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30 May 2014

From the Principal

Dear parents, friends, staff and students.

Last week a group of students, accompanied by Mrs Rebecca Shiels, attended the Sydney Writers Festival and had the opportunity to interact and listen to others as they told their stories. One of the speakers that most impressed them was former Olympic swimmer, Lisa Forrest as she told her story of resilience, overcoming obstacles to move forward with life. Opportunities like this allow us to reflect on our own lives and the stories that we could relay. The written word can be so engaging and is still a powerful medium. When words create imagery and emotion that places you within the story it is often difficult to put the book down, or stop listening. We are fortunate that our students have had this opportunity to interact with others who share their passion for writing.

Ella Meaker (Year 8) with author Will Kostakis and his YaYa at the Sydney Writer's Festival.

This week the College reflected on the notion of what the term 'One World' actually means. A week of lunch time activities organised and run by the Social Justice Portfolio and the Environment Portfolio encouraged the students to be involved and interact with the notion of One World.


The Social Justice Forum on Wednesday night was extremely well attended with over 130 students from other schools joining us to consider the question of Refugee and Asylum Seekers. The key note speaker, Jessie Taylor, spoke with passion and was inspirational as she shared her stories of her role as advocate for Asylum seekers. The students were challenged to make a difference and become a voice for justice and respect in Australia. Thank you to the many staff and students involved in organising the evening, particularly Mrs Donna Dempsey, our Ministry Coordinator.

In 2016 the College will celebrate 50 years of education. There will be many opportunities for the wider community to be involved with us in celebrations of our Golden Jubilee. On Wednesday, during Assembly I spoke to the girls about one such opportunity. In January 2016 the College will be running a 'Footsteps of Benedict' Tour. This tour is an experience that combines a pilgrim experience and travelling experience. The Monasteries of Montserrat, Maredsous and Stanbrook will be visited and the girls will interact with the monks and nuns to enrich their understanding of our rich heritage in the Benedictine tradition. Also key cities such as Rome, Paris and London are on the itinerary. In the last Footsteps Tour we were lucky enough to attend the Papal New Year’s Day Mass in St Peters and visit Subiaco and Monte Cassino. There will be a brochure at Student Services next Monday with more information for students who may be interested. Students who will be in Year 10, 11 and 12 in 2016 are invited to consider this invitation.

Thank you to the Parents and Friends association for organising the dinner dance last Saturday evening. When I left at midnight I looked around the venue to find every person was on the dance floor enjoying themselves. A very successful evening.

As we reflect on what being ‘One World’ might mean we are challenged to consider how our actions could build such a world and our responsibility to do this. We are privileged with our education and our life styles so how do we use this power to build such a place? It is not without challenge and I invite you to consider this reflection by Rowan Williams.

What on earth was it that turned the people against Jesus so very quickly?
Why did they so decisively reject the prophet whom they had so enthusiastically welcomed? What did he say that was so offensive?
The mood changed when Jesus began to tell them that God loved those who lay beyond the walls of their own community. The people loved Jesus until he started to talk about the foreigners and how God loved them. The wealthy loved Jesus until he starts to talk about loving the poor……………..
The world loves Jesus until he starts to talk about caring for the environment for future generations. The citizens loved Jesus until he started to talk about loving the asylum seeker.
We all love Jesus when he gives us what we want. The sticking point comes when Jesus challenges us to reach out to those on the edge, to those beyond the boundaries of our own community and self-interest. We must never forget that to follow in the footsteps of Jesus means to walk the edge and at times the cross itself and to speak prophetically about the poor, the least, the last and the lost.


Ms Jackie Duncan
Acting Principal

Beyond Bennies - 7.15am Tuesday 17 June

Beyond Bennies is an annual breakfast event sponsored by MSBESA (MSB ex-student association) for our ex-students to share their career journeys with our current students and their families. RSVP here.



Term Dates 2014

Term Two


Tuesday 29 April - Friday 20 June

Term Three


Tuesday 15 July - Friday 19 September

Term Four


Tuesday 7 October - Friday 5 December



Term Dates 2015

Term One


Wednesday 28 January - Years 7, 11 and 12 return
Thursday 29 January - Years 8, 9 and 10 return

Wednesday 1 April - Term ends

Term Two


Monday 20 April - Friday 19 June

Friday 5 June - Staff Development Day
Monday 8 June - Queen's Birthday Public Holiday

Term Three


Tuesday 14 July - Friday 18 September

Term Four


Tuesday 6 October - Friday 4 December

Mission News

Each day this week the College has been a hive of activity as we focused on the various issues and concerned of our 'One World Week' campaign. Monday saw the creation of the chalk mural setting the tone for the week. At the same time students were invited to add their contribution of a paper leaf to a tree designed to help us imagine what One World would look like. The next day the action shifted to the Hall courtyard where a giant map adorned the wall and students were challenged to test their knowledge of significant global issues. These included issues of wealth and poverty, refugees, education, life expectancy etc. With prizes on offer this proved to be a very popular activity with all the options taken by the time the second half of lunch rolled around.

Each day of One World Week focussed on a different theme including; respect for our world, freedom from poverty, freedom from oppression, our responsibility and making a better world. Throughout the week learning activities took place in the classroom and there were additional lunch time activities. On Wednesday our College Assembly also helped us pick up important aspects of our theme and encouraged us to think about the importance of Catholic Social Teaching.

Our annual Social Justice Forum was held after school on Wednesday with the College playing host to over 130 visiting students and staff from fourteen different schools. Our key note speaker, Jessie Taylor, provided a powerful and challenging message about the plight facing asylum seekers in our country and elsewhere. Following the keynote address forum participants took part in one of the ten workshops on offer, shared a meal together and joined in some cross-workshop discussions. The evening ended with a Q&A panel discussion.

Thursday’s lunch activity brought us back to the environmental theme with a very grass roots and local focus on our own garbage and how we dispose of it. Also during Thursday, classes were able to visit the One World Week art exhibition created by Year 9 Visual Art students under the direction of Mrs Nicola Murray.

Friday’s lunch activity involved House groups working on a jigsaw puzzle in eight sections which was ultimately brought together to create a spectacular collage of our 'One World' connections. The Fair Trade stall was also in operation on Friday with scarves and gloves now on sale with the colder weather finally arriving.


It is quite amazing to see what can be packed into one week of activities and it has certainly been a wonderfully interesting and engaging week. I would like to acknowledge the work of the Environment and Social Justice Portfolios with their respective Captains Hayley Bowen, Kaitlyn Smith, Nivedita Kumar and Hannah McKnight and also to thank their mentors Mr David Greenwell and Mrs Donna Dempsey for their guidance and support.

It is only three weeks now until our annual celebration of Mount St Benedict Day. As usual we will begin the day with the celebration of Eucharist in the College Hall. Fr Paul Durkin, Pastor of St Agatha’s at Pennant Hills will join us to share in this celebration. We are hopeful that some parents and other members of our community will be able to join us for Eucharist and morning tea afterwards as our recently refurbished and extended hall now allows us the opportunity to accommodate extra people on these significant occasions. We would therefore like to extend a warm invitation to members of our extended Mount St Benedict Community to join us for Eucharist and afterwards for some morning tea. Eucharist will commence at approximately 9.15am, guests are asked to be seated by 9.00am. Morning tea will follow between 10.30am and 11.00am. To ensure we have adequate seating in place and to assist us with catering for morning tea we ask that guests RSVP through the College website by Monday 16 June. Please click here to RSVP.

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

Curriculum News

Year 8 Parent Teacher Interviews

4.00pm - 7.30pm
in the College Hall
Thursday 5 June for Year 8 Classes 5 to 9 only.

Bookings for Year 8 (Classes 5 to 9) are now open and will close promptly at midday on Wednesday 4 June.

The online booking system will be the only way to make appointments and only parents will be supplied with their username and password, although it is envisaged that parents will liaise with their daughter in this appointment process.

Parents wishing to make appointments after the advertised close off will need to contact the College.

One of the new innovations with this online booking system is that the class teacher can not only request interviews with particular students but can communicate this directly to the parent. In this way the Parent Teacher night provides another opportunity for the teacher to address any learning outcomes with the student.

The College has made this move to an online system for the following reasons:

  • It better empowers the parents to make appointments with their daughter’s teachers;
  • There is less of a likelihood that the form will get lost, misplaced or not be utilised; and
  • Students and/or teachers will not be required to chase each other in attempt to make bookings thereby arguably increasing valuable learning time.

The aim of the evening will be:

  • An opportunity for parents to meet their daughters teachers and continue to foster positive relationships between parent, student and teacher;
  • For students and parents to be given valuable feedback on their learning so the student can set goals for the next Semester;
  • For discussion of ways in which the teacher and parent can work together to support the student in her learning; and
  • For students (and parents) to develop an objective concept of their capacity and abilities.


Students are to attend in school uniform with their parent(s).

Please contact the College if you are experiencing difficulties or would like further clarification.

Mr John Muskovits
Assistant Principal - Dean of Curriculum


It is an exciting and challenging time to be an educator as approaches to teaching and learning are changing rapidly. To equip our students to be competitive in an employment market involving jobs not even thought of yet, to give them what they need to thrive in a world where information is instant, we need to assess and reinvent the way we do things.

Perhaps the greatest change, driven by the new Australian Curriculum, is coming in Mathematics classrooms.

We were taught Mathematics in an environment where repetition was used to develop our mental muscles, the teacher was central and relevance scant, textbooks were followed with devotion, students were ‘encouraged’ to be disciplined and quiet and understanding was limited. If we asked questions we were told how to do it, or given the answer, not encouraged to persevere and work it out. Most students did not value the experience and many, as adults, retain only a few useful skills.

The Mathematics classroom of the 21st century is becoming a place where students explore ideas through a problem to solve, where a spirit of inquiry is foremost and discovering you have made a mistake is real learning, where students work on open-ended tasks in cooperation with each other, and where students build thinking tools and ways of reasoning that they will use as life-long learners.

Dan Meyer is a mathematics teacher with compelling ideas on how Mathematics should be taught. I find him inspiring. If you have a few minutes, this TED talk is both entertaining and thought provoking.

Dan Meyer - A Discussion on How Mathematics should be Taught

Your daughters will be finding that their experience of learning Mathematics is changing. They may have already noticed that textbooks may be less prominent (although still used), that teacher developed notes are not as forthcoming (students will be encouraged to compile their own), that separate rule books are less common, that relying on memory without real understanding is discouraged and that they may be frequently working in groups. It is now recognised that mathematical reasoning (not recall of facts or routines) should be the primary focus. Problem solving is a priority and the emphasis in computation should be on meaning and patterns. The communication of mathematical ideas in a variety of ways (orally, in writing, using symbolic as well as everyday language and using technology) is critical to the learning process. Students learn through opportunities to develop, explore and apply mathematics in hands-on and real-life applications.

Currently in the Mathematics Department teachers are creating units of work, in response to the Australian curriculum, that emphasise open-ended problem solving, where students are guided in developing mathematical thinking skills to solve real life problems and where the teacher helps students to make, refine and explore conjectures based on evidence and reasoning. We are devising activities to promote flexibility and resourcefulness in our students and to encourage the use of technology as a problem solving tool. Students will still practise skills but the emphasis will be on understanding as well as fluency.

What can parents do to assist their daughters in meeting the challenges of new approaches to learning?

Your daughter may be comfortable with how she has learnt Mathematics up to this point and may express annoyance with alternative approaches. You can support her learning by explaining that the emphasis in Mathematics has moved from an emphasis on recalling a memorised routine to a focus on reasoning and working things out. Open-ended problems take time so encourage patience. Asking good questions is a key skill. If your daughter is struggling, suggest she comes up with a good question for the class or teacher that may clarify her thinking. Students often say “I don't get it”. Encourage her to reflect on what she does not get, and frame a question around that point or concept.

Maths Workshop

Maths Workshop is a popular as ever. It is held in the IRC Collaborative Space on Day 1 and 8 from 3.30pm until 4.15pm. The best way to use this support is by regular attendance with questions to ask, a concept that is not fully understood or some work to catch up on. The worst way to use it is to come once, just before the test. It won’t help much, too little, too late! Remember that regular application and reflection in Mathematics is far better than some mad, last minute cramming.

Changes to Mathematics Assessment Practices in Stages 4 and 5

In 2014, assessment tasks in Years 9 and 10 have a common component that all students complete and a second section that is based on the students’ studies in 5.1, 5.2 or 5.3. This is to provide a better profile of a student’s learning to allow us to apply the Grade Descriptors across the whole year group and still inform us of her progress within the separate courses. The material tested in the common section is content that all students have studied, across the full range of difficulty.

In Years 7 and 8, in addition to the twice semester ‘across-the-form’ tests, a class-based component drawn for a wide range of learning experiences will form a small part of the semester grade, to provide a more comprehensive learning profile.

I have enjoyed immensely my first (almost) semester at Mount St Benedict College and look forward to meeting many of you at upcoming College events.

I can be contacted by email and appreciate any feedback.

Mrs Denise Hillier
Head of Department


College News


NASA Space Camp and Washington DC Excursion

ATTENTION all Space Campers.


The 2015 Space Camp Excursion to the United States has now been opened up to Year 9/2015 students (current Year 8 students). Priority will still be given to Year 10, 11 and 12 in 2015.

Application and deposits are due by Friday 6 June, however all applications will be given a priority on the time they are handed in to the Fees Box at Student Services.

All forms can be found as a hard copy in Student Services and can be downloaded from your class OneNote folder.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity that may never be repeated.

Mrs Jane Easterbrook
Head of Department

Philippines Fundraising Dinner

7.00pm - 9.30pm
Tuesday 17 June

Eastern City Chinese Restaurant
1 Hillcrest Road
Pennant Hills

The staff and students of the 2014 Philippines Immersion Trip would like to invite you to a Dinner to raise donations for the following organisations:

  • PREDA Olongapo
  • Bahay Tulyan Manila
  • The Good Samaritan Kinder School Bacolad

Enjoy an eight course banquet (drinks available for purchase or BYO wine) for $45 per person.

There will be entertainment, a silent auction, lucky door prizes and games.

RSVP here

For further information, please contact Mrs Donna Dempsey 9980 0415 or via email

The Stones - Year 9 and 10 Drama Excursion

Year 9 and 10 Drama students recently headed off to Monkey Baa’s The Darling Quarter Theatre to see a production by Zeal Theatre of The Stones.

This play was written and directed by Stefo Nantsou and Tom Lycos. It was a tour de force of multi-skilled storytelling and high energy physical theatre that has been performed over 1000 times around the world.

The play was based on the true story of two young boys who threw rocks over an overpass and killed a man. The performance really challenged the audience to consider if the boys should be charged guilty or not guilty.

Playbuilding is a compulsory component of the Drama Curriculum and students from Years 9 to 12 all create their own work based on a variety of theatre styles and stimulus. This production was a wonderful example of how to create a piece of theatre with limited set, costume and lighting successfully, which was also engaging and thought provoking.

The students will be writing a theatre review of this experience for an assessment and we will be sending the best through to the theatre company.

Here are a few of our students’ thoughts about the excursion:

Tom Lycos and Stefo Nantsou wrote the play in eight days, they’ve been performing this highly entertaining piece, The Stones, for over twenty years; this fact truly gives credit to the two talented men that both entertained the audience, but more importantly made us think. - Rosemarie Coppini Year 9

'The Stones was an excellent two man show as it showed us the consequences of doing wrong things and was entertaining at the same time.' - Deana Zdrilic Year 9

The Stones was such an amazing and captivating performance, I enjoyed it very much! - Olivia Zeaiter Year 10

 It was a pleasure to spend the morning at the theatre with the girls who were so appreciative of the opportunity.

Mrs Keats, Mrs Stevens and Miss Powell
Drama Teachers

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:

Wet Weather Line: 9990 3633


Representative Sports Calendar - Term Two



BROKEN BAY Championships
Wed 11 June (wet weather backup Wed 18 June)
MSB U13 & MSB U15 Representative Teams

NSW CCC Championships
Mon 16 - Tue 17 June
BB OPEN Representative Team

NSW ALL SCHOOLS Championships
Mon 16- Tue 17 June
NSW CCC OPEN Representative Team



NSW ALL SCHOOLS Championships
Fri 13 June
NSW CCC Representative Team



NSW CCC Championships
Fri 3 June (wet weather backup Wed 18 June)
K.Noble, B.Duncan, A.Shepherd, S.Bissett



BROKEN BAY Championships
Thu 19 June
MSB Senior Representative Team



MSB Carnival
Mon 2 June

Representative Sports Dates Next Week

  • Tuesday 3 June - Year 7 Rep Netball Call Backs in the Hall
  • Wednesday 4 June - U15 Rep Soccer training on the Oval (Mr Campbell)
  • Wednesday 4 June - Intermediate Rep Netball Call Backs in the Hall (Mrs Rowland)
  • Thursday 5 June - Senior Rep Basketball Training on the Convent Courts (Mr Young)
  • Thursday 5 June - U13 Soccer training on the Oval (Natalie Tobin) 
  • Thursday 5 June - Year 9/10 Rep Touch training after school 3.30pm - 4.15pm (Mrs Hickey)
  • Friday 6 June - Intermediate Rep Netball Call Backs in the Hall (Mrs Rowland)
  • Friday 6 June - Open Netball training on the Convent Courts (Mrs McGregor)

MSB Athletics Carnival Extra Events

The MSB Athletics Carnival will be held at Homebush on Monday. The 1500m and Triple Jump events are held early in the morning of the Carnival.

The 1500m will be run in divisional groups (Junior, Intermediate and Senior), then times will be seperated to determine spots for the individual ages on the MSB team. The Triple Jump will be an Open event as it is at Broken Bay level. Please note that 12 year olds (as at 31 December 2014) are not elegible to compete in the Triple Jump.

Any student who signed up for either the 1500m or the Triple Jump events and is catching the early bus on Monday will need to be at the College Undercroft by 7.50am as the bus will leave at 8.00am sharp.

Hurdles and Walk nomination sheets will appear on the Sports Noticeboard following the Carnival.

The Carnival will serve as a selection Carnival for the MSB Representative teams to compete at the Broken Bay and the NSW Knock Out Teams Championships.

NSW CCC Soccer Championships

Congratulations to Natalie Tobin who has once again gained selection into the NSW CCC Open Soccer Team that will contest the NSW All Schools Championships later this term.

Natalie and fellow MSB students Annabelle Doheny (Year 12), Grace Gibbeson (Year 9) and Alex Black (Year 9) were members of the Broken Bay team that competed in Coffs Harbour this week at the NSW CCC Championships.

The Broken Bay coach reported that 'Overall the tour this year was one of the best I have been on with Broken Bay. Schools should be very proud of the students who represented and the staff involved'.

Good Luck

Good luck to Kaitlyn Noble (year 10), Bella Duncan (Year 10), Abi Shepherd (Year 9) and Shannyn Bissett (Year 8) who will travel to Wagga Wagga next week for the NSW CCC Touch Championships.


Triathlon NSW


Round One of the Triathlon NSW Development and Performance Squads Time Trials commence shortly. In addition to the Triathlon NSW time trials events there are alternate trials and races that athletes can attend to have their times included forTriNSW selection.

Register for the Time Trials

Further Information

Co-curricular Sport


Vacancies now exist for players in Under 13s and Cadet  MSB teams.
If you are interested in playing this season please contact the Junior Registrar via email at

Michelle Sharpe
MSB Netball


Over the next few weeks university information specifically for parents will appear in the Careers section.

This week: UTS

Previous Weeks: UNSW, Macquarie University, Sydney University.

Next Week: UWS


10.00am - 3.00pm
Thursday 29 May - Sunday 1 June
Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, Sydney

The HSC and Careers Expo brings together over 140 exhibitors providing HSC, tertiary course, career, study skills and gap year information and resources. Exhibitors include Australia's major universities. The Expo also features 115 seminars on HSC subjects inclusing English and Maths, tertiary courses, career and study advise.
Admission: $10 per person or $25 per family of three or more (children 14 and under free) and is valid for all four days of the expo. Admission includes all seminars.

For more information visit The HSC and Careers Expo



MSBESA Meeting - 5.45pm Monday 2 June

The next meeting will be held at 5.45pm in the College Boardroom on Monday 2 June.

Beyond Bennies - 7.15am Tuesday 17 June

Beyond Bennies is an annual breakfast event sponsored by MSBESA (MSB ex-student association) for our ex-students to share their career journeys with our current students and their families. RSVP here.


The Class of 1984 has a reunion facebook page. Please feel free to join this group at and share amongst your peers. Volunteers to form a committee are most welcome.



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








Grace Casserly


Natalie Conway

Jaye Harkin


Sinae Kim Rah


Kay Munro


Rosie Lancaster


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

Volunteers are urgently required for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Mrs Melissa Arane
Canteen Manager


Community Notices





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