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8 August 2014

From the Principal

Dear parents, friends, staff and students

On Tuesday evening Year 8 students commenced the process of choosing electives for Year 9, 2015. It is always exciting when you are first able to have some input into the subjects you study. It enables you to think about the things you enjoy doing, the areas you find interesting and also to consider those subjects which might challenge you but at the same time give you great satisfaction when you are able to meet those challenges. Learning about new ideas is not always easy, in fact the best learning probably takes place when you have to apply yourself with effort and commitment. I encourage all our Year 8 students to get as much advice as possible to help them in their decision making.

I have had glowing feedback from teachers and members of the public concerning the Year 10 girls involvement in Community Outreach last week. I want to once again congratulate the girls on the maturity and generosity they showed in their interactions with people at the various venues.

HSC Dance students completed their practical examinations this week. There is an enormous amount of work that goes into preparing practical components and individual projects in a range of subjects. I congratulate the girls and their teachers on their efforts in all those subjects.

I wanted to share some insights from my recent Enrichment Leave. During the time away I visited four schools, two Benedictine schools in the USA and two other Catholic schools in Toronto, Canada. I also spent a day meeting with researchers from the Ontario Ministry of Education, where a great deal of work has been done on analysis of student data to improve student learning outcomes.

In each of the Benedictine schools I visited, Woodside Priory in California and Delbarton School in New Jersey, there are monks living onsite and working in the schools. This enables a very close connection with the Benedictine tradition but, having spoken with staff in the schools, I think our girls also develop a very good understanding of the work of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and the Rule of Benedict, and the values that underpin our College. In fact we have made explicit in recent years, with a great deal of support from the Good Samaritan Education Mission Team, the induction of staff and students into our traditions. The schools I visited are also in the process of developing explicit formation programs. I was also able to inspect the sites and I must say I saw a number of facilities which will inform my thinking as we move into the next stage of our master planning.

The work of the researchers in Ontario confirmed for me that the most effective improvements in student learning take place when teachers are able to work together in developing programs targeted to meet individual student needs. All the expensive professional development in the world is useless, unless teachers use their learning to make changes in their teaching which ensure improved learning for students. Throughout the last few years at MSB teachers have been involved in Professional Learning Teams where teachers use a collaborative approach in learning together. All teachers have studied the Harvard Online Course in Teaching for Understanding and are currently being trained in the use of Positive Education, to assist students in their learning. Such approaches are also consistent with the principles we are using in our MYBennies Project, aimed to enhance the engagement of students.

P & F Forum - MYBennies

I encourage parents to come along on Monday evening at 6.30pm to hear about the exciting developments taking place in Years 7 to 9.

I leave you with a couple of images from my travels, which remind us of the importance of visual images and places of peace in our lives, to remind us of the most important elements in leading a good life.

Mrs Maria Pearson

Mission News

This week, the Catholic Community and in particular the Australian Catholic Community celebrates the feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop who was canonised as the first Australian Saint of the universal Church in October 2010. The feast day for St Mary MacKillop is Friday 8 August.

Mary MacKillop was born of Scottish immigrant Catholics in Fitzroy, Melbourne in 1842. As a young woman she experienced hardship as her family fell on difficult times. This led her to the South Australian country town of Penola where she worked as a governess. It was in Penola that she met Fr Julian Tennyson Woods and developed a realisation of the plight of children of impoverished families who were generally unable to afford any education. Mary and Fr Julian formed a vision of an order of teaching nuns who would run schools specifically catering for the poor. These sisters were to become the Josephites with Mary MacKillop as their leader and Fr Julian Tennyson Woods as their mentor and spiritual director.

The Josephite order and their work among the poor flourished and grew quickly into a major enterprise. Despite their success the Josephites attracted criticism from a number of sources including members of the Catholic clergy. This criticism ultimately resulted in Mary being excommunicated by her Bishop, Lawrence Sheil in 1871 for insubordinance. Ironically, while the Catholic hierarchy attacked Mary’s work and her personal character she was supported by other benefactors including a well to do Presbyterian woman and a Jewish businessman.

Mary’s excommunication was subsequently lifted in 1872 and her work continued, however, problems remained. There was division within the order and pressure from some Bishops to change the way the order operated. Ultimately, through the intervention of the Bishop of Bathurst the order split resulting in the original group which came to be known as the brown Josephites and the break away group known as the black Josephites. By this time Mary’s health was failing and she became increasingly debilitated after suffering a stroke in 1901. At the time of her death in 1909 there were hundreds of Josephite Sisters teaching thousands of students in schools around Australia. Additionally the Josephite order had branched out into significant ministries in health care and social welfare.

There are some remarkable parallels between the story of the Josephite Sisters and our own Sisters of The Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan Sisters were founded in 1857 in Sydney while the Josephites had their origin a few years later in 1866 in Penola, South Australia. Both orders were created in response to great poverty and hardship in the community and both had the objective of reaching out to others and providing practical assistance. This was a very unusual step for Religious Orders which had previously been focused on prayer rather than a physical response and which had traditionally been separated from the community rather than engaged in it.

Last week our Year 10 Students took part in their week of Community Outreach and next week, on Tuesday, we welcome the Seniors of our community to our annual Grandparents' Day Assembly and Morning Tea. Later in the same week our Music students will be out 'Busking for Vinnies' in Parramatta Mall. This takes place on Friday 15 August between midday and 2.00pm. We will also have a small group of Year 12 students playing in the Parramatta Mall on Saturday 16 August, again between midday and 2.00pm. Our students would love to have family and friends come along and support them as they use their talents to help those in need.

The last week of August is Refugee and Asylum Seeker Week at the College and we look forward to a range of informative and challenging activities in the course of the week. Our JCA Picnic Day, coming up on Friday 3 October, provides us with yet another opportunity to connect with new arrivals to Australia and show some genuine Benedictine hospitality. We are currently looking for students and parents who can be involved. Some may be able to help out before the day, others may be able to join us at Blacktown Showground on the day. In next week’s newsletter we’ll have more details about how you can get involved.

Mr Paul Lentern
Assistant Principal Dean of Mission

Parking arrangements for Grandparents' Day

Please note:  Unfortunately we are unable to provide onsite parking within the College or at the MSB Centre for this event.  There are limited disabled spaces available, please contact the College to reserve a space (this will be on a first in first served basis). Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.

Curriculum News

Study Skills Tip for August - Finding Help

Where can you find help when you are struggling at school?

Personal Issues

If things in your life are upsetting you or stressing you this will affect your ability to learn effectively. Talk to your family, talk to your friends or other people you are close to or teachers you feel comfortable sharing with. However if you need additional support, make sure you find it rather than let things get worse. You can approach the counsellor at your school and they can give you some professional help or find someone who can help you with your specific problems. If you want someone to talk to, you can use Kids Helpline, a free confidential service: 1800 55 1800 or use the online service at . It is much better to talk to someone rather than lock it all inside you.

Subject Specific Issues

If you are finding a particular subject difficult, the first place you should seek help should be your classroom teacher.  Firstly ask questions in class as problems arise. If you find you have too many questions to ask in class (as you’d end up disturbing the class) then ask your teacher if you can make a time to see them before or after class or during lunch or after school. Teachers are happy to help students who do their best and are keen to improve. Other places you might be able to find help are: books or extra textbooks in the school or local library, other students in the class, students in older years, other teachers at the school, family members, family friends. If you try all of these options and are still having problems, then you might consider looking for a tutor. Often ex-students from your school who are at university might be interested in doing some tutoring or even teachers at other schools. You can ask your teacher if they can recommend anyone.

Learning Issues

If you aren’t having trouble with a specific subject, but are finding learning for school in general difficult, the first people to talk to are your parents. You might like to write down your feelings or what you are experiencing so you can explain things to them clearly. Your parents can then help you decide what steps to take next. It is probably a good idea for them to talk to your teachers first to get their perspectives. They might make an appointment with one of the pastoral care staff like a Year Coordinator to sit down with you and your parents to talk through the issues you are experiencing.  The school might also have learning support staff who can help you work out what your issues are and who the best people are to help you.  If the learning support staff can’t help you, they will be able to refer you to outside services who can diagnose and address any learning issues you might have.

Learn more this year about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on - our school’s access details are:

Username: formsbenonly Password: 124results

Mrs Gabrielle Keats
Studies Coordinator


HSC Dance

Congratulations to the HSC Dance Students who completed the Practical components of their subject on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 August, this week. Thank you to the Miss Emma Powell for the work she has done in preparing the students for this occasion.

Students left to right: Bianca Castillo, Francesca Staltari, Rebekah Simpson, Naomi Donkin, Keira McEntee and Maddison Gaughan.

Commendations to all of the dancers who performed for the Year 12 HSC Dance candidates in the Composition section of their exam.

The girls can now look forward to the final written component during the HSC exam period.

Chamber Ensemble

The Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Miss Laura Sheehan, performed at Assembly on Wednesday 6 August. The students played 'Seasons of Love' from 'Rent'.

Our Concert master is Annabel Andersen, and members are Anna Todhunter, Ashleigh McLean, Charlotte Todhunter, Emily James, Isabella Steen, Kathleen Notohamiprodjo, Mrs Melinda Kearns, Nicole Sandow, Olivia Kobal, Rachel Cheung, Sophie Lovell, and Tenee Arthur.

Dates of upcoming CAPA events are:

  • Tuesday 12 August - Grandparents' Day Assembly performance

  • Friday 15 September - Busking for Vinnies

  • Thursday 21 and Friday 22 August - HSC DRAMA Practical Examination (individual and group)

  • Monday 25 August  - HSC Art, D&T and Music Showcase Evening. 6.30pm in the College Hall.

Science Club Report

What is Science Club? Science Club is an after school, co-curricular activity. We have been fortunate enough to have taken part in this great journey of discovering more about science.

During this past term, we have observed chemical reactions, made honeycomb and sherbet, and even watched Mrs Bradstock dissect a rat (well some of us anyway since most of us ran outside). We investigated what makes up fireworks and made carbon dioxide explode in sandwich bags. We experienced many other things that made us think and challenged our understanding, we thoroughly enjoyed everything that we did. We used our brains to un-muddle the five mixed-up substances - we didn’t know which was which, we had to scientifically test them.

Thank you to Mr Rozanski for his special liquid nitrogen experiments, Ms Bradstock for her expertise in dissections and to Mrs Thrum for organising this wonderful opportunity for us.

We have had so much fun and strongly recommend that anyone who has the chance to participate in Science Club does so - you will have a great time!!

report by Tenee Arthur and Natalia Bennett

Elizabeth Thrum
Assistant HOD Science

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for Students with a Disability

Mount St Benedict College, along with all schools across Australia, will be taking part in a new national data collection on school students with disability and special needs. The data collection started in 2013 and is being introduced in stages over three years. From 2015, this information will be collected every year in every Australian school.

The aim of the new data collection is to have better information about Australian school students with disability and special needs. This will help teachers, principals and educational authorities to support these students so they can access the curriculum and participate in high quality education on the same basis as students without a disability.

Mount St Benedict College has been required by law to collect information about students with special needs for some time now. But with the new data collection, every school in Australia will use the same method to collect the information. This nationally consistent information will enable the federal government and all state governments to better target support and resources to benefit students with a wider range of disabilities.

The College is also required by law to make reasonable adjustments where needed to assist students with disability and special learning needs. These responsibilities are outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005. This means we need to consult with the student and/or their parent/carer about reasonable adjustments. These are things we already do now and this won’t change.

The new data collection will record students who have been identified by the College as meeting the definition of disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and provided with an adjustment. The College will report on:

  • The level of adjustment required

  • The number of students who receive each level of adjustment

  • Where known, the student’s broad type of disability

As with all data collected by the College, protecting the privacy and confidentiality of students and families is paramount. Personal and confidential information will not be given to anyone not authorised to see it. When the information is sent to the government, it will be by school only - student names will not be recorded. From 2016 the information will be reported on the My School website but it will be reported by school only - no student names will be used.

The new collection of data will apply to a much wider range of disabilities than previously. It will include all students with illness, allergy, learning difficulties and undiagnosed disabilities for whom the College is providing an adjustment. Parents are permitted to decide whether they want their child’s information included in the national reporting or not; parents who do not wish their child to be included in the data collection should contact Mrs Sally Wilsdon by email ( However, including every child who is being provided with an adjustment in this new data collection will help the College to meet the needs of all our students.

Should you require more information, please follow the links below or contact the College Learning Support Coordinator Mrs Margot Hadfield by phone on 9980 0426 or by email:

Department of Education Fact Sheets on the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability

Department of Education Frequently Asked Questions

Department of Education Privacy Notice

College News

Gold Merit Awards

The Merit Award System encourages students at all levels of achievement and recognises excellence, improvement and consistency academically, artistically, athletically, creatively and socially.

The Awards are cumulative from Years 7 to 12 and there is a progession of awards from a Merit award to a Bronze award (10 Merits) to a Silver award (5 Bronze awards) to the highest Gold award (3 Silver Awards).

Congratulations to Olivia Jones (Year 11, Stanbrook), Olivia Kobal (Year 9, Stanbrook), Dominique Pigott (Year 10, New Norcia), Jessica Griffith (Year 10, Montserrat), Madeleine Abbott (Year 10, Subiaco) (Image one below from left to right), and Rebecca Day (Year 9, Terracina) (Image two below) on achieving a GOLD Merit Award at this week's Assembly. Their commitment to consistently achieve is to be congratulated.

Wrap With Love Project

It has been another great year of community participation in this worthwhile project.  Thank you to all who have contributed squares and even whole blankets.

While no girls chose to attend the Knit-In at Hornsby Library on Friday, I sallied forth with a car load of colourful, wonderful wraps - 23 in all, one of which came to me just minutes before I began loading up to leave!

I’m sure I cut a curious figure as I wheeled my bright shopping trolley (the only way I could manage so many) through Hornsby Mall to the Library, where I was greeted with amazement (at the mode of transport) and much gratitude.

It is always very gratifying to see how many people, students and adult members of the wider community, are involved in keeping the skill of knitting alive, and for such a worthwhile purpose.  There were many completed wraps on display, but my cargo was by far the largest single contribution that I saw.

As I write this, my fingers are still chilled from the 5 degrees temperature of this winter morning, but I am heartened to think that our MSB community has worked together to alleviate the misery and suffering of twenty three people who might otherwise go cold.  While the Knit-In has come and gone, we can continue to knit squares all year round, and many do.

Well done, Bennies!  Let’s do it all again next year.

Mrs Gail Davey
English Teacher

Head Lice

Head lice has been reported amongst our students.

We recommend that you check your daughter's head regularly and commence a treatment if required.

Further information

From the Fees Desk

College fees for Term Three were due Friday 1 August.  If paying by automatic deduction, term payments were processed on this date.

Current statements of account were posted to all families at the end of Term Two.

Tax Receipts for the Voluntary Building Fund have been posted to all relevant families.

If you have any queries regarding your College fees, please contact Mrs Fiona Barnett on 9980 0445 or

Mrs Fiona Barnett
Fees Administrator

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


Broken Bay Championships
Wed 20 Aug
MSB Representative Team

NSW All Schools KO Championships
Thu 28 Aug
MSB Representative U15 KO Team

CCC Championships
Fri 12 Sep
BROKEN BAY Representative Team


NSW CCC Championships
Wed 13 Aug
MSB JUN/INT/SEN Representative Teams


NSW CCC KO Quarter Final Game
Wed 13 Aug
MSB Representative Open Team

School Sport Australia Championships
Mon 25 - Fri 30 August
Natalie Tobin Y12


NSW ALL SCHOOLS Regional Championships
Wed 27 Aug
MSB Year 7/8 Representative Team

Representative Team Trainings and Trials

Tuesday 12 August - Year 7/8 Representative Touch Call Backs

Tuesday 12 August - Senior Netball team training

Thursday 14 August - Year 7/8 Representative Basketball Call Backs

Broken Bay Golf Championships

Any student who is an experienced golfer and an affiliated golf club member and would like to enter the Broken Bay Golf Championships on Friday 5 September please contact Mrs Grant prior to Friday 15 August.

Good Luck

  • To our Open Soccer team who will play the quarter finals of the NSW CCC Knock Out Competition next Wednesday against Casimir College, Marrickville.

  • To our Representative Netball teams who will contest the NSW CCC Netball Championships on Wednesday to determine the top Catholic school team in the State. We have a strong history at these Championships with our Juniors finishing as runners up by one goal last year and our Intermediate and Junior teams finishing as champions in 2011.

Co-curricular Sport

Year 7 Lunchtime Volleyball Champions

During Term Two, Year 7 students had the opportunity to participate in a lunchtime volleyball competition. Guided by their Year 10 team managers, teams participated in a weekly Round Robin which finished with a Grand Final event at the start of this term. The ‘All Stars' team took out the match against Arcadia, making them the competition champions for 2014.

Congratulations to all the girls who participated in this lunchtime activity. There was a lot of fun and laughter, as well as some exciting volleyball. Everyone improved their skills and played with great spirit.

Special thanks to Year 10 students, Jessica Corcoran, Sarah Fitzsimmons, Marnie Lamb, Sarah Hogan, Lara Zschech, Sarina Cali, Emma Smith and Kate Smith, who volunteered during their lunchtime to manage their Year 7 house teams.

The winning 'All Stars' team consisted of Cassidy Arthur, Maria Fahmy, Gabriella Fimmano, Grace Goracz, Claudia Gross, Alanah Schier, Danielle Toubji and Team Manager, Jessica Corcoran.

Mrs Gillian McGregor
Sports Assistant

North West Sydney Women's Football Grand Final Day

Congratulations to our Under 15 girls team who will be playing in the Pennant Final on Sunday 10 August at 9.00am at Meadowbank Park. We wish them all the best and invite you to come along and support the girls. Unfortunately the Under 18 girls missed out on a spot in Grand Final by just one goal, and our new Year 7 girls in the Under 13 competition also missed out on making the Grand Final.

It has been a tremendous season for all our teams and will have a full report from each of our teams next week.

Thank you to all our coaches, managers and wonderful parents for your support and enthusiasm throughout the season.

Coaching Opportunities

With the summer sport season due to commence shortly we are currently looking for coaches for basketball, softball and touch. We would love to hear from any parents, ex-students or friends of the College who would like to learn more about these coaching roles.

Summer Sport Registrations

Registrations have now closed for our summer sports, however,  there are still places available in the following teams.

  • LORETO TOUCH COMPETITION (Sat mornings) - Year 8 and Year 9 players required

  • HORNSBY SOFTBALL COMPETITION (Sat mornings) - Years 7, 8 and 9 players required

  • HORNSBY BASKETBALL COMPETITION (Mon evenings) - Years 9 and 10 players required

We require coaches and managers for each of these teams to go ahead. Please consider how you are able to assist with any of the teams.

If you have any more questions once you have read the registration package please email me.

Term Three Tennis Challenge

The information and permission notes have been sent to each student via email. Notes and payment are now overdue.

If you have a partner you would like to play with please email me the names, all other players will be matched with players of similar skills and experience.

Please contact me if you have any further questions.

Mrs Rebecca Lewis
Co-curricular Sports Coordinator


Macquarie University Global Leadership Program

Congratulations to Isabella Pytka, Jessica Smith, Chloe Saker and Lauren Said who have been accepted into the Macquarie University Global Leadership Program and offered a position in their Law program for next year. Applications for this program close 15 August so there is still time to apply.

Further information

P & F News

Parent Forum and General Meeting
Monday 11 August
in the College Staffroom

Mrs Maired Ennis and Mrs Sharon McGowan will present a brief overview of the Middle Years Engagement Project ‘MyBennies’ and Positive Education. They will also seek parental input on where parents see Parent Teacher Meetings and Reporting going forward.


Mount St Benedict College Ex-Students Association (MSBESA) Meeting

All are welcomed to attend the next meeting;

When: Monday 11 August 2014

Time: 5.45pm

Where: College Boardroom


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 . Place a Canteen order here .







Ann-Marie Corcoran

Karen Benco

Aileen Buecker

Georgina Khamis

Jennifer Campbell

Susannah Knowles

Chun Shen

Sophie Xu

Nicole Weston

Lisette Smith

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

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