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11 September 2015


From the Principal

I had the privilege this week of listening to some of our Year 7 students reflect on their learning in MYBennies this year. It was a very powerful experience to see these girls explaining to their parents and teachers what they have learned, how they have learned and the skills and understandings they have acquired through the learning process. I saw evidence of girls able to use project planning skills, able to work with other students, able to recognise their areas of strength and also areas which they found more challenging. Congratulations to Year 7 students and the teachers who have guided them in their learning this year, and to parents who have supported their daughters and encouraged them.

Year 8 students enjoyed their Reflection Day on Friday. These days are very important opportunities for students to step back from their busy lives, take time out and reflect on the way in which they live their lives – their relationships, the choices they make, their faith development. Our understanding of our faith changes as we mature and develop and it is very important that the girls are able to reflect on their understanding of God and their place in the world. I thank the staff who accompany students on these days and on the journey of faith development.

Once again as we have approached the term break I have had many requests for students to be absent from school during the last week of term and the first week of Term Four. While nobody ever says directly that the reason for this is that airfares and accommodation costs are cheaper outside school holidays, or that they want to have a longer break, it is clear that these are often significant reasons behind these requests. I want to remind parents that the NSW Government has indicated that Principals should not grant leave for the purposes of holidays during term time. While I know that the Christmas break is not always the best time to visit countries in the Northern Hemisphere because of the climate, while students are at school that is the best time for families to enjoy a longer break together. Also, I ask you to imagine what chaos we would have if I allowed teachers to take advantage of cheaper airfares and leave early or come back to school late. The only requests for leave during term time should be for special circumstances related to a particular pastoral need.

This week is National Child Protection Week, now in its 25th year. This year’s theme is 'Be Someone who Listens to Children' , emphasising the importance of giving our young people a voice in ensuring their safety and wellbeing. Francis Sullivan, CEO of the Catholic Church Truth Justice and Healing Council says “unless we are able to provide environments where the primary focus is on children, their participation is valued, they are safe and their carers are appropriately selected and trusted, children will continue to be at risk”. It is disturbing to know that children continue to find themselves in situations of danger, often posed by those who purport to care for them. Nevertheless it is comforting to know that organisations are now much more acutely aware of their responsibilities in regard to protection of our children. The participation of our girls here at Mount St Benedict is highly valued and we aim to listen to their voices in various ways. In our Homerooms, Houses, classrooms, sporting and other activities we aim to create environments in which the girls are safe, comfortable and able to develop their particular gifts.

You asked that
the little children
be allowed to come to you;
for it is to such as these that
the Reign of God belongs.
You entrust them
to the care and protection
of our communities of faith.

Guide us
as we strive to ensure
that our Catholic communities
provide a safe environment
for each child.

We pray especially for all those
who have been harmed
in their childhood.
Give them courage
in facing the past
and lead them
to your healing protection.

Maria Pearson

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Mission News

Over the past week our media has been full of images and commentary on what is generally referred to as the Syrian Refugee crisis. In the midst of this discussion Pope Francis made an appeal to Catholic communities throughout Europe to each host a migrant family as a way of responding to the crisis. Media reports quote Pope Francis as saying "Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family,"

In Australia a group known as “Enough Room” has been set up to provide a mechanism for Australian families to offer accommodation in their own homes to refugees. This group can be found through their facebook page:

At MSB we continue to work in support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in a variety of ways. During the upcoming school holidays we will once again be working in partnership with Josephite Community Aid (JCA) to organise a Family Fun Day Picnic. The picnic will be held at Blacktown Showground, Richmond Rd, Blacktown on Friday 2 October from 11.00am to 2.00pm. 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.

We would like to invite MSB families to join us on the day as well. 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 expect to be hosting about 300 guests, mostly women and children who have arrived from countries on the African Continent, from South Asia and the Middle East. Later in the year we will be taking Christmas Hampers to many of the same families.

We encourage you to put the date in your diary and come along if you can. The day runs from 11.00am to 2.00pm but people are most welcome to come when they can, even if only for a short while. Students who are volunteering to be involved will receive permission notes at the end of this week.

This week, on Friday, we held our Year 8 Reflection Day providing an opportunity for these students to spend some time engaging with Gospel perspectives on friendships. Next week it will be the turn of Year 9 who will work with Chris Doyle from Karis Ministries helping to unpack the theme of Hospitality.

On Monday evening our Year 12 students will gather for their 'Connect' night at the beginning of their Graduation week. The 'Connect' night provides a relaxed and informal opportunity for prayer and reflection for our Class of 2015 as they near the end of their time at MSB. On Thursday 17 September they continue this prayer in a more formal way through the celebration of their Graduation Eucharist at St Agatha’s Church with Fr Paul Durkin presiding.

At the beginning of next term, on Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 October, Students in Year 11 will take part in their Retreat. They have already chosen their Retreat from the options of Pax, Stewardship and Hospitality and teachers have prepared activities for them to use over the three days of the Retreat to ensure that they are able to engage meaningfully with these themes through prayer and reflection, through discussion and activities along with some space for their own quiet time along with time shared with friends.

Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

Future Problem Solving Success continues at Bennies

Mount St Benedict College is developing quite a reputation for our ability to take on and conquer the world in the field of Future Problem Solving (FPS). We have many of our students actively engaged in the rigorous and time-consuming Future Problem Solving program at MSB. All of these students give up a great deal of time and work collaboratively to develop their collaborative and thinking skills in ways that further extend the great works being achieved in our classrooms.

Recently, we received the delightful news that a total of 21 students had been invited to compete at the FPS National Finals in Brisbane this October.

Congratulations also go to Gillian Diekman, Lauren Wilkes and Rebecca Wood for their efforts in the individual Scenario Writing section. Kathleen Notohamiprodjo, Grace Nicholson, Alana Sylvester and Lani Hinden were a part of Mrs Dirckze’s Global Issues team who were semi finalists. Also in the Global Issues category was Mrs Hadfield's team consisting of Diana Kazakov, Olivia Boxwell, Lauren Wilkes, Kimberley Spencer and Emily Hendry. Both groups displayed impressive collaborative and problem solving skills and they submitted high-quality reports for judging in the FPS competition. We are so proud of your efforts girls.

The following MSB teams will be represented at the National FPS finals:

Year 8 Community Problem Solving team

  • Lara Bryant
  • Lily O'Brien
  • Rabia Rasul
  • Rebecca Wood
  • Jessica Clements
  • Elizabeth Chen
  • Aishani Mathur
  • Samantha Zhang
  • Mrs Forbes, COACH

Year 9 Community Problem Solving team

  • Natalya Denaro
  • Annabel Fisher
  • Emily James
  • Caitlin Kelly
  • Jessica Kotzander
  • Anna-Cate Macoustra
  • Alexandra Maher
  • Nicole Sandow
  • Eshaa Sood
  • Mrs Davey, COACH

Individual Division

Photo: Madeleine, Madison, Lauren and Arabella

On an individual basis, we have four girls who have also qualified for the National Finals coached by Mrs Dirckze. They are Madeleine Skinner (4th) and Madison Ehlers-Casada (2nd) who will compete in the Senior Division of Scenario Writing and Lauren Klauser in the Global Issues, Middle Division. Lauren will be MSB's first ever competitor in the individual section of Global Issues (GiPS).

A special mention is made of Arabella Young who has already been named the National winner of the Senior Scenario Performance division coached by Mrs Dirckze. Arabella will be writing and performing a story specifically for the teachers and judges at the National Finals and has already been invited to compete at the FPS International Finals overseas next June.

We wish them all well for this very exciting time. We are proud of all of them as well as their very hard working and committed coaches. Thanks to the College Leadership who so enthusiastically support the Future Problem Solving program. Congratulations and good luck to all students and coaches involved.

Katherine Mason

Student Led Conferences – MYBennies Update

Congratulations to Year 7, who over the past two weeks have each presented their own portfolio showcasing their learning this year to their parents and/or family members and MYBennies teacher. Each student selected a number of work samples to discuss in a 20 minute presentation called a Student Led Conference. The work samples included:

  • a personal Growth Chart, using SMART goals to plan improvement in Semester Two after reflection on their individual Semester One report

  • three pieces of work to tell a story about their learning this year, one showing a personal strength, the second an area of challenge and why this work was a challenge to the student and the third one where the student had made mistakes in their learning with a reflection on why this occurred and how the student had learnt resilience as a result.

  • three images which the student has identified to indicate the type of work occurring in MYBennies this year and a reflection on how the student has been engaged in the development of the 21st century skills of the MYBennies course:

    • Creativity and Problem Solving

    • Communication

    • Critical Thinking, Information and Media Literacy

    • Global Citizenship

    • Collaboration and Teamwork

    • Independence in my learning

The MYBennies teachers have each discussed how proud we are of the students in communicating so well to their parents and family members for this extended period of time and creating both hard copy and/or digital portfolios of their work and a detailed script for these presentations.

As this is the first year at MSB that students have presented their learning in a Student Led Conference family members who attended have also been invited to complete a survey to provide valuable feedback. The feedback from parents has been very positive for this new MYBennies Innovation Team initiative with one example being a parent who wrote:

"We were completely amazed and gratified to witness this self-possessed, confident and mature young girl present to us and her teacher. She was clearly articulating, after much reflection, her areas of challenge and strengths and subsequent goals as part of the MYBennies project. She had prepared well and organised her folio. She had been practising in the library that day prior to the SLC.

This to us was clear evidence of the wonderful work being done at MSB.

The pride we felt in her achievement is very hard to put in to words, and she was so excited in the car afterwards talking about her wonderful day at school.

Thank you and we look forward to continuing our partnership in our daughter’s education."

Sharon McGowan
MYBennies Innovation Team Leader

From Picture Book Pages to the Stage

Year 10 Drama Theatre-In-Education Assessment

This is the third year that the MSB Year 10 Drama classes have prepared and presented plays based on picture books to present to a Year 3 and Year 4 audience at St Agatha’s.

The Drama students selected their own groups for this task and chose a picture book from the MSB IRC. They began the term learning the various techniques and conventions of the theatre form so they could turn their picture book into a play. The girls then worked to refine and develop their pieces for performance.

There was a buzz of excitement and nerves as the Year 10 Drama students walked to St Agatha’s in their colourful costumes with their sets and props on Monday 7 September. Having an age appropriate audience for the performance pieces really lifted the energy and connection for the Drama students. The Year 3’s and 4’s responded quite vocally throughout the pieces when they were meant to and offered some insightful comments at the end of each of the plays.

Year 10 Drama are to be congratulated on completing a successful assessment and for being such wonderful ambassadors for the subject of Drama and the College. A special thank you to St Agatha’s, especially the Year 3 and 4 students and teachers, for welcoming us so warmly and allowing us to perform for them.

Student Comments

On Monday 7 September, Year 10 Drama students walked to St Agatha’s to perform our Theatre in Education performances for the Year 3 and 4 students. Throughout the term we had been working on our play based on a chosen children’s story book. Some of the books we could choose from were; “Are we there yet?” by Alison Lester or “Josephine loves to dance” by Bruce Whatley. The aim of our assessment was to entertain the school children with our energy and for them to enjoy watching our performances as much as we enjoyed creating them. When the day arrived we got into our costumes and rehearsed our lines one last time. It was exciting to see the boys and girls eager to watch our performances as they filed into the Hall on Monday morning. It was great to perform at St Agatha’s for our assessment this term, it was a rewarding and new experience.
Georgina Jamison

The task that Year 10 Drama just did was excellent, we got to explore Children’s theatre, a fun and exciting topic that we all enjoyed. In small groups we got to choose a Children’s picture book and develop it into a play. We worked hard all term to make a fun and interactive play to perform to the children at St Agatha’s Primary School. This was a truly amazing experience, to perform in font of children that laughed, cheered and smiled through our whole performance. We got a great reaction from the boys and girls and is something I will remember for a very long time.
Deana Zdrilic

Year 10 Drama have just finished studying a topic called Theatre-In-Education (TIE). In this topic, we all had to get into groups, and each group had to pick a picture book to transform into a play which we would then perform to the Year 3 students at St Agatha’s Primary School. The TIE unit was personally one of my favourites because we got to base our plays on well-known children books, and then bring them to life, while adding our own little touches along the way. We all had a wonderful experience performing and interacting with the Year 3 students as their positive reactions to our performance made the whole term worth it. Their positivity, excitement and engagement towards the performances made us feel like we had an adrenaline rush, so we could perform even better to make the kids laugh at us even more, which made us very happy.
Lauren Muscat

Mrs Gabrielle Keats and Mrs Lisa Stevens
Drama Teachers

Numeracy Quizzes

Homerooms competed in Numeracy Quizzes during National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) last week. They had only thirteen minutes to complete the tasks. Well done to all the students who participated in the quizzes.

Congratulations to N4, the winners of the Year 7 Homeroom Numeracy Quiz and to

  • MT7 who won the prize for the Year 8 Homeroom Numeracy Quiz.
  • N4 who also won the Year 9 Homeroom Numeracy Quiz.
  • MT5, the winners of the Year 10 and 12 Homeroom Numeracy Quiz.

Random Acts of Maths

I would like to thank staff and students for their Random Acts of Maths. It was fantastic to hear the many sayings, songs (some were student written) and acronyms that students use to remember maths facts and formulae.

This is one example of the many contributed:

Hey diddle, diddle the median’s the middle.
You add then divide for the mean.
The mode is the one that you see the most
And the range is the difference between.

Lara Hibbard
Numeracy Resource Teacher

Study Skills Handbook - Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

Procrastination is the act of putting off a task which you know you have to do, even though you know that putting it off will probably be worse for you in the long run.  For example, when you procrastinate about starting an assignment it doesn’t make the assignment go away, or the deadline change, it just gives you less time to get the work done. To manage this, try the following:

  1. Become aware of the excuses you use - make a mental note when you procrastinate.  What excuses do you give yourself?  Too tired?  Too difficult?  Too boring?  Being aware is the first step in changing your behaviour.  Keep yourself honest by asking questions like “is this the best use of my time at the moment?” and “am I doing this as a way of avoiding what I really should be doing?”.

  2. Reduce or eliminate distractions - creating a clear, uncluttered work environment which is free from distractions will help you avoid procrastinating.  Turn off your social media or WiFi, turn off your music or TV, close the door.  It’s easy to get distracted and lose focus on what you are trying to do, or to procrastinate by surfing websites that are barely related to the topic you are meant to be researching.  You can find out more in the Home Study Environment unit and Dealing with Distractions unit.

  3. Make a prioritised list - before you start work (or procrastinating) take a few minutes to work out what your priorities for the session are, based on your deadlines.  Take into account all the time you have available and make a prioritised list.  Work on the most important thing first (see also tip 7 below). There is more information in the Time Management Skills unit on techniques for prioritising.

  4. Break down projects into chunks - if you have a big task that you have to do, or something that you really don’t want to start, have a think about how it can be broken up into smaller parts.  A big assignment might need a plan, the purchase of resources, a trip to the library, internet based research, and then several days to write and edit each section.  If you just focus on doing one of these tasks it’s easier to commence.

  5. Just start - stop focusing on getting it done perfectly, or even well, just make a start, even if it’s just for a few minutes.  Starting the task makes you realise it’s not as daunting as you originally thought and allows you to make a small amount of progress which encourages you to keep going.  Sometimes once you get started you can even do more than you originally thought you could or would.

  6. Reward yourself - set yourself a small goal (to do with the task you are procrastinating about) and then reward yourself appropriately when you complete it.  For example, write an outline for your essay and then have afternoon tea.  You will be more motivated to complete the task to get the reward.  Note: for extreme procrastinators you may need to get someone else to check you’ve done the work and to give you the reward! Learn more about this in the Goal Setting unit.

  7. “Twofer Concept” - when you are working on a difficult or boring task, break it up by having a more interesting or easy task that you work on in the same study block.  You get 2 lots of homework done, but when you are losing focus on the difficult one you can switch to the easier one for a bit of a break.

  8. Create routines - establishing a routine can help you avoid procrastination as you get into the rhythm of working for a set time each day at a set time of the day.  Making this routine known to your family and friends also helps keep you accountable and stops them interrupting you during your work time.

  9. Find a study buddy - perhaps starting that difficult work will be easier if you have someone to work with.  This could be a school friend or a sibling. You could share resources and help each other to get started with similar work.

  10. Schedule in breaks - breaks give you time to think and process information that you have been working on and give you an opportunity to do the things you really enjoy.  Plan them as much as you plan your work.

You can learn more about how to optimise your performance as a student in the Overcoming Procrastination unit at by logging in with these details:

Username: formsbenonly
Password: 124results

Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

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Pastoral Care

Kathleen's Random Act of Kindness

There are so many examples of wonderful acts of kindness that our students perform each day, we sometimes forget to tell them how special they are and how grateful others can be. It is so important to affirm members of our community when they conduct themselves with grace and generosity towards others.

Last week, Kathleen in Year 9 (N4) carried out such a random act of kindness. On her way home from school she came across three primary school children from the same family who had missed their bus and were, understandably, very anxious about all getting home safely. Upon learning of their plight, Kathleen spoke to them gently, calmed their fears and then rang their school to verify specific details and ensured that they did travel home on the correct bus. A small act whose impact on those three young people would have been immense. So grateful were the children and their mother that a small gift and hand-written note was delivered, by a very grateful Mum, to the College this week in recognition of Kathleen's selflessness and kindness.

At Bennies, we are all encouraged to "seek out the face of Christ in those we meet". It is so inspiring to be able to see acts of kindness from our girls at every turn. We thank Kathleen for her kindness and selflessness. She is a model to others and example of the wonderful attributes demonstrated by our students.

Katherine Mason

Stanbrook Term Update

As the end of term is finally in sight, all Stanbrook year groups have been busily involved in a variety of activities. As Stanbrook’s vision for 2015 and 2016 is to become more unified with the challenge of getting to know everyone, the Year 9 projects, done in Pastoral Care at the beginning of August, emphasised this idea of unity. Also, the Year 11’s had the opportunity in the holidays to take part in Vinnies Van, which the whole House helped to contribute to through donations of food and other goods.

During PC, some Year 9’s have been running sessions to make each Year group closer as a House and to encourage new friendships to be formed. By doing activities with mixed Homerooms it has allowed everyone to make a stronger connection as a House and to get to know people they may not have normally talked to. The Year 9’s organised a game where groups of three to four people included girls from different Year groups and Homerooms, had to learn the favourite colours, subjects, TV shows and birthdays of all the girls in their group. Each member was then tested on how well they could remember the new things they had learnt. This session has brought Stanbrook closer as a House in the year of Hospitality and formed a bond between girls who never knew each other before.

Furthermore, the Year 8’s have had the exciting time of choosing their electives for the next two years. During the same Pastoral Care session some of the Stanbrook Year 9’s, as part of their leadership projects that they have been working on from camp, talked to the Year 8’s about their choices. They gave advice on choosing electives that they would enjoy, not to be influenced by friends, and also gave a rundown of each elective and what to expect in each. From this session, the Year 9’s were able to pass on valuable information that has aided the Year 8’s in their decision as well as developed a stronger connection between the respected Year groups.

Finally, in the July holidays, some Stanbrook year 11’s were able to take part in Vinnies van, a reflection from Marnie Lamb, Stanbrook Ambassador:

‘On Saturday 27 June five girls from Stanbrook, Sarah Fitzsimmons, Ellie Webber, Katie Mellor, Natalie Thomas and myself accompanied by Mrs Hogan, Mr O’Brien and Mr Lentern helped out on Vinnies Van. We helped stock the van at Lewisham before departing to two locations (Ward Park and Martin Place) both with the population of homeless high. It was extremely sad, but moving, to see these places filled with young children, families and animals, getting by with the bare minimum living off the street. We all enjoyed talking, laughing and sharing stories with these incredible people while handing out food and hot drinks.  It was lovely to see how appreciative they were of our time and efforts. Overall, it was an incredible experience, thank you to everyone who donated baked goods and snacks for the night. To all the younger grades, I highly recommend getting involved in Vinnies Van, it is a very rewarding experience.’

Be the best you can be.

Sarah-Jane Eades, Marnie Lamb, Alyssa Coleiro
House Captain, House Ambassador and Vice-House Captain

College News

Lost Property

Has your daughter misplaced any possessions? All named items are held at Student Services for collection. Any unnamed items will be placed on the table outside Student Services. These items will be recycled at the end of term.

Jan Franco

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Representative Sport

Representative Sports Calendar

Read More »

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Three


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.


On Friday we had ten MSB students compete at the NSW CCC Championships – look out for results in next week’s newsletter.

All intermediate KO team members have been emailed some updated information. A compulsory meeting will be held on Wednesday 16 September at lunchtime with all team members.

Representative Tennis

Students who self-nominated and attended the meeting on Wednesday have received a permission note regarding trials and trainings after school on the first two Tuesday afternoons next term (including the first day back at school).

Representative Water Polo

Students who self-nominated and attended the meeting on Wednesday have received a permission note regarding trials and trainings after school on the first two Tuesday evenings next term (including the first day back at school).

Good Luck

Good luck to Georgia Dean and Sasha Savenko (Year 9) who will represent NSW CCC this weekend at the NSW All Schools U15 Netball Challenge against NSW CIS and NSW CHS.

Karen Grant
Representative Sports Coordinator

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Co-curricular Sport

MSB Netball - Grand Final Day

The following teams have qualified to play in the Hills District Netball Association Grand Finals this Saturday, 12 September. We wish them all the best of luck. Please put on your Bennies colours and come along and support these teams.

  • 13/4 play at 10.00am on Court 12
  • 13/3 play at 11.30am on Court 11
  • 14/2 play at 11.30am on Court 12
  • Cadet 2 play at 3.15pm on Court 13

Go Bennies !!!

MSB Netball Club Presentation Day

The MSB Netball Club will be holding our annual presentation day on Sunday 13 September from 11.00am to 1.00pm in the College Hall. All players, umpires, coaches and families are invited to attend. With twenty-two teams playing for MSB in 2015 and four of our teams in Grand Finals there is much to celebrate on Presentation Day.

Rebecca Lewis
Co-curricular Sport 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 14 September








Susan Bell

Karen Khoury

Josephine Vaggis

Rachael Taylor

Carmen Galluzzo

Sarah Cusack

** 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.

Canteen Roster for the week commencing Monday 5 October






Public Holiday

Tereza Miletic

Natalie Conway

Georgina Khamis

Julie McIntyre

Claudia Heer

** 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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