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10 October 2014

From the Principal

Dear parents, friends, staff and students,

Welcome back to the beginning of Term Four.

Last week we received news of the passing of Mrs Pearson’s father. I know that Maria and her family will appreciate the prayers of this community. I ask that you keep her family in your prayers at this time.

I would like to welcome Dr Paul Batten who joins us on staff. Paul replaces Ms Sharon Robinson and brings a wealth of experience in the HSIE area. We also welcome back Ms Erin O’Brien, after her extended leave. During the term break we celebrated two staff weddings; Christina Liu and her husband Josef, and Andrew Ursino and his wife Susan. Congratulations to the very happy couples.

Last week, in the school holidays, 100 members of the MSB community, students, families and teachers headed out to Blacktown to share in the JCA Family Fun Day Picnic. About 400 people attended which provided a perfect opportunity for people of different backgrounds to gather and share food and drinks. My thanks for the generosity of spirit and Benedictine zeal that was shown during the day.

Year 12 students are preparing to commence their HSC examinations next week. It is timely during Mental Health Week that Australian media personalities and politicians reflect on their experiences during Year 12 and offer their tips about dealing with stress to students preparing for their final exams. My advice for the girls is to prepare well with a balance of hard work and rest. Do your best, have no regrets and know that the College community is praying and supporting you.

Year 11 girls are attending retreats at various venues this week. At the Year 12 Valedictory Graduation Dinner, the girls looked back fondly on their retreats as being a significant formative experience in their lives. I thank the teachers who are facilitating these experiences for the girls.

I offer this well known hymn to our Year 12 girls and to all of us as we enter a climate of global uncertainty that demand from us the courage to trust in, and act with, a spirit of love and compassion.

You shall cross the barren desert,
But you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety,
though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands,
And all will understand,
You shall see the face of God and live

Be not afraid, I go before you always
Come follow Me, and I shall give you rest.

('Be Not Afraid', Robert J Dufford, S.J.)

Mr John Muskovits
On behalf of the College Principal

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Mission News

Our newsletter of almost exactly one month ago reflected on the atrocities carried out by extremists in Syria and Iraq, the plans for military intervention and heightened tensions in the Australian community. Sadly, the situation has worsened in this period of time. The arrests of numbers of young people in highly publicised police activities and the stabbing of two police officers and the subsequent death of a Victorian teenager were profoundly disturbing developments. Meanwhile, the situation in the Middle East continues to affect the lives of many innocent people.

Apart from feeling anxious and concerned about these situations, people often feel powerless to act. It is often very difficult to understand the situations that lead to such hatred and even harder to know how to respond.

Similar levels of dismay were experienced in 2006 after the riots at Cronulla. Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma presented a paper in February 2006 in response to the 'Cronulla Riots' in this paper he notes “international factors like September 11 and the Bali bombings, and more recently the London attacks, increase the level of discrimination and vilification experienced by Arab and Muslim Australians. This in turn alienates the community from the rest of society, which in turn exacerbates the level of discrimination that they experience. This spiral of discrimination followed by marginalisation and alienation is fuelled by fear and prejudice and manifests into hate and retaliation.” Read the full text of Mr Calma’s paper here.

One thing we are able to do is to show hospitality and friendship to all people regardless of their race or religious background. Our Benedictine commitment to Hospitality demands that we do no less. In keeping with this commitment MSB continues to work in partnership with members of diverse communities wherever we are able.


Last week, as the long weekend began and the end of the school holidays approached about one hundred members of the Mount St Benedict community, students, families and teachers headed out to Blacktown to share in the massive JCA Family Fun Day Picnic. About four hundred people attended in all and the food and activities provided a perfect opportunity to gather people of different backgrounds to share. It is hard to know what the impact of days like this might be but it is clear that more such occasions and more ongoing connections would go a long way to overcoming the kinds of problems which trouble our community at the moment.

I would like to express gratitude to all those who came along to make it such a great day. To our College Chaplain Ms Christina Liu who convened our organising team and made sure it all happened smoothly. To our Year 11 organising committee and to our students and their families and the staff who made a commitment to come along and the many additional people who made donations or helped with the preparation back at school. I would also like to express our gratitude to Mr Adrian Thompson and the team at Josephite Community Aid who provide us with so many excellent opportunities to put our beliefs into practice.

Our next event in partnership with JCA will be the Christmas Hamper appeal during Term Four which will culminate with our Hamper Delivery Day on Saturday 6 December. Many of the families who joined us for the picnic will welcome us into their homes on our Hamper Delivery Day and we hope once again that our community will be strongly represented. Information about donations for hampers will come out through Homerooms early in the term and invitations to join us for Hamper Delivery Day will follow soon after.

View the JCA Family Fun Day photo gallery

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

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Book Now for the CAPA Showcase.

All tickets are to be purchased online, there will be no door sales on the night.

Good Luck to our HSC Students

The NSW Higher School Certificate commences on Monday 13 October with the majority of Year 12 students across the State completing their English exam.

We would like to wish all our Year 12s the best of luck in their exams.

Download complete HSC Timetable.

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Homeroom Numeracy Quizzes

Homerooms competed in Numeracy quizzes during National Literacy and Numeracy Week. They had 13 minutes to complete the tasks. Well done to all the students who participated in the quizzes.

Congratulations to MT6, the winners of the Year 7 Homeroom Numeracy Quiz and to T3 who won the prize for the Year 8 Homeroom Numeracy Quiz.

The Year 9 and Year 10 Numeracy Task was a challenging one and yet T7, A7 and MC3 achieved 95%.  However, it was the Years 9 and 10 students in N4 who took the prize with 100%!

Mrs Lara Hibbard
Numeracy Resource Teacher

Study Skills Tips for Term Four

Towards the end of Term Three Year 9 and Year 10 had a Pastoral Care session about how to prepare for their Exam Block in Term Four. The students worked through units on the ELES Study Skills Online Handbook and then began creating their own study plan. All the resources used are available on Benniesnet (accessed via Academic Support and Enrichment /Study Skills/Year Group folders.)

As Year 12 begin their HSC Exams next week and our Year 9 and 10s prepare for their exam blocks, the following information about ‘How To Stay Positive As Exams Approach’ may be of benefit to some of our students.

It can be difficult to stay positive or 'be up' as exams approach. The more important the exam the more stress we can feel. Worse, if we don’t do anything to make us feel good, stress can lead to anxiety and depression. There are many reasons why students feel this stress and depressed mood as examination dates approach.

  • Students receive distorted messages and perceptions about the importance of the exams, such as, 'this can/will determine your future' etc.
  • With the pressure and stress of exams students avoid doing the work necessary to be prepared and as a result feel more overwhelmed, hopeless, anxious etc. Students can feel they have no control of their situation.
  • When we allow the pressure, stress and upset to build we can get into bad habits and let go of good habits. As a result students can feel more drained and exhausted and find it difficult or impossible to 'climb out of the dark hole' they are in.

A holistic approach to boost wellbeing as exams approach

The key to being positive and managing negative emotions such as anxiety and feeling down and depressed in any pressure situation including exams is to 'fuel up'. It goes without saying that if we are exhausted, tired, stressed, depressed etc. it is very difficult if not impossible to deal with the pressure of exams. 'Fueling Up' is about boosting wellbeing factors in your life. You need to boost the wellbeing factors in your BODY, MIND and EMOTIONS.

Trying to 'feel good' or be 'positive' when your body is exhausted and depleted is impossible! This is something we all know yet many of us find it difficult to change.

Here are some things you can do to boost the energy in your BODY:

  • See a doctor
    Visit your doctor and get a check up. It’s important that any medical issues are ruled out because you may try some of the following tips without noticing any benefit while all along there may have been a medical issue that needed attention.
  • Get better sleep
    Feeling good all starts with getting the right amount and type of sleep. Start with a good nighttime routine. Stop anything that stimulates you such as caffeine or TV or computer, iPad or phone screens etc. Try a warm drink such as chamomile tea and use essential oils such as lavender oil. Having a soothing bath or shower can also help along with gentle stretching of tight or tense muscles. If you still feel you are not getting a 'good' sleep be sure to see your doctor.
  • Eat in moderation
    Never skip a meal, especially breakfast. Breakfast replenishes your body and helps you start your day full of energy. Eat three main meals, and two to three snack meals a day. Eating five to six times in a day keeps your blood sugar levels balanced, giving you an overall sense of well-being needed for focusing on your tasks and responsibilities.
  • Exercise regularly
    Regular exercise, at least three times per week for a minimum of 30 minute sessions, can virtually 'soak up' stress chemicals in your body and help you to relax and even sleep better. Brisk walking, aerobic classes, swimming, bike riding, or jogging are great exercises to release stress buildup and relax your body and mind to either start or end your day right.

Here are some things you can do to THINK more positively:

  • Change your thinking and perceptions
    Write down your top five fears and worries. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Then ask yourself, 'IS THAT TRUE'? Usually fears and worries are not based on reality but on imagined scenarios that have little to no evidence. If it’s something that can’t be changed bring acceptance to it. It is what it is for now!
  • Change your focus
    Have you noticed that what we worry about we make bigger and keep closer to us by the way we think and focus. Try this - make your fears and worries SMALL in size (5 cm in height) DARK in brightness and as far away as possible in DISTANCE. When we change the size, brightness and distance of the things that upset us in our minds it reduces the intensity of the emotion.

Here are some things you can do to FEEL more positive:

  • Acts of kindness
    Make a list of five acts of kindness you can do every day. Make them simple acts of kindness that are easy to do such as saying thank you etc. Do these five acts of kindness every day for six weeks. The research shows that people that do this and think of three good things in their life have a dramatic positive boost in their mood.
  • Three good things exercise
    Every day at the start and end of your day think of three good things that happened. Write them down. Then think about either WHY those good things happened or how it MADE YOU FEEL when those good things happened.

Techniques that can help manage stress. 

Preparing for examinations and managing stress.

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I wish all students a productive and peaceful study journey in this final term of 2014.

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

Mr John Muskovits
Assistant Principal Dean of Curriculum

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College News

College Leadership 2015

As we wish our Year 12 students the very best of luck in their HSC we would like to introduce the 2015 Student Leadership team.




From the Fees Desk

The balance of 2014 College fees is due on Friday 24 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 2014, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Fiona Barnett on 9980 0445 or

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Representative Sport

If your daughter has recently achieved outstanding sporting results please send me an email so that the College can share in her success.


NSW CCC Website:

Broken Bay Wet Weather Line: 9990 3633

Representative Sports Calendar - Term Four


NSW All Schools Championships
Thursday 9 - Sunday 12 October

Australian All Schools Athletics Championships
Friday 5 - Monday 8 December
MSB U15 KO Team


NSW All Schools State Championships
Friday 7 November
MSB Year 7/8 Representative Team


Broken Bay Championships
Tuesday 21 October
MSB Representative Teams
Wet Weather Tuesday 28 October


NSW CCC Senior Championships
Thursday 29 October
MSB Representative Team


Broken Bay Trials
Friday 21 November


Broken Bay Championships
Monday 1 December
MSB Representative Team

Upcoming Representative Team Training and Trials

Term Four Week Two

  • Monday 13 October - Year 7/8 Representative Touch team (lunchtime)
  • Tuesday 14 October - Tennis Training (all three Representative teams) - Pennant Hills Courts 3.30pm - 4.30pm

Term Four Week Three

  • Tuesday 21 October - Year 7/8 RepresentativeTouch team (lunchtime)
  • Tuesday 21 October - Representative Water Polo final selections - Hornsby Aquatic Centre 7.30pm - 8.30pm

NSW All Schools Athletics Championships

Good luck to Amie Bowrey (Year 7), Samantha Dale (Year 7), Tiarne Ekstrom (Year 7), Katie Devitt (Year 8), Kassidy Grant (Year 8), Jemma Gallagher (Year 8), Elly Gallagher (Year 9) and Carla Takchi (Year 11) who are competing this week at Homebush.

These Championships are the selection pathway for the Australian All Schools Titles to be held in Adelaide in December, and we look forward to hearing about their performances in next weeks newsletter.

Mrs Karen Grant
Representative Sport Coordinator

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Co-curricular Sport

Hills Winter Basketball Grand Final

The Grand Final of the Hills Winter Basketball Competition was held during the last week of Term Three. The MSB Basketball teams had a great winter season with five of six teams playing Semi Finals the previous week. Unfortunately the Under 22, Under 17 and Under 15A teams did not progress though to the Grand Final despite playing well in their Semi Final games.

MSB had two teams play in the Grand Final and came away as winners in both the Under 16A and Under 15B competitions.  Both teams played exceptionally well and are to be commended on the spirit in which they played.


The Under 16A team were clearly the stronger team from the start of the game, with great team work and strong rebounding helping them to a final score of 32 - 14.




The Under 15B team began the game nervously but soon developed their confidence to go ahead and win the game 20 - 13. 



It was also great to see three of our girls being appointed to referee various Grand Final games.  Well done to our referees Madeline Fernando, Grace Logan and Jesse Smith.

Congratulations to all the teams on your great results this season and thank you to all our coaches and managers for your efforts throughout the season.

We look forward to a very successful and enjoyable summer competition starting this week.

Touch Football

The first round of the Loreto Touch Competiton will commence on Saturday 11 October.

The games for this week are:

  • MSB 13 - Senior Division D: 9.00am Field 5 Loreto
  • MSB 14 - Intermediate Division B: 12.00pm Field 2 Loreto
  • MSB 15 - Intermediate Division C: 12pm Field 4 Loreto
  • MSB 16 - Jumior Division A: 9.00am Field 1 Pymble Ladies College
  • MSB 17 - Junior Division B: 9.00am Field 2 Pymble Ladies College

Good luck to all our Touch teams.

Mrs Rebecca Lewis
Co-curricular Sports Coordinator

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P & F News

International Teachers' Day

Help the P&F celebrate International Teachers' Day on Friday 24 October. We are looking for assistance, traditionally from Year 7 and Year 11 families, in the annual morning tea we host for the teachers and staff.

If you can assist please fill in the online International Teachers' Day Volunteer Request form or you may download the International Teachers' Day Volunteer Request form , fill it in and have your daughter return the form to Student Services by Friday 17 October. Alternatively you may contact Michelle direct via email on


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 13 October






Ann-Marie Corcoran

Karen Benco

Sally Lee

Karen Khoury

Carla Savorgnan

Chun Shen

Jennifer Campbell

LIsette Smith

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

Mrs Melissa Arane
Canteen Manager

The content of this email is privileged and confidential and is intended only for the named recipient. If you have received this email in error, please advise the sender and delete the email. You must not disclose, copy or distribute any information contained in this email or take any action in reliance of its contents if you are not the intended recipient.

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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