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13 Jun 2014

From the Principal

Dear parents, friends, staff and students.

Winter seems to have finally arrived as we prepare for the last week of term next week. This week has still been very busy with the finalising of reports, Year 12 planning MSB Day at the end of next week and the continuation of valuable learning experiences within the classroom.

On Tuesday evening the Year 11 Subject Selection evening for 2015 occurred. Another step in the process as our Year 10 students decide what subjects they would like to continue for their senior study. Mr John Muskovits has worked hard to ensure that the students make informed choices and have every opportunity to ask questions. Thank you to the Heads of Department and teachers who ran the information sessions for the families.

The Principal’s address at the College Assembly this week was given by Elizabeth Khoury from Year 9 as she completes her commitments as Student Principal of the day. Elizabeth gave an informative address as well as handing out the awards from the Athletics Carnival. The Carnival ran like clockwork thanks to the hard work of all the PDHPE teachers, Mrs Rebecca Lewis, Mrs Karen Grant and Mrs Gillian McGregor. They were ably assisted by all the teachers and many student helpers. It was inspiring to see the participation and College Spirit on the day. Congratulation to Terracina for being the overall Champion House and to Monte Cassino who once again won the cup for participation.


On Wednesday a group of students went to the Queen Victoria Building to stand in solidarity with Mission Australia and question the wisdom of holding children in detention. Mr Paul Lentern documented in the newsletter a few weeks ago the clear connection this question has in statements from the Pope, our Bishops and the Good Samaritan Sisters. The students who went to sing made individual decisions to support the event. We are very proud of these young women who are confident to speak out and work to transform the future for others.

Next week on Tuesday morning the Beyond Bennies Breakfast is on once again. If you are wondering what a Mount St Benedict graduate can achieve, I recommend that you book in to come and listen to these four young women. We often say that our young women are confident and articulate, why not come and judge for yourself?

Let us pray together the Prayer of St Benedict.

O gracious and holy God
Give us wisdom to know you
Intelligence to understand you
Diligence to seek you
Patience to wait for you
Eyes to behold you
A heart to meditate upon you
A life to proclaim you

May we see the face of Christ in others
May we listen to others with the ear of our heart
May we be a model of welcome and peace to those we meet.


Ms Jackie Duncan
Acting Principal

Beyond Bennies - 7.15am Tuesday 17 June

Beyond Bennies is an annual breakfast event sponsored by MSBESA (MSB ex-student association) for our ex-students to share their career journeys with our current students and their families. 


Please RSVP here

Mission News

Set Me Free

“Nowhere to run and hide, there’s danger in the night.
Nothing safe, no one escapes, there’s fear across the land.
No warmth around the fire, we suffer through the cold.
Mothers scream and babies cry, they’re sick and so afraid.

No hope to make a life, they take our dreams away.
This tortured land we once adored has crumbled to its knees.
We see our brothers die; our fathers disappear.
We stand in line to meet our fate, no hope of liberty.

Set me free, oh set me free. Please set me free.

Now we’re on the run cross the great divide.
Hide your faces, don’t be seen, don’t trust in anyone.
Risking certain death, plunge into the sea.
Day and night of misery, surrounded by disease.

Bodies overboard, hunger and despair.
A desperate bid for freedom if we ever make it there.
A new land in our sight, more trouble lies ahead.
Locked into a prison cell, committed not a crime.

Set me free, oh set me free. Please set me free.

Freedom! Freedom, hear my plea
Freedom! Freedom, rescue me.
Let me stay. Can’t you see that I’m afraid?

Set me free. Set me free!”  

These words by composer Paul Jarman were sung by our vocal ensemble at the Queen Victoria Building on Wednesday of this week to help launch a campaign to free children from Australia’s immigration detention centres. The piece is dedicated to Salima Haidary, a young Afghani woman who was forced to flee the Taliban with some of her family and seek a safe place to live. Her journey took her through Pakistan, to Indonesia and finally Christmas Island in a perilous boat journey with 300 people crammed into a tiny boat. Like most of those who seek asylum in Australia, Salima has been recognised as a refugee under the United Nations conventions. Also, like so many others, Salima had a long and dangerous journey and was forced to wait for many months while her case was considered. The anxiety and distress associated with this process, combined with the trauma of the persecution in the home country and the ravages of the journey leave many asylum seekers severely traumatised.

There are currently over 1000 children in Australia’s immigration detention centres. Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission has noted "As a matter of very clear international law children should not be detained for anything more than what is absolutely necessary for health checks and security checks.”

In keeping with our commitment to support those seeking asylum in Australia we were pleased to be able to accept the invitation to help launch this campaign. I would like to acknowledge the work of the students who volunteered and their willingness not only to attend but also to spend many of their lunch times preparing. Thank you also to Mr Peter Watters, Head of Creative and Performing Arts for his work in preparing and accompanying the students along with Ms Kylie Gray our Marketing and Development Manager.

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal, Dean of Mission

Curriculum News

MYBennies – Middle Years Engagement Project Update

MSB Becomes a Learning Frontiers Design Hub

Late last year Mount St Benedict College successfully applied to The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) for the College to become a Learning Frontiers Design Hub. Learning Frontiers is a collaborative initiative created to transform teaching and learning so that every student succeeds in an education worth having. The project brings together clusters of schools and other interested parties - ‘design hubs’ - to explore professional practices that increase student engagement in learning.

As part of our work with Learning Frontiers, we have created a focus question which encompasses what we are trying to achieve with the MYBennies project:
“How do we better engage students so that they make authentic connections in their learning to the wider world?”
The MYBennies Team and members of the College Executive have already started meeting with various representatives from Learning Frontiers to engage in discussions on design principles in learning. We look forward to an exciting year working with the Learning Frontiers team and other Design Hub schools across Sydney towards the shared goal of excellence in education. Click to read more about the Learning Frontiers initiative.

Integration Planning is Underway

Having spent time mapping the outcomes across all subjects in Years 7 and 9, the MYBennies team met with Heads of Department on the Curriculum Planning Day to highlight some overlaps between the subject areas. This led to an initial planning session to focus on integration possibilities and many of the Heads of Department have had subsequent meetings to further this planning. We can foresee that Year 7 and Year 9 will benefit as early as 2015 from a variety of integrated learning opportunities. The MYBennies team is also helping to facilitate an integration of Mission events such as Caritas Week and College Liturgies into the curriculum, as well as whole school events such as the College musical. Student voice is also being captured with some students being asked to reflect on past experiences and explain how they may be enhanced in the future by offering integrated learning and assessment.

The Future Schools Conference - March 2014

Earlier this year, Maria Pearson, Sharon McGowan, Mairead Ennis and Karin Balmer attended the Future Schools Conference at the Australian Technology Park. They had the great privilege to attend a Masterclass with Professor Stephen Heppell from the UK, and a lecture with Professor Eric Mazur, from Harvard University. The conference gave the team an insight into the classroom spaces of the future as well as innovative curriculum design. In a recent Teachers’ Meeting, the MYBennies members who attended the conference fed back their experiences to the whole staff and invited responses on a series of questions about how we could implement some of these innovations. So what does the future look like in education across the globe? Mixed-age classes, flexible learning spaces, students designing or co-creating their own learning and assessment tasks, online delivery of content, 3D printers in schools, students connecting globally with other students using technology, students being engaged with experts in the field through social networking, and much, much more! Below are some pictures of classrooms currently being used around the world.


The MYBennies Innovation Team will continue to keep you informed of our progress in undertaking the important task of improving the engagement of our Year 7 to 9 students in their learning. We encourage you to ask your daughters about their learning, how they are involved in and meaningfully connected with it. We believe that for the girls to be engaged they need to care about their learning and this will lead to success in their learning.

Finally to close this term’s newsletter article the MYBennies Team would like to acknowledge the work which Katherine Mason has undertaken with the MYBennies Team this term in the absence of Mairead Ennis. Kath’s seamless integration into the team and her insightful thoughts have been very much appreciated.

MYBennies Innovation Team: Sharon McGowan, Karin Balmer,
Mairead Ennis, Maree Henson and Kath Mason.

From the Drama Department

On Friday 31 May we took our Belvoir Theatre Subscription group to see Brother’s Wreck. Belvoir described the play as follows:

Mob can’t survive like that, you can’t survive like that. We gotta talk to each other, as hard as it is, ’cause I guarantee you, that phone will ring and you’ll have to say goodbye again.

This beautiful little play is about life.

It begins with a death: on a hot morning under a house in Darwin, Ruben wakes to find his cousin Joe hanging from the rafters. What follows is the story of a family, buffeted by constant tragedy, holding itself together - as their people have done generation after generation. This play asks us: how do we deal with death? And how many other people does it take for each of us to live? Little by little, Ruben’s family brings him back from the edge.

Jada Alberts hails from Australia’s top end – Larrakia, Yanuwa, Bardi and Wardaman country. She is a recipient of The Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award and is a commanding voice in the new generation of Australian theatre. Acclaimed director/actor/writer Leah Purcell directs this intelligent, moving production.

The girls and I were really moved by this production as we watched a family dealing with grief and loss. As always our girls responded in a mature and thoughtful way to this play. It is a pleasure to provide extra opportunities for them to see live theatre.

Cassandra Benco of Year 11 Drama said “The play was extremely powerful. It felt very real and the actors portrayed their characters with great confidence and emotion, allowing me as a member of the audience to appreciate and understand the struggles and issues explored as if they were my own. Our subscription to Belvoir theatre is an amazing opportunity and we are very lucky to be able to experience such influential performances.”

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Drama Teacher, Creative and Performing Arts Department

History Tour Information Evening

Last Tuesday night played host to the farewell dinner and information evening for a very excited group of historians and their parents in the lead up to the History Tour which leaves on Saturday 21 June.

The travellers were in awe as they heard from the guest speaker, Estelle Lazer, an archaeologist who has spent a great portion of her life working and studying the remains and artefacts of Pompeii where the tour will be visiting. Her stories, experiences and expertise gave a fascinating insight into the ancient world we will soon visit and we thank her for presenting on the evening.

Following the guest speaker, the students, parents and teachers were treated to an Italian feast where the excitement built, questions were answered and shopping lists finalised.

The night concluded with Grace Mather, from Academy Travel, providing all travellers with their documents and final discussion of the itinerary which built on the anticipation and energy for the journey ahead.

Special thanks to Mrs Margot Hadfield and Mrs Susan Webber for their organisation of the dinner and especially to Mr Greg Hume for his outstanding preparation and countless hours spent in preparation for the trip ahead. We farewell the students and accompanying staff and wish them safe travels over the term break.

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Year 8 Medieval Europe History Incursion

On Wednesday 4 June, during Periods five and six, Year 8 Semester One History Students accompanied by our teachers, attended the Medieval Europe History Incursion in the College Hall.

We were introduced and greeted by our presenter, James, and his assistant, both dressed in their medieval clothes and armed with medieval equipment. The first thing James talked about was the Knights during the Medieval Age. James then talked about how armies would go into battle with army formations. To help with his explanation and so that we could understand, James asked for eight student volunteers. The students demonstrated by each holding a shield and spear showing how armies did different formations to defend themselves during a battle situation. James went on to talk about knights and their armour.  The armour worn by the Knights was made out of metal thus making the armour very heavy especially when worn. We were then shown a manikin dressed in knight armour whose name was ‘Fred’.  Student volunteers showed how difficult it was to move around dressed in this heavy armour.  

James also talked about crime and punishment in Europe during the medieval age. We had a demonstration showing how people were punished by being placed in the stocks, the stocks was a wooden structure with holes for your hands and one for the head. As a form of punishment people were placed in these stocks for a period of time and were sometimes fed by their friends while they remained in the stocks.

Next we were shown another wooden structure which was similar to the stocks but for two people to walk around in. It would be used for people who were having an argument and causing disruption on the streets. The idea was that the two people would have to work together to move around and to do it they would need to settle any grievances that they may have had between them.

Another form of punishment which was used was to place a metal helmet which had a metal  mouth piece over the accused, the victim would have the mouth piece kept in his mouth until he was released needless to say this would have been very uncomfortable, cruel and unhygienic.

We all had some fun wearing some of the armour, holding swords and admiring the weapons and spears that were on display. Adding to the excitement James asked for a few volunteers to partake in some medieval dress. As this was done explanation was given as to who would have worn the relevant clothing in medieval time as well as what status was held by the persons wearing the particular dress.

Overall, I found the incursion engaging, humorous and interesting and I am sure the rest of Year 8 History students felt the same way. Thank you to our History teachers Ms Sim, Ms Scott-Bell and Mr Hume for making the incursion possible.

submitted by Judith-Grace Vella

College News

Student Networking Alliance

On Tuesday 6 May, we attended the second meeting for the Student Networking Alliance at Pymble Ladies College with Ms Zammit. Remembering the first meeting, we now knew a bit more of what to expect, and we were all so excited about being a part of what lay ahead - as well as to catch up with all the wonderful girls we had met in Term One.

The meeting began with a viewing of the two-minute video each school had prepared. They focused on what made their school unique and what issues affected young women today. Through the viewing of these videos we began to realise that, amongst girls’ schools, there are many differences and distinctive traits belonging solely to each. However, we also began to realise that each of our schools are more alike in ways we never would have imagined, and that we all really can come together to make a difference.

We were then split into groups of about twelve, meeting and sitting with a random selection of girls from every school. Each group was given one of four topics to discuss, MSB students falling into groups under the topics of ‘bullying’ and ‘women in the workplace.’ The discussions that took place, developing at our own pace and ideas, were inspiring, reflective and enlightening.

Within the topic of ‘bullying’, we began to talk about everything - how we think bullying differs between boys and girls, how it is present within schools, what each of our schools are doing to resolve it. We discussed how perhaps our schools could implement some of the effective systems used by other schools, what support systems are available, how we can increase awareness of this support, and ideas of how we can help to eradicate this issue altogether.

The ‘women in the workplace’ discussion also had conversations flowing, beginning with the ways in which the media often focuses only on what may be considered negative aspects of women leaders or their actions, instead of their incredible capability to stand for themselves as inspirational and powerful leaders. Importantly, it was brought up that females have been oppressed and discriminated against for so long, that the derogatory terms used against us are now used as slang within everyday life. We talked about standing up for ourselves being far from the only solution, as we believe this issue needs to be taken to boys schools, who, although in minority, unfortunately may need to be taught how to behave and respect towards women.

There was a presentation given by Pymble Ladies College on Domestic Abuse. The statistic that one in three women in Australia suffer from domestic abuse of some form was sorrowful and distressing, and there was a shared sense of empathy felt by everyone, with a strong desire to make change. We all need to do our part to help - this cannot continue. Education and awareness are the first steps to this change.

Once again, we gained so much from this experience. The issues we discussed were challenging but enlightening, and we all felt we were able to understand and suggest ideas that may start making changes. In next term's meeting we will continue our discussion of each of the issues. Our aim is to educate and make our community aware of the issues we discussed, such as bullying, challenges women face in the workforce and domestic violence; further spreading the change that needs to take place.

submitted by Alexandra Dowd, Elizabeth Khoury, Grace Klauser and Emily Bray.

Term Dates 2014

Term Dates 2014

Term Two


Tuesday 29 April - Friday 20 June

Term Three


Tuesday 15 July - Friday 19 September

Term Four


Tuesday 7 October - Friday 5 December


Co-Curricular Photos

The Co-Curricular Photos will be taken on Tuesday 17 June from 9.00am on the College Oval (weather permitting). Please note the Ex-Student's Mother and Daughter photo will be at 8.40am.

Please ensure that your daughter is dressed in her full winter uniform, including blazer, and if participating in Sport photos that she brings the appropriate attire for each photo.

Please refer to the Student Planner for the guidelines on presentation of hair and no make up.

Indigenous Immersion Trip

Over the Easter Break Year 11 MSB students Rebecca Koelmyer and Chelsea Spokes accompanied fifteen students from various Good Samaritan schools in Sydney on an Indigenous Immersion Trip to Alice Springs. The experience provided the opportunity for students and teachers to immerse themselves in the Indigenous life of Santa Teresa, a community 80kms out of Alice Springs, and to experience life in Alice Springs. Below is a reflection from the students who participated in the trip.

Reflection on Santa Teresa


As participants on the 2014 Good Samaritan Immersion we left home empty, but returned with an experience, amazing friends for life, a love of card games and a new found perspective on Aboriginal life and culture, a topic that is taught so extensively at school.

Santa Teresa is an Aboriginal community located 80km South-East of Alice Springs, home to approximately 500 Eastern Arrente people. Santa Teresa is a Catholic Community established as a Mission in 1952. Sister Liz and Sister Anita of the Good Samaritan Sisters work closely and tirelessly in the community and the two sided relationship between the sisters and the community, built on trust, respect and understanding was really inspiring.

In Santa Teresa we were able to experience the Australian Indigenous culture first-hand through living in the community for four days. We were enriched with insight into culture and spirituality of the Arrente people whose culture continues to be practised today despite the believed notion that it is ‘dying out’. It was incredible to listen to women in the community and Sr Liz share their experiences and knowledge that no textbook could provide. We were privileged to undergo a smoking ceremony, watched in awe as the women in the Spirituality Centre practised their traditional art and gained an appreciation of our lives through assisting in the Community Centre.

The other element to the experience was Alice Springs where we took out the cameras and became tourists exploring the gorges, gaps, Royal Flying Doctors Service, Reptile Park, women’s goal and a meteorite crater. The friendships we developed with students from other Good Sam schools will stay with us forever. Away from the TV, phone reception and internet, we bonded with card games and laughs.

It was truly an experience that has provided us with the passion and understanding to work in areas of social justice in the future while creating some amazing memories in the process. We strongly recommend this trip to anyone that gets the chance.

submitted by Rebecca Koelmyer and Chelsea Spokes

Footsteps of Benedict Jubilee Tour Information Evening

Thursday 17 July

College Staffroom

Come along and hear all about the upcoming Footsteps of Benedict tour to be held December 2015/January 2016.

Please confirm your attendance

Download the Footsteps of Benedict Information brochure

SRC – Willy Wonka's Biggest Morning Tea

On Friday 6 June, the Student Representative Council (SRC) hosted a Willy Wonka's Biggest Morning Tea in support of The Skin Cancer Foundation. Each representative, from Years 7 to 12, donated a plate of brownies, cupcakes, slices, crackles and cookies to help raise money for a worthy cause. The girls also dressed up in fancy hats to raise awareness and stress the importance of sun safety as a major strategy to prevent skin cancer. The Junior SRC representatives also ran four lolly guessing competitions which were very popular amongst the students and even staff.

It was great to see students from all year groups work together for a common cause and be able to raise $1,065. Congratulations to the SRC Portfolio, in particular our dedicated captains, Alexandra Skelton and Ellen Schiffler, and all the SRC Representatives for a very fun, enjoyable and successful day!

View the Willy Wonka's Biggest Morning Tea photo gallery.

MIss Christine Takchi
SRC Mentor

Term Dates 2015

Term Dates 2015

Term One


Wednesday 28 January - Years 7, 11 and 12 return
Thursday 29 January - Years 8, 9 and 10 return

Wednesday 1 April - Term ends

Term Two


Monday 20 April - Friday 19 June

Friday 5 June - Staff Development Day
Monday 8 June - Queen's Birthday Public Holiday

Term Three


Tuesday 14 July - Friday 18 September

Term Four


Tuesday 6 October - Friday 4 December

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:

Wet Weather Line: 9990 3633


Representative Sports Calendar - Term Two



BROKEN BAY Championships
Wed 18 June
MSB U13 & MSB U15 Representative Teams

NSW ALL SCHOOLS Championships
Mon 16- Tue 17 June
Natalie Tobin Y12



Y9/10 All Schools Hornsby Region Championships
Thu 19 June
MSB Representative Y9/10 Team



BROKEN BAY Championships
Thu 19 June
MSB Senior Representative Team

 MSB Representative Athletics Team

A draft MSB Athletics Team with hurdles and walk events added is now also on the Sports Noticeboard. Please notify Mrs Grant immediately if you wish to withdraw from events so that the team is finalised in time for photo day on Tuesday 17 June.

Notes for the Broken Bay Athletics Championships to be held on Wednesday 20 August will be distributed next term.

NSW CCC Touch Championships

Congratulations to Bella Duncan (Year 10), Abi Shepherd (Year 9) and Shannyn Bissett (Year 8) who were members of the victorious U15 Broken Bay Team at the NSW CCC Touch Championships in Wagga last week. Abi went on to gain selection into the U15 NSW CCC Team - well done.

Congratulation also to Brittany Haskins (Year 10) who was a member of the Open Broken Bay team that were runners up.

Good Luck

    • To our U15 and U13 Representative Soccer teams who will be competing at the Broken Bay Championships next week after the unfortunate postponement this week due to the rain.

    • To the MSB Year 9/10 Representative Team who will compete in the NSW All Schools Regional Touch Championships next week at Mount Colah.

    • To Natalie Tobin (Year 12) who will represent NSW CCC at the NSW All Schools Soccer Championships next week at Sutherland.

Mrs Karen Grant

Representative Sports Coordinator / Physical Activity Coordinator

Co-curricular Sport





Emily Michell



Tiarne Ekstrom



Shannyn Bissett






Monte Cassino





















Tiarne Ekstrom



Arnie Bowrey



Jemma Gallagher

Monte Cassino




Shannyn Bissett



Elly Gallagher
Courtney Harkin

Monte Cassino


Jenna Jardine





Emily Michell



Kirsten Simpson



Carla Takchi

















Katie Devitt



Katie Devit (Subiaco)

14yrs 200IM


Jemma Gallagher (Monte Cassino)

Junior 800m



View the Athletics Carnival Photo Gallery

Mrs Rebecca Lewis

Co-curricular Sports Coordinator

P & F News

Please confirm your attendance here


University Focus

Over the next few weeks university information specifically for parents will appear in the Careers section. This week: Australian Catholic University

Previous Weeks: UNSW, Macquarie University, Sydney University, UTS, UWS.

Next Week: University of Notre Dame 


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.
Comprehensive instructions on how to use this system can be found here.
If you have any queries please contact Mrs Elke Forrest, Assistant Business Manager.
Place a Canteen order here








Vivienne Flannery


Kathleen Van Den Broek



Kate McGrath

Carla Savorgnan

Kylie Craig 

 Susan Giacomelli



Jennifer Campbell



Lisette Smith

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

Volunteers are urgently required for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Mrs Melissa Arane
Canteen 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

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