Re-framing and overcoming adversity

August 20th, 2020

With remote learning comes many curriculum challenges, none more difficult than trying to run a sports program and keeping a group of active, sport-loving boys engaged. Our intrepid Sport Department, led by Mr Kristan Height and Ms Ali Rock put together a suite of elite guest presenters to help our young men stay connected and while not being able to do what they love, still learn about how sport mirrors life and how to approach challenges from those who have experienced success and fulfilment in their lives. They include:

Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to Australia’s most decorated basketballer, Andrew Gaze, speak to our Year 9 and 10 ACC teams. Andrew is a 5-time Olympian, NBL Championship winner with the Melbourne Tigers and NBA Championship winner with the San Antonio Spurs. One of his messages to the boys focussed on adversity. He stated that getting through adversity makes the outcome much more rewarding. He spoke about his team’s 1997 NBL season. In the first 12 matches, they had only won 3 and as a team they were facing significant adversity. They ended up winning the championship that year and as you could imagine, the reward became so much more meaningful for the team. The choices they made led to the ultimate reward.  He also spoke about how important it is to find something positive in every situation. You might need to search for it, but it is there. This is a really important lesson which is designed to re-frame a person’s thinking. Rather than dwelling on what we don’t have, can’t do or struggle with, we can look at what we do have and what we can do.

We are facing significant adversity at the moment – at times it may appear insurmountable, like a 3-9 start to the season. The actual situation is beyond our control; the choices we make about how we respond are not.

Please stay safe and with the right mindset, much can be overcome.

Mick Lafferty

Deputy Principal – Students

 

ACC Open Chess Tournament

August 20th, 2020

On Thursday 20 August, seven other boys and I went online for our third Online Interschool Chess event, the ACC tournament.

After the first competition, all returning players were used to the online system, while others still needed to get used to it. That didn’t stop us though, as we worked together to make sure we were ready to do the best we could.

After a quick introduction and reminder of the way the day would go – we would play seven matches against people from other schools, each round playing someone doing about as well as us – we were ready for our first games. We talked to each other all day and created a positive atmosphere, enjoying the wins while learning from the losses. The seven games were over in no time at all, with 62 people and 10 schools participating in division 2.

Going into the last round, we were tied for first. In the end, it came down to a single match between us and the other winning team, unfortunately, our player ended up losing the game, but we still finished in second, one point behind the eventual winners, Emmanuel (St Paul’s).

Despite the loss, we all gave a big effort and had a great time, and everyone was somewhat successful with at least 3 wins, with Jacob Sanderson winning all seven of his games.

After the tournament ended, we went back to our school work.

A massive thank you to Ms Powling for organising our place in the competition, providing us with resources to continue to practice chess while Chess Club cannot meet, and keeping us up-to-date while the technical difficulties persisted.

If you want to participate in chess this year, there will be more online competitions later in the year, including another ACC competition. Websites such as chess and lichess are available 24/7 for you to play against other people or challenge your friends to help you improve your skills. If you want to improve your strategy and tactics, you can try: ideachess or chesstempo

Hayden Menzies

 

Reading Millions

August 20th, 2020

It was wonderful to celebrate online with the Read a Million Words House Challenge participants this week. The 2020 challenge was run largely remotely, as it was both launched and concluded during the first and second Home Learning Programs respectively. Students should be very proud of their outstanding reading efforts as well as rising to the added challenges of verifying their reading in a virtual manner. Their book reviews are being shared with the Whitefriars community, encouraging other students to read the books they have recommended.

In particular, a fantastic achievement was the number of words read by all participants – staff and students – across all houses, which has doubled from the previous year: 104,146,768 million words!

A number of students set a personal goal to read 1-5 books, some many more.  Congratulations to all student and staff participants who met or exceeded their reading goals, as well as to the following award winners:

Most Words Read:

Well done to these Year 7 students too, for reading the most in their English classes:

A special message from international award-winning author James Phelan concluded the celebration. We look forward to James running writing workshops for Whitefriars College during our upcoming Book Week.

 

Mrs Jenny Corbin                                        Mrs Cass Andison

Learning Leader – Library                          Teacher Librarian

 

Student quotes:

“I’m so happy that I read three times as many words as last year!” (Year 8 Avila student)

“Because of the Read a Million, I got to discover the world of books and the magic of the stories.” (Year 7 Mantua student)

“I liked participating in the Read a Million because it allowed me to read new books from new authors…” (Year 7 Trinity student)

“Because of the Read a Million I have new ideas of stories I would like to write or to adapt/create as a film.” (Year 9 Lisieux student)

“Because of the Read a Million, I read a non-school book, which I have not done for a while.” (Year 8 Corsini student)

“The Read a Million is fun to do as it gets points for the house, especially this year with the swimming carnival and other house events not happening.” (Year 12 Corsini student)

“I liked participating in the Read a Million because I simply just love reading.” (Year 7 Brandsma student)

“Read a Million it encouraged me to read more books.” (Year 8 Avila student)

“Because of the Read A Million I have developed a much greater love for books and so I spend a lot of my spare time reading.” (Year 7 Lisieux student)

“I liked participating in the Read a Million because it gave me a chance to read a book that I kept putting off!” (Year 7 Soreth student)

“Because of Read a Million I had the motivation to read an entire series of books.” (Year 8 Lisieux student)

 

Dathen

James

 

Noah

Winton

 

James

 

 

Energy Saving Tips

August 20th, 2020

‘Fight for Planet A’ is an ABC series (Tuesday 8.30pm) showcasing practical advice to households and businesses on addressing sustainability issues. Liam Taylor from Planet Ark recently stated, Australians are the worst performers globally in terms of per capita carbon emissions. This is driven by the proportion of fossil-fuel fired energy in our electricity mix, with coal-fired power still making up almost 60% of total electricity generation. Put simply, this can’t continue if emissions are to be lowered.”

The Whitefriars Sustainability and Environment Team are continually focussing on ways to reduce the College footprint. 2020 was the year to focus on College energy usage. Sustainability Victoria has set a benchmark that each student should use 400 kWh of energy per year. In 2019, Whitefriars College each student was using 563.73 KWh of energy, which is above the Victorian benchmark. Although the higher energy usage can be contributed to the new Science and Tech building, the College has been implementing energy saving initiatives over the years. These include; Lead2Sustain Conference, where Whitefriars students teach primary aged students about renewable energy, replacing Fluro lights with LED lights, solar panels, power saving printers, sensor lighting and heating in SandT building, replacing old heater and coolers to more efficient units, higher star rating appliances, planting trees near buildings for shade and encouraging staff to turn off heaters/cooling and lights in classrooms when leaving.  The Home Learning Program will see a temporary drop in energy usage, however long-term energy usage considerations need to developed and implemented.

So what actions can we take at the College and home to reduce the emissions footprint generated by our electricity usage and make significant savings? Planet Ark has come up with the following tips:

  1. Reduce consumption
  1. Look to renewables
  1. Offsetting

Tune in to ABC next Tuesday at 8.30pm for the next instalment of ‘Fight for Planet A’ or visit http://planetark.org for more resource saving tips and sustainable resources.

 

More for Men’s Health – SRC Week 2020

August 17th, 2020

Unhindered by a global pandemic, the students of Whitefriars celebrated their annual SRC Week in early August, albeit a little differently this year.

The SRC unanimously decided to make the theme of the week Men’s Health and shaped all communications and competitions around this vital and timely topic. Daily emails were written by Wellbeing Captains Will Hardiman and Josh Barnard. These contained a daily app recommendation, Men’s Health Competition and health tips. In a bid to raise spirits, take care of mental health and improve learning at home; students were reminded of the importance of eating healthily, getting enough quality sleep, staying connected with mates and spending time in the sun doing their daily exercise.

These messages were echoed by the challenges which saw students competing for five coveted Rebel Sport gift vouchers. The challenges included Whitefriars Masterchef, Best Trickshot, Pet Parade, Exercise in COVID and a photography competition with the theme “What does men’s health mean to you?”

The entries came flooding in, highlighting the range of students we have getting creative in the kitchen, being active in the great outdoors, showing off a menagerie of pets and nailing the perfect trick shot. The first try every time, of course.  Congratulations to the winning students James Palumbo, Jacob Reginato, Cameron Ellis, Luke Hall and Matt and Phil Deane who are now the proud custodians of the Rebel Vouchers.

To finish off a fabulous week and to pay homage to the traditional Lip Sync Battle that was unable to occur; the staff of Whitefriars banded together to create a fabulous rendition of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. The video reminded everyone to find the fun in every day and how wonderful it is to be a part of our vibrant community. A big thankyou to the senior students for facilitating this video and to the staff who volunteered to be in it.

 

Miss Kelly Hoinville

Coordinator – Student Activities

 

 

Friday concerts launch!

August 17th, 2020

2020 was not the year any of us were expecting!

All our Concerts, Soirees, Eisteddfods and Festivals cancelled due to the Covid 19 epidemic.

Despite this major setback, our boys have been working hard in their zoom lessons and have an extensive range of repertoire but nowhere to perform!

To celebrate their work and commitment to music, we will be holding a Zoom concert at 1-30pm – 2pm every Friday.

Different boys will perform each week and our wonderful music captains will be hosting the event!

If you would like to support our very talented boys and listen to some virtual music we would love you to join us. Ask your son for details.

Communication and Listening

August 6th, 2020

In these extraordinary times of isolation, every parents fear is ‘How will my child cope and how can I help them?’ With unprecedented pressure being placed on the family, there are ways we can all support our children and come out of this crisis more resilient and with a greater sense of connection in the family unit. To flip this situation, think about the opportunity we all have to connect with our kids – a gift in the mayhem of this crazy world. From my experience as an educator of adolescent boys for twenty-four years and being a parent, I believe having a plan is one of the keys to steering our children through this.

Communication and listening are crucial – make some time during your day to open up a conversation about how your son is feeling. Sounds easy… Not! I know that one of the challenges of adolescence is that it comes with a new language – the grunt, particular for boys.

“How was your day?”

“Grunt”

“What did you do at school today?”

“Grunt”

This is a very common script – trust me, I was a teenage boy and I perfected this new dialect. Ask questions which are ‘easy’ to answer. “If you had to rate your day out of 10, 10 being great and 1 being miserable, how would you rate it?” This number will give you something to work with. Share your rating, how you are feeling, what you are afraid of and what made you feel this way. By doing this, you are modelling how to answer these questions. The reality is, sometimes boys just don’t know what to say. “Mine was a 3 because I had five clients contact me to complain that their orders hadn’t arrived. I got so angry I threw my mobile phone across the room. Did anything make you get angry/sad/frustrated/happy today?” Ask questions that elicit emotions through describing behaviour to help your son express how he is feeling. Ask them their opinion about what is happening at the moment – don’t be afraid to go there. Uncertainty is a factor which makes young people feel unsafe.

I know this all sounds great in theory and the reality might be very different, but persist – communication and listening are keys. As a father, I have learnt that you don’t need to solve every problem and often your child doesn’t want you to – but listening can have a powerful impact. Who knows, maybe they might come to you when they’re feeling down, if they know you will be there to listen.

One strategy to elicit more than the grunt, is pair this conversation with ‘doing something’. It might be making your son lunch, playing basketball in the backyard or dare I suggest it, play a video game with him. Looking silly trying to play Fortnite or missing the hoop altogether, might help him drop his guard. I think boys are more likely to open up when they are active.

Below is a link to a short video by clinical psychologist, Andrew Fuller, with his Big 3 for parents with school-aged children at home.

Mr Mick Lafferty
Deputy Principal – Students

From the Principal – Dance with God

August 5th, 2020

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

Sometimes in moments of difficulty and challenge, the light of inspiration can shine on us and change the whole complexion of our view of the world. For me this week, that light took the form of a reflection provided by the great Whitefriars man, Neal Crossan, at our weekly Leadership Team meeting.

The reflection comes from the spiritual writer Joyce Rupp, inspired by American Theologian, Thomas Merton. Joyce’s focus is on one of Merton’s journal notations. Merton writes that we are always thinking that our life will be truly happy “when”. We are never satisfied with our life because we have it in our heads that we won’t be happy until something else occurs.

When I have one more thing I want

When I can have life the way I have always dreamed it would be

When I am truly successful

When this pandemic end

When when when

 

Rupp writes that waiting for the when keeps me from appreciating what I have now. Longing for something is not harmful as long as the present moment is not overlooked, as long as gratitude arises from what is already here.

For the rest of the week, I decided I would put aside my When this happens and my If only this could be and my When things get better. In the words of Rupp said farewell to my “when” and be thankful for what is. A pretty tough ask especially during this time.

Can I tell you in doing so, I discovered many examples of people doing just that at Whitefriars.

The week started with Trent Collins, providing upbeat music as our boys wondered down the driveway to begin their day. I watched and heard about many zoom classes where teachers are developing creative and thoughtful ways of bringing joy to zoom classes like Tracey Langer’s Year 7 music class. Recognising how difficult it is to teach remotely to boys, whom she has not met and who hardly knew each other, Tracey asked the boys to introduce their unusual menagerie of pets to the class. Then they sang together, participated in a fun kahoot and laughed a lot. I know that is just one example of the many creative opportunities our staff are finding to lift the boy’s spirits (and their own) in the Home Learning Program.

Last week too, our Pastoral Care team put on the first of a series of House lunches for our Year 12 students. The act of sharing a simple meal together, suitably distanced of course, was a powerful opportunity for the boys to show solidarity and support for each other and their pastoral teachers.

On Friday, Nicole Ross and the Soreth Leaders, House Captain Jack Gurrie and House Vice-Captain Matt Leeson, presented an innovative way of celebrating their House Feast Day. This took the form of a “House Zoom” hosted by Jack and Matt. The celebration provided an opportunity to pray together, to recognise the efforts and achievements of the House as a whole, as well as individual student accomplishments. The students then participated in a “General knowledge Soreth Kahoot” and a trick shot video competition.

On Friday, Jo Menzies and our passionate and committed Sustainability and Environment Group led by Max Tyler and Tom Fazackerley, supported by Scott Firmin, reminded us all of our responsibility to support our fragile environment, through our celebration of National Tree Planting Day. It was great for all of us to get our hands dirty as we planted indigenous native plants in the garden outside the Science and Technology centre.

On Wednesday morning, I attended our weekly liturgy. What a gift this weekly reflective opportunity is for all in the Whitefriars community. For me, it provides an opportunity to stop, to breath and to receive a bit of spiritual nourishment surrounded by other members of our community. Last week we were blessed to be led in prayer by our Liturgy Captain and Vice-Captain, Luke Harford and Zane O’Neill. These fine young gentlemen of Whitefriars, led us through a reflection, where we were challenged to reflect on the struggles and challenges of life and our relationship with God. They reminded us that sometimes, we struggle and wrestle with God, with faith, with life and other times we Dance with God. Most of the time, I think it is both at once.

All of these examples, have been a gift to our community this past week. Each one has, for the briefest of moments, assisted us in forgetting about the masks, the isolation, the sadness and the anxiety and lifted us into a place of light and joy. To shift our focus from the “when” and be thankful for what is. To Dance with God amidst the struggles of life.

I leave you with some words from the American Author on all things spiritual, Donald Miller.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

 

Mr Mark Murphy

Principal

 

“Life is a dance toward God, I began to think. And the dance is not so graceful as we might want. While we glide and swing out practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes. So, we learn to dance with the One who made us. And it is a difficult dance to learn, because its steps are foreign.”

― Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road

 

Term 3 Transition Report

August 5th, 2020

Term 3 this year looks very different for all of us and our Transition Program has been adjusted to work in with our current remote learning situation. Usually during Term 3, I would be out and about visiting all our feeder primary schools, meeting with both the Year 6 boys enrolled into Year 7 for 2021, and their Year 6 teachers. I am certainly missing these face to face interactions but I am enjoying getting to know our incoming boys in a new way.

Small group zoom meetings with boys and a parent have become the new norm and I have found out that we have lots of super sporty boys starting next year along with a number of maths and writing enthusiasts. On a slightly worrying note, I have discovered we have lots of Richmond supporters, which is something I think we need to review, given that’s not my AFL team?!

I have, and will continue to, meet with Year 6 teachers via different online platforms and have been amazed at the power of work they are doing with their Year 6 students. I am hearing of many schools running daily online morning teaching sessions and afternoon check in sessions, with lots of small group opportunities throughout the day. All this while these teachers manage their own families and circumstances and I am truly appreciative of their fantastic efforts.

To our Year 6 parents, thank you for your continued support of your sons through these challenging circumstances, and I encourage you to look for the positives in the unique relationship remote learning brings. Please know that moving into Year 7 we will be able to monitor and adjust our teaching and learning to ensure everyone is well catered for and successfully progresses.

I hope everyone stays home, says safe and I look forward to meeting the rest of our 2021 Year 7 boys throughout the term.

 

Tamara Keyes

Transition Coordinator

Support our students: JLJ Podcast

August 5th, 2020

JLJ Podcast was established on 16 May 2020 by three Year 12 students. The name, ‘JLJ’, comes from a combination our first-names, and our channel can be found on YouTube at “JLJ Podcast”. During our hour-long, family-friendly podcast, we have a conversation about sport related topics such as the AFL, Premier League and A-League. We also love to involve all of our friends as guests. We regularly respond to questions, feedback and other talking points raised in the media and surrounding platforms.

Why did we start the podcast?

During the lockdown, due to Covid-19, we began to have heated debates and discussions about various sports within our friendship group. It was at this moment we decided to start our podcast, to simply discuss our love of sport. We thought “why not create a podcast to showcase some of the passionate debates?”. We decided to turn our idea into reality when we recorded our first online podcast to be uploaded to our YouTube channel, “JLJ Podcast”.

The future of the JLJ Podcast

Our first ever celebrity guest was AFL player, Dan Butler. On 25 June, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview the current St Kilda player and 2017 Richmond Premiership player. We discussed his journey to the AFL, the AFL itself and we prepared questions for him to gain an insight to daily life as an AFL player.

This experience was very exciting for us. We are very grateful to Dan for coming onto our podcast. We are also currently in discussion with other professional athletes from various sports to hopefully broaden our knowledge of the sports industry, and give our listeners an insight in to the life of other professional athletes. We hope to expand our brand into a podcast that the mainstream media pays attention to and is recognised by the AFL.

By Jackson Emery, Josh Vankuyk and Lachie Mathewson

National Tree Planting Day

August 5th, 2020

Last Friday, students were encouraged to pause and take a look at a tree in their garden or within the grounds in honour of National Tree Planting Day. Trees provide us with oxygen, improve soil quality, capture carbon dioxide, help us save on our energy bills, capture rainwater, improve mental health, create jobs, increase business, provide habitats to fauna and just look fantastic!

The Sustainability and Environment Team appreciated the efforts of students and staff on last Friday’s National Tree Planting Day. Thank you Max and Tom for rallying the College Captains and staff to commit to this important annual event. Thank you to Mr Murphy, Mr Vujcich and Mr Lafferty for taking time out of their day to model sustainable action and support Max and Tom’s passion. Thank you to Mr Berryman for the footage and finally, a big thank you to Mr Firmin who was able to organise and instruct the planting activity.

The Sustainability and Environment Team, invites you to send a photo of your favourite tree or an interesting tree you have visited on travels. Has it been weird, huge, majestic, a great climbing tree or culturally significant or home to an exotic animal?

One of my favourite trees is Victoria’s largest tree, the Ada Tree in Warburton? Incredible and only up the road! When you can travel, it’s worth a visit. https://www.thehikingsociety.com.au/2018/02/11/the-ada-tree-walk-warburton/

Send your tree photos to jmenzies@whitefriars.vic.edu.au

From the Principal – The Challenge

July 24th, 2020

Dear members of the Whitefriars College Family,

It is great to welcome you all back for the start of another term at Whitefriars. Last Monday I wrote to our staff expressing my concerns and apprehensions about what we were coming back to. I told them that… there was a moment when I despaired at what may lay ahead for us this term. No amount of positive platitudes or mindset is going to change the fact that there will be many challenges ahead. But then I lifted myself out of my malaise when I thought about the opportunity we have to bring a little light and comfort to the young men and broader community we serve. I genuinely could not think of a better place to be right now, doing the work that we have been called to do. And this is true! It is true because I have come to know in a short period of time the passion, dedication, generosity and thoughtfulness of our staff, founded on a firm desire to serve the needs of the young men of our College within our Catholic Carmelite context.

Like all of us, our staff are human beings who have their own struggles and hurdles to overcome. Family and personal circumstances are real for all of us, at the best of times. These circumstances are amplified by the strange conditions in which we find ourselves. Each of us has to try to find ways of reconciling our personal needs and the broader needs of those around us, which is easier said than done. That is the tension for all of us – staff, parents, students and even Principals.

For each of us in the Whitefriars family, there is great opportunity in the midst of this challenging time. The opportunity to do what we can to support each other. To offer understanding and empathy and acknowledgement of the individual circumstances and views of each member of this community. To reflect on how each of us can play a significant part in keeping our community safe. To reach out in solidarity and support of each other in and beyond our community. At this time more than ever we need to be patient with each other, accepting of each other and understanding of each other as Mary was.

Speaking of Mary, last week we celebrated the Feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Some may say that there is little to celebrate in the world at the moment. I believe though that this is the perfect time to give thanks to Mary for the ultimate example she is to us, about how to live fully in these difficult times. Last week, to mark this significant occasion, we were blessed to receive a video message from the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, Fr Miceal O’Neill.

Fr Miceal told us that Mary was the perfect model as to how we should live in these times of challenge. He said that Mary was a contemplative prayerful person who pondered all things that were happening in her world and instead of despairing she made the decision to take them into her heart and bring light and love to the world. Mary reminds us of the need to stop, to ponder, to contemplate, to pray and try to make sense and meaning of what is going on around us. Mary too was a woman of strength and of action. A person who would take a leap of faith not knowing what was to come, who would drop everything to be with another in need of support and comfort and who would stand firm at the foot of the cross in love and solidarity for her dying son.

This is a tough ask, in a time when our human nature is driving us towards a focus on the self rather than the other – just look at the supermarket shelves! These are extraordinary times, so what better time than this to be extraordinary, to be like Mary.

Lastly, on behalf of the Whitefriars community, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Hammerton family (James, Year 8) following the passing of James’ grandfather Denis, after a long battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hammerton family at this time of sadness.

Mr Mark Murphy

Principal

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