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31 July 2020

“Here if you need” for netball, friendship and community

Drawing on the Dominican pillar of Community, Blackfriars works in collaboration with a number…

Drawing on the Dominican pillar of Community, Blackfriars works in collaboration with a number of other Catholic schools to provide our students with social and leadership opportunities. It makes sense then, to work in particular collaboration with our fellow Dominican schools.

This week, that collaboration took the form of a friendly netball tournament, with Blackfriars Prefects competing against sides from St Mary’s, Cabra and St Dominic’s. Though our boys lost all their games, their effort and enthusiasm couldn’t be faulted, and neither could their sportsmanship as they finished each game with a smile. Matthew Crisanti, Blackfriars APRIM, says he was proud of the boys’ grace in defeat, and also of how quickly friendships were formed or rekindled among the group.

“These relationships can then continue beyond school and into university or students’ other pathways. Networking with like-minded, caring peers provides an opportunity for enrichment and a great foundation for adult life,” says Mr Crisanti.

Another recent gathering along a similar vein is the annual Prefects supper shared by just St Dominic’s and Blackfriars students. Again, both schools showed an excellent spirit of community and friendship throughout the night’s activities.

“I was in awe of the way these student leaders quickly and warmly came together to cooperate in gathering information for a quiz, and then working together to compete in the quiz,” says Mr Crisanti.

During this supper, students enjoyed a guest presentation from Jean-Marie Nguyen, Blackfriars Cultural Inclusion and Wellbeing Officer, who spoke to the group about her journey to becoming a young leader in her community.

Jean-Marie reinforced the importance of building supportive friendships and networks, in order to avoid suffering in silence, to give back to your community and to reach your full potential.

“I am a true believer in surrounding myself with people that enrich my life, that challenge me to be more. For a long time, I carried a lot of my struggles and hardships alone… Over time, this became a lonely journey. As a leader it is good to lean on your support networks, whether that’s to chat about your plans or for guidance,” she said.

We hope that these Dominican community events instil in our students a strong appreciation for the value of close friendships, and of both giving and receiving support from one another. Not unlike that age-old netball catch-cry, Blackfriars boys are ‘here if you need’.