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29 August 2014

From the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends,

This week as a community we have focused on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. In the news each day we are exposed to the various conflicts in our world and it seems there are an increasing number of countries and regions where people cannot live in safety, let alone have any quality of life. To see images of children displaced from their homes, without adequate food, water and shelter, is very disturbing. It is hard to imagine what it must be like for their parents to see their children suffering. As a parent and grandparent myself, I can only imagine their anguish and their desire to find a place to call home where they can offer their families some hope of a better life. Our students and staff have been involved in a range of activities this week which have highlighted the plight of those who seek a better way of life away from conflicts and persecution. As a nation of people, many of whom have descended from people who travelled here to seek a better life for their families, we are in a unique position to understand and show support for these people.

The talents of Year 12 Music, Design and Technology and Visual Arts students were on display on Monday evening in the College Hall. Creative design projects, stunning visual arts works and high quality musical performances demonstrated the incredible commitment of students and their teachers to excellence. The hours of work that have gone into the various works was evident in their quality and in the pride with which the girls presented them. We wish the girls well as their works are presented for HSC marking.

On Friday this week we said farewell to Ms Sharon Robinson who has been House Coordinator of Montserrat and teacher of Geography and other HSIE subjects at the College. I thank her for the professional approach she has brought to her teaching and the guidance she has shown to all in her care. We wish Sharon well as she takes up a position closer to home. Ms Christine Takchi will take responsibility for Montserrat until the end of term and then Mrs Briohny Hickey will take over until the end of 2014.  

We wish Year 11 students well as they commence their Preliminary course examinations. Taking place over three terms, these courses are an intense preparation for the HSC. Students will commence their HSC courses in Week Two of Term Four.

I leave you with this prayer which was shared by staff at our Tuesday morning prayer:

You are the source of human dignity,
and it is in your image that we are created.
Pour out on us the Spirit of love and compassion.
Enable us to reverence each person,
to reach out to those in need,
to value and appreciate those who differ from us,
to share the resources of our nation,
to receive the gifts offered to us by people from other cultures.
Grant us the voice and courage to speak out against injustice,
stand up for the oppressed,
and embrace the marginalized.
Help us to remember that we are all one in the Body of Christ.

Mrs Maria Pearson

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Mission News

This week at MSB we have been holding our annual focus on refugees and asylum seekers. This focus could not have come at a more important time in our history. At this time there are more people seeking asylum in our world today than at any other time in human history. At the same time, the responses of the successive Australian Governments to those who come to Australia has become steadily more harsh and less compassionate. Given the extent of conflicts currently impacting on so many communities it is hard to imagine that the numbers of asylum seekers will diminish any time soon. Therefore, as a community that enjoys such prosperity, peace and security we must surely do more to respond to the human need arising from these troubled situations.

During this week we have provided a range of activities to help engage both our hearts our minds and our hands. On Monday we had a community art project taking place where two chalk murals were created in different parts of the College. These murals not only involved a number of students in thinking about how to express our hopes and prayers for refugees and asylum seekers but also now stand as a constant reminder to us all as we move around the College.

Prayer has been an important part of our week with special prayers being used in classes and homerooms and our weekly Tuesday morning prayer also focusing on the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. At lunch time on Tuesday our activities had a dual focus. Firstly, various walls around the College were covered in facts and figures about refugees and asylum seekers as a way of helping us become better informed and avoiding some of the false claims that are regularly promoted in some sections of our media. We also had a letter writing session where a large number of students gathered to write letters to children who are being held in our immigration detention centres. This activity was organised by Ms Selvaggi and a Year 9 Future Problem Solving Group. This group had been in contact with human rights lawyer Julian Burnside who was able to provide the necessary information for the letters to be written and will now arrange for the letters to be delivered to children in detention on Nauru and Christmas Island.

On Wednesday our focus shifted to the upcoming JCA Family Fun Day Picnic. Stalls were set up by our organising team to collect donations and also to help prepare for the activities such as jewellery making and face painting which will be done on the day. We were also delighted to have representatives of Josephite Community Aid (JCA) with us on the day. The actual picnic will take place on Friday 3 October at Blacktown Showground. We expect to be catering for about 300 people on the day and currently we have a team of 20 students leading the preparation with about 80 others joining in to help. We would love to see lots of MSB families come and join us on the day either to help out or just enjoy the picnic. We’ll be gathering from about 10.00am and expect to finish up around 3.00pm. A BBQ lunch is provided and a whole stack of activities are being planned.

After the colour and noise of Wednesday’s stalls, Thursday’s focus took a quieter turn with poetry readings in the Hall overlooking the Blue Gum forest. These poems had been written by our students to reflect their feelings about the situations faced by refugees and asylum seekers and provided another form of engagement with this most significant issue.


Our final activity for Refugee and Asylum Seeker week involves an installation using images created in classroom lessons during the week. These will be used to adorn the College courtyards. Due to poor weather this activity will be rescheduled.

Next week we look forward to welcoming the dads of our community to our annual Father and Daughter Breakfast. We will be firing up the BBQ early on the morning of Wednesday 3 September and at 7.30am the egg and bacon rolls will be flowing off our production line. Our literacy and numeracy team will have another intriguing activity for dads and their daughters to work on and our Liturgy Portfolio will lead us in a prayer to conclude at 8.30am.

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News


On Monday the College hosted the 2014 HSC Design and Technology, Music and Visual Arts Showcase Evening in the College Hall. The event commenced at 6.30pm and guests enjoyed a variety of canapés and refreshments as they viewed the Design and Technology and Visual Art Major Works before sitting down to listen to the Music 1 performances.

The Design and Technology students did an amazing job completing their Major Design Projects and presenting them on the night. It was great to see a collection of different projects that will be utilised within the community. The works included a mobile garden for the junior Food Technology classes of the College, a personalised textile embellished guitar case, a theatre costume that could be adapted to four different scenes from the one outfit and a anti-bullying promotional garment. Congratulations to the girls on their hard work and commitment.

The Visual Arts students displayed a variety of drawings, paintings, prints and photographs which were the concepts behind each of their Body of Works. The students have been developing their ideas since late last year and will have their works presented to examiners early in Term Four.

At 7.00pm the 2014 Music 1 Class presented each of their four pieces that they will be performing for the HSC. The girls performed to a receptive audience who enjoyed a variety of songs and varying ensembles. Andrea Hajje, Casey McBride and Kirsty Smith have contributed so much to the music life of the College over the past six years. We wish them the best in their upcoming HSC performance.

Thank you to the all the parents and families who came along to the evening, the teaching staff of each class Mrs Tracey Blane - Design and Technology; Mrs Sonia Barnett and Ms Nicola Murray - Visual Arts; Mr Peter Watters - Music 1 and all of the students who have put so much time and effort into each of their Major Works.

Mr Peter Watters
Head of Creative and Performing Arts

Success in International Languages Competition

The Language Perfect World Championships is an annual event, which is held in Term Two each year, and attracts participating schools from all over the world. Students compete against each other by answering questions in their language of choice and gaining points for correct answers.

This year over 300 of our enthusiastic language students competed across the ten days in which the World Championships are held. They competed against 300,000 students worldwide and 134 of our students gained enough points to be awarded a Credit, Bronze, Silver or Gold Certificate.

The Languages Faculty is very proud to announce that Mount St Benedict placed 44th in the world out of 1,150 schools. This is our best achievement ever. We were very excited to find out that in our size category; 200 - 500 students; we placed 2nd in NSW, 6th in Australia, and 12th in the world. This is an amazing achievement – and is testament to all the hard work put in by our motivated and talented language students.

Our Credit Award winners answered more than 1,000 questions each and came in the top 20% in the world. Bronze Award winners answered between 2,000 and 5,000 questions each and came in the top 10% in the world. Silver Award winners answered between 6,000 and 8,000 questions each and came in the top 5% worldwide. Last but definitely not least - our magnificent Gold Award winners answered between 8,000 and 22,000 questions each and came in the top 2% in the world.

The top student in the College was Francesca Fimmano (Year 12) who gained a Gold Award with a magnificent 8,796 points. The next fourteen Gold award winners in order were: Erin Frost, Julia Manning, Gillian Diekman, Ashleigh Schaafsma-Fullick, Colette Chung, (all Year 10), Katherine Bradshaw (Year 11), then Nicole Sandow, Jessica Clements, Alana Sylvester, Ella Lehmann (all Year 8), Erika Mendes (Year 10), Naomi Sheather (Year 7), Belinda Borgefjord (Year 9) and Caitlin Kelly (Year 8).

Congratulations to these girls on their wonderful achievements, and to all of our participating students, who helped the College to attain our best results so far.

Mrs Belinda Jack
Head of Languages

Mathematics Challenge for Year 8 and 9 students

On Monday 18 August, Belinda Bonaccorso, Sabrina Croker, Alana Sylvester and I attended a Mathematics Challenge for Year 8 and 9 students. It was organised by the North Sydney Region Mathematics Association and held at Brigidine College, St Ives. There were a total of 28 teams consisting of four students from different schools. Each team were given four rounds of challenging questions.

As soon as we arrived we met our three other team members and worked on some 'practice maths questions'. Our teamwork was tested in answering ten questions in 45 minutes. Our communication skills were tested in a mathematical crossword where we could only communicate to each other through a teacher. Our speed was tested in answering groups of four questions in under eight minutes. Our day finished with a 45 minute relay which tested our brains and ability. The activities were creatively designed to test and challenge both our problem solving and teamwork skills.

Overall, I enjoyed the challenge and difficulty of the questions. I had the opportunity to meet and work with other students from many different schools. I would like to thank Mr Ursino for accompanying us, for his useful maths tips and small snacks. Thank you for making the day possible!

By Trish Nguyen, Year 9

A Reading for Parents from the MYBennies Innovation Team

How to Praise Children Effectively

Adapted from K. Schwartz ‘Giving Good Praise To Girls: What Messages Stick”

The research of Carol Dweck, author of 'Mindset', shows that praise for intelligence or ability often backfires in the long term. If praise is continually directed at a child’s natural ability, when a child struggles with a task they think that they are not 'good' at it and they become less motivated to persevere. The key lies praising the process they engage in, not how smart they are or how good they are at it, but taking on difficulty, trying many different strategies, sticking to it and achieving over time. This paradox is actually strongest for girls.

Dweck’s research has shown that many girls believe their abilities are fixed, that individuals are born with gifts and can’t change. When girls think this way, they often give up, rather than persisting through difficulties. They don’t think they possess the ability to improve, and in their efforts to achieve perfection, they shy away from subjects where they might fail.

If adults emphasise that all skills are learned through a process of engagement, value challenge and praise efforts to supersede frustration rather than only showing excitement over the right answer, girls will show resilience.

An implicit argument here is that failure in small doses is good. Students learn as they go, getting better each time they attempt a task. Dweck suggests that families sit around the dinner table discussing the day’s struggles and new strategies for attacking the problem. In life no one can be perfect, and learning to view little failures as learning experiences, or opportunities to grow could be the most valuable lesson of all.

Read the article: Giving Good Praise to Girls: What Messages Stick

Year 7 Design Their Own Zoo Enclosure

Happy Science Week everyone. As an introduction to their Living Things topic (Who are you?) and a prelude to the exciting Taronga Zoo excursion later this term, students in Class 7:1 were invited to design and develop their own zoo enclosure.

Starting with a guided reading of 'If I ran the Zoo' by Dr Seuss, with a nod to Book Week too, girls were invited to create their own fictional animals and design a window to reflect the habitat for their creatures. The girls displayed a keen sense of creativity and visual design and worked in a constructive and collaborative manner.

Mrs Kath Mason
Science Teacher

Year 11 Biology/Senior Science Excursion to Rock Platform

As you already know, we had to postpone this field trip due to unsafe conditions. We will be working to reschedule it some time in Term Four. Those students who are not continuing with the Biology or Senior Science course into Year 12 will still be required to attend. This is due to the need to fulfill all outcomes of the course. We will let you know as soon as possible our alternate date.

Mrs Sarah Bradstock
Biology Teacher

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College News

Premier’s and Principal’s Reading Challenges 2014

Congratulations to the fifty Year 7 students and ten Year 8 students who completed the 2014 Premier’s Reading Challenge this year.

As part of the Year 7 Wide Reading program all students were enrolled into the Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC). To complete the Challenge the girls had to read twenty books between January and August from a set reading list. The girls who successfully met the Challenge will receive a certificate signed by the Premier at the end of the school year. These students will also be acknowledged at a special event at the end of term.

  • Year 7
    Charlotte Anderson, Tenee Arthur, Ariella Azzopardi, Natalia Bennett, Alanna Bindschedler, Rachel Bolt, Emma Bugarija, Hannah Burton, Elizabeth Chen, Ashlinn Crowe, Jessica Curran, Monica Curtis, Olivia Doorn, Isabella Dowd, Caitlyn Dunk, Andre Fisher, Claudia Geromboux, Elisha Gomes, Grace Goracz, Grace Greenwood, Christina Hook, Natali Kelava, Rose Leavey, Gabrielle Lillicrap, Rhiannon Moore, Krupali Parmar, Natalia Reale-Bryant, Rea Robert, Maree Saba, Neha Saini, Antonia Saul, Naomi Sheather, Abbey Smith, Caitlin Sultana, Jessica Tan, Alice Thew, Kelly Tintinger, Anna Todhunter, Charlotte Todhunter, Danielle Toubji, Lucy Triantafilis, Katie Turner, Rebecca van Yzendoorn, Jelena Vukovic, Anna Weston, Mia Whittingham, Gemma Williams, Mackenzie Wilson, Rebecca Wood, Samantha Zhang.
  • Year 8
    Caitlin Callinan, Jaime Dunn, Tara Finlay, Alexandra Maher, Elisha Parkin, Nicole Sandow, Madison Theodore, Judith-Grace Vella, Claire Ward, Stephanie Zwaine.

Congratulations to the following girls who completed the 2014 Principal’s Reading Challenge (Years 8 to 12). This Challenge encourages students to read twenty books of their own choice between January and August.

  • Year 7
    Briana Clements, Gabrielle Lillicrap
  • Year 8
    Gabrielle Akers, Sarah Assaf, Jessica Clements, Caitlin Callinan, Sabrina Croker, Kaecee Dadula, Jaime Dunn, Sarah Farrell, Tara Finlay, Annabel Fisher, Emily James, Saba Karimi, Ksenya Konstantinoff, Christine Lau, Emilia Lilischkis, Alexandra Maher, Naomi Massa, Emily McKnight, Lauren McKnight, Ella Meaker, Isabelle Newton, Grace Nicholson, Kathleen Notohamiprodjo, Nicole Sandow, Emma Slee, Alana Sylvester, Madison Theodore, Laura Trezise, Aoife Twamley, Judith-Grace Vella, Claire Ward, Anne Younis, Stephanie Zwaine
  • Year 9
    Rebecca Day, Gabrielle Edwards, Olivia Gupta, Clara Goossens, Rayel Rahme, Maddy Skinner, Kimberley Spencer, Brooke Turner, Arabella Young
  • Year 12
    Hannah McKnight

Book Week- Author visit with Belinda Murrell

On Tuesday 19 August, Year 7 had a very special visit from Australian author, Belinda Murrell. Belinda told us about the history of writers in her family and the inspiration that they have had on her. She spoke about what being an author was like and how very rare it is for writers to have their stories published by publishers in Australia. She showed us covers of her books so that we could vote for which cover we liked best and spoke to us about how long it takes to write a book. At the end we were all encouraged to ask her questions and have our books signed and a few of us even had the chance to get photos with Belinda. Overall, it was a very exciting day and we were all very lucky to have the opportunity.

By Katie Turner, Year 7

Mrs Sharon McGowan
and Mrs Rebecca Shiels

Teacher Librarians

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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


NSW CCC Championships
Friday 12 September
BROKEN BAY Representative Team

NSW All Schools Championships
Thurs 9 - Sunday 12 October


BROKEN BAY Championships
Tuesday 9 September
MSB Junior and Intermediate Representative Team


NSW ALL SCHOOLS Regional Championships
Rescheduled date TBA
MSB Year 7/8 Representative Team


Broken Bay Championships
Tuesday 21 October
MSB Representative Teams
Wet Weather Tuesday 28 October


Broken Bay Championships
Wednesday 5 November
MSB Representative Team


Broken Bay Trials
Friday 21 November


Broken Bay Championships
Monday 1 December
MSB Representative Team

Representative Team Training and Trials

  • Monday 1 September - Year 7/8 Representative Touch training
  • Monday 1 September - Year 7/8 Representative Basketball training
  • Thursday 4 September - Year 7/8 Representative Basketball training
  • Thursday 4 September - Year 9/10 Representative Basketball training

Five Age Champions at BBSSSA Athletics Championships

Last week it was our Athletics girls in action at Homebush achieving strong results at the Broken Bay Championships. We had some outstanding individual results with five out of the seven Age Champions coming from MSB.

Congratulations to -

  • 18 Yrs Age Champion - Emily Michell (Y12)
    1st - 1500m* Record,
    1st Javelin,
    2nd Long Jump,
    2nd 800m,
    2nd High Jump,
    3rd 400m,
    3rd Shot Put,
    3rd Discus

Emily competed in an incredible ten events on the day!

  • 17 Yrs Age Champion - Carla Takchi (Year 11)
    1st Hurdles* Record,
    1st Long Jump,
    3rd Triple Jump

  • 15 Yrs Age Champion - Elly Gallagher (Year 9)
    1st 15 1500m,
    1st 800m,
    1st 400m

  • 13 Yrs Age Champion - Amie Bowrey (Year 7)
    1st Javelin* Record,
    1st U13 Hurdles,
    1st Long Jump,
    1st Shot,
    2nd Discus

  • 12 Yrs Age Champion - Tiarne Ekstrom (Year 7)
    1st U12 Hurdles* Record,
    1st Discus,
    1st Shot,
    2nd Long Jump

Our minor places were also valuable, contributing to our girls winning the Junior and Senior Divisions.

Congratulations to -

  • Juniors (12/13 years) Divisional Champions

    Jemma Gallagher U13 1st 1500m, 1st 800m, 2nd 400m
    Jessica Smillie U13 2nd 1500m
    (Tiarne, Amie, Elizabeth Black, Ashlinn Crowe, Samantha Dale, Isabella Dowd, Isabelle Natoli, Lauren Simpson)
  • Seniors (16+ years) Divisional Champions

    Kirsten Simpson 16 3rd 1500m, 3rd 200m, 1st 400m, 2nd Long Jump
    Ellen Wearne U16 1st Javelin
    Michelle Sroba 17/18 3rd High Jump
    Olivia Taylor U16 3rd Discus
    2nd Relay (Carla, Harriet Burke, Kirsten, Eleanor Treanor)
    (Carla, Emily, Kayel Tillman, Rachel Takchi, Giorgia Populin, Ellen Wearne, Kerilee Coote, Freya Cleveringa, Sophie Cann, Emily Bray)

Our Intermediate (14/15) girls placed second with the following girls achieving top three places –

  • Katie Devitt (U14) 1st 100m, 1st 200m, 2 nd 400m
  • Courtney Harkin (U14) 1st Long Jump
  • Sasha Savenko (U14) 2nd Discus, 3rd Shot Put
  • Capri Vidler (U14) 2 nd 1500m
  • Shannyn Bissett (U14) 2nd Hurdles
  • Kassidy Grant (U14) 2nd Javelin
  • Kerilee Coote (15+) 1st 1500m Walk
  • Jenna Jardine (U15) 1st Hurdles, 2nd Javelin, 2nd Long Jump
  • Whitney Skirka (U15) 2nd High Jump, 3rd 100m
  • Chelsea Brackin (U15) 3rd 1500m
  • Tiffany Saker (15+) 2nd 1500m walk
  • 2nd Relay (Katie, Shannyn, Whitney, Elly)
  • (Elly, Sophia Cleveringa, Sonja Jeffery, Madeleine Smith, Monika Sroba)

There are thirteen MSB girls now progressing to the NSW CCC Championships next month.

Thanks to Mrs McGregor for fulfilling our Shot Put duty on the day. It was also great to see ex MSB students Maddy Bergfield and Becky Clark from the class of 2013 in attendance to cheer on our team.

Our parents were again there in large numbers to ensure that results were correct on the day, the girls were well supported and enjoyed sharing the success of all of our girls.

Great action shots are available on the Photos in a Flash website. The password has been emailed to all athletes.

Look out next week for a full report on the MSB Representative U15 NSW ALL Schools Knock Out team that competed at Homebush on Thursday night.

Mrs Karen Grant
Representative Sport Coordinator

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Co-curricular Sport

MSB Netball

This weekend is the start of the Finals series for the Hills District Netball Competitions. The MSB teams have had a very successful season, with 12 of our 21 teams qualifying for Semi Finals this Saturday. Congratulations and good luck to all our teams on Saturday.

Presentation Day for the Netball Club is on Saturday 12 October from 11.00am - 1.00pm at Pennant Hills Park.  All players and families are invited to join us to celebrate another successful netball season.

Mrs Rebecca Lewis
Cocurricular Sport 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.
How to use the MSB Cashless Canteen.
Place a Canteen Order.

Canteen Roster for the week commencing 01 September






Grace Casserly

Helen Merhi

Natalie Conway

Jaye Harkin

Sinae Kim Rah

Kay Munro


Rosie Lancaster

Volunteers are required on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
Please notify Melissa if you are unable to attend or you would like to be removed from the roster.

Mrs Melissa Arane
Canteen Manager

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Community Notices

Cherrybrook Athletics Club in September

For children aged 5 - 16 who enjoy family fun and fitness, Cherrybrook Athletics Club welcomes you. Two week trial for $30 (12 September and 19 September).

Cherrybrook Little Athletics Flyer

Hills Athletics Club

Pack Collection Day for upcoming season will be held on Sunday 31 August 10.00am - 2.00pm at A.H. Whaling Reserve, Roxborough Park Road, Baulkham Hills

Hills Little Athletics Flyer

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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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