Why is Reading Important?

May 17th, 2019

Almost half (46%) of Australians over 15 years old lack the literacy skills they need to meet the demands of everyday life and work.

75% of employers reported that their business was affected by low levels of literacy and numeracy (National Workforce Literacy Project).

Literacy, particularly reading, is an important foundation for success in school and life. An individual’s literacy affects their opportunities in life for education, employment, income and wellbeing. Lacking literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school. As a young adult they will not be able to access a job. As a parent they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning. People with low literacy skills may not be able to read a book or newspaper, understand road signs or price labels, make sense of a bus or train timetable, fill out a form, read instructions on medicines or use the internet.

Reading has the following benefits:

With the rise of games, apps and YouTube, fewer kids are reading in their spare time. Secondary school students, and boys in particular, are less likely to feel that reading is ‘cool’. Some boys can be embarrassed if their friends saw them reading. It is a shame considering the benefits of frequent reading from a young age.

The College recently redeveloped the Shortis Library, with the installation of a dedicated Reading Room. The boys are coming in their own time and in class to utilise the space for reading. It is important that reading is promoted and encouraged.

Students have made an enthusiastic start to the Read a Million Words House Reading Challenge, adding ‘words’ read in the holidays to the tallies. House tallies are displayed in the Shortis Library. Bonus points can be earned by writing reviews for the library catalogue and library blog. Book chats are occurring where students verify their reading and share thoughts on authors, titles and stories – this is also encouraged at home to continue the appreciation of stories and books. Congratulations to the following students who won prizes at the challenge launch:

Parents are welcome to contact the Shortis Library for more information.

The Library and English Learning Areas are using Wider Reading sessions. In May the theme, “Mostly not squashed May – Stories make us determined”, is helping our boys share their reading experiences. Parents discussing the text and your own reading habits can benefit on your son’s reading.

House Cross Country

May 17th, 2019

The end of Term 1 had an exciting and energetic feel about it with the House Cross Country taking place for all Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students. With a brand new 3km course on show, students were eager to see the track and how they could perform in a bid to earn House points for the Annual House Cross Country. The race began on the main oval with students working hard to find positions early. It wasn’t long until the course led students down to the Mullum Mullum Track where they found themselves immersed in the stunning local environment that surrounds the border of the College. It was extremely pleasing to see students keen to participate and positively involve themselves in the event. Whether it was students running hard for a personal best, a jog with some mates or a recreational walk amongst the natural scenery, all students that participated should be commended on their efforts and House spirit. Congratulations to the Year level winners and place holders that completed the course with close finishes and fantastic times.

Congratulations to the following students who were victorious in the House Cross Country carnival today.

Year 9

Noah Wright – 11.16 Brandsma

Lachie O’Connel – 11.21 Avila

Callum White – 11.29 Corsini

Year 10

Max Hartnett 10.38 Soreth

Tom Sonderhiff 11.00 Stein

Jack Hartnett 11.04 Soreth


U/16 and U/18 NAB League squads

May 17th, 2019

Congratulations to the following Whitefriars students who have been successfully chosen in their respective U/16 and U/18 NAB League squads.

Maths Week 2019 – Theme: Digital Technologies

May 17th, 2019

Last week the Mathematics Faculty celebrated Maths Week. This year’s theme was ‘Digital Technologies’.

Activities ranged from an interactive workshop on ‘Engineering Innovation Challenge’ to the inaugural Kahoot Battle of the Houses. This year introduced a daily challenge which was a big success with an average of 300 responses per day.

Highlights included a visit from Swinburne University with some exciting engineering-based challenges, Ethan Wu is our Tetris champion and our Specialist Maths teams defended as our most talented mathematicians.

The activities were extremely well supported by students. Success of Maths Week is a team effort with special mention to Mr Paul Garriga, Ms Samantha Riddle and Timothy Abrahams (Maths Captain) for organising the various activities.


OVERALL CHAMPIONS – Corsini – Jayden Bardrick (11), David Ghaly (9) and Josh Wagner (10)

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence

May 17th, 2019

Friday 15 March was the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. As a College developing gentle men, we take this issue very seriously and the College Captains and Wellbeing Captains got together to develop a whole school response to this issue. They began with developing a video for the College community titled ‘Call it out, so we can cut it out’. This video was shown to all students in their Pastoral Care groups on Wednesday 13 March. The aim of this video was to bring to the attention of the community, especially the students, that it is everyone’s responsibility to play a role in creating a bully-free environment at Whitefriars College and that being a bystander is not acceptable.

Here is a link to the video: youtube

The second activity the students planned, which occurred on Thursday 14 March, was to ask each Pastoral Care class to come up with a pledge statement about how to create a bully-free environment. The purpose of this activity was to engage all students in developing an anti-bullying charter, a commitment to zero tolerance of bullying in our community. The penultimate activity was a lesson created by the student leaders for the Wellbeing classroom on Friday 15 March exploring different examples of bullying and how to respond if these situations were to arise. Finally, the day culminated in a BBQ lunch.

I would like to thank Student Activities Coordinator, Kelly Hoinville, College Captains, Nicholas Beltrami, Alex Vander and Ronan Oppy as well as Wellbeing Captains Matthew Tapley and Jonathan Bingley for their hard work and initiative in planning this very important student-led response to bullying. Also, a thank you to Pastoral Care Teachers who supported the students in these activities throughout the week.

International Women’s Day

May 17th, 2019

Friday 8 March was International Women’s Day. The theme of the day was Balance for Better. Whitefriars students hosted a lunch for all female staff to mark this special occasion. It was an opportunity for the College to acknowledge the special role women play in our school and the importance for our boys to realise that gender equality is a critical issue around the world. Social Justice Captain, Joel Duggan addressed the gathering and below is an excerpt from his speech:

We are gathered here today for an important purpose. In an environment dominated such as it is by men and masculine attitudes, it is quite rare that we collectively reflect on women and what they contribute to our community. Whether it be as teachers, as canteen workers, as support staff, as receptionists, as administrators, or any other of the numerous roles that they play, each is a vital cog in the Whitefriars machine. Hence why it is so apt and so necessary that we dedicate some time each year – on International Women’s Day – to acknowledge this simple, yet often overlooked, fact.

At this lunch, students served food to the female staff members as a symbol of their appreciation of all the work they do for them at the College. Thank you to Joel Duggan, Jonathan Bingley and Matthew Tapley for their work in bringing students together in an act of service and appreciation.

Victorian Young Leaders to China

April 12th, 2019

Eight students are currently in China as part of the Victorian Young Leaders to China program. The VYLC program is a six week in-country immersion program for Year 9 students, designed to prepare them to live and work as citizens and future leaders in an inter-connected global community. It is an opportunity for students to live in and attend school in China. Combining language and cultural learning with personal development and leadership skills, it focuses on one of Australia’s main trading partners, China.

“Since coming to China for the VYLC program, we have shared in and immersed ourselves in the culture, language and food of the nation. We have visited the giant Buddha statue and have seen the ancient irrigation system, which has provided us with a better understanding of China’s history and religion. We have also visited the giant pandas, an icon in Chengdu. We have indulged in Chengdu’s spicy cuisine, particularly the hot pot, which we have all enjoyed immensely. We have had many language classes and cultural lectures, which have expanded our vocabularies and our minds to China’s century-old traditions and belief systems. This trip has also allowed us to take bigger leadership positions among our piers, has helped us step up to responsibility and made us function and live independently. We have all enjoyed our experience so far, and we eagerly await the next part in our journey.”
Jack Mow and Anthony Prestia (Year 9)

2019 Opening Mass Photographs

March 4th, 2019

Our Whitefriars Opening School Year Mass was held on Tuesday 19 February at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Following the Mass, the College welcomed back members of the 2018 Year 12 group and their families, and the High Achievers were appropriately recognised for the efforts that culminated in their academic excellence.

The investiture of our new staff and 2019 Student Leaders also took place during the celebration.

2019 College Opening Mass photographs

2019 ACC Swimming Championship photographs

February 25th, 2019

On Friday night, the Whitefriars Swimming team headed to MSAC, determined to reclaim the shield for 2019. The ACC swim squad has been in full training since term 4 2018 and Coaches Bob and Clare (were confident of a good showing. Captains Marcos Agnos, Will Campbell and Justin Botha led the team well, ensuring that the squad was fully prepared.

After a strong showing throughout the night, as represented in the table below winning 18 events, Whitefriars was in contention to achieve their goal. The reigning champions, De La Salle, were also showing much promise, and ultimately were announced as the winners of the evening leaving the Whitefriars team in 2nd place by only 2.5 points.

There were many contributors throughout the evening (team listed below) and all the boys really put in a lot of effort for the Whitefriars team. Evan Chee was a standout in the U/15 age group winning 5 events where he broke 3 ACC records. Aiden Gleeson was another standout performer in the U/16 age group where he won 4 individual events.

A huge thank you must go to the Swim captains and coaches, Marcus, Will, Justin, Mr Cotter and Mr Legge for all of their hard work over the past 2 terms preparing and coordinating the Swim team. Work is already underway preparing for the 2020 Carnival where we will hopefully see the Whitefriars boys bring the shield back where it belongs.

2019 ACC Swim Championships


Walkathon raises $26,000

November 19th, 2018

Whitefriars’ Walk for Timor-Leste 2018 generated over $26,000. What this means in practical terms for the people of Timor-Leste is a means to open opportunities in their futures. A large portion of the money raised this year will help fund the Carmelite Scholarship Program. This program enables Timorese males and females to receive an education they would not otherwise receive, due to the poverty of their families.

Right now, there are twenty-six people benefiting from the program. Of these, fourteen are undertaking undergraduate degrees at university and the remaining twelve are completing high school. The students at university are enrolled in the following degrees:

In a country, where only about 36% of the population gets any education, a university education allows these students to make major changes in Timor-Leste. Other money from the walk will sponsor programs such as Days for Girls and to supply educational materials for the Student-Staff Immersion Program.

We asked our students to get five $5.00 donations. Thanks to the students who did so and those who went beyond the $25. As an educational instruction, many of our students accept education as a given. Parents and others make sure bills are paid so that our students can enjoy the benefits from the learning. Few, probably, reflect on what it would be like not to have an education. Unfortunately, the reverse is true in Timor-Leste. Most children do not receive any education. One of the lessons learned from our students who have gone to Timor-Leste with the Immersion Program in June is the energy and enthusiasm the Timorese students put into learning. The Timorese see education as a means to improve. These students view education not as a given, but a privilege. Our returning students often reflect on how lucky we are to live in Australia and the education we receive.

Thanks, once again, for those who are making a difference to the Timorese future.

3rd place in ACC Junior Golf Tournament

November 19th, 2018

At the start of this week, our Golf Team went to Northern Golf Club to play in Division 1 of the ACC Junior Golf Tournament. The Junior Tournament is for players from Year 10 and below and we formed a strong team of students from Years 8 to 10.

In warm but very windy conditions, our golfers played really well to finish in 3rd place overall. We were just 4 strokes behind 2nd place and only 18 strokes behind the Division 1 winners, De La Salle.

Our best round was shot by Jack Perrin of Year 8 with 83. Blake Ritchie of Year 10 scored 84, Lochie O’Connell of Year 8 shot 90 and our best 4 scores were rounded off by Jack Knight of Year 9 with 93. Well done also to Jordan Goss and debutants Alex Dunmill, James Doran and Hayden Moulder.

That’s all for the golf tournaments for 2018 – so my best wishes to new Golf Captain for 2019, Conor O’Farrell. We hope that all golfers can get plenty of rounds in over the summer and polish up their games ready for our Year Level
Tournaments early in 2019.

Marcus Raptopoulos, Golf Captain

Congratulations to our Water Polo Team

October 12th, 2018

On Saturday 8 September, the Intermediate Water Polo Team played their final game of the season against Camberwell Gold at the Ngaere Wilson Pool at Camberwell Grammar School. The game started well with a goal to Harry Fothergill to level the scores at quarter time. After a strong second quarter with two goals from James Key and one from Charlie Stute and none in reply, the team was well-placed for the second half. The boys worked well together to get away from the opposition and eventually ran out winners 7 – 3.

The team finished the season in 2nd place after Melbourne High School, having only lost one game which is one position higher than last year. Despite not being able to secure the pool to train, the boys worked really well as a team developing their skills.

The team was made up of the following students in Years 8 to 10: Vincent Konynenburg (goalie), Maximillian Shallvey, James Key, Charlie Stute, Josh Hulett, Ciaran Weir, Harry Fothergill, Harry Rooney, Angus Bunker-Smith, Luke Cormack, Patrick Zwarts, Riley O’Connell, Evan Chee.

Thanks so much to the boys and their parents for giving up their Saturday mornings to represent the school in this competition and particular thanks to Patti, Vin’s mum who supplied an energy boost at the breaks. Thanks also to Mr Shane Cotter and Mr Gavin Kellar for arranging the competition and liaising with the other schools. This is the third year Whitefriars has participated in this invitational competition and it is pleasing to see the improvement each year. We hope to have more students participate next year and look at the possibility of entering both an intermediate and senior team.

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