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18 July 2014

From the Principal

Dear parents, friends, staff and students,

I have returned to school this week after a combination of Enrichment Leave, Long Service Leave and most recently the Catholic Secondary Principals Australia Conference. Over the next few weeks I will share some insights gleaned from my experiences but overwhelmingly I have been confirmed in my view that the Mount St Benedict community is indeed living out the Benedictine values in an authentic way, and that the directions we have been taking in all our programs are consistent with understandings, research and practices in other systems and schools.

I want to thank Mrs Jackie Duncan for her work in the role of Acting Principal during my leave.  I have been in regular contact with Jackie and know that the College has been in capable hands under her leadership.  I thank also Mrs Mairead Ennis for taking on the role of Acting Assistant Principal Dean of Students and Mrs Carly Beacroft for her work as Arcadia House Coordinator.

Earlier this week at the Principals' Conference in Darwin the central scripture passage was the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  It was a wonderful reminder to me of the privilege of working in a community which has this parable as a central part of our value system.  The conference theme was inclusivity and how it is lived out in Catholic schools. At Mount St Benedict we aim to celebrate diversity and difference, welcome all our families into our community and meet the needs of all our students. We are blessed to have teachers who share their gifts so generously to ensure that we are able to do this.

I share this small reflection which formed part of the prayer during our conference.

We see your face, in those who live your way.
Oh Lord, teach us  your kindness, your mercy and love.
You come like a river, cleansing all who stand in your way.
A wellspring of protection, guiding us on our way.
Your love knows no boundaries, your love is never ending,
It teaches, it sets us free.

I look forward to reconnecting with students, staff and parents over the next few weeks.

Mrs Maria Pearson

Mission News

'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.'

The Gospel reading for this Sunday includes a series of parables focusing on the Reign of God, sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of God. This continues from last Sunday’s reading which contained the well-known parable of the sower. This Sunday’s reading also includes seeds used as analogies alongside a short parable using the image of yeast as leaven. While parables are a commonly used device in the synoptic Gospels they are not that easily understood. In fact, there is even a suggestion that they are told in order to confound. Scholars tell us that part of the problem in understanding the parables is our familiarity with the story and therefore the lack of surprise or challenge. For those hearing these stories in the original setting there would have been a distinct twist in the conclusion that would have caught the listener by surprise and shaken their perspective somewhat.

The image of the Reign of God or Kingdom of God is a central theme of these parables. Jesus uses the parables to give glimpses into the nature of the Reign of God. They are not explanations as such but more like hints or clues to help us delve more deeply into something which ultimately remains a mystery. Many learned scholars have offered their own insights into the meaning of this Reign of God. My favourite image is to see the Reign of God as God’s dream for the world or God’s wish for what the world should be. Thus, we see it characterised in Jesus’ ministry with qualities such as love, forgiveness, justice and peace and contrasted with things such as selfishness, inequality, exploitation and violence.

The fact that the parables are elusive in their meaning and the realisation that the Reign of God defies explanation does not need to be a deterrent for those who follow Jesus. Rather, they are vehicles for drawing us along a path towards a greater reality which we encounter in the life and ministry of Jesus.

During our recent period of school holidays groups of our senior Students were involved in a couple of important aspects of our commitment to those in need. Our team headed out on a cold Saturday night for our monthly “Vinnies Van” service while another team spent a week in partnership with students from other Good Samaritan Colleges in a week of “Ministry Outreach”.

In a few weeks’ time all of our Year 10 students will take part in their Community Outreach week. This will see our students providing service in a range of different sectors including aged care, health care, disability services and community organisations. Prior to undertaking their week of Community Outreach, all the students will be involved in a double period of preparation with representatives from these sectors to ensure they are familiar with the situations they are going into and be ready to respond appropriately.

Also in August we will be holding our annual Grandparents Assembly and morning tea. The date for this is Tuesday 12 August. Further information will be available in next week’s newsletter. Later in the same week, our music ensembles will head out to the Church St Mall at Parramatta for our annual day of “Busking for Vinnies”. We’ve had some wonderful responses to these days in the past and we look forward to other similar responses this year.

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

Curriculum News

Year 9 / 2015 Elective Information Evening

Tuesday 5 August

The Year 9 2015 Elective Information Evening will be held on Tuesday 5 August in the College Hall.

The purpose of the evening is to present a holistic picture of girls education at Mount St Benedict College and to provide information on the Board of Studies requirements for Years 9 and 10 (Stage 5) as well as the elective structure and course selection for next year.

The Year 9 2015 Elective Subject Selection Handbook will be distributed shortly and teachers will be available on the evening to discuss any questions you and your daughter may have regarding the courses being offered.

The College will offer fourteen elective courses from which your daughter will choose two for Years 9 and 10. These courses are 200 hour courses which must be studied over both years.

Careful considerations will need to be made in the subject selection process as once the students indicate what courses they want to study and timetabling of the lines begin it is very difficult to change their preferences.

Students will be sent login details via email at 4.00pm on Wednesday 6 August and will be able to lodge their choices electronically until 4.00pm on Friday 15 August.

Therefore, it is important that you and your daughter attend this Information Evening. All students are expected to attend in school uniform and bring their elective handbook to the evening.

It is my hope that the night will help both students and parents in the decision-making process for electives in 2015.

Mr John Muskovits
Assistant Principal Dean of Curriculum

Royal Australian Chemistry Institute Titration Competition

On Saturday 14 June, 21 students participated in the NSW Chemistry Titration Competition at Barker College. The College entered five Year 11 and two Year 12 teams. Each team is comprised of three students.

The aim of the competition is to determine the concentration of an acetic acid solution. Each team member is given a different concentration. Over a period of 90 minutes the students use a method called titration to accurately find the concentration of their given unknown acid solution. Their final score is determined by the difference between their calculated concentration and the known concentration. The individual scores are then added to determine the team score. The lower the score the greater the accuracy of their analysis.

The students have spent many lunch times over the past seven weeks practising the titration technique. This practice has paid off as the following results were obtained.

1st Place - Abi Curtin, Rebecca Calabrese and Hannah Akers

2nd Place - Arielle Kosasih, Monique Cockram, Amita Tikram

Equal 4th  - Laura Baker, Emily-Kate Pfeiffer, Caitlin Montgomery, Samantha Radvan, Jessica Dumbrell, Sophia Liu.

The following students require a special mention as they produced scores less than ten (with zero being a perfect score) showing outstanding analysis skills.

Amita Trikam (0), Monique Cockram (0), Hannah Akers (1), Joanna Quy (4), Abi Curtin (9)

Practice will start again in Term Three for the first and second placed teams as they will be called upon to represent the College in the National Competition held at the University of New South Wales in September.

Congratulations to all the students involved.

Mrs Jane Easterbrook and Mr Peter Rozanski
Science Faculty

Study Skills

With Year 12 students embarking on their Trials in Week Three and Year 11 students approaching their Preliminary Exams in Week Eight this term the Study Skills tip from ELES below may be valuable. It may also assist those students in Years 7 - 10 who may need some tips for managing stress and relaxing in the lead up to assessment or in class tasks.

Students are encouraged to access Benniesnet - academic support and enrichment - study skills if they need any assistance with study skills. They have access to the ELES Handbook and also any files/power points they have used in Pastoral Care lessons that have had a study skills focus. They are also encouraged to speak to their class teachers, House Coordinator or myself if they require further assistance.

I wish all students an engaging, inspiring and productive term of Learning and Studying.

Image 1

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

Junior Dance and Open Tap Ensemble

My name is Jacqueline Saunders and I am the Dance teacher for Semester Two. Throughout the final weeks of Term Two I witnessed a large amount of talent from the students at Bennies. As such, I will be starting up two new dance ensembles; The Junior Dance Ensemble and the Open Tap Ensemble.

The Junior Dance Ensemble

The Junior Dance Ensemble is for students in Years 7 and 8. The ensemble will cater for students both with dance experience and also for students without prior experience who would like to learn some dance skills, have fun and meet new people. The class will focus around the styles of contemporary, lyrical and jazz. The class will enable students to enhance their technique and choreography skills whilst providing opportunities for performance.

When: Thursday afternoons from 3.15pm - 4.15pm

Open Tap Ensemble

The Open Tap Ensemble is for any student with tap dancing experience. Students will engage in exercises to improve their tap dancing skills. They will learn tap routines whilst also having the opportunity to assist in the choreography of the routines. The ensemble will also engage in a variety of performance opportunities.

When: Wednesday lunchtime

Note:  Students will be required to bring their own Tap shoes.

How to register:

If your daughter is interested in participating in these ensembles there will be a meeting on Wednesday 23 July at lunchtime in the Dance studio where the girls can register.

The ensembles will begin in Week Three, the week commencing Monday 28 July.

The ensembles will be advertised both in the newsletter, in notices, at assembly and via the student’s email.

Ms Jacqueline Saunders
Dance Teacher

Year 10 RYDA Excursion

This year we will once again be taking our Year 10 students to view RYDA, the Youth Driver Awareness program run by Rotary.

The date is Thursday 11 September (Day Four on the timetable). The excursion will be off campus all day at the Tennis Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.  Notes will be going home with students this coming Monday, please return these to the College by no later than Friday 15 August.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the girls, please take a minute to read through the flyer.

Mrs Briohny Hickey
Acting Monte Cassino House Coordinator

College News

From the Fees Desk

School fees for Term Three are due on Friday 1 August.  If paying by automatic deduction, term payments will be processed on this date.

Current statements of account were posted to all families at the end of Term Two.

Tax Receipts for the Voluntary Building Fund if applicable, have been posted this week.

If you have any queries regarding your College fees, please contact Mrs Fiona Barnett on 9980 0445 or email

Mrs Fiona Barnett
Fees Administrator

Representative Sport

If your daughter has recently achieved outstanding sporting results please send me an email so that the College can share in her success.


NSW CCC Website:

Broken Bay Wet Weather Line: 9990 3633

Representative Sports Calendar - Term Three



Broken Bay Championships
Wed 20 Aug
MSB Representative Teams

NSW All Schools KO Championships
Thu 28 Aug
MSB Representative KO Team

CCC Championships
Fri 12 Sep
BROKEN BAY Representative Team



NSW All Schools Championships
Fri 18 Jul
J.Gallagher Y8, E. Gallagher Y9, K.Simpson Y10



BROKEN BAY Championships
Wed 23 July
MSB Representative Team

NSW CCC Championships
Wed 13 Aug
MSB BB Champion Representative Teams



NSW CCC KO Round 2
Wednesday 23 July
MSB Open Rep Team

School Sport Australia Championships
Monday 25 - Friday 30 August
N. Tobin Y12



NSW ALL SCHOOLS Championships
Fri 25 - Sun 27 Jul
A. Shepherd Y9

NSW ALL SCHOOLS Regional Championships
Tue 26 Aug
MSB Year 7/8 Representative Team

Representative Team Training and Trials

  • Thursday 24 July Intermediate (Year 9/10) Representative Basketball Trials
    ( Mrs Grant / Miss Hitchcock)

Sign up sheets are now on the Sports Noticeboard for the Junior (Year 7/8) and Intermediate (Year 9/10) Basketball teams. These will be removed on Monday.

Broken Bay Netball Championships

Good luck to our four teams who will be competing at the Broken Bay Netball Championships next week. As hosts of these championships we are very excited to also welcome two teams from Bradfield Grammar in the UK. Thank you to our parents who have volunteered to billet these girls.

All team members have been emailed a current draw and final information. Good luck girls!

Netball Umpires Needed

As hosts of the Broken Bay Secondary Schools Sports Association Netball Championships we are looking for umpires to officiate.

Date: Wednesday 23 July
Time: 8.30am - 3.00pm
Venue: Pennant Hills Netball Courts

You will be required to umpire up to eight, 20 minute games.

BBSSSA will reimburse umpires for their time as follows:-
B Badge - $150 for the day
C Badge - $120 for the day

Umpires must be aged over 17 and no longer be a school student

Please email: Lisette Smith if you are interested.

Thank you to those families who have applied to host the English Netball girls who will be competing in the Broken Bay Championships as invitational teams.

MSB Representative Athletics Team

The MSB Athletics Team will be finalised on Monday and notes emailed to all students next week for the Broken Bay Championships to be held on Wednesday 20 August.

Broken Bay Open Basketball Championships

Our girls performed brilliantly last term to return as Broken Bay Champions! Look out for a full report next week.

Broken Bay Soccer Championships

Congratulations to our Junior (U13) and Intermediate (U15) teams who both finished the day as semi finalists last term at the Broken Bay Soccer Championships.

I was really proud of the girls' performances and behaviour throughout the day. As coach of the U13 team for the day it was terrific to see young players such as Sarah Farrell initiating excellent warm up drills when required and our Intermediate team members supporting each other enthusiastically from the sidelines when their large squad created significant bench time.

Thank you to our parents who again came to support the girls, particularly Mr Ebbs who even refereed a game at short notice - thank you!

Here is Junior team member Ella Lehmann's account of the day

"The day started when we all arrived at school at 6.45am, we then caught a bus to Nolan’s and Passmore Reserve in Manly Vale. The day then consisted of playing many games of soccer, eating lots of lollies and having fun.

The Intermediate team played extremely well as they were an experienced side, it was made up of very good players and with the help of the coach, Mr David Campbell, the girls were prepared and ready for the day ahead. The U15s played in a very tough competition and won three out of the four games played. The Intermediates went on to play in the Semi-Finals but just missed out with a 0/1 loss to Mater Maria.

The Junior team also played very well with only two goals scored against them over the whole day. The team had played extremely well even though these girls had never competed together before. With two wins, a draw and a loss, this meant that the U13s made it to the Semi-Finals but lost 0/1 to St Joseph’s Gosford. The girls played very well all day with the guidance of the coaches Mrs Karen Grant and preparation earlier in the term by Natalie Tobin".


Following their success at the Open Broken Bay Championships in Term two our Open team will now play St Joseph's Lochinvar next Wednesday. Good luck girls. All team members have been emailed notes, due back on Monday, and final information.

NSW All Schools Hornsby Regional Year 9/10 Touch Championships

Following the sensational victory at the U15 Broken Bay Championships in Term One our Year 9/10 girls were again in action at the NSW All Schools Regional (Hornsby) Championships in the last week of Term Two.

The girls were undefeated in their pool throughout the day, but injuries and a disrupted preparation lead up proved costly and the team were defeated in their semi final.

There is a wealth of talent in these two year groups and we look forward to challenging for this title again hopefully in 2015.

Thank you to Mrs Hickey for all of her work coaching the girls, Mr Nathan Smith for assisting with refereeing on the day and to our parent spectators.

Here is team member Kaitlyn Noble's report from the day -

On Thursday 19 June, nine talented students and one awesome teacher embarked on a mission to win the Northern Regions All Schools Touch Football Carnival. After four gruelling pool games, we came out on top and undefeated, advancing into the Semi-Finals against Stella Maris, who were also undefeated. After 20 minutes of intense and skilful game play, Stella Maris unfortunately beat us in the last five minutes of the game. A big thanks to Coach Hickey and Mr Smith who helped with refereeing on the day, and good luck to the Year 7 and 8 team competing later this term.

NSW All Schools Cross Country Championships

Congratulations to Jemma Gallagher (Year 8 U13), Elly Gallagher (Year 9 U14), Kirsten Simpson (Year 10 U16) and Kerilee Coote (Year 12 U18) who today represented CCC at the All Schools Championships at Eastern Creek.  At the time of going to print results were unavailable.

Mrs Karen Grant
Representative Sport Coordinator

P & F News

Monday 11 August
in the College Staffroom

The MSB Golf Day will not take place this year due to timing and conflicts with other school activities.

Community Notices

Sanctioned Violence:  What does it do to our Society and Relationships?

Sister Clare Condon the Congregational Leader of the Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict will be delivering an address to the Austral Human Rights Commission on Wednesday 13 August.

Further information and registration details.

Parenting Courses and Workshops - Term Three

The Child and Adolescent Parenting team (part of Northern Sydney Local Health District) provide parenting courses, workshops and seminars for mums, dads and carers in the Northern Sydney area. A range of courses are on offer during Term Three including:

  • Tuning in to Teens
  • Dealing with Teen's Backchat Workshop
  • Triple P (Positive Parenting Program)

There are also a number of other courses available on request.

Further information, course descriptions and timings can be found at Parenting Programs - Child and Adolescent Parenting or call 02 9887 5830.


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

Kym Lamb 

Katie Breatnach

Lisa Emmett




Alex Oswald 

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

Volunteers are urgently required for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Mrs Melissa Arane
Canteen Manager

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