fill in the time.

Our Church presents us with a very different approach as to how we should attend to these last few weeks of the year. As you read this article, we are about to enter the season of Advent in the Christian Church. To me it is like a pre-Christmas gift. A gift that gives us permission to breath, to take time to reflect on our year, to be grateful for all the blessings in our lives and most importantly to prepare for the coming of Jesus, the true gift of Christmas.

Now you might say, that is all well and good, but I still have all these things to get done, to tick off my list, I haven’t got time to reflect, to breath and perhaps even to pray.

Our good friend Pope Francis speaks about advent as time when we should be focussing on the search for peace as we prepare for the coming of Jesus, at Christmas. This Advent season, he says is time to be humble and try to build peace in our souls, in our families and in the world.

It’s really not that hard to find a few minutes in the day to breath, to count our blessings, to say a short prayer for peace, to light a candle in remembrance of a loved one, to make time to listen to the needs of another, to lift someone’s spirits with a kind word or simple gesture. By doing these things we answer Francis’ call to bring a little peace to our world, our family and our own soul.

There is another Francis after whom our Pope is named – St. Francis of Assisi. This other Francis lived around 900 years ago and was famous for his love of nature, his love and devotion to God and his desire for peace in the world. He wrote a famous prayer for peace which I think sums up the intention of advent as we await the coming of Christ – Prince of Peace. I leave it with you as a little gift which you might pray in a moment of quiet amidst the noise of the pre-Christmas rush.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the family of Alec Laidlaw 11M2, Dominic Batten 8E5 and John Laidlaw (Class of 2015) whose maternal grandfather (Opa), Anthony Charles Hughes Dale, passed last week. May he rest in peace.


Mr Mark Murphy


The Resilience Project

November 26th, 2020

In our world today, we know that mental health is a critical component in the overall health of a young person. Unfortunately, we are seeing young people increasingly struggle in this area:

In 2021, Whitefriars College will enter a partnership with The Resilience Project in order to help students develop the skills, strategies and mindset so that their wellbeing and mental health can flourish. The Resilience Project is a Wellbeing Program with a rich curriculum based on 4 key themes: Gratitude, Empathy, Mindfulness and Emotional Literacy. Throughout the Whitefriars weekly Wellbeing Program, students will be taught to focus on the positive aspects of their lives with a spirit of being grateful. They will also learn to understand others, to feel and see what they do and practice being kind and compassionate to each other. The Resilience Project also teaches young people to be calm and present in any given moment and to understand their own emotions to better manage them.

This evidence-based program is an exciting new initiative so that we can continue our mission of creating gentle men who are compassionate, people of integrity and the best versions of themselves. As well as a weekly lesson delivered by Whitefriars staff, the program will also involve student, staff and parent presentations by Martin Heppell, a member of The Resilience Project Team, so that we are taking a whole school approach to wellbeing. The language and practices of gratitude, empathy, mindfulness and emotional literacy need to permeate all aspect of College life. Parents are also encouraged to be involved in this wellbeing journey and discuss and practice at home these key themes with their sons and with a rich source of information through the TRP@Home website. Further information regarding these presentations will be distributed at the beginning of the new academic year.

I wish all members of the Whitefriars family a safe, holy and enjoyable Christmas break; I thank you for your support and I look forward to the next chapter as we all share in the Whitefriars journey together.

Mr Mick Lafferty

Deputy Principal – Students



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