Login to read the full newsletter
with your parent password

7 November 2014

From the Principal

Dear Parents, Friends, Staff and Students,

Last Saturday the College was filled with the sounds of our new Year 7 students, as they gathered excitedly for the Allwell Tests. Just as excited were their parents who spent the morning familiarising themselves with many aspects of learning at Mount St Benedict. Many parents commented about how much school life has changed since they themselves were at school and how many more opportunities are available to students these days. Life here at the College is always busy and this is largely because there are so many diverse activities in which the girls and staff are involved.

Next year in Year 7 all students will be involved in an exciting new learning program called MYBennies. The program will involve elements of a number of subjects including RE, History, English, Geography, Drama, TAS, College Mission and pastoral aspects. Girls will work with teams of teachers on units of work which relate to real life and are relevant to the particular context of our Year 7 students. Within this program girls will have enhanced opportunities for critical and creative thinking, collaboration, team work and developing a greater understanding of their place in the global world in which we live. This program arises from the work we have been doing for three years to enhance the engagement of girls with their learning.

I am quite disturbed by the number of parents requesting leave for their daughters prior to the Christmas holidays commencing. In particular I am disappointed that some students will miss Presentation Day and the Thanksgiving Eucharist, important community events for the whole school. Our students are privileged to have about fourteen weeks away from school during the year, more than ample time for parents to schedule holidays.

Vale Jackie Fairweather (Gallagher) Class of 1985.

We were saddened to hear of the sudden death of ex-student Jackie Fairweather. Jackie was a professional triathlete and distance runner, won world titles in both triathlon and duathlon and a bronze medal in the marathon at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. Jackie was the inaugural coach of the Australian Institute of Sport Triathlon program and played a big role in the careers of many of Australia’s most successful triathletes. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jackie’s family and friends at this time of sadness.

Lord God,
you are the glory of believers
and the life of the just.
Your son redeemed us
by dying and rising to life again.
Since our departed brothers and sisters
believed in the mystery of our resurrection,
let them share the joys and blessings
of the life to come.

(Prayer for All Souls Day, Anonymous)

Mrs Maria Pearson

Back to Top

Mission News

Earlier this week I was involved in a meeting with some of our Year 10 students, some of our ex-students and some of our staff to review the progress of our work begun this year with the Sydney Alliance. We were joined at this meeting by Ms Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis who is their newly appointed Community Organiser - Asylum Seekers.

The Sydney Alliance is a broad based coalition of religious and community organisations who seek to gather people around important social issues and organise their common convictions into collective action leading to social change.

'The Sydney Alliance brings together diverse community organisations, unions and religious organisations to advance the common good and achieve a fair, just and sustainable city… by providing opportunities for people to have a say in decisions that affect them, their families and everyone working and living in Sydney. The Sydney Alliance is a non-party political

Our College is part of the Sydney Alliance through two avenues. Firstly, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan are a member organisation of the Sydney Alliance and as part of their ministry we are linked in. Secondly, the Diocese of Broken Bay is also a member organisation and as a school in the Broken Bay Diocese we are likewise connected with the Sydney Alliance.

The connection between our students and the Sydney Alliance goes back to March this year when a group of about twenty of our Year 10 students took part in a student leadership training day. Subsequently, the same group of students represented the College at the annual Broken Bay Diocese Social Justice Day.

Our students have identified the area of children in immigration detention centres as an issue of concern and in the second half of this year they have met regularly to review their response to this issue and look at actions available to them. Our students have recognised the significance and the complexity of this issue and they have focused on how they can respond from their own situations and also how they can develop connections with other students who share their concern.

In our meeting this week we spoke about the currently reality for the children in detention as well as the ideal solution as we envisaged it. We also tried to identify who the people are in our community who are able to change this situation. We heard about the Sydney Alliance campaign plans under the theme 'Changing the Conversation' where they hope to put a broader range of the Australian community in touch with asylum seekers and their stories in order to build a greater level of understanding and ultimately a more compassionate response.

We recognised that this campaign focus is very similar to the work we have been undertaking over a number of years to bring members of our community into closer contact with refugees and asylum seekers, to overcome media stereotypes and to build a stronger sense of empathy and recognition of our shared humanity. Our own reflections have led us to recognise the power of a person’s story to open our eyes to the reality of a situation and to call us to transformation in our own attitudes and responses.

Our Year 10 students are building towards a number of significant initiatives in 2015 and the possibility of furthering our partnership with the Sydney Alliance as they set about 'changing the conversation' is a very encouraging development. They hope to share their plans with students in other schools and to develop vibrant networks of young people that will help them to pursue their goals in a much broader setting.

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

Back to Top

Curriculum News

Managing Technology Distractions

Although most Year groups have completed their last exams and assessment tasks for the year they will still be working in class on units of work and are reminded that it's important to remain focused and engage 100% with the lessons their teachers have prepared for them.

The tips below will be useful for students and parents as they navigate Managing Technology Distractions amongst their busy lives and schedules. Year 11 are halfway through their first term of their HSC courses and may find some of these tips beneficial as well.

Top 10 Tips for Students for Managing Technology Distractions

  1. Allocate specific times for work and for technology - this can be tricky given that much of the time students need to use technology for research. However, making a timetable which clearly identifies time for homework/study, games and other online activities, means you know that you will soon get an opportunity to get back online. It’s best to make these blocks in the time when you aren’t at your most 'productive' with work.

  2. Turn off your technology distractions - turn off as many things as you can eg. phone, ipad, ipod, Facebook, Instagram, even your computer if you don’t need it for that piece of work. If you aren’t aware of messages or notifications coming in, then you won’t need to check them. Try it for half an hour and then get back to your messages once you’ve finished that work block.

  3. Set clear goals - once you have achieved your work goal, reward yourself with technology. Allow yourself 20 minutes of guilt free online time.

  4. Set a timer - if you can’t stop gaming or checking Facebook, even when your allocated time is up, set an annoying timer which you place away from where you are playing, so that you have to get up to turn off. Once it’s off, you have already broken the connection to the game and it should be easier to get on with your work.

  5. Install software on your computer to help manage distractions - there are lots of different packages available to assist you in controlling your computer use - how long you use particular programs for and what you use. More information is available in the Managing Distractions Unit of the Study Skills Handbook

  6. Don’t make in-App purchases - lots of us have downloaded a 'free' app only to get caught up in the cycle of 'in app' purchases so we can just get one more level or win. Making a deal with yourself to wait for a while to have another go at a game both saves money and gives you 20 - 30 minutes to focus on schoolwork instead.

  7. Remember TV is technology too - working in front of the TV can be just as distracting as other forms of technology. Save up your easy work - like title pages, or filing, to do in front of the TV and use your technology free time to focus on more challenging work.

  8. Enlist some help - ask your parent or sibling to help you manage your technology distractions by sitting near you while you work to monitor what you are doing, testing you on your current topics or holding onto your devices for you.

  9. Find a different place to work - some work can be done outside, or while you are exercising. Why not step outside to review your study notes, or read your novel? Record your notes or listen to a podcast when you are out walking the dog?

  10. Do some mental skills development - if you really need to improve your focus, attention and memory, try doing some specific exercises. offers a formal school based program. Also

Top 10 Tips For Parents To Manage Children's Technology Use

Parents are often at a loss about how to manage the amount of time children spend using technology. This is becoming particularly difficult as students are required to not only undertake their research electronically, but also to complete their work from school either online or at least on the computer. It can be hard to tell whether your child is doing legitimate work, or working legitimately with 'study buddies' online, or whether or not they are getting distracted with gaming, social media and the like.

Here are the Top Ten tips to help you manage your child’s technology use.

  1. Model good technology behaviour

    Parents are the number one role model for students. If you are always on your phone, ipad or computer, even if it’s for work, you are sending the message that this is appropriate. Make sure you regularly take time to 'unplug' and demonstrate that it’s more important to engage with people than technology. For example turn off your phone when you are having family time (even for a short burst) or rather than watching a family movie, organise a family outing.

  2. Try to understand the technology your child is using and why

    Some students will happily use the technology available to help them with their homework without getting distracted. Many will easily become distracted by, or will prioritise, social media, online gaming, apps related to their interests, YouTube etc. To help your child manage these distractions it is useful to spend time with them understanding what they are using technology for and why. Developing this understanding will help you set limits which are reasonable to both parties.

  3. Set clear limits in relation to technology time

    Parents need to decide what they consider to be a reasonable amount of technology time per day and per week. As mentioned above, understanding why and how your child is using technology will inform this decision. What works for each family will be different, but options include: no technology before school, technology for a particular amount of time each day, electronic games on the weekend only. It’s vital to be consistent with whichever system you choose for it to work well.

  4. Monitor technology use

    If you aren’t sure what your child is doing when they are on the computer (homework or something else), then move the computer to where you can monitor what they are doing. This can be difficult depending on your family and space available. If it’s not possible to move the child/computer, consider doing quiet activities in the space they are using, such as reading or ironing, to monitor their use.

  5. Establish 'screen free' systems - days, spaces etc.

    Make sure technology doesn’t dictate your home and family life. Establish 'screen free' spaces eg. the kitchen and dining table. Perhaps have a screen free day on the weekend? This encourages the whole family into more active pursuits and positive interactions.

  6. Centralise storage of handheld devices

    Have a rule that all handheld devices are stored in the one place (along with their chargers) so when it’s not an approved technology time, the device is away and not causing a distraction.

  7. Use technology time as a reward

    Show that you can be reasonable and flexible. If your child has done all their schoolwork and has enjoyed other activities/completed chores etc. there is no reason why some additional screen time can’t be used as an occasional reward. However, mixing up the rewards with other activities will benefit the whole family.

  8. Provide lots of opportunities for physical activity and socialising

    Time which used to be spent in physical activity or more creative leisure pursuits is now often spent on technology. Providing opportunities for students to participate in meaningful and enjoyable activities away from technology helps them to find other interests and connect with people. Options include organised sports, playing music, learning a new skill etc.

  9. Use parental controls to block particular sites

    Parental controls are useful to block particular websites which have inappropriate content or which your child gets easily distracted by. The Australian Government’s CyberSmart program makes various recommendations

  10. Change the WiFi password

    If nothing else works, and your child is constantly on social media or surfing the net, consider changing the WiFi password. Whilst it’s an extreme measure it is sometimes useful as a reminder that there are other things that need to be done.

Learn more this year about how to work effectively at home and and manage distractions by working through the units on . Our school’s access details are:

Username: formsbenonly
Password: 124results

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator

Year 9 Visual Arts Excursion

On Friday 24 October Year 9 Visual Arts students had the great opportunity to go to Bondi to visit the ‘Sculpture by the Sea’.

After the initial morning rain the students had a lovely time looking at a variety of sculptures along the shoreline of Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach. The exhibition is a 2km long temporary sculpture park featuring 100 sculptures by artist from Australia and across the world.

View the Sculpture by the Sea website

Ms Nicola Murray
Visual Arts Teacher

Back to Top

College News

Philippines Immersion Trip
Fundraising Guessing Competition - Week 5

Only two more weekly prizes of $100 and then the big $500 prize.

Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets and a huge thank you to those that have donated their winning back to the Philippines Immersion Trip.

Image 1

Hillsbus Amendments to Current Timetable

Effective Monday 10 November Route 3604 from Beecroft Road will terminate at Bellbird/Oratava not Oratava/Aiken.

Route 3178 has been removed from the timetable. Students will be able to board Route 635 for travel to school.

Further information, including a map, can be found on the Noticeboard outside the Printroom or via the HILLSBUS website.

SRC Dance a Huge Success

Last Thursday the Year 8 and 10 SRC representatives organised a Dance party in the Hall at lunch. We thought it would be a nice way to get together and welcome back the girls for the last term of school. Everyone had a great time dancing with their friends and listening to music. We would like to give a special thanks to Miss Takchi for helping us to organise the event and to all the teachers who helped supervise.

Kassidy Grant, Year 8 and Tianna Raad, Year 10
SRC Representatives

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 Four


Australian All Schools Athletics Championships
Friday 5 - Monday 8 December
Carla Takchi (Y11), Amie Bowrey (Y7) and MSB U15 KO Team


Broken Bay Trials
Friday 21 November


Broken Bay Championships
Monday 1 December
MSB Representative Team

Upcoming Representative Team Training and Trials

Term Four Week Six

  • Wednesday 12 November Surf Lifesaving Sprint Relay Trials (Oval at lunchtime for all Intermediate and Senior Team Members)

Year 7/8 Basketball Blitz Champions

Photo L to R Alana Sylvester, Jessica Barr, Serina Saad, Capri Vidler, Lara Nicholson
Front Kelsey Curtin, Alice Woodrow, Madeleine Emmett Duignan

After a successful tournament at the Broken Bay Championships last term, our Junior Representative Basketball team participated in the Hornsby Gala Day Blitz last Friday. This tournament brought together secondary schools within the Hornsby area including Cheltenham Girls, Asquith High, St Leo's and Abbotsleigh. Our girls won convincingly throughout the round games but came up against a very talented Abbotsleigh team in the Finals. With only three minutes left, our girls were a point down and with some hustling defense and a couple of hard drives to the basket, we managed to pull away with a six point win!

This year has been a great year for our junior basketballers and many comments were made from members of the public of how talented our girls are and most importantly, how well they represent our College in their attitude and sportsmanship. It has been a privilege to coach such an outstanding group of girls who are so talented, readily take any advice, and most importantly work so well together as a team both on and off the court.

Congratulations to Natalie Tobin

Congratulations to Year 12 student Natalie Tobin who has again been named in a 23 player Young Matildas squad for the upcoming AFC Under 19 Women's Championship Qualifiers to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 5 to 9 November. The team will play Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam with the winner of the group then competing in the eight nations final in China in August 2015.

We will miss Natalie next year after thoroughly enjoying watching her play for the last six years, however we look forward to following her ongoing achievements in the future - Good Luck Nat!

Big Skip Begins

Bennies Biggest Skip started with Year 11 and we had many people participate.

After the finalists were placed, everyone who participated joined in for one big skip, hopefully getting the rest of the school excited for the upcoming weeks!

Year 8 had their event on Thursday in the Hall Courtyard with further events as follows  -

  • Year 7 - Monday 10 November
  • Year 9 - Thursday 13 November
  • Year 10 - Monday 17 November
  • Final - Top 5 from each event - tba

Mia, Alex and Kate

Mrs Karen Grant
Representative Sport Coordinator

Back to Top

Co-curricular Sport

MSB Netball News

Thank you to all players, parents, coaches and managers who attended the MSB Netball Club AGM and Presentation.

The committee position of Junior Registrar remains VACANT and we ask that all parents consider taking on this vital role. This position needs to be filled prior to Registration Day or the Club cannot continue to function. Mentoring is available to assist you, so please contact the committee if you are interested.

The Club is also calling for volunteer managers and coaches (U15s and older) as well as umpires (must turn 13 in 2015) for next season. Please complete your interest on the registration form or email the club.

Grading Day for the 2015 season will take place on Sunday 9 November at Pennant Hills Indoor Court.

  • Under 14s: 9.00am - 11.00am
  • Under 15s: 11.00am - Midday
  • Cadets: Midday - 12-1:30pm

All girls should wear trainers and bring a water bottle.

Registration Day

Thursday 5 February 2015

3.15pm - 5.30pm at the College

Download MSB Netball Registration Pack (includes Grading policy) here. Special consideration forms will be available on Grading Day.

The MSB Netball Club committee can be contacted via

Co-Curricular Team Photos

Team photos for all girls involved in Parramatta Touch, Loreto Touch and Secondary Schools Tennis Challenges will be taken at lunchtime on Wednesday 12 November. The photos will be taken on the deck behind the Hall.

All girls involved in touch teams are required to bring their playing uniform and tennis girls are to bring their summer PDHPE uniforms. Please get changed at the start of lunch and move quickly to the deck for your photos.

Mrs Rebecca Lewis
Co-curricular Sport Coordinator

Back to Top


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 10 November






Ann-Marie Corcoran

Karen Benco

Aileen Buecker

Georgina Khamis

Julie McIntyre

Chun Shen

Sophie Xu

Nicole Weston

Adriana Alessi-Cordoba

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

Community Notices

Fundraiser for MSB Ex-student

In November 2013, MSB Class of '91 ex-student Sarah-Jane Staszak (nèe Elvin) went into Royal North Shore Hospital to undergo a ‘routine’ operation on a bulging disc in her neck. Unfortunately, she came out of that operation a quadriplegic.

A large network of family and friends are organising a fundraising evening to support SJ’s ongoing treatment and rehabilitation and are inviting support from MSB ex-students and current families.

Read more about SJ’s story or

visit the GIVE IT UP FOR SJ website


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
Fax: 02 9484 4911

General enquiries:

{tag_unsubscribelist} {tag_unsubscribe}