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5 September 2014

From the Principal

Dear Parents and Friends,

As the term break approaches I have had numerous requests for students to be absent from school during term time. Almost entirely these requests relate to family holidays. The girls at Mount St Benedict College have very generous holidays including a three week break mid-year. The NSW Department of Education and Communities gives Principals the responsibility for determining whether students may be granted absence from school during term time, although they also stress that it is a legal requirement for parents to ensure their children attend school and exemptions should only be given in exceptional circumstances. The fact that fare prices and accommodation costs are cheaper during term time does not constitute exceptional circumstances. I ask parents to imagine what might happen if teachers asked for holidays during term time because it is less expensive. I respectfully ask that parents book family holidays during term breaks to ensure continuity of study for their daughters.

Each year the Good Samaritan Foundation offers a scholarship to one student in a Good Samaritan school in Australia for Years 11 and 12. The student should be from a family who does not have the financial means to afford school fees. Obviously there could be a number of families in such situations but if you are interested in finding out more about this scholarship please contact Kathryn Sheehan on 9980 0405. The deadline for this is very short so please make contact on Monday or Tuesday if you want more information.

Every now and then I receive an anonymous letter or telephone call. It is rare for people to remain anonymous when they have some positive feedback or comment, so most of the anonymous ones are of a negative nature. It is very hard to respond to a complaint if I do not know who to respond to. The College does have a formal Complaints Procedure so I would encourage anyone who feels the need to do so, to call and speak to the relevant staff member. All complaints are taken seriously and investigated fully.

Monday heralded the start of Spring and, while we have plenty of rain of late, it was lovely to enjoy a beautiful warm day, reminding us of the beautiful weather ahead.

A sleeping world emerges to new possibilities
Weakening winter's icy grip
And birdsong and bleating lamb
Announce to all the promise
That in due season
Creation bursts into life.

And whilst leaves that fell in winter
Lie upon the ground
Soon to feed the earth
In nature's wondrous cycle
Of death and rebirth
Within the tree is a stirring of new growth.


I hope all families are able to take the time on Sunday to celebrate Fathers' Day, and give thanks and show appreciation for all that our fathers offer us.

Mrs Maria Pearson

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Mission News

This week we welcomed the Dads of our community to our annual Father and Daughter Breakfast. It was a wonderful experience to see our courtyard filled to overflowing with our visitors who had a chance to enjoy the famous MSB breakfast fare while chatting with their daughters and other dads who had come along for the occasion. After breakfast we gathered in the Hall for a brief liturgy prepared by our new Liturgy Captains, Sarah Carvalho and Sarah McLaren.

The liturgy included some scripture, some reflections, some music and some prayer, finishing with the following prayer:

Dear God,

We thank you for our fathers and all that they do for us.
May we always realise the sacrifices they make for their children and families.

Thank our fathers for always supporting us, being great role models
and continually showing love towards us.

We ask that you give our fathers the patience, strength, wisdom and tolerance
needed to face the role of parenting.

We pray that you look after our fathers and bless them with health and happiness.
May we also remember those who fill the void when fathers are unable to fulfil their roles
through passing or absence, we also give you thanks.


At the end of the liturgy each of our guests was presented with a Father’s Day card bearing message:

Happy Father’s Day

May God bless you, Dad
Just as you have blessed our family
with your laughter, compassion
knowledge and faithfulness
Thank You

It is always a pleasure to welcome MSB families to special events such as this and we were delighted that so many were able to join us so early on a Wednesday morning. A big thank you to Mrs Susan Webber and Mrs Melissa Arane together with the group of teachers who organised the BBQ for us.

This week we have been continuing our preparations for our Family Fun Day Picnic which will take place in the holidays. The picnic is being hosted by MSB in conjunction with Josephite Community Aid (JCA). The aim of the picnic is to show hospitality and provide a gesture of support to families who have recently arrived in Australia. We expect to be hosting about 300 guests, mostly women and children who have arrived from countries on the African Continent such as Sudan, Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone etc. Later in the year we will be taking Christmas hampers to many of the same families. Approximately 100 of our students have expressed interest in attending and a number of our staff will also be involved.

The picnic will be held at Blacktown Showground, Richmond Rd, Blacktown on Friday 3 October from approximately 10.00am - 3.00pm. Our students will be involved in various activities on the day including catering, face painting, balloon sculptures, jewellery making, novelty games, music and sports. They will be working in teams under the supervision of staff from the College.

We are keen to encourage parents and other family members to join us on the day to make it a more genuine exchange among families. Hopefully many family members will come along to accompany their daughter during the day.

Finally, this week, we held our culminating event from last week’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Week focus. Last week’s bad weather prevented us from setting up our installation showing our support for children in immigration detention centres. With some slightly better weather this week we were finally able to put the work in place and show images representing the hundreds of children who are currently in detention. Thank you once more to Mrs Donna Dempsey and the Social Justice Captains Chelsea Spokes and Corrine Vicente, for their work on this installation and the other activities which we organised for us last week.

View the Father Daughter Breakfast Photo Gallery

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

Curriculum News

News from the Studies Coordinator

Last week, Year 12 attended a study skills session titled ‘The HSC Countdown’ with Prue Salter from Enhanced Learning Educational Services. The aim was to help Year 12 put together a plan of attack for between now and their final exams. The session focused firstly on what students need to do before the end of term. It is essential that study notes are completed, students work through their returned Trial HSC exam papers thoroughly (using the checklist provided), pinpoint areas of weakness and seek help on these, and endeavour to do as much practice of essay writing and past examination papers as they can before the end of term so they can obtain feedback from teachers.

These last weeks of school are also the time where some students do not necessarily use their class time as effectively as they could, however after making the plan for the weeks just prior to the HSC exams, students can now see how quickly the time will go and how important it is to use the rest of this term to the full. Year 12 also reviewed the study techniques they are using and looked at ways to improve and avoid common study mistakes using research about the brain. Each Year 12 student also filled out a grid with their HSC exam timetable, planning the best way to allocate their study time over the weeks prior and during the HSC exams using the guidelines Prue explained. Having a plan in place can take away a lot of exam anxiety, as students know what they need to do to move forward and can see the steps they need to take to make the most of the last few months of their final year of school. Parents are encouraged to review the handout from the session with students and have students explain their study plan, as often discussing these ideas can clarify students’ approach.

Parents can also find extra study skills tips on the following website: and students can download the slides from the session and extra copies of the grid at

Go to and enter the username: formsbenonly and the password: 124results and start improving your results today!

Prue also presented the Academic Awards for Excellent Semester One Reports to the following students; Giselle Crowther, Annabelle Doheny, Monique Frendo, Emma Hayman, Holly Irwin, Rachael Loomes, Hannah McKnight, Sonali Mehta, Carra Reyes, Zaira Rocchi, Amelia Ruddock, Lauren Said, Chloe Saker, Ellen Schiffler, Jessica Smith and Jessica Toopitsin.

We congratulate the girls for their efforts and diligence during Semester One.

In Pastoral Care last week Year 11 were lead through, ‘Exam Preparation - The Weekend Before’ study skills session with their House Year Group Mentor. This session aimed to assist girls with effectively planning their study for the weekend before their exam block which began this week.

It covered

  • How much time should you spend studying this weekend?
  • How do you make yourself do the work?
  • Exam preparation grid
  • The session ended with a group study session and sharing their effective study notes and strategies for their English exam

It is hoped that this session was valuable and that the girls utilised aspects of it over the weekend before they started exams this week.

Special thanks must go to the House Year Group Mentors for taking this session and sharing their insights and advice about approach to exams with the girls.

I hope that the girls were able to utilise what they learnt in the session and have found the first week of their exams a great way to confirm their knowledge of their Year 11 courses.

In Assembly this week Year 9 and 10 students were also presented with their Academic Awards for Excellent Semester One Reports. These students have demonstrated an excellent level of performance across all or most of their courses throughout Semester One. They have been described by their teachers as “very diligent and highly committed to their learning”.

We congratulate the following students from Year 10; Michaela Ashurst, Emily Bannon, Jordana Beatty, Bethany Carr, Isabella Croker, Lauren de Souza, Isabella Destefano, Gillian Diekman, Alexandra Dowd, Erin Frost, Amanda Grima, Victoria Gupta, Samantha Hardman, Erika Mendes, Alyssa Mitchell, Talia Morris, Madison Nicholson, Lucinda Prescott, Tianna Raad, Emma Smith, Brianna Taylor and Nicole Zeaiter.

We commend the following students from Year 9; Annabel Anderson, Belinda Bonaccorso, Isabelle Chacty, Alyssa Coleiro, Mackensie Eddington, Charlotte Folkard, Diana Kazakov, Elizabeth Khoury, Olivia Kobal, Trish Nguyen, Madeline Pfeffercorn, Madeleine Skinner and Sarah Tan.

All students are reminded they can get extra tips for study skills and a range of related topics if they go to and enter the username: formsbenonly and the password: 124results .

I wish all students a productive and engaging last few weeks of term.

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

Year 10 Drama Theatre-in-Education Assessment Performance at St Agatha's

Year 10 Drama have been working on a Theatre-In-Education unit of work this term. The task the girls were given was to ‘Bring a Picture Book to Life’ . A selection of picture books from the MSB IRC were chosen that had a message or theme that we felt would be appropriate for a primary audience. The girls worked in small groups to devise a 5 - 8 minute play that they would present to the Year 3 students at St Agatha’s.

On Monday the girls all arrived at the Drama room during recess very excited and nervous. We walked to St Agatha’s carrying the props and costumes needed for the performance. The girls got half an hour in the space for final rehearsal. Then the three classes of Year 3 students joined us in their Hall for the performances. Here is what some of the Year 10 Drama girls had to say about the day;

I loved this assessment as it gave us an opportunity to perform in front of an audience instead of just our Drama classes. It was fun performing to Year 3 as their reactions really boosted your confidence when performing, and their comments were quite funny. All together it was a brilliant task! Sarah Hogan

The children were one of the best audiences I've ever had. It gave me a real life experience of my future career goal, and I couldn't have been more grateful for this day. Grace Klauser

Performing for the kids at St Agatha's was a great experience. It was fun to engage the kids with our play and a chance for us to showcase our performances and get to experience the atmosphere when performing in front of a live audience. Tilly Drake

It was different, actually being aware of the audience and interacting with them instead of pretending that they are not there - daunting at first, but really fun when the kids would laugh at random things, as well as the humour we integrated purposely. Georgia Gebrael

The Year 3 audience were very receptive and did respond warmly and enthusiastically when required during the six plays. After each performance we had a quick question and answer and the Year 3’s had some wonderful comments and questions to ask the performers. After it was all over one young man came and asked if there was a boy equivalent to MSB as it seemed like a wonderful place to go to school!

Mrs Stevens and I were delighted with the way the students approached this task and are very proud of their performances. The engagement and connection with the wider community was a vital part of this task. We are extremely grateful to St Agatha’s for so generously hosting this event and giving us such a wonderful audience.

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Drama Teacher

Australian Science Innovations Big Science Competition

The Big Science Competition is a one-hour competition of 30 multiple-choice questions.

We invited twenty students from Years 9 and 10 to compete in the Intermediate category.

The competition challenges students to think critically and solve scientific problems using everyday examples. The questions are aligned to the Australian Science Curriculum.

Students are tested on Science Inquiry Skills, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Understanding: Core Concepts.

This year 49,333 student’s registered to compete from 661 schools. We invited twenty students from Years 9 and 10 to compete in the Intermediate category.

Mount St Benedict students achieved 

  • four Distinctions
    • Alexandra Dowd,
    • Mackensie Eddington,
    • Madison Ehlers-Casada and
    • Madison Nicholson
  • nine Credits
    • Alana Bainy,
    • Emily Bannon,
    • Belinda Bonaccorso,
    • Gilian Diekman,
    • Trish Nguyen,
    • Lucinda Prescott,
    • Sarah Tan,
    • Georgina Van Yzendoorn and
    • Nicole Zeaiter.

Congratulations girls.

Look out for these opportunities on the Science Noticeboard or ask your Science teacher.

Mrs Elizabeth Thrum
Assistance HOD Science

College News

Uniform Transition

In the last two weeks of term students may transition into their summer uniform. For these two weeks there is an option of wearing the winter or summer uniform depending on the weather. Students must wear full winter or full summer uniform but not a mixture of the two. All students must be in their summer uniform by the first week of Term Four.

A reminder:

  • Blazers must be worn to and from school with the summer uniform if it is cold, jumpers cannot be worn without the blazer outside the College grounds.
  • The length of the summer uniform must be down to the knees, please ensure all alterations are done so your daughter will not need to be addressed.

I look forward to your continued support with the uniform

Ms Jackie Duncan
Assistant Principal Dean of Students

Future Problem Solving News

MSB has a strong tradition of success in the Future Problem Solving Competition and this week we have heard that three of our teams have been invited to the National Competition to be held at St Leonard’s College in Melbourne in October. Thirty-two students have been selected to represent the College along with their coaches and they are working towards completing their research and implementation of their action plans. Congratulations to all the teams that competed this year and particularly to the Year 8 Global Issues Team and the Year 8 and Year 9 Community Problem Solving Teams on reaching the Australian Finals.

Forty-two students have competed in the preliminary rounds of the Future Problem Solving Competition this year across four categories. The scenario writers, Madison Ehlers-Casada and Arabella Young coached by Mrs Cunningham created futuristic short stories that delved into issues about land transportation and social isolation. The Global Issues teams studied Social Isolation, Desertification, and Surveillance Society to create underlying problems and solutions using a futuristic six step process. Team members are Year 8 - National team Alana Sylvester, Grace Nicholson, Kathleen Notohamiprodjo, Lauren Klauser, Year 8 Kyara Waaijer, Paris Rose Yee, Vivienne Lee, Sophia Cleveringa, and Year 9 team members are Kimberley Spencer, Lauren Wilkes, Diana Kazakov, Annabel Anderson, Madison Wenaden, Eva Harrington, Jemaya Spurtacz and Holly Porvaznik coached Mrs Hadfield and Mrs Dirckze.

The National Year 9 Community Problem Solving team under the tutelage of Ms Selvaggi with team members Alexandra Black, Amelia Dunkerley, Audrey MacLachan, Anthea Jones, Emma Tolhurst, Isabella Steen, Lucy Sheppard, Mackensie Eddington, Rayel Rahme, Rebecca Day and Sarah Tan, have reported that “social justice is a foundational spirit of our school and core value of Pax is our theme this year. How might we educate Year 7 and 8 at MSB about the political manipulation of terms associated with asylum seekers, so that they learn to question language used in the media?”

While Mrs Davey’s National Community Problem Solving team with Uktha Budithi, Natalya Denaro, Nicola Dunkerley, Tara Finlay, Annabel Fisher, Kaitlin Hourican, Emily James, Caitlin Kelly, Jessica Kotzander, Ella Lehmann, Anna Macoustra, Alexandra Maher, Emily McKnight, Lauren McKnight, Ella Meaker, Nicole Sandow, and Michelle Tan have reported that “in the light of the fact that recently released statistics indicate a growing number of homeless people in Sydney, how might we help to promote a more constructive and positive response to homelessness within our school and the local community?"

We would like to thank the College community for their interest and input into the projects and wish our teams all the best in their preparations leading up to the National competition.

Mrs Liz Dirckze
Coordinator of Teaching and Learning

The Merit Award Program

Congratulations to the students who have been received enough merits to receive 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.

View the House Merit Reports below:

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 / Term Four


NSW CCC Championships
Friday 12 September
BROKEN BAY Representative Team

NSW All Schools Championships
Thurs 9 - Sunday 12 October

AUSTRALIAN ALL SCHOOLS Athletics Championships
Friday 5 - Monday 8 December


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


NSW ALL SCHOOLS Regional Championships
Monday 15 September
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 Trainings and Trials

  • Monday 8th September - Y9/10 Representative Basketball Training (Mrs Grant)
  • Monday 8th September - (Y7/8) Representative Basketball Training (Miss Liu)
  • Tuesday 9th September - (Y7/8) Representative Touch Training (Mrs Hickey)
  • Thursday 11th September - Representative Tennis Meeting in C312 (Mrs Grant)

Junior Knock Out Athletes Create History

What a night! Our athletics girls were again in action last week this time creating their own piece of history.

Our Junior KO team competed at the NSW All Schools Championships last Thursday night becoming the first MSB Junior team to qualify for National Championships in any sport! They finished in second place behind PLC Pymble but ahead of many selective sports high schools and schools with large athletics budgets.

This is a real team event where the performance of each member is vital for overall success.

These girls will now compete in the National Championships to be held in Adelaide during their holidays in December –

  • Amie Bowrey (Year 7)
  • Capri Vidler (Year 8)
  • Kassidy Grant (Year 8)
  • Shannyn Bissett (Year 8)
  • Katie Devitt (Year 8)
  • Jemma Gallagher (Year 8)


To our Junior and Intermediate Basketball girls who will contest the Broken Bay Championships next wee.

To our thirteen athletes competing at the NSW CCC Athletics Individual Championhsips on Friday.

Mrs Karen Grant
Representative Sport Coordinator

P & F News

Year 12/2015  -  Second Hand Book Sale

Wednesday 17 September
at Lunchtime in the Undercroft area

Only a limited number of books for sale.

If you are on work placement, you may request some books be put aside for you (payment required upfront).  Please email Margie Drake from the P & F with a list of the books you require and payment details. Payment must be made before Monday 15 September otherwise the books will not be held.


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.
My Student Account Instructions
Place a Canteen order

Canteen Roster for the week commencing Monday 08 September






Ann-Marie Corcoran

Karen Benco

Aileen Buecker

Georgina Khamis

Julie McIntyre

Chun Shen

Sophie Xu

Nicole Weston

Swarnima Mathur

Roza Bindschedler

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

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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