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4 June 2015



From the Principal

Last Thursday Mr John Muskovits’ daughter Katie, an ex-student of the College, passed away after a lifelong struggle with the effects of Cystic Fibrosis. John, his wife Anne and their daughter Nicole, also an ex-student, have cared for Katie lovingly over the past few difficult weeks and have shared her journey through her health trials over many years. We are deeply saddened by their loss and know what an incredibly difficult time this is for them. Katie’s life will be celebrated on Friday recognising her wonderful spirit and character. We continue to keep the Muskovits family in our prayers and know that they will be comforted by the love of the Bennies community.

The P&F Dinner Dance last Saturday was a most enjoyable evening. My thanks go to the P&F Executive, particularly Christa Silva and Vicki McClure, for their efforts in ensuring that the evening was such a success.

As is usually the case here at MSB the Athletics Carnival was a huge success thanks to the great organisation by Mrs Rebecca Lewis and the PDHPE staff, along with the support of teachers and other staff, and the enthusiastic participation of students. Well done to everyone involved.

Lost Property Dinner Dance

Did you lose a glamorous button from your outfit last Saturday night? If so we have it. Please ring Mrs Kathryn Sheehan on 9980 0405 if you would like to reclaim it.

On Tuesday this week Georgia Sella from Year 9 was Principal for the Day. Georgia has written the remainder of the newsletter article for this week (I think she may have given away a few secrets, such as my poor habits in regard to maintaining my email folders).

When I first went for Principal for a Day, in all honesty I thought it would be like having a day off school, but I was so wrong. Person, after person, after person would file through the door. Phone calls would have to be made and meetings would have to be completed. If there is one thing I have discovered, it is that there is a lot going on beyond the classrooms of Mount St Benedict College. Decisions about MSB Day, new teachers and getting a couch for the senior common room were made and it made me think, Mrs Pearson is a lot more involved in College life than I originally thought. She would talk about the wellbeing of the student and teachers frequently and many other things. If I have learnt one thing about being a Principal it is that there is a lot of stress associated with the role.

In order to be a successful Principal you need to organised, in fact Mrs Pearson had an entire folder labelled organisation structure located on her one of her shelves. Although Mrs Pearson had 2,350 unread email, she had a timetable full of various different things that she needed to attend to and do. In one of her cupboards there is about fifty notepads, with various different notes regarding many different subjects.

Although I may have missed out on one of my favourite lessons, I am glad I got the opportunity to see what really happens at Mount St Benedict College. All in all this experience has been a real eye opener.


Father God life is made up of choices, we choose to do something and in doing that we automatically choose to leave something else undone. There are so many demands on our time and talents. We know we can make wise decisions if we allow you to guide us, we pray that your word will be my guiding light and show us the path we need to take.


Maria Pearson

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Mission News

One of our key objectives at the College is to develop meaningful partnerships with a range of community organisations. Currently these include groups such as St Vincent de Paul, Josephite Community Aid, St Edmund's School and of course the very important partnerships we have with our Good Samaritan Ministries at Mater Dei, at Bacolod in the Philippines, in Kiribati and at Railaco in Timor Leste.

These partnerships provide significant benefits to our community and we hope, through our involvement to be making worthwhile contributions to the work of these organisations in their care for those who are disadvantaged. In most cases these partnerships provide an experience of volunteering which we hope will encourage our students to continue to volunteer their time as they move on from school and into their adult lives. We also know that these partnerships represent a powerful aspect in the education of our students. There is a profoundly transformative dimension to the learning that takes place through direct engagement with communities that cannot be adequately achieved through more remote approaches. Our students are able to meet and spend time with people, to hear their stories and share a little of their lives.

A further dimension in the learning for our students comes from the experience of being placed outside their comfort zone and needing to draw on skills within themselves that may not usually be required. This can be a little daunting, of course, but it soon becomes an exhilarating experience for our students when they realise that they can indeed manage well in a new and unusual situation and that they can relate confidently with people whose lives are so different to their own.

Last week, during 'One World Week' we were able to share two very special occasions with the staff and students of St Edmund's School. These occasions involved a shared performance between students from MSB and students from St Edmund's firstly at our College Assembly and subsequently at the St Edmund's School Assembly a few days later. These shared performances were the culmination of weeks of work during which our Year 10 music students, with the guidance of Ms Laura Sheehan, collaborated with the students of St Edmund's to prepare three performance items.

Our partnership with St Edmund's goes back many years and includes a number of different dimensions. In Year 8 all of our students take part in a full day program at St Edmund's focusing on social justice and disability awareness. These days, known as SOJAD involve some structured activities and some more informal encounters with St Edmund's students. In recent years students in Year 9 elective classes have done some collaborative work with students from St Edmund's in areas such as Food Technology and Drama. This year, of course, we have had a significant collaboration with St Edmund's in this area of the Creative and Performing Arts and additionally we have also been running a lunch time peer mentoring program between MSB Year 10 students and visiting students from St Edmund's. Next Tuesday we look forward to welcoming staff and students from St Edmund's to a community performance of our upcoming musical 'Hairspray'.

During Term Three our partnerships with Josephite Community Aid and St Vincent de Paul will be very much to the fore with our annual 'Vinnies Busking' day scheduled for Friday 14 August and our JCA Family Fun Day Picnic coming up on Friday 2 October.

In Term Four we’ll once again be working with JCA for our Christmas Hamper Appeal and of course there will be a significant focus on our Good Samaritan House partners in Mission Week in November.

Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

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Curriculum News

MSB Languages Students are World Champions!

The Annual Language Perfect online World Championships finished after ten days last week, and the Language Department is thrilled to announce our wonderful achievements.

Our final placing as a school was 78th in the world, competing against 1077 schools and more than 200,000 students worldwide.  In our category of 250 to 500 language students, we came in 24th position.

Students were kept very busy and spent many hours over the ten days answering language questions online, for which they were awarded points for their correct answers.

Four of our students achieved 10,000 points or more and an Elite award, which is a huge achievement! They were: Belinda Borgefjord (Year 10); top in the school on 11,453 points, Jane Wang (Year 8), Nicole Sandow and Kareena Trikam (Year 9).  Jessica Clements (Year 9) was our next high achiever on 9,894 points.

In addition we also achieved 19 Gold Awards (3,000 points and over), 6 Silver Awards, 26 Bronze Awards and 34 Credit Awards.

Congratulations to our wonderful and enthusiastic Language students. In the photos you can see some of our classes concentrating hard on earning points in the competition.

Belinda Jack
Languages Coordinator

From the Studies Coordinator - Year 11 Study Skills Update

Year 11 recently had a session in Pastoral Care on ‘Ways to Study’. This session was led by their House Mentors who modified the lesson depending on the girls' needs.

The students discussed if they felt confident with the way they study, what worked for them in Year 10 and what was working for them now in Year 11. They talked about ways of ‘Active Studying’ and shared a technique they use that works for them and gave examples of subjects they use them for. Then they received a resource handout on Active Studying and Summarising from the ELES Study Skills Handbook site.

Year 11 also had to consider if they were thinking ahead to the exam block in Term Three and discussed:

  • Have they asked teachers what content will be examined in Term Three?
  • Do you have a study plan/timetable for leading up to the exams in Term Three?
  • Are you using practice past papers? Do you sit them under exam conditions?
  • Have you got study notes for topics completed in Term One or Two?
  • How are you dealing with distractions?

If they didn’t have a timetable/plan they may have created one for Term Three. They may also have made a list of study notes that need to be completed before the beginning of next term.

An important consideration for Year 11 is to consider if any work/study needs to happen in the Term Three holidays so they can be on top of workload going into the new term and the exam block in Week 8 and 9.

Students could also have completed the Dealing with Distractions unit on the Study Skills Handbook.

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All resource sheets from the session are available for students on benniesnet-academic support and enrichment-year 11 study skills resource folder - PC 20 th May folder.

I wish Year 11 a productive last few weeks of term as they prepare for the final term of their Preliminary Course studies.

Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

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Pastoral Care

Positive Education at MSB

What is Positive Education?

Positive Education is adapting the core principles of positive psychology, using the scientific evidence for this model and combining these with our best practice teaching methods to encourage growth and learning, for the individual and for the whole community.

Dr Martin Seligman , Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania has focused on the study of healthy states and investigated strength of character, optimism and happiness. Dr Seligman is the director of the Penn Positive Psychology Centre and is ‘a recognised authority on interventions that prevent depression and build strengths and wellbeing’.

Positive Education incorporates the teaching and modelling to all members of the community in finding and utilising our strengths to find solutions and the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences in all areas of the College.

Why Positive Education?

Mount St Benedict has always been committed to holistic education and teaching students about enhancing their wellbeing. Current statistics from the organisation Beyond Blue show one in four adolescents experience a mental health disorder and one in four say they are unhappy about their lives. Our adoption of positive education at MSB is having a preventative role in response to these current statistics. It is important that all members of the College community are involved in the promotion and teaching of positive psychology. Positive Education not only helps the individual and community to develop resilience but enables them to thrive and flourish.


Mount St Benedict College has adopted a whole school approach. In 2014 all staff at the College were engaged in teams to explore the different aspects of positive education and how to apply it within their own lives. Lyn Worsley, a clinical psychologist from the Resilience Centre at Epping partnered with the College to create these opportunities.

An aspect of Positive Education within the College is the use of the Resilience Doughnut developed by Lyn Worsley. The use of the Resilience Doughnut allows individuals to become independent and self-directed by utilising areas within their life to enable them to flourish. The teaching of these strategies within a supportive educational setting allows the students to embrace and develop their strengths, providing skills they will utilise throughout their lives.

The Framework adopted at the College is based on Dr Martin Seligman’s PERMA model and also incorporates the use of the Resilience Doughnut . Below is a summary of the Framework.

  • Positive Emotion: gratitude, hope, recognising individual strengths and areas of strength
    • Strengths of the Head – love of learning, curiosity, wisdom, open-mindedness, creativity

    • Strengths of the Heart – love, friendship, kindness

    • Strengths of Action – courage, enthusiasm, persistence, honesty

    • Strengths of community – teamwork, leadership, fairness

    • Strengths of self-control – forgiveness, modesty, prudence, patience, self-control

    • Strengths of meaning – humour, hope, gratitude, spirituality, love of beauty

  • Engagement: mindful learning

  • Relationships: connectedness and building positive relationships

  • Meaning: serving a cause bigger than ourselves

  • Accomplishment / Achievement: achieving goals

  • Health: ensuring a balance including physical activity

Utilising the Resilience Doughnut and the Resilience Report.

Jackie Duncan
Assistant Principal Dean of Pastoral Care

Positive Education - The Value of Gratitude

Each week we will focus on a different aspect of Positive Education and showcase some aspects of its implementation at the College.

This week the focus is Gratitude.

Arcadia House: In each Homeroom within Arcadia House this semester, we have been using the image of a water jug filled with water droplets to show gratitude towards others particularly regarding our value of Hospitality. Each student has been adding to the jug a droplet with their act of Hospitality either shown to them or they have shown towards others.

Gratitude Diary: Year 10 kept a gratitude diary in PDHPE throughout Term One.

Gratitude Wall in the Staffroom:
Each week staff have been completing gratitude cards that are then read out at Staff Briefing and displayed on the Gratitude Wall.

Does happiness make us grateful or does gratefulness makes us happy?

David Steindl-Rast speaks about the idea: does happiness make us grateful or does gratefulness makes us happy? Watch this 14 minute TED talk which will get you thinking about the opportunity to be grateful. What IS the key to happiness?

Jeannette CollinsPope

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College News

2015 Children's Voices for Reconciliation

On 29 May the Year 9 Ministry Class, along with other Year 9 students, Mrs Dempsey and Mr O’Brien attended the Children’s Voices for Reconciliation Festival at Hornsby Westfield. This event features local school students demonstrating their understanding of Aboriginal culture whilst also educating the audience about Reconciliation. This took place on the Guringai and Darug people’s land and celebrated its 15th year during National Reconciliation Week. Other schools which attended included: St Lucy’s, Brooklyn Public School, Hornsby Girls High School, Pacific Hills Christian College, Normanhurst West Public School, Normanhurst Public School and Cherrybrook Public School.

To commence the Festival a Smoking Ceremony was performed by one of the elders named Uncle Wes. A Smoking Ceremony is an ancient custom among Indigenous Australians that involves burning various native plants to produce smoke, which is believed to have cleansing properties and the ability to ward off bad spirits. In this particular ceremony, Uncle Wes used eucalyptus leaves along with burning embers.

Throughout the Festival, we saw a variety of performances such as song, dance, poem, storytelling and online presentations. This was accompanied by a large range of Indigenous stalls selling food and Aboriginal artwork for the public to purchase, which were run by people in the local community.

One of the presentations involved students who had an Indigeneous background and we were able to hear about their love for their culture and stories from their home in Kimberly, WA. These students’ families live in very remote areas and have to travel very far to receive medical attention, education and food supplies.

Other schools performances included a Prezi presentation, the recitation of poetry especially written for the event and many song and dance performances. One highlight was the performance by St Lucy's Special School at Wahroonga which many of our students have visited in the Year 10 Community Outreach Program.

In conclusion the Festival was a great success with Normanhurst West Public School winning and MSB students taking away an insightful understanding of what Reconciliation actually means. The Ministry class is looking forward to participating in this event in 2016.

Tiffany Krkac and Zali Levy
Year 9 Ministry

Lost Property

Has your daughter misplaced any possessions? All named items are held at Student Services for collection. Any unnamed items will be placed on the table outside Student Services. These items will be recycled at the end of term.

We have had a white watch handed in, please have your daughter come to Student Services at recess or lunch for collection.

Jan Franco
Student Services

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P & F News

P&F President’s Update June 2015

This term has demonstrated once again that Mount St Benedict College is a supportive and caring Catholic community. The staff and students have been challenged to cope with grief and crisis and have found comfort and support from each other. On behalf of the entire parent body I would like to thank the staff for the exceptional pastoral care and sensitivity that they have shown towards our daughters.

The P&F are currently monitoring the development associated with the NorthConnex. The site at Wilson Road, Pennant Hills, for an emergency ventilation and fire safety tunnel, is the construction closest to the College. In conjunction with the College, the P&F is maintaining a close eye on the development and will communicate any updates to the broader community.

Last Saturday night the P&F held its annual Dinner Dance at Castle Hill RSL. I would like to extend our thanks to Christa Silvia for all her organisation and coordination and to Vicki McLure who assisted Christa in the preparation of the function room. The night was a great success with many long conversations, new friends made, old acquaintances rekindled and some impressive dancing.

The P&F continues to look at ways to support the students in their learning environment. We are currently assessing ways to improve the senior students informal spaces as well as making sure that there is the capability to provide additional resources for future developments within the College.

As always we look forward to input and suggestions from the entire parent community.

Further details can be found on the College website:

Mr Damien Pigott
P&F President

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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.

BROKEN BAY Website: There is a new BBSSSA site under construction - we will advise when it is 'live'

NSW CCC Website:

Representative Sports Calendar

Representative Sports Calendar - 2015 Term Two


NSW CCC Championships - Eastern Creek
Friday 12 June
BBSSSA Representative Team


Monday 15 / Tuesday 16 June

Broken Bay U13 and U15 Championships - Manly Vale
Thursday 18 June
MSB Junior/Intermediate Representative team


Y9/10 NSW All Schools Championships
Friday 12 June
(Y9/10 Rep Team)

NSW CCC Championships - Port Macquarie
Tuesday 16 June (Friday 19 June b/up date)

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.

Representative Sports Trials and Training

Representative Sports Trials and Training

Wed 10 June



Mr Campbell

Wed 10 June


Training 3.30pm - 4.14pm

Mrs Hickey

Wed 10 June


Training(outdoor courts)

Mrs Grant / tba

Fri 12 June



Mr Hume

MSB Representative Athletics Team

The draft team is on the Sports Noticeboard and students listed have been emailed information for Co-curricular Photo Day next week. As the team needs to be finalised as soon as possible in time for these photos, nominations for hurdles and walk events at the BBSSSA Championships will close on Tuesday.

These events were not held at the MSB Carnival, but will be available at the Broken Bay Carnival on Thursday 20 August. There are 2 places available in the 1500m walk (12-14) and (15+) and 1 in each hurdles age group.

What do I do if I am interested in competing in these events?

  1. Sign up below indicating your PB that you can provide evidence of (eg a copy of your Little Athletics Book, website printout or other evidence of the time/distance)

  2. Email this evidence to Mrs Grant or hand this into the Representative Sport Slot at Student Services by recess on Tuesday 9 June

  3. Places will be given to students who have the quickest PB times and have provided evidence of these prior to the cut off time.

Good Luck

Good luck to the ten students competing at the NSW CCC Cross Country Championships at Eastern Creek on Friday and to the Y9/10 Touch team competing at the NSW All Schools Team Championships at Penrith on Friday.

Karen Grant
Representative Sports Coordinator

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Whitehouse Institute of Design

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UTS Faculty of Law

UTS Faculty of Law will be hosting its Undergraduate Law Information Evening on Wednesday 24 June for Year 11 and 12 students, and their parents, who are considering studying law.

Further Information and to register:

About UTS:Law
Law Courses in 2016
UTS:Law Scholarships
UTS:Law Brennan Justice and Leadership Program

Lucy Elgood
Careers Advisor

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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 8 June








Charlene Worne

Louise Weihen

Georgina Khamis

Julie McIntyre

Lisa Young

Roza Bindschedler

Jeonghwa Jang

Joanne Murrie

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

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The content of this email is privileged and confidential and is intended only for the named recipient. If you have received this email in error, please advise the sender and delete the email. You must not disclose, copy or distribute any information contained in this email or take any action in reliance of its contents if you are not the intended recipient.

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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