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14 August 2015


From the Principal

Almighty ever-living God,
who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son,
body and soul into heavenly glory,
grant, we pray,
that, always attentive to the things that are above,
we may merit to be sharers of her glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

This prayer is taken from the liturgy for tomorrow, August 15, which is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of two significant days occurring on consecutive Saturdays with the Feast of St Mary of the Cross (MacKillop) taking place last Saturday August 8.

Both of these occasions have deep significance for our Catholic communities. The Solemnity of the Assumption draws on ancient beliefs about Mary that have been held among Christians since the fourth century, whereas the Feast of St Mary of the Cross has only recently become part of our liturgical calendar.

It was our great pleasure on Wednesday to host a visit to the College by Father Sergi d'Assis Gelpi the Principal of the Choir School at the Benedictine Monastery at Montserrat in Spain. As one of our Houses at the College bears the name of Montserrat it was a delight to have Fr Sergi visit and to spend some time with the House Coordinator, House Captain and House Ambassador of Montserrat.

During this week I had the pleasure of dropping in on a few activities taking place around the College and beyond. On Monday I observed the work of some of our Year 8 students who were wrestling with the challenges of designing equipment that could be operated remotely while viewing the action on a computer screen. They were in a small way replicating the type of technologies that are used to allow surgeons to perform procedures on patients through video link rather than being physically present for the surgery. The activity formed part of a STEM challenge day involving the integrated disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

On Tuesday I was able to enjoy some of the 'product' on sale during the Year 10 Commerce Market Day. Students in this group had set about the task of developing and marketing their goods for sale in the manner of a small business operation. It included elements of product design and market awareness as well as measure to do with sale price and volume with some clever advertising strategies thrown in for good measure.

On Thursday I met a group of students from Years 9 and 10 who were taking on the challenge of writing a book in a day. The challenge for the students was to complete a 2000 - 8000 word book. Each team were sent three characters at the beginning of the day along with a setting and an issue on which to base their work. Students had to write, illustrate, print and bind their book all in the course of a day.

Thursday evening was the occasion for our Year 12 HSC Drama Showcase where our students were able to perform the works they have been developing to a very appreciative audience. There was some wonderful talent on display but of course it takes much more than raw talent to produce such entertaining and thought provoking performances. There has clearly been a great deal of hard work involved with these pieces and we certainly wish all the students well for their upcoming practical examination.

Friday was 'Vinnies Busking' day where our musicians and singers travelled out to Parramatta to perform in the Mall for the lunch time crowds. As they did so they invited their audience to make a donation towards the Society of St Vincent de Paul for their work among the very needy people in our community. It was great to see yet another example of our students putting their talents at the service of others and as always it is our privilege to work alongside groups such as Vinnies to show our support and offer some assistance.

On Monday 17 August we will be inviting parents, students and staff to complete an online survey providing feedback on a wide range of matters relating to our College. These surveys are conducted every few years to help us recognise and affirm the things that are working well as well as identifying the areas of challenge that we need to address. Your participation in this survey would be greatly appreciated.

Next Wednesday, August 19th will be a very significant day at MSB. It is, of course, our annual Grandparents Assembly and Morning Tea and we are very much looking forward to welcoming our guest for this occasion. It is also a day that a number of our Senior students have been working towards for well over a year now. This group, arising out of work with the Sydney Alliance have been developing a social media profile to campaign on the issue of children in detention. They have adopted the name “Kidz4Kidz” and have already developed a presence on social media with their first video being viewed almost 18,000 times. On Wednesday they plan to launch their latest effort and they are encouraging students, teachers, family and friends to support the campaign through Twitter and Facebook . They can be found by searching at Kidz4Kidz_AUS or through the above links.

Paul Lentern
Acting Principal

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Mission News

Mount St Benedict has a much valued reputation of being a school that provides opportunities for its students to learn first-hand about issues and challenges facing many people in our community. We offer a range of Service Learning Programs ranging from those where students are able to work and learn with children with special needs, some that involve assisting refugee children with their homework and the running of School Holiday Programs for them as well as the visiting of the elderly in Nursing Homes. These programs are based on the premise that effective and beneficial learning can take place when service is performed within a relational framework.

This week I joined three students from the Year 9 Ministry class as they visited residents at the Jamieson House Nursing Home at Beecroft. We have had long a standing association with Jamieson House that has developed through regular visits to the Nursing Home by many of our students, as a venue for our Community Outreach Programs and the many visits of its residents to various MSB events.

Jamieson House is now a specific High Dementia Unit so it is important that students undergo a thorough training program to give them an understanding of how to interact with elderly people with dementia and alzheimer's disease. Students are always a little nervous when they arrive but it is amazing to see how they quickly respond to the questions, interest and sometimes ‘pop star’ status that the residents bestow on them. It is obvious that the residents are craving the company of young people but it is also humbling to see how our students interact with such respect and genuine interest.

Students love to hear the stories from the residents. Today we met a gentleman who was once a well-established and leading scientist who shared stories of his research. Another resident is well known for her show dogs and told us of her life-long hobby that saw her beloved Pomeranian win the Easter Show’s ‘Best at Show’ title for many years. The students learn very quickly that these are interesting people who have lived very interesting lives.

Sometimes the students play Board Games with residents, at other times they play word games to assist with memory function, however this week students were invited to assist staff with aromatherapy activities for the residents. These were very simple tasks but ones that spoke volumes in regards to trust and dignity.

We are busy preparing for our Grandparents Day next Wednesday and we are very much looking forward to celebrating the joy that grandparents bring to our lives. They too have many stories to tell and are able to share such special bonds with their grandchildren.

I would also like to invite our Dads to the Father/Daughter Breakfast on Friday 28 of August. Please RSVP using the attached link.

Dates for the Calendar:

  • Grandparents Assembly and Morning Tea Wednesday 19 August
  • Father Daughter Breakfast Friday 28 August
  • Year 8 Reflection Day Friday 11 September
  • Year 9 Reflection Day Tuesday 15 September
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Click here
to RSVP to the Father / Daughter breakfast.

Donna Dempsey
Acting Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

Stage 5 Drama Excursion

On Wednesday 5 August the Stage 5 (Year 9 and 10) Drama students attended a performance of Shellshock. This was a new play about Gallipoli by Justin Flemming and was directed by Wayne Harrison. Shellshock is a love story. Granted, an unusual love story… between an Australian teenager and his mate Herman, a tortoise – the oldest living survivor of the Gallipoli campaign. When a newspaper article reveals the surprising identity of this last survivor, a mysterious woman from Turkey arrives at the Lindsay farm. Fourteen year old Tom, his father Jack, and feisty grandmother June, become embroiled in a drama that takes them to the other side of the world, in search of answers, and the true origin of Herman. Justin Fleming’s heartfelt and quirky new play features Turkish shadow puppets and a brilliant cast. Shellshock will be a highly entertaining and uplifting experience for young and not-so-young audiences, in the spirit of War Horse.

Some students shared their thoughts about this excursion:

Shellshock was a captivating play and a display of fantastic acting and gorgeous puppeteering. A story of survival, family and adventure; Shellshock took us on a journey of a war hero and his life-saving pet, Herman... a tortoise. The audience atmosphere was exciting, lots of laughing and gasping. The Q and A with the actors and puppeteers afterwards really gave the Year 9 and 10 Drama students an insight into professional acting and all the hard work and different people that have to come together to create such a seamless production. Thank you to the teachers and Riverside Theatre for such a good experience. Rosie Coppini, Y10.

The Drama excursion of the production Shellshock was a success as I really enjoyed it. The play inspired many of us to at school improve as relationships between characters and blocking around the stage when performing. The use of narrator at Shellshock was absolutely brilliant and now for future productions at school we now know how to incorporate a narrator to be more involved and a valid character. Caitlin Jennings Y10.

Shellshock was an entertaining, moving and engaging play. I'm really glad we got to watch it at Paramatta Riverside Theatre for our Drama excursion. It really inspired me and gave me ideas for our upcoming assessment. I definitely left the theatre feeling shell shocked . Gabrielle Edwards Y10.

I thoroughly enjoyed this play, the storyline was very moving. It also taught me a lot about live theatre production, which was inspiring. Jemaya Spurtacz Y10.

The play Shellshock was a great play to watch and you felt like you were in the play yourself. The actors were very good in their roles and were very convincing. I really enjoyed this play. – Lauren Cordell Y10.

The play Shellshock was great, at first I thought it will be weird as we heard that it is a love story between a boy and a tortoise. As we sat down in the theatre looking at the set I was very interested. Once the play was finished I was speechless as I really enjoyed it. I would love to see it again and I recommend that you see it too. Madison Theodore Y9.

I enjoyed the performance of Shellshock, as history was presented differently and the playwright had interpreted parts of a true story. I felt as though the actors really connected with their roles which made the play more believable and very enjoyable to watch. The stage setting, accents and expression were excellent and created realism in the play, as well as bringing the audience on the journey with the actors by making them feel the emotions the characters felt in the moment. Alexandra Micallef Y10.

I absolutely loved the production of Shellshock that we watched at Parramatta Riverside Theatre. It was a clever and entertaining play that had everyone engaged for the whole show. They effectively used character changes and scene transitions. The play had a wonderful story line that kept everyone interested in the plot. –Deana Zdrilic Y10.

I thought the play was really good and nice as it related to our country's history, as well as having an interesting storyline. It was way better than I expected! Julia Murray Y10.

Gabrielle Keats
Drama Teacher

Year 7 Risky Business Unit and Youthsafe Lectures

Year 7 are currently studying a unit of work titled 'Risky Business' in which they gain an appreciation of risk and analyse the factors that influence risk behaviour. Through a focus on drug taking, road use and recognition of unsafe situations students will develop an understanding of strategies to minimise harm in a range of relevant contexts and develop an understanding of the interrelationship of factors that can increase the potential for harm.

To support this unit the students participated in youthsafe workshops which involved a guest lecturer delivering interactive workshops which explore the concept of risk, related consequences and strategies for making safer choices

David Campbell
Head of PDHPE Department

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Pastoral Care

Positive Emotions

An emotion is any feeling about a situation, person or object that causes changes physiologically in our body or changes in our thought processes. Conversely our thought pattern can create emotions that can be positive or negative. Life has its ups and downs and it is not about trying to have positive emotions all the time but to be aware how we can challenge some of our thought patterns and recognise our emotions to enhance our own wellbeing. The positive education approach allows us to do this as our beliefs, attitudes and intentions effect our performance. There are many areas and opportunities for the students to reflect on their emotions and create an optimistic approach to daily events.

An optimist views negative experiences as temporary, learns from their experiences and does not give up but keeps trying to move forward to their goals.

In Years 7 and 8 the girls are challenged and encouraged to be involved the camp activities and to be aware of their thought processes, challenge themselves and ‘have a go’.

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Working with strengths also promotes positive emotions and an optimistic outlook. The Values in Action character strengths are taught in Years 9 and 10 and students are encouraged to utilise their strengths in moving forward when faced with a difficult situation.


Below is an excerpt from the speech given by the newly inducted College Captain Jessica Pereira at last Wednesday’s College assembly:

If we are able to acknowledge the incredible personalities and qualities that ourselves, our friends, houses, homerooms, teams and Year groups possess, we can better support each other and become a stronger community.

Over my years at Bennies, I have slowly but surely learnt the importance of acknowledging others’ strengths, and leaning on them for support during hectic times of work and assessments. I know it’s not always easy to reach out, meet someone new and ask for help in areas where you lack confidence, however it is reassuring to know that there is someone at Bennies who is willing to assist and be a helping hand.

The wisdom of the gold senior buttons has allowed me to reminisce, and I have realised that most of the relationships that I have made, including my friendship with Ash and Jess, started when I highlighted my strengths, pursued my passions and got involved in various activities. For all three of us, we have a particular passion in Social Justice and Kidz4Kidz that has strengthened our friendship. We would like to continue this passion both inside and outside the College community, ensuring that everyone is treated justly and with respect.

So whether it’s getting involved with CAPA, Social Justice or sporting areas of school, joining the debating team or just shooting someone a smile in the corridors we can all contribute to making Bennies a better place.

The merit system also recognises students in their effort, commitment and attitude.

Changing our thought patterns and moving towards an optimistic outlook and positive emotions is an ongoing process and takes time. Watch this TED talk by Shawn Anchor for a 21 day challenge of changing the brain to think more positively and lead to more positive emotions.

TEDxBloomington - Shawn Achor - "The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance

Jackie Duncan
Assistant Principal Dean of Students

Monte Cassino News

As a symbol of extending prayers and wishes to others in our Year of Hospitality, all seven Monte Cassino Homerooms have built prayer houses made of wire and red cloth. Written on the cloth is each student’s wish or prayer for a person in need of love or attention, be it someone dear to them in our community or someone they’ve never met, such as an asylum seeker trying to start a new life here in Sydney. The presence of the prayer houses in Homerooms is designed to be a near-daily reminder to each student to look beyond her own wants or hardships and redirect her energy for the good of others. I recorded the girls reciting their prayers and wishes so that they can be played at the upcoming House farewell to Year 12, as a reminder that our prayers and wishes go with Year 12 in their lives beyond school.

Our Homeroom Mentors have been engaging in pastoral conversations with the girls in their Homerooms for several terms now. This mentorship is not only in place to build the Mentor-Student bond, but also to assist students in achieving their personal best and to help them on their journey of self-discovery. Within the context of College life, our students are asked to identify their signature strengths and, in working with their Mentors, find out how they can best use their talents in the pursuit of knowledge, in their relationships and in the development of their character.

Our House has been blessed yet again with excellent leaders for the year ahead. Below is Caitlin Harris’ account of recent Monte achievements. As our elected Monte Cassino House Captain for 2015/2016, she’s been keeping an eye out for exciting Monte news. Read ahead for more details.

Monte Cassino has had some great achievements over the past few weeks. Three of the five girls who continued through to the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championships were from Monte! Elly Gallagher, who amazingly came ninth, Jemma Gallagher and Alicia Johns all ran in this event and did an outstanding job! It was a very competitive day and these three girls put all their effort into the event. The Year 9 students have been working on projects to pass through the school to encourage everyone to get involved this year and help raise money for the House partners. The three groups in Monte came up with some fantastic ideas. The Year 11 Monte girls will begin to prepare for Vinnies Van next term, which is when the girls go out and help feed the homeless and those in need, which will be a rewarding experience for all involved. Many of the Monte Cassino girls were involved in the College production of Hairspray, which the girls had been working on for nearly a year prior to opening night.

Term Three also welcomed the new Leadership team for 2015/2016 for Monte Cassino: Emma Smith is our new House Ambassador; Georgina Raine is the new House Vice Captain; and I am the new House Captain. I am thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to be elected into this role and I am so excited to bring new ideas to the House and get everyone involved! With only two terms left of the year, I am excited for what is to come and to see even more achievements from Monte Cassino in the very near future.

Caitlin Harris
Monte Cassino House Captain 2015/2016

Erin O'Brien
Monte Cassino House Co-ordinator

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College News

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Book Week 2015

The IRC is busily preparing for this year’s Children's Book Week (August 24 - 28). The theme for 2015 is 'Books Light up our World'. Throughout Book Week the College is looking forward to hosting two acclaimed Australian Authors, Claire Zorn, nominated for the 2015 Young Adult Book of the Year for her work 'The Protected' and Jennifer Walsh, author of 'Tunnels or Tarcoola' and 'Crooked Leg Road'.

During Book Week students will be able to participate in competitions and test their knowledge of popular fiction both in the IRC and in Homeroom in conjunction with Refugee and Asylum Seeker Week.

Rebecca Shiels
Teacher Librarian

Media Feature for World Champion Year 10 Future Problem Solvers

Our World Champion Year 10 Future Problem Solvers are featured in the July issue of SpineOut Magazine. Well done girls!

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Rebecca Shiels
Teacher Librarian

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P & F News

The NorthConnex Project

On Monday night we had three guest speakers from the NorthConnex project attend the P&F meeting to explain the impact of the tunnel, and the Wilson Road compound in particular, on the College and the local environs. Particular focus was placed on the pedestrian access from Wilson Road and a 'kiss and drop' zone in Killaloe Avenue, Pennant Hills.

There will be significant numbers of trucks moving in and out from Pennant Hills Road to the Wilson Road site. The project has created a pedestrian path for students and staff to move from Wilson Road to the overhead bridge.

The College is in constant communication with the NorthConnex team about student access times and significant events eg Parent Teacher evenings etc.

The NorthConnex Project team invites you to meet the construction team at the NorthConnex Community Information Centre at 354 - 356 Pennant Hills Road from 10.00am until 1.00pm on Saturday 29 August.

Members of the construction team will be available to provide information about construction activities and answer any questions you may have.

Golf Day

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Click here to RSVP to the P&F Golf Day.

Mr Damien Pigott
P&F President

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Representative Sport

Representative Sports Calendar

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Three


BBSSSA Championships
Tuesday 18 August
MSB U13/U15 Representative Teams


NSW CCC Championships
Tuesday 18 August
MSB JUN/INT Representative teams


NSW CCC Championships - JUN / INT
Monday 24 - Tuesday 25 August
MSB Y7/8 and Y9/10 Representative team


NSW CCC Championships
Friday 11 September

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.

Photos from Representative Sports Competitions

Just a reminder that photos from most of the BBSSSA Championships are available on the Photos In A Flash website

Students have been emailed the password for both MSB and BBSSSA photos.

BBSSSA Website

The new BBSSSA website (address above) is up and operational with information, reports, photos etc for all BBSSSA sports. I encourage all parents to take a look as they are seeking feedback – please email me any comments, queries you may have as this will become more integrated into administration for our representative pathways in a similar manner to the NSW CCC website in upcoming months.

BBSSSA Athletics

A beautiful winter’s day on Tuesday saw our Athletics team in action at the BBSSA Championships with some strong results. Congratulations to Amie Bowrey U14 and Elly Gallagher U16 who were BBSSSA Champions, Amie establishing a new U14 Javelin record (31.62m) and Elly breaking the U16 800m record. We now have ten MSB athletes who will progress to the NSW CCC Championships after winning their events -

  • Mikaela Quinlan U13 1st High Jump, 2nd Discus, 2nd Shot
  • Amie Bowrey U14 1st Javelin, 1st Hurdles, 2nd Discus, 2nd Long Jump, 3rd 100m, 3rd Shot
  • Jemma Gallagher U14 1st 1500m, 1st 800m, 2nd 400m
  • Capri Vidler U15 1st 1500m, 2nd 800m
  • Kassidy Grant U15 1st Javelin
  • Courtney Harkin U15 1st High Jump, 3rd Long Jump
  • Sasha Savenko U15 1st Discus, 1st Shot
  • Elly Gallagher U16 1st 200m, 1st 400m, 1st 800m, 1st 1500m
  • Abi Curtin 17+ 1st Discus
  • Ellen Wearne 17+ 1st Javelin

Our intermediate girls won the point score for their Division. Congratulations to Amie Bowrey, Jemma Gallagher, Capri Vidler, Kassidy Grant, Courtney Harkin, Sasha Savenko, Samantha Dale, Jessica Smillie, Shannyn Bissett, Sophie Cleveringa and Lauren Simpson.

Other Top 3 individual places were achieved by –

  • Charlotte Saul U12 3rd Javelin
  • Alicia John U13 2nd 1500m, 2nd 800m
  • Jasmine Rheinberger U13 3rd Javelin, 3rd Long Jump
  • Samantha Dale U13 2nd High Jump
  • Sophie Cleveringa U16 3rd 1500m, 3rd 400m
  • Jessica Corcoran U16 3rd 1500m
  • Whitney Skirka U16 3rd 100m, 3rd High Jump
  • Kirsten Simpson 17+ 3rd 400m
  • Harriet Burke 17+ 2nd Long Jump
  • Kayel Tillman 17+ 2nd Long Jump
  • Rachel Takchi 17+ 3rd Shot

Our relay teams all finished with Top 3 places –

  • JUNIOR (U12/U13) 2nd – Alicia John, Zoe Fajemisin, Jasmine Rheinberger, Taylor Kueh
  • INTERMEDIATE (U14/U15) 3rd – Shannyn Bissett, Samantha Dale, Amie Bowrey, Lauren Simpson
  • SENIOR (16+) 2nd – Whitney Skirka, Elly Gallagher, Harriet Burke, Lauren Thompson

Thanks as always to our large number of parent spectators and to Mrs McGregor for assisting with our shot put duty all day. It was great to again see ex MSB students Maddy Bergfield and Becky Clark attending and supporting our girls with block starts and relay changes.

Good Luck

  • To our Junior and Intertermediate Netball Teams who are competing at the NSW CCC Championships on Tuesday at Penrith
  • To our U13 and U15 Soccer Teams who are competing at the BBSSSA Championships on Tuesday at Cromer.

Karen Grant
Representative Sports Coordinator

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Careers Information for Students and Parents

Open Days

Applying to UAC

Access Schemes


Equity Scholarships

Year 12 students attend RSA 4 SCHOOLS course

On Wednesday the first of July, a group of Year 12 students attended a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course at Hornsby Tafe. This was run by the RSA 4 SCHOOLS Initiative which is open for any school students aged 17 or older. This leads to earning a certificate which can be used to apply for jobs that require the distribution of alcohol. During this five hour day we were taught about the effects of Alcohol and how to distribute it in a professional and responsible manner. Did you know that it is an offence for a patron to supply alcohol to an intoxicated patron and the fine can be up to $1,100!?

It was a fantastic opportunity to be offered to take part in the course and we all highly recommend it to anyone as it looks great on your resume regardless of the jobs you are applying to. The course also allows you to work for licenced venues where an 18 year old can earn a minimum of $21.69 per hour!

If you are 17+ years and interested in participating in this RSA 4 SCHOOLS Initiative look out for Ms Elgood’s emails throughout the year – especially when it’s close to the holidays – but sign up quick! Places are limited and book out very fast.

By Sarah Raslan, Larissa Saliba, Alana Hassarati, Jess Gleeson and Rachel Duggan

Lucy Elgood
Careers Advisor and VET 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 17 August






Kath Darcy


Susan Bell

Karen Khoury

Josephine Vaggis

Rachael Taylor

Carmen Galluzzo

Sarah Cusack

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

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Community Notices

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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