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9 October 2015

 

From the Principal

Welcome back to all our students, staff and families after the term break. We certainly experienced a range of different weather conditions, I do hope you were able to enjoy some rest and that we are all feeling fit and healthy to approach the many activities of Term Four.

Our Year 12 students are now preparing for their HSC Examinations and I want to thank the many staff who generously committed time during the break to help the girls, through extra classes, lots of marking and feedback. Year 11 students experienced Retreat this week, an opportunity to take some time out to reflect on life decisions, values and faith development. I trust that for each of them it was a positive, life-giving experience.

During the term break a group of Year 11 students, along with students from other Good Samaritan schools, accompanied by staff including Ms Christina He, travelled to the Philippines, where they had the opportunity to visit the Sisters in Bacolod and the children at the Kinder School. Ms Grace Spurr travelled with staff from other Good Samaritan schools to Kiribati to immerse herself in the culture and work of the Sisters there. Such experiences broaden our understanding of our world and the issues experienced in different places.

The work of the Sisters in both the Philippines and Kiribati has an enormous impact on the lives of the local people and as partners in ministry with the Sisters it increases our understanding of their work.

Last Friday saw large numbers of staff and students present at Blacktown Showground for the JCA Picnic Day. It is often hard to know how we can contribute positively to the lives of families facing the challenges of settling into a new country. It was clear from the excited faces of the children and the gratitude of the parents that giving our time to accompany and support people is one of the most valuable things we can do. Many thanks to staff, students and parents who came along to assist on the day.

Our world continues to be a place where many people live in fear, and even here in Sydney there are people who would like to disrupt our living by creating fear and confusion. Let us pray for hope and courage, especially for those displaced from their homes in many parts of the world:

O Christ Jesus
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness
and helplessness,
give us the sense of
Your presence,
Your love,
and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power
so that nothing may
frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will
through all things.
Amen.

(forums.catholic.com › Forums › Catholic Living)

Maria Pearson
Principal

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Mission News

This week we began our final term for the year with our Year 11 students taking part in their Retreat on their chosen theme of Pax, Stewardship and Hospitality. Students travelled to three venues, Peter Canisius House at St Ives, Kiah Ridge at Tahmoor and Benedict XVI Centre at Grose Vale for the three days and two nights accompanied by twenty of our College staff. Also this week our Year 8 students have completed their test in Religious Literacy which is held as part of a diagnostic process to help us understand the effectiveness of our Religious Education programs.

While the school holiday period provides a break from our usual schedule of classes it could hardly be described as a quiet time with a number of activities scheduled. The very first Saturday of the break was the time for our monthly Vinnies Van commitment with a group of teachers and Year 11 students heading out into the Sydney streets to provide some refreshments and a bit of companionship to the homeless women and men of the Sydney CBD. Not long after our staff and students left Australia for immersion experiences run by Good Samaritan Education. Three of our Year 11 students, Madison Nicholson, Jessica Griffith and Jessica Corcoran took part in the student immersion to the Philippines with students from other Good Samaritan Schools. They were accompanied on this trip by our College Chaplain Ms Christina He. Included in the itinerary of this trip was a visit to the Bacolod Kinder School which is the partner of our New Norcia and Maredsous Houses. At the same time as this trip was taking place a group of teachers from Good Samaritan Schools travelled to the remote Pacific nation of Kiribati. Ms Grace Spurr, House Coordinator of Terracina House was the MSB representative on this team. Kiribati is the partner of our Terracina and Monte Cassino Houses and though it is a tiny and remote nation, it is well known as the nation which is at the front line of the impact of climate change with rising sea levels already having a devastatingly visible impact on life in Kiribati.

The holiday break was also the occasion for dozens of our staff, students and families to head out to Blacktown to host our annual Family Fun Day picnic in partnership with Josephite Community Aid (JCA). As usual it was a wonderful day of meeting AND sharing with newly arrived families from an array of different countries whose life experiences are so very different to our own. We enjoyed some beautiful spring weather and a lovely day of fun activities and food. The fairy floss machine was a great hit along with bubble making, face painting and a host of other activities. Our trailer barbeque was also put to good use as we cooked 500 sausages for lunch. Some of our guests also ran their own fundraising activities including the ever popular cake stall and henna art. In our Year of Hospitality it is difficult to imagine a more appropriate way to spend a day.

Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Kiribati Immersion

I was lucky enough to participate in a staff immersion trip to Kiribati with the Good Samaritan Education team in the most recent term break. I travelled with eight other teachers from Good Samaritan schools around Australia and Sr Meg Kahler from Good Samaritian Education. The immersion trip was a wonderful opportunity for staff to become familiar with another culture, experience the work of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, see Good Samaritan life in another setting and visit local schools and community groups.

Kiribati consists of thirty-three coral islands divided into three island groups; the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands. Most of the islands are atolls (ring-shaped islands with central lagoons) that are scattered across the Pacific Ocean near the equator. The country is growing in numbers with a current population of just over 100,000. The main exports are copra, fish and seaweed. Kiribati’s major environmental challenge is the threat by rising sea levels, however, poverty, accessing fresh drinking water and waste management are also difficulties. The Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Kiribati are engaged in a variety of ministries, such as primary education, youth ministry and working with people with disabilities and mental illness.

As mentioned, the immersion offered many things, but the teaching experiences, culture and hospitality received resonated with me the most.

Throughout our journey, we visited many schools. The teaching experiences at the Good Samaritan Early Childhood Centre and Immaculate Heart College were special. The Good Samaritan Early Childhood Centre is a preschool run by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan on Abaokoro, North Tarawa. The preschool runs from Monday to Thursday and the Sisters also run English classes for local primary school students twice a week after school. The many donations from Monte Cassino and Terracina families for the preschool were much appreciated. Our time spent at the preschool was filled with reading books, craft activities, morning tea and outside play. The preschoolers also displayed their singing and dancing talents. The many interactions with students were positive, enchanting and communicated their willingness to learn and also their innate understanding of their own culture at such a young age.

Immaculate Heart College is a local Catholic boarding school on Abaokoro, North Tarawa. The school has 300 to 400 students and takes both day and boarding students. The students who board at the College sleep on hammocks and mats that they weave in boys and girls quarters. The school is surrounded by water and runs off solar power but has minimal resources. The students welcomed us with a crowning ceremony, speeches, dancing and the most beautiful singing conducted by their head student. The subject of Personal Development, Health and Physical Education does not exist in Kiribati so I taught Human Biology, History, Maths, Religion and English classes. Some students shared exercise books, pens and text books. Again, what struck me was their willingness to learn through adversity and their understanding and participation in their culture. In Kiribati, most university education takes place in Fiji as universities are not fully established on the islands. Some of my favourite moments at the College were simply the conversations with students about their lives. It was through these conversations students conveyed their want to gain tertiary education so they could bring skills back to Kiribati to help fight poverty and find solutions to the environmental issues the country faces.

I relished the many day to day aspects of Kiribati culture. It may seem simplistic but the various modes of transport intrigued me. The group caught the public canoe across the lagoon to get to Abaoroko, North Tarawa. This was a packed canoe with a small outboard motor and no sides or much to hold onto. When Sr Meg Kahler compared this to sitting on the kitchen bench for an hour and a half I didn’t believe her, but now the imagery seems perfect. We also experienced the local villages from the back of a ute where the ride was bumpy but the views were panoramic. The plane ride was also an experience as the runway is not visible until you actually land on it. A diet of mostly fish, rice, bread, preserves and coconuts was on offer. We also got the opportunity to husk our own coconuts, grate and milk the flesh. The locals showed us how they climb coconut trees to retrieve coconuts and totty (sap or syrup from the coconut tree). Entertainment, especially singing and dancing is a huge part of Kiribati culture, our group was lucky enough to experience traditional songs and dancing from different groups during our stay.

The hospitality of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, as well as the Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH) and local school and community groups in Kiribati was both outstanding and grounding. During our immersion we met Good Samaritan sisters Sr Marie O’Shea, Sr Marella Rebgetz, Sr Kakare Biita, Sr Sebel, Sr Tuata Terawete and Tenta Maritino, Meere Teingoa and Kawi Arebonto who are part of the novice program. Each played a huge role in the growth of education and assistance for minority groups in Kiribati. The Good Samaritan Sisters welcomed us into their own homes and organised most of the school visits and cultural activities in Kiribati for us. Sunday Mass was shared with the OLSH sisters who willingly took us through the archives afterwards. Local school and groups welcomed us with traditional crowning ceremonies and entertainment. As with these groups the local community also welcomed and embraced us with smiles, waves, conversations and their time. All were so giving of themselves, which is the essence of hospitality. Their knowledge, time, perspectives, understanding and culture were all shared with us willingly and humbly. At this stage I cannot find simply one word that describes the immersion but am extremely grateful for the many experiences.

Grace Spurr
Terracina House Coordinator

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Pastoral Care

Savour the Day

This week is Mental Health Week, an internationally recognised event, which falls between Sunday 4 October and Saturday 10 October. World Mental Health Day is marked every year on 10 October and aims to increase awareness about mental health and reduce the stigmas that can be associated with mental illness. However, it is also an invitation for people to examine their own mental health and take steps to undertake healthy coping behaviours and maintain positive relationships. In the context of our College, this week is an opportunity to encourage our girls to develop the skills that will see them through life’s joys and challenges.

This year’s campaign is called ‘Mental Health Begins with Me’, which is a perspective we promote with our girls from a classroom, pastoral and mission viewpoint. Here at the College, both staff and students have been introduced to mindfulness techniques designed to calm and centre ourselves. We integrate positive education principles into formal lessons as well as less structured, everyday interactions, which encourage our students to discover and develop their strengths and pursue their goals. We stop to give thanks, especially in difficult times, when gratitude can be a difficult emotion to access.

In her work with schools, Dr Georgiana Cameron, Trainer and Content Developer for the Institute of Positive Education, has honed in on a particular aspect of wellbeing: savouring positive experiences. ‘Savouring’ is an evidence-based Positive Psychology intervention, which is about maximising and prolonging positive experiences in the past, present and future. She says, ‘When we speak about positive emotions and savouring, we emphasise to students that this does not mean negative emotions are bad and should be blocked out. All emotions have their place and it’s important we experience them all.’ Savouring could involve reminiscing about pleasant experiences in the past, such as recalling an achievement or a key moment in a friendship. We can use our senses, which can keep us anchored in the present, to be mindful. Noticing sounds and smells all around us, practising mindful eating (especially when the meal is delicious!) and connecting with the breath are all examples of savouring the present. Contemplating our aspirations for the future can be a fantastic source of excitement and hope. Projecting oneself into a future filled with possibility is just one way of savouring the road ahead.

Have you done anything to savour the day this week?

Click here for further information on Mental Health Week.

Erin O'Brien
Acting Assistant to the Principal, Dean of Students

News from Arcadia

The values of Arcadia House are Individuality, Mateship and Determination. It has been pleasing to see the girls of Arcadia live out these core values throughout Term Three and into Term Four. It has also been wonderful exploring the 2015 College value of Hospitality through a range of activities in Pastoral Care.

Earlier in Term Three, our newly elected House Captain, Rachel Takchi and House Ambassador, Rebecca McGaw, had the opportunity to visit Arcadia and Subiaco’s House partner, Mater Dei. Here are a few words from Rachel and Rebecca:

Mater Dei was a great experience for Rebecca and myself. We attended the Mater Dei School Mass where annual awards were given out. The students were very enthusiastic when participating in school songs and encouraging others when receiving awards - the positive, affirming atmosphere was incredible. We then had the delight in joining students from a range of other Good Samaritan schools and special guests. This experience highlighted Mater Dei’s philosophy for inclusion for all. We would like to thank Mater Dei for inviting us to the event and Ms Reid for taking the time to drive us” – Rachel Takchi and Rebecca McGaw

In the last week of Term Three, Arcadia said goodbye to our Year 12 students. Students in Years 7 to 11 spent a lot of time planning and preparing for the House Farewell. Well wishes, words of wisdom, farewell cards, gratitudes and prayers were created by the Homerooms and brought to the House Farewell. The ceremony was an excellent opportunity to reflect on the contribution that the Year 12 students made throughout their time at the College. We acknowledged their efforts and their ability to live out the House Values of Individuality, Mateship and Determination. Kristen Pollock, the House Captain for 2015 was awarded the House Award, as voted by her Year 12 peers and Homeroom Mentors, for her outstanding contribution to our House. The ceremony was an emotional experience shared by all members in Arcadia. Feelings of sadness, gratitude, hope and thanks were present as we farewelled our Class of 2015. We wish our Year 12 students all the best for their future endeavours and hope that one day they will return to Bennies to share their stories.

Term Four will see the initiative ‘Host a Homeroom’ in action. Each Homeroom in Arcadia has been paired with another Homeroom in the House, one being the host and the other as the guest. The aim of the initiative is to foster positive relationships within the Arcadia House, highlighting the 2015 College value of Hospitality. This week during Pastoral Care, each Homeroom has been preparing for the ‘Host a Homeroom’ event. Each Homeroom has been looking at what Hospitality means to them and how our actions and words foster a friendly, caring and compassionate environment. We are all looking forward to the event on Monday 26 October.

Jacqueline Saunders
Arcadia House Coordinator

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College News

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Independent Dance Festival

On Wednesday 16 September the Senior Dance Ensemble travelled to Inaburra School at Bangor to take part in the newly established Independent Dance Festival. The performance piece was called ‘Sleepless’ and was choreographed by Georgette Sofatzis, a talented and well known choreographer and dancer, who has been working with our Ensemble each Tuesday morning for the last two terms.

During the day we participated in a Dance workshop run by Eden Petrovski, a finalist in the hit television show ‘So You Think You Can Dance Australia.’ During the workshop we learnt a number of exercises and finished by learning a contemporary dance combination. The workshop was lots of fun and was a great experience for our ensemble. After the workshop we attended a technical rehearsal where we practiced our dance with professional lighting in preparation for the performance later on in the evening.

After watching several performances from other independent schools, in the first half of the show, we were very excited to be the opening act of the second half. Our teachers and families thought we all danced beautifully.

Overall, the Independent Dance Festival was a wonderful event and we are all very grateful to have had the opportunity to take part. All members of the Senior Dance ensemble had a fun and enjoyable experience that would not have been possible without our dance teacher Ms Saunders and our choreographer Georgette Sofatzis. We thank them for all their time and effort.

By Alana Sylvester, Year 9

Jacqueline Saunders
Dance Teacher

From the Fees Desk

The balance of 2015 school fees is due on Friday 23 October.

If paying automatic deductions by the term, the payment will be processed on this date. Monthly, fortnightly and weekly deductions will continue until mid-November.

If you require a final balance or statement of your fees for 2015, please do not hesitate to contact Fiona Barnett on 9980 0445 or fees@msben.nsw.edu.au

Fiona Barnett
Fees Administrator

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Representative Sport

Representative Sports Calendar

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Four

ATHLETICS

NSW All Schools Championships
Thursday 8 - Sunday 11 October
HOMEBUSH
NSW CCC Team

Australian KO Championships
Monday 7 December
MELBOURNE
MSB KO Team

WATER POLO

BBSSSA Championships
Friday 23 October
HOMEBUSH
MSB OPEN Representative Team

TENNIS

BBSSSA Championships
Tuesday 27 October
OXFORD FALLS
B/Up Tuesday 3 November
MSB OPEN Representative Team

SOFTBALL

BBSSSA Open Team Trials
Friday 20 Novemberr
ST IVES


Students who wish to trial for sports that are offered directly through NSW CCC will need to nominate through the NSW CCC website. I encourage you to visit the NSW CCC website if your daughter is an experienced state level athlete in any sport.

Please remember that these are trials for State teams and as such students must be very experienced for their nomination to be approved.

Open Representative Tennis Team

All team members have been emailed permission notes which are due back prior to Friday 16 October. There will be no training session on Tuesday.

Representative Water Polo Team

All team members have been emailed permission notes which are due back prior to Friday 16 October. There will be a final training session on Tuesday at 7.00pm at Hornsby Aquatic Centre.

Good Luck

Good luck to the MSB students competing at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships this weekend.

Karen Grant
Representative Sports Coordinator

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Co-curricular Sport

Winter Sport Results

At the conclusion of Term Three, we had all our winter sports come to an end with a number of our teams excelling in their respective competitions and qualifying for Finals and Grand Finals. Firstly, an enormous thank you to all the coaches, managers, officials and committee members of these sports. Without your hard work, both with the girls and behind the scenes the teams would not be able to compete. Thank you also to the girls who show great commitment to their teams and represent the College so well each week. We do hope that you have enjoyed your winter sport and gained from the experience, regardless of where your team finished in the competitions.

Netball

With twenty-two teams entered in the Hills District Netball Association we were delighted to have eight of these teams progress through to Semi Finals and four continue to Grand Finals. Congratulations to MSB 14 (14/2), MSB 19 (13/3) and MSB 21 (13/4) on winning your Grand Finals and well done also to MSB 5 (Cadet 2) on a great Grand Final game.

Football

The MSB football teams played in the North West Sydney Womens Football Association on Sunday mornings during Term Two and Three. For many of the younger girls it was their first season of football, and their first time together as a team.

Our 14/2 and 13/1 teams both qualified for the Championship Round Robins, while the 16-17/2 team qualified for the Pennant Series. These teams are all to be congratulated on their team spirit and improvement throughout the season.

Basketball

The Hills Winter Basketball teams had a successful season with four of the seven teams qualifying for Semi Final games. The under 16 girls came away with a great win to finish the season as premiers. Well done girls!

Equestrian

Caitllin Brown competed in the Arndell Equestrian Interschool Carnival during Term Three with great success. Caitlin won five first places and was Reserve Champion. Great results Caitlin.

 

 





Rebecca Lewis

Co-curricular Sports Coordinator

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Canteen

The Canteen opens daily from 8.00am to 2.00pm.

MY STUDENT ACCOUNT - Cashless Canteen

Students may order and pay for purchases with our 'cashless' option using their Student ID card.
Cashless Canteen - Comprehensive instructions on how to use this system
Place a Canteen order.

Canteen Roster for the week commencing Monday 12 October

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

**

Karen Benco

Lisa Follows

Karen Khoury

Josephine Vaggis

Jeonghwa Jang

Carmen Galluzzo

** Additional volunteers are most welcome **

Please notify Melissa if you are unable to attend or you would like to be removed from the roster.

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Community Notices





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