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4 September 2015

From the Principal

Our Year 12 students are approaching their final classes over the next two weeks. This can be an emotional time for both students and their families, as they reflect on the passage of six years of high school and look to the world that awaits them beyond school. I want to assure the girls that all the support systems of the school will be available to them over these coming months as they prepare for and sit their HSC examinations, as they await their HSC results and ponder decisions about future pathways. Before the end of term we will have opportunities to show our appreciation to the Class of 2015 and celebrate with them the final days of school life.

Year 11 students are involved in their Preliminary course examinations at the moment. Early next term, after their Retreat, they will commence the study of HSC courses. I know the girls will be well served by the things they have learned in Study Skills sessions this year. They are also able to access Study Skills information on the College intranet.

This week we held the first of two sessions for Year 7 parents during which the students themselves led the meetings with their parents and teachers (Student-Led Conferences). The girls were able to share some of their learning from the new integrated program in Year 7 this year, MYBennies. This program has given the girls a wonderful sense of empowerment and ownership in their learning - something which will benefit them as they move through their school years. I want to thank parents for sharing this time with their daughters and the teachers, and I also thank the teachers who have been at the frontier of new ways of learning with the students. I look forward to sharing conversations with parents and students about their experiences of these three-way conversations.

Sunday is a day on which we recognise the gift of the fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and father figures of our communities. I hope it is a day when fathers will know that they are appreciated by their families and can take time to enjoy the company of their families without some of the pressures of normal routines.

Tuesday was the first day of Spring and it was also World Day of Care for Creation.  It is a fitting time for us to give thanks to God for the gift of creation:

Creator, we praise you
For the vastness and scope of your creation,
For the mountain and wind and blaze of star we call sun.
For the enormity of the seeming voids of space,
For the laws of time and dimension which bind it.
But Oh, Creator,
Let us praise you for the small and fragile,
For the nurturing into life of every detail: of tree and leaf and petal,
Colour, texture and infinite gradations to measureless variation.
We praise you, Creator God, who has never left us.
We praise you here as we acknowledge your presence among us.
God who made the vast and the small,
God who made us and meets us
Where we are and how we are.
We are silent before you.

(Adapted from a prayer by Wendy White, A Lifetime of Blessing, 2004, Pp180-181)

Maria Pearson

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Mission News

This week we have been launching our preparations for our Family Fun Day Picnic which will take place in the upcoming school holiday period. The picnic is hosted by MSB in conjunction with Josephite Community Aid (JCA). The aim of the picnic is to show hospitality and provide a gesture of support to families who have recently arrived in Australia. We expect to be hosting about 300 guests, mostly women and children who have arrived from countries on the African Continent such as Sudan, Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone etc. Later in the year we will be taking Christmas Hampers to many of the same families. Last year we had approximately 100 of our students attending along with about 20 of our staff and some of our families as well. We are keen to encourage parents and other family members to join us on the day to make it a more genuine exchange among families. Hopefully many family members will come along to accompany their daughter during the day.

The picnic will be held at Blacktown Showground, Richmond Rd, Blacktown on Friday 2 October from about 10.00am - 3.00pm. Our students will be involved in various activities on the day including catering, face painting, balloon sculptures, jewellery making, novelty games, music and sports. They will be working in teams under the supervision of staff from the College.

Please make a note of the date and keep an eye on the newsletter in coming weeks for further details.

In coming weeks we will be holding Reflection Days for students in Year 8 and Year 9 on September 11th and 15th respectively. Also, in the final week of term we will be holding an afternoon and evening session for our Year 12 students called 'Connect'. Students in Year 11 and 12 attend 'Connect' sessions regularly throughout the year for prayer and reflection on some of the more important issues in life. For our Year 12 students the 'Connect' night on Monday 14 September will be a very timely point to stop and reflect on their experiences of secondary school and to look forward to their lives beyond the HSC. Later in the same week they will gather in a more formal setting to celebrate their Graduation Eucharist together at St Agatha’s Parish Church.

At MSB we place a great emphasis on the place of prayer and reflection in our lives. We provide informal occasions such as our lunch time 'Connect' groups and more formal opportunities such as our liturgies. Through all these experiences we hope to instil in our students an appreciation of the value of prayer as a part of their lives and we also encourage them to reflect seriously on life situations through the lens of the Gospel to help them to respond meaningfully to the situations they encounter.

At this time we are also beginning to recruit students from the Year 12 class of 2015 to work as mentors for younger students in our Big Sister, Sisterhood and Step Up programs for students in Years 7, 8 and 9. We now also have some of our ex-student mentors working alongside older students in the Kidz4Kidz program and we looking towards expanding these opportunities in the future.

Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

Science and TAS Expo

The Science and TAS Expo was held on Thursday 20 August in the College Hall. This event was an opportunity for girls to showcase the Science Student Research Projects they had designed in teams (Year 8) or individually (Year 10), as well as showcasing a variety of TAS projects. The Science Photography Competition was also judged on the night. The categories for the photo entries included ‘Science under the Microscope’, ‘Science in Action’ and ‘Science Selfie.’ The MSB Science Club also showcased their work and were awarded certificates for their commitment to science.

Winners of awards were chosen based on scientific accuracy, presentation and originality. Congratulations to all of the students who worked so hard to achieve success in their SRPs and were awarded the opportunity to display their work.

Thank you to all the teachers who contributed to the Expo preparation, and to all those who made the night such a huge success.

Sarah Bradstock
Assistant HoD

Forensic Science Camp

Last June to July holidays, six girls from Year 8 (Tenèe Arthur, Dusana Barker, Natalia Bennett, Lara Bryant, Annabelle Flannery and Lily O’Brien) flew to Armidale for the five day Forensic Science Camp. The Camp was held at The Armidale School and was completely run by Year 9 and 10 students from the previous years. At the camp they had the opportunity to learn a variety of different forensic science skills like finger print dusting, soil and blood sample comparisons as well as fabric analysis.

The girls where split into small sub groups of three or four to solve different intricate crimes. They were provided with a variety of evidence both written and physical which was taken from the ‘crime scene’. They were allowed to run tests on the evidence and send it in to Police HQ for further DNA testing or other analysis. After four days they came together with other sub groups to create a presentation to put before a real Magistrate. The Magistrate would then make a decision on whether or not they had sufficient evidence to snd their suspect to trial.

The group of girls all state that they had an amazing time at the camp and that it was a great opportunity for them to meet and make new friends from all over the east coast of Australia. They would all recommend it for any of next year’s Year 8.

Dusana Barker, Year 8

Year 12 Study Skills Session with Dr Prue Salter

Last week, Year 12 attended a study skills session titled ‘The HSC Countdown’ with Dr Prue Salter from Enhanced Learning Educational Services ( ). The aim of the session was to help Year 12 students put together a plan of attack for between now and their final exams.

The session focused firstly on developing a plan for what students need to do before the end of term. It is essential that study notes are completed, students work through their returned Trial HSC exam papers thoroughly (using the checklist provided), pinpoint and address with help any areas of weakness. Students should endeavour to do as much practice of essay writing and past examination papers as they can before the end of term so they can obtain feedback from teachers. For many students, these last weeks of structured class time are not used as effectively as they could be. This planning process helps students to see how quickly the time will go and how important it is to use the rest of this term to the full.

Year 12 once again reviewed the evidence about study techniques and reflected on the techniques they are and should be using. Each Year 12 student also filled out a grid with their HSC exam timetable, planning the best way to allocate their study time over the weeks prior to and during the exam block, using the guidelines Prue explained. Having a plan in place can take away a lot of exam anxiety, as students know what they need to do to move forward and can see the steps they need to take to make the most of the last few months of their final year of school.

Parents are encouraged to review the handout from the session with students and have students explain their study plan, as often discussing these ideas can clarify the students’ approaches. Parents can also find extra study skills tips on the following website: and students can download the slides from the session and extra copies of the grid at .

All secondary students and parents at our school also have access to a fabulous and comprehensive study skills website to help students develop their skills. Go to and enter the username: formsbenonly and the password: 124results and start improving your results today! Parents, the additional handouts referred to during the session are available on the ‘Things to Print’ page of this site. Also visit the ‘Highlights’ page (under the More menu) for easy access to the most popular sections of the site.

Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

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Pastoral Care

Summer Uniform

This winter has been particularly cold and the weather is still unusually cool. However, students will be allowed to transition into their summer uniform in the last two weeks of Term Three. Girls may wear their summer uniform from Monday 7 September. Please note that if your daughter decides to wear her summer uniform it must be the correct length and the blazer must be worn travelling to and from the College if she is cold, the jumper cannot be worn alone.

A reminder that the only jewellery allowed is a small cross worn around the neck and earrings that are studs or small sleepers. Nail Polish may not be worn. We look forward to your continued support with the uniform.

Jackie Duncan
Assistant Principal Dean of Students

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College News

Jersey Day

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Over the past few weeks we have had many requests from the girls to support Jersey day.The decision was made that the girls could wear their Mount St Benedict Sports Jersey or Track suit top to and from school to support Jersey Day on Friday 4 September. Many within our community have been affected in various ways by the decision of others to donate organs and provide the opportunity for life to those who need it. We believe it is an important decision to make and invite all within our community to have the conversation.

Below is an extract from the Website.

JERSEY DAY has been inspired by the story of NATHAN GREMMO who was tragically lost in an accident in May 2015. Nathan’s family chose to give the gift of life to others to honour the legacy of Nathan’s generous personality. His family has asked schools and workplaces across Australia to allow students and employees to wear their favourite sports jersey to school or work to show their support for the DONATELIFE network and begin the conversation with their family and friends about organ donation.

The following sites will provide more information and facts about organ donation to help support the discussion.

Jackie Duncan
Assistant Principal Dean of Students

Term Dates for your Diary

2015 Term Dates

Term 3 End of term Friday 18 September
Term 4 Students return Tuesday 6 October
End of term Friday 4 December

2016 Term Dates

Term 1 Teachers return Thursday 28 January
Students return Tuesday 2 February (Years 7, 11 and 12)
Wednesday 3 February (Years 8, 9 and 10)
End of term Friday 8 April
Term 2 Students return Tuesday 26 April
End of term Thursday 23 June
Term 3 Teachers return Monday 18 July
Students return Tuesday 19 July
End of term Friday 23 September
Term 4 Students return Monday 10 October
End of term Friday 2 December

Technology Update

Broadband Upgrade coming to Bennies

It has been long awaited, but the new fibre optic broadband link will soon be ready for us to start using. Next term the College will be moving away from the existing wireless broadband service to a new fibre optic connection. This new broadband will offer the College increased speed and scalability into the future.

The Telstra engineers will be finalising the installation over the next few weeks in readiness for go live in Term Four.

Replacement Laptops for 2016

Students currently in Years 8, 9 and 10 will be receiving a replacement device in readiness for 2016. The College have undertaken a tender process with a long list of requirements for a new device. We have selected the new Acer R13 Aspire laptop that can also be used as a tablet.

The new laptop offers students the latest software, PC/Tablet functionality and an excellent battery life. It is planned that students in Year 8 and 9 will receive their new devices in Weeks 7 or 8 of Term Four. Year 10 students will be able to collect their new device in the last two weeks of the summer break in 2016 or during the first week back next year.

All students will be required to return their existing laptop computer in working order prior to receiving the replacement. Should there be a need to have the current laptop repaired, this can be achieved at any time by dropping the device into the IT team.

Stewart Duncan
Head of ICT

What is MSB Fit?

MSB FIT is the name of our “Leadership without a Badge” MSB well-being project that we created on our year 9 leadership camp earlier this year. Our group consisting of Brittany, Chantal, Renee, Gabby, Grace, Sophie, Paris and myself, chose to start the MSB Fit project so we could provide some physical activities for everyone to participate in, once a week during lunch times. Each Tuesday we are running a different activity. Following on from a great start with Zumba in week 1 of the program, in week 2 we had a spectacular turnout for Dodge ball. This week we had some fun in the sun with students joining in  several games of volleyball. Next Tuesday we'll be running touch and soccer on the oval. Stay tuned for more MSB Fit news in coming weeks.

Serina Saad (on behalf of the MSB Fit Team)

National Literacy and Numeracy Week at Bennies

A host of different activities have been taking place this week and last week to celebrate a great deal of reading and support by our girls for our girls here at the College under the banner of National Literacy and Numeracy Week.

AUTHOR VISIT creative writing sessions

Last week on Wednesday 26 August CLAIRE ZORN, winner of the best Young Adult fiction for her novel 'The Protected' spent a wonderful day connecting with girls in a Year 8 and a Year 9 class. She led a classroom activity where the students enthusiastically helped build a character and composed a first draft of writing about that character. Some girls wrote amazing pieces.

A small group of lucky girls who had entered a writing competition enjoyed lunch with Claire: Aoife Twamley. Arabella Young, Claire Ward and Nicole Sandow (see photo), received a copy of her latest prize-winning novel and had it signed.

Literacy and Numeracy Quiz at Father Daughter Breakfast

On Friday at Father-Daughter Breakfast our Literacy/Numeracy quiz was based on the literacy and numeracy facts of refugee and asylum-seekers with some tricky numeracy puzzles buried in there. Congratulations to our prize-winners, who will receive book vouchers for their efforts.

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Celebration Lunch

This week on Monday we enjoyed a huge lunch in the Blue Gum Room where over 70 girls received prizes for their constant and enduring efforts with reading in 2015. Our Year 9 students who volunteered to work for 15 weeks with Year 7 students before school three times a week were acknowledged for their efforts with certificates and book prizes: Rachel Marren, Laura Trezise, Daniela Taylor, Alana Sylvester, Emily James, Lucy Koelmeyer, Caitlin Kelly, Nicole Sandow. Thank you to each of these girls for their efforts.

As well, we acknowledged the generous efforts of students in Years 10 and 11 who offered help for 24 morning sessions to girls in Years 7 and 8 with problem solving in Numeracy. Thank you to Annnabel Anderson, Alana Bainy, Charlotte Folkard, Diana Kazakov, Holly Porvaznik, Isabella Steen, Kimberley Spencer, Gillian Diekman, Isabella Croker, Madison Nicholson, Tianna Raad.

Write a Book in a Day Author Readings

This week, all week in the IRC at lunch time, we have invited the authors of the two books recently written by teams of girls in Years 9 and 10 for the Write a Book in a Day activity to come and read from their books to girls who are interested. Sweet treats will be involved! The idea is that the girls share what they have written as others relax and listen.

Just to make sure that everyone gets involved we are also featuring Random Acts of Maths all week and Homeroom Numeracy quizzes each day too.

Jeannette CollinsPope
Literacy Resource Teacher

Author Visit for Book Week

On Friday 28 August, author Jennifer Walsh came to visit the Year 7’s and tell them about her experiences as a writer. We found it very interesting and learnt lots of tips and tricks on how to write a book. Jennifer has written three children’s books; ‘Mr Shy’s Shoes,’ ‘The Tunnels of Tarcoola,’ and ‘Crooked Leg Road. ‘

Jennifer also told us about her life, and how she became a writer. It was always something she wanted to do, and she enjoyed it very much. The inspiration for her first children’s book, ‘Mr Shy’s Shoes,’ came from her young son, who loved reading but needed new material.

One of the many things we were told by Jennifer was that every story starts with a grain of an idea. We had a go coming up with some future ideas for stories, and they were pretty weird. Imagine a noodle dragon, or a book you can change with your mind, and you’ll get the idea!

All the Year 7’s really enjoyed the visit, and loved hearing from a successful author. It was great to get advice on how to write a book, and we hope that Jennifer will write another awesome book soon.

Katherine Spencer and Emma Wilkinson

2015 Principal's and Premier's Reading Challenges

Congratulations to the 67 students who completed the 2015 Principal's Reading Challenge this year.

To complete the challenge the girls had to read twenty books between January and August from books of their own choice. The girls who successfully met the Challenge received a merit, book mark, canteen voucher, certificate and book prize from Mrs Pearson and an invitation to our special Book Week pizza lunch.

Congratulations to the following girls who completed the 2015 Principal’s Reading Challenge (Years 7-11).

  • Year 7
    Therese Barbara, Ciara Bizzanelli, Aleysia Cahuana-Keyanian, Rebecca Cheung, Cecilia Cullen, Ashley Dilworth, Sophie Keegan, Mikaela Love, Natasha Mehta, Jacinta Mifsud, Katherine Spencer, Emma Wilkinson
  • Year 8
    Charlotte Anderson, Tenee Arthur, Ariella Azzopardi, Dusana Barker, Elizabeth Black, Elizabeth Chen, Brianna Clements, Monica Curtis, Catherine Elgood, Claudia Geromboux, Sarah Kerr, Gabrielle Lillicrap, Rhiannon Moore, Lily O’Brien, Natalia Reale-Bryant, Antonia Saul, Naomi Sheather, Lucy Triantafilis, Katie Turner, Jelena Vukovic, Rebecca Wood, Samantha Zhang.
  • Year 9
    Catie Boffa, Jessica Clements, Caitlin Callinan, Kaecee Dadula, Sarah Farrell, Ksenya Konstantinoff, Emily James, Christine Lau, Emilia Lilischkis, Naomi Massa, Ella Meaker, Grace Nicholson, Kathleen Notohamiprodjo, Elisha Parkin, Nicole Sandow, Emma Slee, Aoife Twamley, Judith-Grace, Claire Ward, Anne Younis.
  • Year 10
    Isabelle Chacty, Gabrielle Edwards, Abigail Latecka, Madeline Skinner, Kimberley Spencer, Arabella Young.
  • Year 11
    Tamara Rosic.

The following girls completed this year’s Premiers Reading Challenge.

  • Year 7
    Cecilia Cullen, Caitlin Darcy, Isabella Follows, Dinara Janaratne, Sophie Keegan, Taylor Kueh, Natasha Mehta, Jacinta Mifsud.
  • Year 8
    Natalia Bennett, Elizabeth Chen, Elisha Gomes.
  • Year 9
    Jaime Dunn, Alexandra Maher, Elisha Parkin, Nicole Sandow, Judith Grace, Claire Ward.

Mrs Rebecca Shiels and Mrs Sharon McGowan
Teacher Librarians

Year 10 Elective History Excursion

On Monday 10 August, the Year 10 History Elective class went to the Nicholson Museum at Sydney University for an enriching ancient experience. We met a trained archaeologist who teaches at the university, and she took us on a tour around the museum. We saw decorated Greek pots, Etruscan tombs, toys dug up from below Pompeii and Egyptian mummies. Fran, the archaeologist, taught us heaps of new facts about ancient civilisations and took our countless questions about the Greek gods and the ancient religious wars.

We spread out to find the best place for lunch at Manning House and had a great time wandering through the university campus. After, we headed back inside for a hands-on session with artefacts from ancient Rome, Greece, Britain, Pompeii and prehistory. We were asked to analyse the origin and use of various objects – such as mosaic pieces, cutting knives and canopic jars.

It was an interesting and fun day, and we all learnt a lot to add to our ancient knowledge. Thanks to Dr Gillett and Ms Hopkins for organising the day and coming with us.

By Amelia Dunkerley and Olivia Brigden

Save the Date Card - Golden Jubilee 2016

Our Golden Jubilee (50 years) celebrations are fast approaching in 2016. Please find the MSB Golden Jubilee event details listed below.

All parents and ex-students were mailed this Save the Date card this week (it has a magnet on the back). Official invitations will follow closer to the dates via post and/or email.

Ex-students should ensure that your contact details have been updated in Bennies Connect .

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Representative Sport

Representative Sports Calendar

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Three


NSW CCC Championships
Friday 11 September


Sunday 13 September

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Four


NSW All Schools Championships
Thursday 8 - Sunday 11 October

Australian KO Championships
Monday 7 December


BBSSSA Championships
Friday 23 October
MSB OPEN Representative Team


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


BBSSSA Open Team Trials
Friday 29 Novemberr

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.

NSW All Schools Athletics Nominations

Students who wish to nominate for individual events at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships can now do so online via the ANSW website. This is a pathway through to the Australian Championships.

Upcoming Representative Sport Trials

Nominations closed today for the Representative Water Polo (Open Team only) and Tennis (U13, U15 and Open teams) trials. Students who nominated will now receive information on trial dates and times via email.


To Ashleigh Schaafsma Fullick who refereed four Division One soccer Grand Finals last weekend, and was also allocated three Grand Finals in the Woman's Youth Premier League. Ashleigh has been selected to referee the U14s division of the Woman's Soccer State Titles in Mudgee this September. Our Open Representative Team were lucky enough to have her officiate as an AR during their recent NSW CCC KO Quarter Final.

Good Luck

Good luck to the 10 MSB students competing at the NSW CCC Athletics Championships on Friday.

Karen Grant
Representative Sports Coordinator

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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 7 September







Karen Benco


Georgina Khamis

Julie McIntyre

Lisa Young

Joanne Murrie

Jeonghwa Jang

** Volunteers required for Monday and Wednesday **

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

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Mount St Benedict College
449C Pennant Hills Road, Pennant Hills NSW 2120

Phone:  02 9980 0444
02 9484 4911

General enquiries

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