On Tuesday 20 November, the students chosen to be published in the 2012 Shared Stories Anthology, Josh Bridge, Matthew Farry, Luke O’Loughlin, Thomas Bailey and myself, Julian Virgona, accompanied Ms Anne Maree Wight and Fr Paul to Star of the Sea College to celebrate the launch of the annual
Anthology. The Anthology, which was this year themed ‘What the World Needs Now’, has been annually released for the past seven years. Whitefriars has been associated with it for all of those years and offers our students a chance to be selected to be published alongside the many other short stories written by other school students from ten Catholic Schools around Victoria. Many Whitefriars students from Years 7-12 wrote for the Anthology, along with students from the other schools, making the selection process very hard and competitive.
The proceedings started about 9:30am with some morning tea provided by Star of the Sea before the launch officially started at around 10:00. Josh Bridge of Year 12 was selected to be one of the two MCs for the launch and did a very good job. Soon into the launch, we were honoured to listen to Najaf Mazari tell us a little of his life story, as told in his biography ‘The Rugmaker of Mazar-E-Sharif’. He spoke of his journey from living in a war-torn Afghanistan to becoming an Australian citizen and working as a rug maker; ultimately creating enough of a living and to bring the family he left in Afghanistan five years earlier to Australia. Najaf delivered inspiring words and left us with a message to always cherish what we have in Australia, especially our gifts of language, education and opportunity.
After his speech, Najaf presented a student from each school with the Ellikon award to commemorate their efforts in their Anthology pieces. Luke O’Loughlin was the recipient of the award for Whitefriars. After the launch, the boys and families enjoyed a morning tea at a nearby beach cafe provided by Fr Paul before returning to school.
A special thanks to Fr Paul and Ms Wight for organising the excursion and taking us on the day, to Ms Kay-Taylor for organising all the Anthology pieces, and a congratulations to Luke for his award, Josh for his fine public speaking and to all the boys who were lucky enough to be selected for the Anthology from Whitefriars.
Julian Virgona, Year 10