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11 December 2014 (5-DEC-2014)

From the Principal

This week has been one of celebration and thanksgiving for the year we have shared, as well as a time of beginning to look forward to Christmas.  As usual Carols on the Mount was an evening for families to take time out together to enjoy some carol singing and remind ourselves of the important message of Christmas - the coming into the world of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

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Our Presentation Day ceremony recognised the achievement of excellence in so many aspects of students’ lives and learning - acknowledging and celebrating academic achievement, contributions to the life of our community through the creative arts, sport, debating and others, the living out of our Benedictine values and leadership. Our special guest, former MSB teacher and former State Coroner, Mary Jerram, reminded us that ‘Girls can do Anything’, something which is confirmed for me every day when I see the wonderful achievements of our students and staff.

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The pinnacle of the week’s events was the Thanksgiving Liturgy on Friday at which we came together in gratitude for the gifts we have enjoyed as a community.  After this the girls enjoyed some fun together before departing for their long summer break.

At this time of the year we farewell a number of staff who are leaving us:

  • Mrs Kate Gillies and Mrs Karin Balmer are going on Maternity Leave and we wish them well as they await the births of their babies;
  • Mrs Liz Thrum, Ms Mel Kearns, Mrs Danielle Simpson and Mrs Anita Howard are leaving us after contributing in their faculties for a number of years;
  • Ms Jessica Langdon, Ms Lenore Betteridge, Ms Victoria Sim, Ms Poppy Okubo and Ms Laura Snel leave, having been employed on temporary contracts;
  • Mrs Jill Willis leaves her position as College Receptionist and
  • several week's ago Mr Richard Mathieson, our Maintenance Manager, also left the College.

I want to express my thanks to each of these staff members who has contributed so much during their time with us, whether that be a number of years or even a few months. We are indeed blessed to have staff who generously share their gifts in ways which go above and beyond the regular demands of their roles, to ensure that our girls have a supportive and rich environment in which to grow, learn and develop.

Finally I offer my best wishes to families. I know how busy and pressured life can be and I hope that at this time of the year you can take a break to enjoy each other’s company and to rest and recuperate. I offer special thoughts and prayers to those who are ill and to those who have lost loved ones during the year.

Let us remember the real meaning of Christmas as we watch and wait for the coming of the Christ child:

We stand before you, Advent God,
joining our prayers to those of the prophets
to the prayers of Mary, woman of Spirit,
companion of God.

Keep us alert.
Make us attentive to your word,
so that we will welcome Jesus, the promised Emmanuel,
and by our lives preach the good news of his coming,
that every age may know him
as the source of hope and grace and peace.

Mrs Maria Pearson

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Mission News

Our final week of the school year has been marked by a number of significant occasions. All of them quite important and all very different.

We started the week with our Christmas hampers being collected on Monday in preparation for their delivery on Saturday. It’s always quite humbling and inspiring to see the generosity of our families in responding to appeals such as this. Tuesday night was our Carols night with our annual 'Carols on the Mount' celebration providing a most relaxing and enjoyable evening for young and old. Thursday was the occasion for our Presentation Day where our community gathers to recognise the achievements of our students in a range of endeavours throughout the year. Friday was our Thanksgiving Eucharist which provided a perfect way to offer our thanks to God for the blessings of this past year and also reflect on the readings for the Advent Season as we prepare for the feast of Christmas.

At the conclusion of our liturgy we prayed a special blessing for the members of our Philippines Immersion Team who are heading off on Saturday 6 December for their three weeks of travel visiting our Good Samaritan Sisters in Bacolod as well as other human rights organisations such as Bahay Teluyan, Manila Young Christian Workers and Preda. This group have spent many months preparing for this most significant undertaking. We pray for their health and safety during their travels and we pray that their time away will be filled with rich encounters that will help shape their lives in the service of the Gospel. While they are away the group will be using social media to keep us informed of their experiences and to enable us to share in their insights. View the Philippines Immersion Tour facebook page.

Also during our liturgy we prayed a blessing for all those heading out to deliver Christmas hampers with our partners at Josephite Community Aid (JCA). This year we have about sixty students taking part together with many parents and teachers who have volunteered their time to drive the students around to make the deliveries to families. The hamper deliveries will take place on Saturday 6 December.

On Friday 12 December our College will be represented our two Liturgy Captains Sarah Carvalho and Sarah McLaren at the Installation of Bishop Peter Comensoli as the third Bishop of the Diocese of Broken Bay. These ceremonies are not only quite rare but also are deeply steeped in the ritual of episcopal tradition. It will be a great honour for our College to be represented on this occasion.

On the following day, Saturday 13 December our Vinnies Van team will head out for the last time in 2014. It is a fitting way to end our year by providing a bit of companionship and some refreshments for those who are living rough on our streets. Each time we take a group out on a night such as this they are profoundly touched by the experience which certainly provides an eye opener into a world that is so different to our own.

Mr Paul Lentern

Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

Presentation Day

Congratulations to all of our students who received recognition for their efforts this year.


View the PRESENTATION DAY Photo Gallery.

HSC Visual Arts 'Art Express' Selection

Congratulations to Kirsty Smith (Class of 2014) on being accepted into Art Express. Kirsty was chosen as one of 383 students in the State to display her work HUGO, paintings of her beloved dog.

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Kirsty's painting of Hugo will be displayed during February at the ART Express exhibitions at the following venues (The Armory, Sydney Olympic Park, Bega Valley Regional Gallery, Margaret Whitlam Galleries and the University of Western Sydney)

Congratulations also to Ms Nicola Murray and Mrs Sonia Barnett for leading Kirsty through the process to deliver an outstanding Body of Work for her HSC.

Mr Peter Watters
Head of Creative and Performing Arts Department

Year 12 CAFS Amazing Race Excursion

The Year 12 CAFS class went on an 'Amazing Race' style excursion through the city. We have studied ‘groups in context’ which consisted of learning about different groups such as people with disabilities, the homeless and the aged and how they live in society. We have specifically studied how they are able to access services. Our aim of the day was to access seven or so services and find out information about them such as which groups they specialise in and whether that specific service was easy to access if you were a person with a disability for example. Mrs Hickey ‘kindly’ just gave us the address of the service and we had to travel to the location and write down the service which was hard to find as some buildings did not have their street number clearly labelled.

Most groups got around the city well, however some groups found it hard and continuously got lost, leading to many phone calls to Mrs Hickey throughout the day. Overall, the day was filled with excitement, enjoyment and interesting information which can be used in our upcoming assessment task.

From the Studies Coordinator

Ten Top Tips to Make the Most of the End of Year School Report

  • 1. Before the report arrives home.

    A useful exercise would be to ask your child to write their own school report. Make up a grid similar to this (below) for all subjects, and ask your child to pretend to be the teacher and write about themselves. You could also create a grid that simulates your child’s previous school report.



    (A - E)


    (A - E)

    Teacher's comment


    This gives your child the opportunity to reflect on his/her own performance at school. It can provide parents with a useful insight and can be a reference to compare the teachers’ perspectives with your child’s viewpoint. It is also a good discussion point when the school report arrives home. And a discussion should take place to help your child reflect and evaluate the report with you.

  • 2. Read your child’s report with your child.

    This immediately indicates openness, and provides direct encouragement and support to your child. Wherever there are positives, in either comments, grades, effort and so on, point them out to your child first. Most students will have areas to commend and should be acknowledged by the parent.

  • 3. The report should be viewed as a vehicle to move forward.

    It should not be perceived as a final judgment of a child’s ability, because it is not. It’s a “screenshot” and not the whole story. It is important students know they have the ability to modify and change their work ethic or study strategies, and they can improve. Reinforcing that the report is an opportunity to highlight strengths and weaknesses, which will happen throughout their working life through appraisal or performance reviews, can help the student develop goals for next year.

  • 4. Compare the Semester Two report to the Semester One report and last year’s report.

    This can be useful to identify specific subject areas where there has been an improvement or a decline. If grades improved, celebrate this achievement. If the grades declined, ask your child why this may be the case. For example, Semester One report grades may have been based on assignments and not exams. This could flag that exams were either not fully prepared for and study skills should be reviewed, or your child needs exam practice as they are a very different mode to demonstrate knowledge, or perhaps new concepts were introduced in Semester Two and these could be weaknesses to work on!

  • 5. Don’t just look at grades, focus on effort also.

    A child’s performance is not measured solely by grades. Not every child will receive an A or B, in fact the average child would mostly like achieve a C grade (which typically represents the middle 60%). Personal Learning Profiles, however, can reflect the teacher’s perspective on how hard your child worked, her commitment to fulfill homework, assignments and contribution in class. Again, as the report should be viewed as a discussion and evaluation, so make a note of this to form one of the goals for next year.

  • 6. Teachers’ comments.

    The teachers’ comments are valuable when discussing the report with your child. Ask him or her if they agree with the comment, or why, if they don’t. Encourage your child to consider the teachers’ comments. Obviously if there is a consistent thread from multiple teachers, this needs to be addressed. For example, if many teachers comment on your child’s lack of concentration, or need to focus on answering the question, then the comments suggest a specific area of weakness. Similarly, if multiple comments commend your child on commitment, determination and diligence, it suggests your child’s attitude to school is solid.

  • 7. TALK to your child about the report, and LISTEN.

    Help your child not to blame someone or something that resulted in a disappointing report. Blame does not lead to action. If there are extenuating circumstances for a disappointing report (such as a difficult family situation like parents separating, or relocation or demanding co-curricular activities etc), acknowledge these may have affected your child’s focus and give understanding. However help your child accept that they perhaps did not put in the effort, or had not established an effective revision program, or had not given the required commitment. Asking your child what they could do next year to improve or maintain excellence is a good start. Again, it would be worthwhile jotting down your child’s comments to establish goals. Reinforcing that a yearly report is a vehicle to move forward is vital.

  • 8. Grades varying between subjects, and compare exam results with assessment results.

    Identify specific subjects where grades were ‘low' and where others were ‘high’. It is not uncommon for students to have strengths in some subjects and weaknesses in others. Few children excel across all subject areas, particularly in Years 7 – 10 when they have not yet been able to refine their academic program to areas of interest or strength. Talk to your child about why grades may vary, as there could be good reasons. For example, if your child’s report grades range from A’s to C’s, ask why? Most students would be able to articulate the divergence and it could be simply that they did not study for a subject at all, or had misread a heavily weighted question. Again, make a note of your child’s comments, to form goals or strategies for next year. Similarly compare exam grades against assessment grades. If your child’s exam marks are noticeably less than the assessment grades, it could easily identify a weakness in exam technique and/or revision, and not be a reflection of ability or understanding. Remember, examinations are just one medium for determining a child’s knowledge.

  • 9. Establish goals for next year and consider a holiday review program (even if only one hour a week).

    The report can, and should, be read as an instrument to create goals for next year, and possibly plan a holiday review program. As students in December typically focus on the long summer holidays, freedom and unstructured days, it’s natural for school work to wane. However, now is the time to create goals for next year, whilst the academic year remains in their recent memory. It is more difficult to establish goals in February. Goals are best determined by the child, yet parental input after discussing a yearly report is prudent and can provide direction. Identify three to five goals for Semester One, 2015. The goals should be in response to you and your child’s discussion of the report, and teacher recommendations. Some goals could be:

    • Focus on reading the question in assignments/exams carefully to ensure the question is answered.
    • Ensure I make summary notes when I finish each topic.
    • Do at least 30 minutes reviewing what I learned at school each day, in addition to homework.
    • Ask the teacher if I don’t understand a concept.
    • For example, if Maths is a weakness, spend one hour a week doing extra Maths practice.
  • When the goals are listed put them in a prominent place - fridge, bedroom wall, noticeboard etc.

    It would also be prudent to develop a holiday review program if there are specific subjects or areas of subjects that are weak. This does not need to be extensive, in fact, shouldn’t, however regular practice of specific subjects that will be required for cumulative learning next year can make an enormous difference.

    Examples of subjects where knowledge learned this year would be assumed knowledge for next year can include Maths, Science, English and Languages, as well as many others!

    Holiday review programs can easily be incorporated into your child’s vacation plans. For example, if your child sees a movie, they could write a review, or analyse the film techniques. If your child reads a newspaper or magazine or internet site, they could write a short paragraph about bias, purpose, persuasive techniques etc.

Learn more this year about how to set goals and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on You might like to work through a few units over the holidays.

Username: formsbenonly
Password: 124results

A Note for Year 12 Students and Parents

The summer holidays will require some work (revision and/or study and/or preparation for 2015) by the Year 12 students, along with some exercise, proper sleep and a break.

The work may include:

  • Ensuring their class and study notes are up to date for the Term Four topics in their subjects they have just learnt and completed their first assessment tasks on
  • Reading novels and/or plays set for study in 2015
  • If taking a subject that has a major work, such as Design and Technology, Visual Arts, Drama, Music, Society and Culture, students should be keeping on top of their development process so they can return in 2015 to show teachers some progress on their selected works.

Students should take the advice from their teachers as to what to work on over the holidays to keep them up to date and on track for the rest of their HSC year in 2015.

I wish all students and their families a restful and safe holiday. I hope the students return refreshed and inspired for their studies in 2015.

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

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College News

Last Day Celebrations

The students enjoyed an afternoon of fun on the last day of the school year.

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Thank you to the SRC for their organisation of ice skating, bowling and movies.

Big Skip - Staff vs Students

After the final year groups concluded it was time for the staff to try their hand at the Big Skip.

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Congratulations to the students who took out the title for 2014.

Year 9 Geography and PDHPE Project

The Year 9 Geography and PDHPE Project was a fantastic opportunity to be able to express our ideas for our chosen community in our local areas. The ability to present to local Council members and others in the community was a good experience which helped us to develop our communication skills and ability to think on the spot. It was a good way to find out what is needed in the community in regards to physical activity opportunities. We were able to discover the barriers stopping people from participating in physical activity.

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This experience helped us to develop skills such as time management and problem solving. It also allowed us to collaborate with team mates who were passionate about the task. We wanted to ensure our project was well thought out and impressive for the judges. Completing this project pushed our boundaries and made us think outside the square.

Year 9 Project Team

Holiday Reading

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Please remember even though the IRC is closed over the Christmas school holidays, the girls will still have online access to OverDrive , our digital library for both e-books and audio books, great if you’re travelling!

This can be found by accessing the OverDrive link above or through Oliver.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

The IRC Team

Student Travel

Travelling to School

If any student needs to change to way she travels to school, she will only be able to do this in the first five weeks of Term One and Term Three. Transport forms may be collected from Student Services and must be returned by the end of term.

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


Australian All Schools Athletics Championships - Adelaide
Friday 5 - Monday 8 December
Carla Takchi (Y11), Amie Bowrey (Y7) and MSB U15 KO Team

2015 Dates

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term One


BBSSA U15 and Senior Touch Championships - Manly Vale
Monday 16 February
MSB Intermediate and Senior Representative Teams
B' Up Tuesday 24 February

BBSSA U13 Touch Championships - Manly Vale
Tuesday 17 March
MSB Junior Representative Team


NSW CCC Softball Championships - Blacktown
Tuesday 17 February
E.Morley Y12, J.Tong Y10, H.Breytenbach Y9, N.Tong Y8, B.Stafford-Gaffney Y8, C.Wilde Y8

Tuesday 10 March


MSB Swimming Carnival - SOPAC
Wednesday 25 February

BBSSSA Championships - SOPAC
Monday 23 March
MSB Representative Team


BBSSSA Senior Basketball Championships - Terrigal
Thursday 26 February
MSB Senior Representative Team


NSW Cricket Selections - Bankstown
Thursday 26 February
Self Nominated students - see NSW CCC website
Nominations close 26 MAR 2015


NSW All Schools Teams Triathlon - Penrith
Friday 27 February
MSB Representative Teams


NSW CCC Selections - Parramatta
Monday 2 March
Self Nominated students - see NSW CCC website
Nominations close 23 FEB 2015

The Representative Sports Dates for Term One 2015 are now available. Please note these dates and cut off times if applicable. The holiday break would be a great time to train for the Teams Triathlon, the MSB Swimming Carnival and refine your skills in preparation for early trials for Term One sports.

Surf Lifesaving

Our Surf Lifesaving team competed in the Broken Bay Championships at Terrigal on Monday. Thanks to Mrs McGregor and Miss Snel who supervised our team on the day.

Here is Mrs McGregor's report on the day:

Image 1On a lovely beach day, our team consisting of Annie, Rosie, Jasmin, Lauren, Caitlin, Alicia, Shannyn, Capri, Grace, Sonja, Tammy, Whitney, Jessica and Kirsten represented MSB proudly. The girls participated in their age groups in the various surf lifesaving events of Surf Swim, Sprints, All Age Sprint Relay and Flags.

Competing against a number of schools from beach areas of the Diocese, we faced very strong competition, however in most events our girls finished within the top 10 and four team members achieved the following outstanding individual results:

  • Kirsten Simpson - 1st place Senior Sprint and 4th place Senior Flags
  • Jessica Marcer - 3rd place Senior Surf Swim
  • Whitney Skirka – 3rd place Intermediate Sprint
  • Shannyn Bissett - 3rd place Senior Flags

Congratulations to all the girls on their effort, participation and the commendable manner in which they represented our College. Thank you to our team parents for bringing the girls to the carnival and for your assistance on the day.

Good Luck

Good luck to Amie Bowrey (Y7) and Carla Takchi (Y11) who will compete at the Australian All Schools Athletics Championships in Adelaide over the weekend.

Good luck to Amie Bowrey (Y7) and Year 8 students Kassidy Grant, Capri Vidler, Jemma Gallagher, Katie and Shannyn Bissett who will compete at the Australian All Schools KO Athletics Championships in Adelaide on Monday.

STOP PRESS -Top 6 in Australia!

On Monday, at the Australian All Schools KO Athletics Championships in Adelaide, our Junior Athletics girls had a great day finishing in the top 6 in Australia. Congratulations to Katie and Shannyn Bissett, Jemma Gallagher, Kassidy Grant, Capri Vidler and Amie Bowrey.

Special thanks also to Dr Batten for the relay session he ran with the girls last week which came in handy during a relay protest and to Dave Gallagher for attending a technical meeting on our behalf.

Congratulations also to Carla Takchi who finished equal 4th in the U18 hurdles event on the weekend at the individual Championships.

Outside of school our students continue to achieve even at this late stage in the year.

Congratulations also to -

  • Angela Cloeraine, Year 9, who was selected into the Australian U16 Indoor Netball team for 2015 at last weeks National Championships.

  • Kate Barry, Year 8, who was a member of the U15 NSW Metropolitan Cricket team that won the National titles last week.

Mrs Karen Grant
Representative Sport Coordinator

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The college has subscribed to - a careers website that students and parents can register to receive personalised career information.

Download the attached Jobjump document for instructions on how to log in.

The College is also registered with mhscareers (user: bennies pswd: careers)

There is also a number of career profile programs available on BenniesNet for the senior students to access.

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P & F News

Welcome BBQ 2015

The annual Welcome BBQ has always been a strong part of the College's Benedictine tradition and each year the parents and friends look forward to welcoming the new families to the College.

The P&F are looking for current Year 7 parents to assist with the annual Welcome BBQ to be held at the College on Friday 6 February 2015.

If you could assist, please email Christa Silvia, Welcome BBQ coordinator

Download Welcome BBQ flyer here

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Thank you to everyone who has volunteered this year, your support is greatly appreciated.

If you would like to volunteer next year please fill in the online Volunteer Request form.

Mrs Melissa Arane
Canteen Manager

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Uniform Shop

The Uniform Shop will be closed on Thursday 4 December.

The Uniform Shop hours at the start of 2015 are as follows:

  • Tuesday 20 January 8.30am - 2.00pm

  • Wednesday 21 January 8.30am - 2.00pm

  • Thursday 22 January CLOSED

  • Friday 23 January CLOSED

  • Monday 26 January PUBLIC HOLIDAY

  • Tuesday 27 January 8.00am - 10.00am

  • Thursday 29 January 8.00am - 11.00am

Then from Monday 2 February, the hours will return to normal:

Mondays 10.00am - 2.00pm and Thursdays 8.00am - 11.00am

Mrs Melissa Arane
Uniform Shop Manager

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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