From the Principal – The power of contemplation

June 12th, 2021

Dear members of the Whitefriars College family,

For most in our community, the last couple of weeks has been a time of difficulty and stress, fuelled by the uncertainty of a pandemic which is as unpredictable and difficult to read for us as a swirling fluky wind is, for a player lining up for goal at the MCG! We all are looking for something solid to hang on to, something tangible, something which will give us comfort and strength that everything will be okay, that we will be okay, that the world will be okay – but where do we find such things?

Over the past couple of weeks, I have found cast iron certainty, firmness, and steadfastness in the staff of Whitefriars who, with great agility and resolve, have led our young men with positivity and perseverance. Who have used every ounce of their experience and expertise to engage, connect and inspire young men to learn. Not all the time, but enough of the time, to ensure that they maintain momentum and continuity in their learning.

I know that both our staff and our parents are doing all they can to keep the young minds and hearts of Whitefriars boy on track, but we can’t do everything. There must come a point where they take ownership, take the reins, and steer the ship. We know through experience that these times bring great opportunity for our young men to step up and take greater control of their learning and their lives.

We all know that there is one thing our young men do have absolute control over, as we all do; the freedom and control over how we choose to respond, our perspective. We could decide to see the opportunities around us, and the chances to improve and evolve our being, our lives, and the lives of people around us. We may not be able to change the world right now, but we can change the way we respond to it.

There are as many ways to achieve this as there are self help gurus who espouse it. I would like to present a slightly different view, a Carmelite view. There is a reason that the Carmelite Order has been around for over 800 year. They understand change and hardship and disruption and disaster better than most. Their secret is simply to be attentive to the present moment. To focus ourselves on where we are right now knowing that we cannot change the past nor predict the future.

Attentiveness to this presence has been the continual goal of the Carmelites. Carmelites first and foremost understand themselves to be a contemplative order. Whenever they attempted to define or redefine or reform themselves, particularly following a crisis, they claim contemplation as their primary activity and greatest priority. For the Carmelites, as for all people of faith, letting go of the past and not concerning ourselves too much with the future requires complete trust in God and in each other. The contemplative prayer of the Carmelites results in an ever-renewed appreciation for those with whom they live and for those whom they serve.

So, prayer or reflection, or mindfulness to the present moment or whatever you wish to call it, not only grounds us in the present but also helps us to appreciate and value those who live in the present moment with us. One of the greats of contemplation, St. Teresa of Avila tells us that Carmelite communities are meant to be communities of friends, who are friends with Jesus. She challenges us all that we…all must be friends, all must be loved, all must be held dear, all must be helped. That’s the power of living in the present moment, the power of contemplation. That’s Carmelite.

I look forward to seeing our students back on campus this Tuesday.

Mark Murphy, Principal

 

Vale Maureen and Leonard Ostrowski

On behalf of the Whitefriars College I wish to offer my deepest sympathies to Paul and Luke (Old Collegians) following the death of their parents Maureen and Leonard. The thoughts and prayer of our College community during this time of grief and loss.

Eternal rest grant unto Maureen and Leonard

And may perpetual light shine upon them

May they rest in peace

Amen

Serving Others in Need

June 11th, 2021

At Whitefriars, one of the statements in our Mission and values document reads, “This education aims to empower young men to live with integrity through experiences of community and prayer and through a sensitivity to justice.” To be a school of integrity, we must do what we say we will do – walk the talk. It is incumbent on us to provide our students with opportunities to serve others and know what it means to live a just life.

Each House at Whitefriars has taken on a charity of which they focus their efforts throughout the year to raise awareness of, and collect valuable funds, for. Doncare is a community service provider in the Manningham region who have supported people in the Manningham area who are experiencing crisis and disadvantage for over 50 years. Doncare has been the Corsini House Charity Partner for several years. Each year, the students of Corsini House offer ‘hands on’ practical support by working with the Kiwanis club. The Kiwanis club of Manningham have been working with Doncare to provide emergency personal packs to women who have to leave the family home because of domestic violence. Under the leadership of Tom Sykes (Corsini House Leader), Corsini House formed a partnership with the Kiwanis club to provide the resources for these packs and then put them together at the college. Corsini families collected a range of personal and hygiene items to go into these emergency bags and on Wednesday 19 May, the students spent the morning packing them and getting them ready for distribution.

At Whitefriars, we are committed to creating gentle men who help others in need, and this faith in action is a critical ingredient to this end. Thank you to all the Corsini families for their contributions, and to the boys who packed the emergency packs, well done! A final thank you goes to Mr Tom Sykes for his tremendous stewardship of this worthwhile program.

St Therese of Avila of Avila, Carmelite Saint, said it best:

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

 

Mick Lafferty

Deputy Principal – Students

CLC & WFC Pen Pal Project

June 11th, 2021

As part of preparing for the Catholic Ladies College and Whitefriars College Social Justice and Environment Community Partnership catch up, the students have become pen pals. The boys wrote a letter last month introducing themselves and explaining why they were part of the group, their passions and what they would like to achieve as a group. It was wonderful for the WFC boys to receive the letters from the CLC female students this week. Especially given the planned excursion for the boys to visit CLC to showcase the nesting box they built and were gifting to the College and how to compost activity was cancelled last minute due to the lockdown.

Miss Di Milta, the CLC Social Justice and Environment Coordinator wrote “Our group have united together to share their passions regarding the environment, equal rights, diversity and other global issues. The girls were so excited to receive their letters from you. We are super keen on uniting and sharing our passion for social justice and environment! We have attached re-usable cutlery to your letters as a reminder of how we have the individual power to contribute positively and to be responsible for our environment”.

The CLC student’s letters include:

“We can’t wait to meet Whitefriars and collaborate with you. We are interested in animals and especially endangered ones and want to work towards saving them and the environment. We can’t wait to meet you.” (Year 7)

“I hope I can learn new things co I can inspire others. I am passionate about sustainability in particular composting and plastic waste” (Year 8)

“Thank you for your letter. It is great to be partaking in this social justice program together and sharing our passions for the environment and other injustices. We think that focusing on gender equality is a great topic to be informed about and we would be onboard to hear about it from your perspective” (Year 9)

“I am a member of “Roots and Shoots” Victoria where we participate in beach clean-ups, sustainability workshops and a number of initiatives as part of the Jane Goodall Institution. It’s great to hear you are passionate about aquatic life and I’m sure thee are many projects we could work on to incorporate these interests.” (Year 12)

“I think the social justice and environment group can do a lot to promote better habits when it comes to recycling, picking up rubbish and composting etc. This also includes protecting endangered species like polar bears (my fav animal). I look forward to working with WFC.” (Year 12)

The group look forward to organising another excursion once lockdown restrictions lift where the students can meet in person, share their vision and plan projects for a socially just and healthy environment.

 

Jo Menzies

Sustainability and Environment Team Facilitator

 

Illuminate Challenge – Year 8

May 28th, 2021

The illuminate:nextgen Challenge over the last week has provided our Year 8 students with an is an exciting and immersive entrepreneur experience linked to the Victorian curriculum Business and Economics strands. The inquiry learning focus allowed our boys to step up and take control of their learning in all aspects of the project.

Students worked in small groups to communicate (speaking, writing and presentation skills), apply critical thinking, inquiry, digital & financial literacy, solve problems which takes into account creativity, problem solving and reflection, and develop skills in collaboration, organisation and perseverance.

COVID has created new opportunities for people to work differently in new and emerging industries so entrepreneurial skills will be important for our students as they embark on studies at the College and in courses beyond the school. It is using these skills that they can be motivated to make and difference and help others in the world.

 

Mark Ashmore

Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching

 

 

National Reconciliation Week

May 28th, 2021

An important week during the year is National Reconciliation Week (NRW). It is a time to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The College recognised National Reconciliation Week with a Reconciliation Week ceremony. The ceremony was linked to the ACC Sport fixtures for Football and Soccer and was celebrated by visiting teams from St Mary’s, Mazenod and St Bede’s. Our footballers wore our indigenous jumper on the day. Unfortunately, the scheduled luncheon celebration was not able to proceed due to COVID restrictions.

From Principal Mark Murphy’s Reconciliation Day speech:

“… In the short sixty-year history of our College, thousands of people have developed and maintained a strong connection to physical place and philosophical idea that is Whitefriars. Imagine then if you had a connection to a place going back not 60 years but 60,000 years! That is the period the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation have been connected to this same place.

During the summer months, over those thousands of years the Wurundjeri people would inhabit this area with its many significant sites. In winter they would move to the Dandenong Ranges for shelter and along the way, they would stop by the Bolin Bolin Billabong in Bulleen, to fish for eel or hunt for food. The Yarra and the Mullum Mullum are the centre of the traditional land and dreaming stories for the Wurundjeri people. For thousands of years the Wurundjeri nurtured and protected this land and its dreaming stories and in return enjoyed the highest standards of living, health, and wellbeing.

The Wurundjeri often hosted inter-tribal events that involved thousands of guests in this very area. The last of these, at Pound Bend, was held in Warrandyte in 1852. It was here the last inter-tribal game of Marngrook (the original of Australian Football) was played.

The connection of the Wurundjeri to this land was abruptly and thoughtlessly interrupted soon after this time when the Government of the day, withdrew Aboriginal people’s right to practice traditional life, relocating most of the tribe to the Coranderrk Aboriginal Mission in Healesville. From that day till this the Wurundjeri and the over 500 Indigenous nations around this continent have fought for recognition as first nations peoples of this country. They have fought for equality and to not have their children taken away. They have fought for the right to determine their own destiny, to vote, and most importantly to be recognised as the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand, Wurundjeri land.

As testament to the Wurundjeri connection to the land on which we stand recently, Yarra Valley Water conducted a heritage overlay of the section of the Mullum Mullum Creek which runs along the boundary of our property here at Whitefriars and discovered over 2,500 artifacts dating back thousands of years.

Today, at Whitefriars today we stand in solidarity with our indigenous brothers and sisters, we recognise and are sorry for the wrongs of the past committed by our ancestors and commit ourselves to righting these wrongs.

We are so blessed to have a school in one of the most beautiful and significant pieces of land in the land of the Wurundjeri. As we enter the gates of this incredible place let us remember those who came before us, who gathered here, learnt here and celebrated life here. Let us honour them by the way we respect and care for this place. For we too are just passing through, we too are visitors to this sacred land and therefore we too have a responsibility to care for this land, the land of the Wurundjeri.”

Mark Ashmore

Deputy Principal – Learning & Teaching

 

Jumper Image

The power of showing up

May 28th, 2021

Dear members of the Whitefriars Family,

When I was a young boy my parents ensured that their four sons received a rounded education. Part of that education entailed each of us attending piano lessons. Each week I would ride my bike to my lesson and wait for my turn. My music teacher seemed always to be running over time and I had to wait while the person before me finished their lesson. I didn’t mind though because the person before me was always a better player than I was and I loved to listen to them, dreaming that one day I might be able to be as good as they are. It meant that the person after me had to wait too. In speaking to my piano teacher many years later I discovered that she hadn’t run late with our lessons at all. Rather, she always saw that as a valuable part of our lesson we listen to the student before us, who was always a better player than we were, as a way of inspiring us to aspire to be better musicians.

That idea of inspiration leading to aspiration is a concept I witness often at Whitefriars. You only have to walk down the corridors of our STEM centre to see the faces and stories of past students who have gone on to achieve great things in their chosen fields of science and technology. Or you could enter our study hall after school and witness the engagement taking place between our Old Collegian tutors and our students who are in awe of their skill and knowledge and wish to be just like them when they leave school. Or just walk into a classroom at Whitefriars and observe passionate, committed teachers who understand how to engage boys in learning and who inspire in their students a lifelong love of learning.

I was inspired to write about this theme following several experiences I have had over the last couple of weeks. On Wednesday evening I attended the Debating Association of Victoria competition held at Tintern. The first debate I witnessed was between our Year 9/10 students and their counterparts from Yarra Valley Grammar. For one of the boys in our Whitefriars team it was his first debate and he acquitted himself very well, although he didn’t think so. Following his debate this same young man stayed to support our senior debaters as they also matched skill and wit with the students from Yarra Valley. This young man was in awe of the abilities of these more experienced students. After the debate our senior students spent time encouraging this young boy, suggesting that they had lacked confidence when they started debating and that through perseverance and training their skill and self-assuredness had grown.

I was also privileged to attend a breakfast organised by our Careers counsellors, Dean Notting and Anna Gasparini. This event provided an opportunity for boys and their parents to hear from former students who had chosen careers in the field of commerce. It was wonderful to hear from a number of Old Collegians at various stages in their careers, from university students to partners in firms, and to be inspired by their stories of resilience and determination as they aspired to be the best they can be in their chosen field.

As parents we too can inspire our children to aspire. Last week I attended our annual Year 8 Father son evening hosted by our good friend Bill Jennings from Time and Space. Over 80 boys accompanied by their father or significant mentor experienced an evening where each inspired the other. The formula for these evenings is a simple as it is powerful; to provide fathers/mentors and their sons an opportunity to spend time together and to grow in understanding and appreciation of each other. The impact of this evening can be far reaching as it opens the possibility for ongoing dialogue between father/mentor and son. It is evenings such as these that can inspire our boys to aspire through the building of their self-confidence and self-worth.

It does not necessarily take planned activities or events to inspire our young people to aspire. It can be as simple as an encouraging word, a smile, turning up when turning up was not expected or simply living the example of a good and just life which can be just as inspirational. The thing is we won’t always know when we will inspire or if we will hit the mark, all we can do is turn up and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. That’s a lot.

 

Mark Murphy

Principal

Student Voice and Agency

May 28th, 2021

In many ways, schools are about control. Teachers have twenty-five students in a classroom, and they need to ensure they are doing what they are told. Schools have rules to control the behaviour of students – albeit to ensure there is order, students are safe, and learning is occurring. Schools have leadership hierarchies designed to control the different areas of school life – learning, finance, behaviour, and faith to name a few.

I recently met with a group of Year 10 students to discuss uniform at the College. In particular, the summer uniform worn by Middle Years students including the open neck shirt and the tie worn by Senior students during the summer months. One would expect a barrage of ridiculous claims, cries of injustice and cynical jibes. I was met with quite the opposite – silence. I think they were surprised that I was asking for their opinion. Maybe it was my title as Deputy Principal – Students and the control I exert in this role which had them on the back foot or that they had never been asked for their opinion before in this context. However, once they warmed up, the boys were measured, articulate, and raised some very poignant suggestions.

While not new concepts in education, student voice and agency help to create the conditions for students to be engaged, connected, and empowered. “Student voice is not simply about giving students the opportunity to communicate ideas and opinions; it is about students having the power to influence change. Authentic student voice provides opportunities for students to collaborate and make decisions with adults… Student agency refers to the level of autonomy and power that a student experiences in the learning environment.” (Department of Education and Training, (2018) Amplify. Empowering Students through voice, agency and leadership)

I wonder how often we default to decisions as a school without consulting the most important stakeholders – the students? Student voice and agency can significantly empower students; it can ignite passions, help students feel connected and engaged in school life. Students feel important when they are asked their views, and this has an even greater impact when their views are heard and acted on.

At Whitefriars, we have developed greater student leadership opportunities at both the Senior and Middle Years. We have commissioned a Child Safety Team made up of several students and staff building a culture of protective participation with students. However, we need to continue to develop the culture of student voice and agency. The challenge is to have students actively participate alongside adults in the decision making of a school. Yes, there are times when adult school leaders must decide. However, I wonder the impact as we continue to consult with students and engage them in a participatory relationship rather than one of control. I am looking forward to continuing to empower students and walk with them on their journey at Whitefriars.

Mick Lafferty

Deputy Principal – Students

Star Wars, Books, Reading and Lego…Library News

May 28th, 2021

From a galaxy far far away…Star Wars was celebrated in the Shortis Library with a wonderful book selection, a display of student and staff Star Wars Lego creations, and a challenging quiz.

Congratulations to these students who placed in the competitions:

Nathan Freier, Year 11

Jamie Alder, Year 7

Daniel Williamson, Year 7

Matthew Haste, Year 7

Sebastian Van Dijk, Year 8

Keenan Pratt, Year 8

Dominic Bucknell, Year 12

Dirk Vermeulen, Year 8

 

Book Club, Chill & Read & Read a Million

Taking time to read and relax can be a challenge in our busy lives. Book Club and Chill & Read at lunchtimes in the Reading Room, offer an opportunity for the students to experience a comfortable, calming atmosphere, a snack and time to disconnect and escape into the wonderous worlds inside books.

After 7 weeks, all eight Houses are well and truly on the tally board for the Read a Million Words House Challenge. It’s a tight race, with many students receiving digital badges for their reading, creating book reviews for the library catalogue, and verifying their reading through interesting book chats.

More information is available on the Read a Million Guide

 

Lego Club

In just 20 minutes the builds created during Lego Club have been amazing. With challenges including, building a kitchen item so we could guess what it is, and making something you would see at the beach, the boys have used their imagination and innovation to think outsize the box, creating and sharing their very own master builds.

 

Contact Library:  librarystaff@whitefriars.vic.edu.au  Ph: 9872 8320

The Shortis Library Team

The Murder of Mr McSTEW

May 28th, 2021

On 19 May the STEW club gathered again to investigate a crime scene. The boys inspected the different elements of the crime and collected evidence to analyse. To analyse the evidence the boys used microscopes to identity what type of hair was present within the crime scene. The boys also examined the white power using various chemicals to determine its composition. Ultimately the had their own opinion on who killed Mr McStew.  Thank you to Mrs Upton for creating an interactive crime scene and for the teachers that supported this activity Mrs Carboon, Mr Berryman and Mrs Menzies.

Witton Liang, Science & Technology Captain

 

STEW Club – Fingerprinting

May 28th, 2021

On Wednesday 12 May, the STEW club met again, this time putting on our forensic gloves to investigate some of the different technique’s detectives use to solve crimes. In recent times the increased use of modern technology like DNA sequencing and fingerprinting have become ever more relevant in solving crimes. Looking at how the uniqueness of a fingerprint gives detectives the ability identify an specific individual, students undertook an activity inking their own fingerprints onto pieces of paper and trying to identify their specific patterns. Although there are only a few patterns of fingerprints we found that each pattern on each finger varied from slightly different to vastly different. We then moved on learning how to dust for fingerprints that may have been left behind at a crime scene. Spreading a thin layer of this dust over an area which we marked with our fingerprints we found that although originally invisible to the naked eye our fingerprints did show up when covered with this dust. Well done to all the detectives who came down!

Joshua Tapley, Science and Technologies Captain

 

STEW studies Lunar Eclipse

May 28th, 2021

On Wednesday 26 May, the STEW club met again, this time turning our eyes to the skies to learn about that night’s total lunar eclipse. For centuries people have turned to the skies to one of the most spectacular events. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon falls in the direct shadow of the earth causing it to darken before eventually turning a blood red. On Wednesday the moon turned this shade of red for a total of 14 minutes as it crossed behind the earth. Students learnt through a presentation led by myself and Mr Berryman about why this happens and about how the refraction of red light of the earth atmosphere that causes the moon to go a blood red. Through a demonstration involving a ball and the earth students saw how the earth can cast a shadow across the moon when directly behind it. Contrarily, students also discovered how the exact opposite can occur with the moon casting a shadow on the earth, when it crosses in front of the sun. Additionally, the club also had the opportunity to look at a variety of different photos of planets taken by myself. Students were able to get a close look of some of the planets including the giants, Jupiter and Saturn and the dusty red planet of Mars. Congratulations to all the students who came down and I hope you all got to see the eclipse.

Josh Tapley, Science and Technologies Captain

 

Josh’s pictures:

Eclipse

Jupiter

Mars

 

Callum and Ashley – Orienteering Champs!

May 28th, 2021

Congratulations to Callum White and Ashley White who represented Whitefriars in the Victorian Secondary Schools Orienteering Championships on the weekend. The sun held out, and the courses were challenging that made good use of the Hawkstowe Park area. Both ran very well in their age groups with Ashley finishing 4th in the U/14 age group and Callum winning the U/17 age group. Well done boys.

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