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16 October 2015


From the Principal

Prayer for HSC Students

Today, let us especially pray for our students as they begin the HSC.
God we ask that they feel your closeness during the HSC exam period.
Give them calm hearts and quiet confidence
in the knowledge that you hold them in the palm of your hand.
Bless them with keen understanding and retentive memory.
Give them the ability to grasp things correctly,
be exact in their explanations
And an ability to express themselves clearly.
Point out the beginning,
direct their progress
and help them
in the completion of each of their responses.
Holy Spirit send them your gifts of wisdom and knowledge
We ask this through Christ our Lord,


Our HSC students commenced their examinations this week. I know the girls have been preparing well for this time, attending additional classes during the term break and sending work through to their teachers for feedback. I am confident that they are well prepared and once again I thank their teachers for their dedicated and committed support of the girls. I reminded the girls on Monday morning that the normal support systems which have been available to them during their years at the College continue to be available during their examinations. I reminded them also that while the HSC is an important part of their academic journey, it is one step in a long journey. There are also many different pathways available for the girls to pursue their goals. We wish the girls well during this time and continue to hold them in our prayers.

Term Four becomes increasingly busy as it progresses. I want to remind parents of the importance of students attending every day and participating fully in all activities, including the important community events which take place in the final days.  Our girls enjoy a very long break over Christmas and any holidays should be confined to this time. I would appreciate the cooperation of parents in not requesting additional leave for students immediately before or after the term break.

Recently the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference published the Social Justice Statement 2015-16 entitled For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas, which I recommend to you. The issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers have become highly politicised in Australia and it is easy to become bound up in political arguments. This document from the bishops seeks to address the issues from the standpoint of Catholic Social Teaching, which obviously forms part of the basis of our beliefs as Catholics. The statement can be found at .

On Wednesday evening I was lucky to be able to join with Year 7 families in travelling to the city to see the Musical Matilda. What a wonderful night! I want to thank Mrs Kath Mason, Mrs Kylie Gray and Mrs Michelle Blackman for their organisation of the evening and thanks to everyone who came along and made it a great community event!

Maria Pearson

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Mission News

“Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all.
For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This passage from the Gospel of Mark is part of the Gospel reading for our coming Sunday liturgy. It is one of a number of recent texts highlighting the sacrificial character of the Christian life where service is aspired to and self-gratification is to be avoided. Among the readings we have listened to over the past week were the very challenging commentaries on wealth, power and privilege which warn about how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. As members of the minority world where most of the world’s wealth and resources are concentrated these are very challenging concepts indeed.

As a community at MSB we reflect seriously on these challenges and while we are not so naive as to think we can solve the vastly complex questions of wealth and poverty we do believe it is our responsibility to look seriously at our way of life, to seek to live more simply and to be more generous in how we provide for the needs of others. As a College community we give expression to these intentions through a wide variety of community work both as providers of welfare and advocates of justice.

Our monthly night patrol with St Vincent de Paul is one such example and this week, as happens each month, a group of our students and staff spend their Saturday night offering some snacks, warm drinks and companionship to people sleeping out on our streets. We also partner with St Vincent de Paul in their annual winter appeal in August through having our music students perform in the Parramatta Mall in our “Vinnies Busking” project.

Earlier this month we held our Family Fun Day picnic in partnership with Josephite Community Aid (JCA) and over the next few weeks we will begin collecting donations for Christmas Hampers to support many of the families in the JCA network. Our students have also done a great deal of additional work with these JCA families in the course of the year through our after school tutoring program and the holiday activities program run in July.

Another major focus of our work on behalf of others is taken up through our partnership with the Good Samaritan ministries at Mater Dei School at Narellan, with the work of the Sisters in the tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati, at the Bacolod Kinder School in the Philippines and at Railaco in Timor Leste. Each year we seek to enhance our partnership with these communities through awareness programs and fundraising activities. In Week 7 of this term our “Mission Week” focus will provide a great opportunity to further our efforts in this area.

Alongside these important initiatives we also undertake considerable work on behalf of Caritas Australia. This takes place in the Season of Lent each year, leading up to Easter, where we conduct a range of activities designed to help bring awareness of the needs of others while also making some practical contributions to very significant aid programs.

Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

Good Samaritan Education Philippines Immersion Trip

During the holidays, Year 11 students Jessica Corcoran, Jessica Griffith and Madison Nicholson accompanied by Mrs He went on an Immersion Trip to the Philippines with other students and teachers from Good Samaritan schools from around Australia. The aim of the trip was to not only immerse ourselves in the culture but to work alongside the Good Samaritan Sisters who work with disadvantaged children and parents to provide them with basic needs, education, life skills. But this journey proved to be much more than that. Our eyes were opened to just how poor the majority of people in the Philippines are. It gave us a whole new perspective on life as the incredible people we met touched our hearts through their overwhelming hospitality and the stories they shared with us.

We were privileged to visit our partner Good Samaritan Kinder School in Bacolod, a community centre for the parents, the Boulevard (a slum area), Conception Parish for Sunday Mass that was spoken in the local language of Tagalog and St Scholastica's School in Manila.

This experience was incredible and opened up our minds to a different way of life. Playing with the children from the Kinder school and the Boulevard showed how community is the most important aspect of life and that money does not bring true happiness. It was hard to leave this country which had made a difference in our lives and had bought us to be extremely grateful for what we have back here in Australia.

Christina He

Year 11 PAX Retreat

The Year 11 PAX Retreat held at Kiah Ridge, Tahmoor last week had a number of positive education strategies embedded into the program. Below are a couple of reflections from girls who were on the Retreat.

“Throughout our PAX Retreat, the girls participated in many activities such as meditation, mandalas, bush walking and even playing a good game of ping pong with the teachers. One of the activities the majority of the girls really enjoyed was meditation. We found that meditation was a useful key to help us find inner peace and relax, which was exactly what we needed before starting Year 12. Retreat was an amazing, fun experience which we will never forget.”

“The PAX Retreat held at Kiah Ridge was a really eye opening experience. Within smaller groups we were able to try many different approaches to finding peace, from meditation to bush walking to colouring mandalas. I found it really fun and worthwhile to try different forms of finding inner peace that could become potentially useful throughout Year 12.”

Sharon McGowan

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Curriculum News

From the Studies Coordinator

Years 9 and 10 Exam Blocks

Year 9 will have their first exam block in Week Four between Monday 26 October and Friday 30 October. Students return to regular classes on Monday 2 November.

In preparation for this exam block Year 9 students have had a session in their Pastoral Care lesson this week to plan their study timetable before the exam block. Students will have also had subject specific study skills taught to them in their classes and should be asking their teachers if they need anything clarified before the exams.

The Year 10 exam block begins in Week Five from Monday 2 November to Tuesday 10 November and a letter outlining the expectations and requirements has been given to students and parents. Year 10 have had a number of study skills sessions in Pastoral Care throughout the year. The most recent was in Term Three Week Nine and this session was on exam techniques with a focus on planning time used in exams and multiple choice techniques.

Students are encouraged to access the Bennies libguide for study skills resources:

Students and parents can also access the Study Skills Handbook online which is an excellent resource for students to learn more about study skills. username: formsbenonly password: 124results

We hope all students keep a balanced approach to their studies in the next few weeks. Maintaining their regular sporting, work or other commitments is important for time out, eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep will also aid their ability to have productive study sessions.

If students are experiencing stress leading into the exams they could utilise some of the suggestions the Future Problem Solving group 'Stress Less' outlined in Assembly this week and access the Managing Stress unit in the Study Skills Handbook.

Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

Short Stories from Year 11 Extension English Students

Click here to read a selection of short stories penned by our Year 11 Extension English students. Inspired by novelists Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, these stories are set in either nineteenth-century England or a distant, dystopian future; the characters and plots, however, are entirely our students’ own creations …

Adam Shaw
English Teacher

MYBennies take on Matilda the Musical

The Matilda Express buses departed Bennies this past Wednesday afternoon bound for the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. On board, were many of our Year 7 students with a family member and some of our excited theatre-loving staff.

The Matilda evening was organised through the MYBennies team, as an informal opportunity for our Year 7 students and their families to be able to meet others within their Year group, on the other side of the Red Brick Wall.

What a joyous evening it was! Departing the College at 5.00pm and arriving back at 11.00pm, it was a long evening but what rewards. Good weather, excellent company and a production that was uplifting, entertaining and transformative. There was a great feeling amongst the group and a sense of community that we constantly strive to foster here at the College. The show was funny, creative and left us with a great sense of excitement and happiness (not to mention a renewed appreciation for the merits of a great school like MSB).

A huge thanks goes out to all of the wonderful Year 7 students and their families for attending the evening. On their behalf and that of the MYBennies team, I would like to thank Mrs Pearson and the Leadership team for their support of the evening. To our students and parents who attended, thank you for your lovely company. We hope you all enjoyed Matilda the Musical, and have been able to make new and stronger connections as our most recent Bennies members.

Katherine Mason
MYBennies Coordinator

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College News

Evacuation Feedback

Late Wednesday morning there was a strong smell of gas in the College grounds and in some of the teaching spaces.

It was decided to proceed with an evacuation to the Assembly Point as has been practiced many times in the past. The evacuation was completed very smoothly and the girls are to be congratulated for their calm and co-operative manner.

The Fire Brigade was called and the Castle Hill Unit attended the College. Despite their investigations the source of the gas was not detected. They contacted the Gas Response Unit who arrived at the College shortly after being called.

Further investigation still did not reveal the source of the issue. However, the Gas Response Unit had a number of calls from properties along Pennant Hills Rd concerning gas.

The Fire Brigade determined that there was no longer a risk and allowed staff and students to return to class and the day continued.

Our thanks to the NSW Fire Brigade for their assistance.

Guy Fitzsimmons
Business Manager

CAPA Showcase

Further seating will be released if necessary.

Please ensure you book by Monday 5.00pm.

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From the Fees Desk

The balance of 2015 school fees is due on Friday 23 October.

If paying automatic deductions by the term, the payment will be processed on this date. Monthly, fortnightly and weekly deductions will continue until mid-November.

If you require a final balance or statement of your fees for 2015, please do not hesitate to contact Fiona Barnett on 9980 0445 or

Fiona Barnett
Fees Administrator

Student Alliance News

Last Tuesday, our Student Alliance team attended the final Alliance networking meeting of 2015 held at Brigidine College in St Ives. In the previous meeting each group of girls were asked to create a 1 minute video about the prevention of a topic we had spoken about this year, and present it at the next meeting. Our team choose to cover Domestic Violence and the importance of making it known in society. Our two guest speakers Robyn Butler and Lucy Durack reviewed our videos and also spoke about their own personal challenges they had faced in a male dominated work force. This year has definitely been a motivating but challenging experience, and we look forward to another great set of meetings next year.

View the video.

Eva Harrington

Christine Takchi
Student Alliance Coordinator

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P & F News

International Teachers Day Morning Tea

Every year we thank our teachers and staff with a ‘THANK YOU MORNING TEA’.

We need Year 7 and Year 11 families to Create, Bake, Donate and Deliver items for the morning tea on Friday 30 October.

Assistance is also required to assist on the day between 9.00am and 11.30am.

ENQUIRIES: Michelle Schaafsma via email on

Please download the Volunteer Form and return to Student Services by 23 October.

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Representative Sport

Representative Sports Calendar

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Four


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 20 November

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.


Last week was a very exciting week with many of our MSB students representing at elite levels in their sport.

NSW All Schools Athletics Championships

Firstly, seven of our talented athletes competed at the NSW All Schools Championships.

Mikaela Quinlan, Samantha Dale, Courtney Harkin and Amie Bowrey represented in the field events of High Jump, Long Jump and Javelin, whilst Alicia John, Capri Vidler and Jemma Gallagher competed on the track in the various distance events.

A number of the girls attained top 10 placings and a couple also achieved personal bests (PB’s.)

Specific congratulations to Amie Bowrey in Yr 8, who was awarded the silver medal in the U14’s Javelin. This is an outstanding achievement!

Congratulations to all the girls for representing themselves and MSB proudly and on a great athletics season which saw them all progress through to this high level of competition.

Aly and Georgia Represent Australia

Year 11 students Alyson McGrath and Georgia Quick represented Australia in their respective sports. Aly played in the Australian U18 Ladies indoor netball team at the Indoor World Cup in Brisbane. Aly’s team won the 7’s Championship and she was also awarded ‘Player of the Final.’

Meanwhile Georgia Quick represented both NSW and Australia at the 2016 Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Invercargill, New Zealand. Georgia received the silver medal for Australia in the team sprint and for NSW, in the State vs State events, she received the Silver in the 500m Time Trial with a PB and Bronze in both the Kieran and Individual Sprint events, with yet another PB in the Individual Sprint.

Congratulations Aly and Georgia on these outstanding achievements.

Good Luck

To our MSB representative Open Water Polo team competing at the Broken Bay Open Water Polo Championships next Friday 23 October.

Bennies Big Skip

Next week the Sports Portfolio will be conducting the very popular annual Bennies Biggest Skip. Each lunchtime a different Year group is invited to the Hall to participate in the Big Skip.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Monday  - Year 11
  • Tuesday - Year 10
  • Wednesday - Year 9
  • Thursday - Year 8
  • Friday - Year 7

Skippers will skip until we reach the final five. Then, the final five in each year group will skip again in the Grand Final on Thursday 12 November, to determine the Big Skip Champion of 2015.

This is a fun and exciting event in which all students are welcome to participate

Gillian McGregor
Acting Representative Sports Coordinator

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Co-curricular Sport

MSB Netball Club - Grading Day

A reminder that grading will take place this Saturday.

Who: All junior players (Year 7 to Year 10) intending to play netball for MSB in the Hills District Netball Association in the 2016 winter competition
When: Saturday 17 October
Where: Pennant Hills Park
Time: All players are expected to arrive at 8.30am (grading will take approximately 2-3 hours)

Any queries please email

Equestrian News

On Monday 5 October Rachel Abood, Year 8, competed in her first equestrian event. Rachel and her horse Nibbles entered the Morisset Spring Horse Show, near Newcastle. 

Rachel achieved great results for her first competition coming away with three first places, one Grand Champion and one Reserve Champion. Well done Rachel.

North West Secondary Schools Tennis Challenge

Throughout the year the College has entered teams in the North West Secondary Schools Tennis Challenge. The competition has been held one Saturday evening in the first three terms of 2015 at Pennant Hills Park. The teams achieved some great results throughout the course of the competition, especially in the Term Three Challenge where we achieved second place overall.

  • Sarah Assaf - 1st Division 3 (Term 3) and 2nd in Division 2 (Term 1)
  • Emily Aston – 2nd Division 11 (Term 3)
  • Gabriella Aston – 1st Division 9 (Term 3)
  • Emma Rose Greenwood – 2nd Division 10 (Term 3)
  • Mikaela Love – 2nd Division 11 (Term 2) and 2nd Division 10 (Term 3)
  • Kate McDonald – 1st Division 9 (Term 3)

The other members of the tennis challenge team were Ciara Bizzanelli, Stephanie Cerreto, Jessica Herrett, Olivia Jones, Georgia Lamond, Hannah McAdam, Georgia Moait, Myrto Syrmalis, Kelly Tintinger, Christina Williamson.

Rebecca Lewis
Co-curricular Sports 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 19 October






Kath Darcy


Susan Bell

Katie Breatnach

Melinda Wilkes


Rachael Taylor

Teena Vicaretti


Sarah Cusack

Sonya Zeater

Rose Lichaa

** Additional volunteers are most welcome **

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

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