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18 September 2015


From the Principal

This week we farewelled the Class of 2015 as they left us to prepare for their upcoming HSC examinations. The week included a number of special moments for the girls and their families - the Connect Night on Monday gave the girls the opportunity to come together for an evening of reflection on their shared experiences as a year group, during the Farewell Assembly they shared with the whole school a light-hearted look back over their time at the College, there were farewells from Homerooms and Houses and then on Thursday the formalities of the Academic Assembly were followed by the very moving Graduation Mass and Dinner. As we journeyed through the week the emotions associated with letting go and saying goodbyes surfaced at different times and in different ways, but throughout the week the girls showed their gratitude to their teachers and parents, expressing thanks to all those who have helped them along the way. These young women will be remembered for their contributions in many areas of school life - sport, cocurricular activities and in particular their involvement in social justice and outreach. We know that they have bright futures ahead.

At this time of the year we are planning for 2016 and it is very helpful if we have accurate student numbers to appropriately organise classes. If your daughter will not be returning to the College in 2016 I ask that you let me know in writing early in Term Four. Under the terms of the enrolment contract parents are required to give one term’s notice if their daughter is leaving. I understand that sometimes there are last minute changes which lead to late decisions but in general advanced notice is much appreciated.

As we begin the term break I encourage all our girls to be aware of their safety and that of others as they enjoy a change of routine for a couple of weeks. I hope families are able to enjoy some respite from the pressures of term time. A very busy Term Four awaits us so we will need to have plenty of energy for the many activities ahead.

Sadly last week Mr John Muskovits' father passed away. We keep John and his family in our thoughts at this time of loss.

As we bid a fond farewell to the class of 2015 I share this blessing, At the Threshold of Womanhood , with them:

May you enter beautifully into the feminine,
Learning to trust the world of feeling you inherit,
Finding ease and elegance in all you are.

May your respect for your beauty
Become visible in your dignity
And how you hold yourself in the world.

May the expectation in other eyes
Never decide how you are to be;
Learn to trust the advice of your heart.

May you feel life as an irresistible invitation
To discover and develop your talents,
Each day bringing something new to birth.

May you be wise in choosing love;
When you trust, give all your heart
And allow love to pervade you like breath.

May you have friends who can see you.
May your senses be windows of wonder
And your mind a prism of spirit.

(J. O’Donohue, Benedictus: A Book of Blessings, pp 79-80)

Maria Pearson

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Mission News

This week we have marked the graduation of our Class of 2015 with a number of important occasions. On Monday evening Year 12 gathered with a group of teachers for an evening of prayer, reflection and sharing on their 'Connect ' Night. Connect is a program which runs at lunch times for senior students at the College, providing them with an opportunity to consider some of the big issues of life, to enjoy some stimulating input and to share together and reflect on some of life’s more important concerns. The Year 12 Connect Night in their Graduation Week provides an important reference point as our students near the end of their time at MSB. At the end of the evening one of the teachers prayed the following blessing prayer for our Graduating Class of 2015.

Dear Lord,

Bless these beautiful young women before us. Help them to fill their lives with people who love and accept them for who they are and in whose company they can be themselves.

Look over them and help them to value their worth. Give them respect for self, and from this will flow respect for others.

Teach them to be gentle with others, and slow to judge, as many they meet will have a story that may not always be obvious. Help them to be aware that they were blessed with two ears and one mouth because sometimes it is better to listen, rather than to tell.

Give them the courage to take risks in their lives that will help them to grow, and the wisdom to avoid the risks that could cause harm.

Under your care, may they develop the gift of appreciation so they learn to have gratitude for the good in their lives and develop the grace to express this gratitude sincerely to others.

Help them to have the vision to always look for the good in others and be quick to forgive, especially themselves.

Give them an awareness that they are part of a bigger picture. Help them to learn that having compassion for others is a blessing and provide them with the opportunity to be generous through service to others.

With your guidance, may they come to realise that the greatest gift they can give each other is time. Help them to find the time to maintain the connections they have forged so strongly through the six years together at the College.

Walk with these young women Lord as they leave the safety of these walls. May they always feel your presence and know that the thoughts and prayers of the Mount St Benedict community go with them.

We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen

On Wednesday and Thursday a number of other farewell rituals took place including gatherings with Homeroom and House groups and whole school gatherings. On Thursday evening Year 12 and their families gathered for the Graduation Eucharist at St Agatha’s Church. Fr Paul Durkin presided at this Eucharist where our students and their families gathered around this foundational symbol of the Catholic faith, to listen to God’s word, to pray, to share communion together and to receive a special blessing. The celebration of Eucharist was followed by the formal Graduation ceremony and dinner at the Epping Club.

While a lot of the attention of this week was focused on our Year 12 students there was still a great deal of activity taking place in other areas. On Tuesday our Year 9 students took part in their Reflection Day on the theme of Hospitality. Students gathered at St Benedict’s Parish, Arcadia for this day facilitated by Chris Doyle of Karis Ministries.

There was also a lot of organisation taking place this week as we finalised the preparations for our Family Fun Day Picnic on Friday 2 October. This picnic, held in conjunction with Josephite Community Aid (JCA) seeks to create an occasion where members of our community host a picnic for new arrivals to our country. It is a most appropriate gesture as we celebrate our Year of Hospitality.

The Family Fun Day Picnic takes place from 10.00am - 3.00pm on Friday 2 October at the Blacktown Showground, Richmond Rd, Blacktown. We will provide a sausage sizzle, drinks, ice blocks and lollies along with a whole range of games and activities including jewellery making, face painting and balloon sculpting. Students who have volunteered to be involved will have received a permission note last week with more details. Parent and other family members are most welcome to come along and join in the occasion. People are welcome to come for the whole day or just drop in when you can.

While the picnic is an important focus for us during the upcoming holidays, it is not the only significant event taking place. On Saturday 19 September a group of our staff and students from Year 11 are heading out on our monthly 'Vinnies Van' duty. On Monday 21 September Ms Grace Spurr, Coordinator of Terracina House leaves for a nine day immersion trip in Kiribati. This is part of the Good Samaritan Education immersion program for staff which will see staff from each of the Good Samaritan schools taking part. On the same day, three of our Year 11 students - Madison Nicholson, Jessica Griffiths and Jessica Corcoran will join a group of students from other Good Samaritan Schools on a student immersion to the Philippines. Accompanying them on this trip will be Ms Christina He, College Chaplain.

We pray that God will bless and protect all of those who are involved in these activities during the school holiday period. We trust that the experiences will be enriching and rewarding for all concerned and we look forward to sharing news of these events when we return in Term Four.

Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

MYBennies Integrated Learning highlighted in Learning Frontiers Issue No 4: Insights and Ideas

Learning Frontiers is a collaborative initiative which brings together clusters of schools and other interested parties to explore professional practices that increase student engagement in learning.

In 2014 Mount St Benedict College was selected by The Australian Institute of Teachers and School Leaders (AITSL) to be a Design Hub for the Learning Frontiers Project. Throughout the last two years the College has worked with AITSL and the Innovation Unit (UK), most notably David Price and Valerie Hannon, two global leaders in the field of learning innovation and education system transformation and other schools in the Sydney Hub.

The most promising practices of the work of all Design Hubs in Australia is discussed in a new informal research journal Learning Frontiers Issue 4: Insights and Ideas. From page 7 Mount St Benedict's integrated learning program MYBennies is highlighted as a program enabling deep learning, interdisciplinary teaching and the development of 21st century skills. Congratulations to the MYBennies Innovation Team,Year 7 MYBennies Teachers and the rest of the College community - staff, students and parents who have been involved in the development of this innovative program.

Further Information and resources developed in the Learning Frontiers Project can be found at:

Sharon McGowan
MYBennies Innovation Leader and IRC Coordinator

Royal Australian Chemistry Institute Titration Competition

On Saturday 12 September, three students represented the College in the National Chemistry Titration Competition at the University of NSW. The team of three, Amanda Grima, Alicia Chen and Taylor McMahon undertook a gruelling three hours of practical analysis to determine the concentration of an unknown acid solution to four significant figures.

It involved dissolving of a solid, accurately making up a standard solution, then titrating this solution to find the concentration of a base and finally titrating this base against an unknown concentration of an acid. The three students worked separately and their scores were added together to calculate the team score. The lower the score the greater the accuracy of their analysis.

There were 27 teams competing in NSW drawn from a large number of regional centres. The Bennies team were placed 5th and Amanda Grima was singled out for her accurate analysis with less than 1% error earning her a Gold medal.

Congratulations to the girls on their outstanding effort.

Jane Easterbrook
Head of Department

Year 8 Religion Education - Literacy Exam

On Wednesday 7 October in Periods Three and Four, MSB Year 8 students will join Year 8 students in the Sydney Diocese to complete a common Year 8 Religious Education Test.

This Test does not seek to assess a student’s faith, values, or religious practice. The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions that cover a range of Year 8 topics.

Each student will receive a report that will provide a range of measures and representations of student, school and diocesan schools’ performance. A Certificate of Achievement is also provided to each student. In addition, parents will receive an ID and Pin number enabling them to access their child’s results online.

Any questions concerning this test should be directed to Mrs Dempsey at

Donna Dempsey
Religious Education Coordinator

Year 9 Drama News

Last week the Hall Courtyard was awash with colour and comedy as the Year 9 Drama classes presented their Commedia dell’Arte assessment performances to audiences of Year 8 students.

For those who have been a part of the MSB Community for a while or past drama students then they will recognise the expressive masks, distinctive costumes and brightly coloured curtain hanging between the umbrellas in the photos.

We continue to teach this unit as it is always enthusiastically evaluated by the Year 9 drama students each year and we feel it teaches valuable performance and characterisation skills. As well as being a lot of fun and enjoyable for the students.

Here are some of the students’ comments about this task:

In Term Three the Year 9 Drama class learnt about the Italian comedy “Commedia dell’Arte”, this is a comedy where the stock characters wore masks or have a full face of makeup. This style of theatre is performing in a market place, so for our assessment task we performed in the Hall Courtyard for a class of Year 8. We learnt to manipulate our voices to fit the characters that we were playing and learnt how to change our posture to suit the character that we would play. For our assessment task we worked in groups of four to five people and had to write a play about in the Commedia dell’Arte style. We used the play building skills that we learnt last term. This was fun style of theatre to learn about because we learnt how to interact with the audience using comedy. - Bridget

I loved Commedia. It was so fun getting into the characters from so long ago and putting on old-fashioned costumes. I also loved the props, they were so fun and different to use. - Jessica

Commedia Dell’ Arte had an interesting background and history to it. It was set in Italy during the 16th century. Commedia was an outside performed theatre and was usually improvised from sketches and scenarios.

Performing our commedia performances in the courtyard for an audience of Year 7 and 8 was really fun. It was something different and helped us by learning what it would be like to perform with an audience and how to engage them with the play.

The majority of our class learnt that when we perform in front of an audience we need to project our voice loudly so the back row can hear us. Our class also learnt that we need to engage the audience so they will have full attention on us and not get tired or bored. These skills really benefited us by learning how to properly perform with an audience. - by Mary and Jaime

Learning about the Commedia characters was really fun as they all had a different animal and personality. When we had to perform in front of Year 7 and 8, it was a bit scary at first but I started to enjoy it more and more. This term it was a really good idea to perform to other grades instead of just our class. I am absolutely happy with my group and I enjoyed Commedia dell'Arte so much I would do it over and over again. - Maddy

Mrs Gabrielle Keats and Mrs Lisa Stevens
Drama Teachers

Geography Trip departs for Far North Queensland

Twenty five MSB Geography students are travelling to Cairns on Sunday for a five day trip providing exposure to real-life environmental conservation challenges and responses. On Monday we are investigating sea-turtle conservation and snorkelling on the inner Great Barrier Reef; on Tuesday we are on and off a catamaran investigating the outer reef; and on Wednesday we have an indigenous culture day up at the Daintree Rainforest.

Thanks so very much for the wonderful support of: the Leadership team; Susan Webber and Kylie Gray; Fiona Barnett and the Admin team, and Mrs Emma Forbes and Ms Laura Sheehan for all their efforts in the lead up, and for giving up part of their term breaks to support the Year 10 and 11 students on this amazing experience.

Anybody interested in following the trip can "Like"

Paul Batten

All aboard the Matilda Express

For all the Year 7 families who have submitted their Expression of Interest forms for this great evening event on Wednesday 14 October, could I please remind you to make your payment as soon as possible.

You should have been sent a safe online College payment link to process your payment.

If this has not happened or you have any queries, please contact Mrs Mason on

See you on the bus in October!!

Katherine Mason

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Pastoral Care

The Merit Award Program

Congratulations to the students who have received enough merits to achieve either a Bronze, Silver or Gold Merit.

Merits are awarded for achievement in any of the following categories:

  • School Service
  • Effort
  • Academic
  • Extra Curricular
  • Christian Commitment

Merits also go towards the House Cup with 10 merits equating to 10 House points, 50 merits equating to 20 House points and 150 merits equating to 50 House Points.

Merit Report

Terracina Term Update

Throughout Term Three Terracina House has continued to explore the value of Hospitality. The House focus for this term is 'Relationships are built on contribution' . Terracina students gave of themselves this term not only through day-to-day life and Pastoral Care lessons at the College but through Year 9 projects, our Kiribati Drive and the House Farewell to our Year 12 students.

Our Year 9 students finalised their 'Leadership Without a Badge' projects this term. Terracina had three group’s 'Ignite' , 'Message in a Bottle' and 'MSB FITT' . Our MSB FITT team successfully ran sporting activities for students at lunch times on Tuesdays this term with the help of Mrs McGregor and Ms Clarke. Much fun was had by participating students and teachers. MSB FITT was chosen to showcase its success on behalf of Terracina to the rest of the grade. The contributions made by Year 9 to the College community gave a good insight into their leadership potential in the future.

Kiribati is the House Partner of both Terracina and Monte Cassino. Kiribati consists of the Gilbert Islands, the Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands, which are scattered across the Pacific Ocean near the equator. The Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Kiribati are engaged in a variety of ministries, such as primary education, youth ministry and working with people with disabilities and mental illness. Threatened by rising sea levels, the Good Samaritans advocate for the rights of environmental refugees.

I am lucky enough to be going on an immersion trip to Kiribati with the Good Samaritan Education team in the term break. I will be travelling with eight other teachers from Good Samaritan schools around Australia. The immersion trip is a wonderful opportunity for staff to experience the work of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, see Good Samaritan life in another setting and visit local schools and community groups. My hope is to not only strengthen the relationship between our Houses and Kiribati, but to make our mission to support Kiribati a reality.

In the Spirit of our Hospitality both Terracina and Monte Cassino House Ambassadors rallied support to gather donations for the kindergarten school in Tarawa, Kiribati, where they lack both funding and resources. The Terracina and Monte Cassino families donated toys, pencils, textas, crayons, books, exercise books and library bags in abundance! As well as the generous donations given, each Homeroom has made educational flashcards for the Kinder school on countless topics such as transport, fruit, numbers, colours, and letters. These resources will go straight to the kinder school to support their foundational learning projects. We are also hoping to establish an avenue for families to “sponsor a teacher” in Kiribati.

Lastly, Terracina has been working hard this term in preparing to farewell the Terracina Graduating Class of 2015. Each Homeroom took part in planning a part of the House farewell. Prayers, reflections and messages were created by Homerooms to bring the House farewell ceremony to life. This was also an excellent opportunity to reflect on the contribution our Year 12s have made throughout their time at the College. Our Year 12 students have demonstrated Compassion, Teamwork and Enthusiasm in all that they do. We are so grateful for their contribution and the legacy they leave the younger Terra girls.

Grace Spurr
Terracina House Coordinator

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College News

Changes to School Bus Timetables

We have received news from Hillsbus stating that due to the changes in the Sydney CBD, they have had to implement small changes across the Hillsbus network. These changes are effective from Sunday 4 October.

Please contact Hillsbus Customer Service on 8889 7000 or for further information.

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P & F News

P&F Golf Day

Thank you to our golfers who joined us for a game of golf last week at Muirfield Golf Course. It was a wonderful morning of golf and conversation followed by lunch.

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Reunion Updates

Class of 2005
- 10 Year Reunion 17 October further details
click here

Class of 1985
- 30 Year Reunion Register NOW
click here
(deadline in 16 days).

Class of 1975
- 40 Year Reunion Register NOW
click here

Michelle Blackman
Archives and Development Assistant

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Representative Sport

Representative Sports Calendar

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Four


NSW All Schools Championships
Thursday 8 - Sunday 11 October

Australian KO Championships
Monday 7 December


BBSSSA Championships
Friday 23 October
MSB OPEN Representative Team


BBSSSA Championships
Tuesday 27 October
B/Up Tuesday 3 November
MSB OPEN Representative Team


BBSSSA Open Team Trials
Friday 29 Novemberr

Students who wish to trial for sports that are offered directly through NSW CCC will need to nominate through the NSW CCC website. I encourage you to visit the NSW CCC website if your daughter is an experienced state level athlete in any sport.

Please remember that these are trials for State teams and as such students must be very experienced for their nomination to be approved.

NSW CCC Athletics

It was another great day for MSB Athletes last week at the NSW CCC Athletics Championships. Special mention to Mikaela Quinlan from Year 7 who jumped 1.60m in the U13 to win the event by 7cm and establish a new PB.

Other top 3 finishes were achieved by

  • Jemma Gallagher Year 9 U14 2nd 800m, 3rd 1500m
  • Capri Vidler Year 9 U15 2nd 1500m
  • Ellen Wearne Year 12 17+ 3rd Javelin
  • Amie Bowrey Year 8 U14 3rd Javelin

NSW All Schools Athletics Nominations

Students who wish to nominate for individual events at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships can now do so online via the ANSW website. This is a pathway through to the Australian Championships.

Entries close at midday Tuesday 22 September.

Representative Tennis Trials

A reminder that the Open team trial/training is scheduled at the Pennant Hills Courts from 3.30pm - 4.30pm on the first day of school in Term Four - Tuesday 6 October (for students who self nominated and returned their note).

Representative Water Polo Trials

A reminder that the Open team trial/training is scheduled at Hornsby Aquatic Centre from 7.00pm - 7.45pm on the first day of school in Term Four - Tuesday 6 October (for students who self nominated and returned their note).

NSW CCC Netball Championships

Last weekend Georgia Dean and Sasha Savenko (Year 9) represented NSW CCC at the NSW All Schools U15 Netball Challenge against NSW CIS and NSW CHS.

Here is a report on the day from Georgia –

Sasha and I were lucky to have been selected to fill two of the twelve spots on the NSW CCC U15’s Team from the 130 girls who trialled. We felt very proud to be representing Bennies.

Many team members travelled from across the state for our training session. Throughout the three hours of training we learnt new playing strategies, tactical techniques and how each individual player in the team moved in attack and defence. By the end of training we were talking and having conversations with each other that you would have with any of your friends at school.

At the NSW All Schools Challenge, Sasha and I were able to expand our knowledge of the game through watching the CIS and CHS game.

We played CHS first. In the first quarter we took a beating with CHS getting into the rhythm early and we took a while to adapt but by the time the third quarter came along we were only two goals down. We fought right down to the buzzer with the end result only having two goals in it but we had beaten CHS.

After evaluating our team’s strengths and weaknesses our coach gave each of us a personal defensive and attacking goal for the final deciding game against CIS. CIS came out ball hungry and were the stronger team on the day. Congratulations to CIS victors of the 15’s NSW All Schools Championships.

Despite not winning we were proud. Sasha and I were selected as being one of the twelve best Catholic school girls who play netball in the state. This once in a life time experience was truly amazing and worth it. I feel fortunate to have been given the time from my everyday schooling to experience this.

Karen Grant
Representative Sports Coordinator

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Co-curricular Sport

Netball Grading Day for 2016 Season

Grading for the 2016 Netball season will take place earlier this year, to allow us more time to allocate girls into the right teams according to age and skill level.

When: Saturday 17 October
Time: from 10.00am
Where: Pennant Hills Park, Indoor Court

Please RSVP to , providing your full name, age, and preferred playing positions.

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 5 October






Public Holiday

Tereza Miletic

Natalie Conway

Georgina Khamis

Julie McIntyre

Claudia Heer

** 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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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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