Page 1





MARY ROCHE SGS Second College Principal 1974-1979

n CHAMPION PROBLEM SOLVERS College wins two Future Problem Solving World Championships

Principal’s Message Our 50th anniversary Jubilee Year this year, has coincided with the Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. It has been a time of reflection and renewal for us, as well as a time for celebration. We have focussed on the theme of Jubilee, reaffirming our commitment to our Good Samaritan Benedictine values. We have given thanks for the generosity of all those who have helped to build our College into the dynamic community it is. To celebrate Eucharist and hear the voices of two thousand members of our extended community filling St Mary’s Cathedral with song was the highlight of our year. We were delighted to be joined by a number of former Principals and staff and a particular thrill was the presence of Sr Mary Roche (Sr Hyacinth) who made the journey from Brisbane to be with us on the day. We were saddened to hear of her death just a few weeks later, but felt privileged to have been able to share with her some of her stories from the early days of College life. The Jubilee Ball in May was a sparkling evening of friendship, good food, music, storytelling and dancing as former staff, students and parents came together with current staff and parents. Our first College Captain, Cathy Ferndale (nee Woods), shared some insights into life in the early days. One of the common themes which emerged in speaking with people on

2 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

the night was the enduring nature of the friendships forged over the years by MSB students and staff. It was delightful to be part of such a joy-filled celebration. In Term Three the College hosted Engage and Innovate, a public forum for educators, sharing together stories of innovative practices in schools. With world-renowned keynote speakers, Julie Temperley and Keren Caple, from the Innovation Unit sharing practice from various parts of the world, Mount St Benedict teachers then shared some of our recent innovations, which have been aimed to enhance the engagement of students in their learning. Teachers from other schools were also able to present their practices on the theme of the forum. Alongside all our special events, normal College life has continued with many successes in sport, Future Problem Solving and other co-curricular activities. Within the pages of this edition of Bennies Buzz you will catch a glimpse of the many and varied activities which make life at Mount St Benedict College so rich and rewarding for all of us.

Maria Pearson Principal

Former students pictured with former Principal Sr Lia van Haren SGS at the Jubilee Afternoon Tea

From the

MSBESA President

Jessica Micallef

This year has been an exciting one for the College and MSBESA alike. Ex-students joined the College for a number of Jubilee events, including the Jubilee Afternoon Tea, Jubilee Ball and the Jubilee Mass. Each event provided a unique occasion for ex-students to indulge in the nostalgia of being a Bennies girl. Most importantly, these events have been an opportunity for ex-students to reconnect with former classmates, teachers and principals and connect with current Bennies students. On behalf of MSBESA and all ex-students, I would like to thank the College staff and students for their hard work in organising these wonderful events, a fitting tribute to this milestone. We were very fortunate to have three inspiring ex-students form the panel of this year’s ‘Beyond Bennies’ event on 6 April. Melanie Drayton (Class of 1993), Catherine Holliday (Class of 1994) and Julia Calixto (Class of 2005) shared their wisdom and journeys since Bennies and delighted students with stories of their time at Bennies. During 2016, MSBESA has provided funding for two exstudents undertaking overseas volunteering pursuits. Hannah Ryan (Class of 2010) volunteered in Zambia with International Citizens Services and Liz King (Class of 2010)

completed an internship with the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia. We look forward to supporting more ex-students in the future by officially launching this grant in 2017. I have been very fortunate to take on the role of MSBESA President at such an exciting time. I would like to thank the MSBESA Committee Members for 2015-2016 for their contribution during the past year. If you are an ex-student please consider joining Bennies Connect to keep in contact with the College and your former classmates at

Jessica Micallef Class of 2007 President

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 3

Mount St Benedict College Celebrates 50 years of educating young women

In 2016 Mount St Benedict College proudly marked the 50th anniversary as a school, its Jubilee year with a number of celebrations. Coinciding with the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Church, it has been a fitting time to reflect on the identity and traditions of the College, to give thanks for all those who have been part of the journey and to look forward with hope to the future. In the 1960s the Sisters of the Good Samaritan recognised the need for a Catholic school for girls in the Hills District of NSW. In 1966 Mount St Benedict College was opened, with the first classes taking place in the basement of the Mount St Benedict Novitiate. Those first students and their teachers probably could not have foreseen the population explosion that was to take place in this area of Sydney, which would see the College grow to its current size of over 1000 students.

4 | Bennies Buzz November 2016

Looking back over fifty years it is encouraging to find that the values that informed the early years of the College are still the same now – the emphasis on the Benedictine heritage and the Good Samaritan traditions that were evident in those early years are still the driving force at the College. From the beginning Mount St Benedict College offered girls a broad curriculum, a wide variety of cocurricular activities and many different sporting opportunities. As the College has grown it has gone from strength to strength in each of these areas, consistently achieving excellent academic results, having a reputation as a highly successful sporting school and making a name for itself in many competitions, particularly at a global level in Future Problem Solving. Thanks to the foresight of the Sisters, the College continues to enjoy a beautiful position overlooking an area of remnant Sydney Blue Gum High Forest which makes a beautiful backdrop to the modern facilities we now enjoy.

Jubilee Afternoon Tea & College Tours Sunday 6 March 2016

Current students led former studen ts on tours

Bennies uniform

s over 50 years

The MSB Flute Ensemble performed

Coinciding with Open Day, the College was pleased to welcome back over 200 former students and staff for afternoon tea and tours of the College. Current students proudly led tours around the College. Whilst imparting information, the girls in turn received a ‘Bennies’ history lesson from those on their tours – a beautiful sharing of MSB heritage, past and present. There were many members of the first year group, Class of 1971 in attendance, as well as representatives from many subsequent year groups. There was great delight in former students reconnecting with former staff and two principals Sister Agnes Farrugia SGS (Sister Jean Marie) 1980-1981 and Sister Lia van Haren SGS 1987-1992.

Above: Current Principal, Maria Pearson welcomed former Principals Sr Agnes Ferrugia SGS and Sr Lia van Haren SGS

November 2016 Bennies Buzz | 5

Jubilee Ball Saturday 28 May 2016

The MSB community gathered for a wonderful evening of celebration, with over 350 people coming together for the Jubilee Ball at Curzon Hall. Many members of the broader MSB community – former students as well as current and former staff and parents were privileged to hear from two of the College’s former school captains. SBS journalist, Julia Calixto, College Captain from the Class of

6 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

MC for the eveningJulia Calixto, College Cap tain

2005 was the MC for the evening and Cathy Ferndale (nee Wood), from the Class of 1971 and first College Captain, gave the after dinner address (see over the page for excerpts from her highly entertaining speech about the beginnings of the College). There to support Cathy on the night were six of her fellow classmates who were part of the first cohort of the

ptain gave The first College Ca dress ad ner din the after


College known affectionately as ‘The Pioneers’. Many of the ex-students and former staff were delighted to reconnect with Mr Alan Moran and Mrs Helen Sinclair, both former Principals of the College. Gathered guests certainly got into the spirit of celebration, with a crowded dance floor evidence of a successful night!

Jubilee Eucharist Sunday 19 June 2016 St Mary’s Cathedral

It was a most uplifting time for the College as the MSB community gathered in St Mary’s Cathedral to share Eucharist in celebration of the College’s 50th anniversary. Adding to the sense of occasion many students and staff travelled to the Cathedral on a specially chartered ‘Bennies’ train. Despite the inclement weather the Cathedral was filled to capacity as The Most Reverend Peter Comensoli, Bishop of Broken Bay presided over the Eucharist, enhanced by MSB dancers, musicians, choristers and all those who assisted through their various ministries. It was fitting that the MSB community could share the occasion with many of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, who gave so much of their lives to Catholic education in the Benedictine tradition, including Sr Clare Condon SGS, Congregational Leader, four previous Principals, Sr Mary Roche Continued next page...

November 2016 Bennies Buzz | 7

8 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

...Continued from page 7 (Hyacinth) SGS, Sr Lia van Haren SGS, Sr Agnes Farrugia SGS and Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS. The College was also honoured with the presence of a number of leaders of Benedictine communities in Australia and New Zealand together with Ms Terry Creagh, Chair of Good Samaritan Education who graciously joined us for our celebration. Many members of the MSB community shared their gifts during the Eucharist. One of the significant elements was the music. The setting for the Mass was composed by a number of ex-students, including Casey McBride and Andrea Hajje, with assistance from current students, and elaborated by College music staff. Countless hours went into the process of orchestrating the pieces, rehearsing and preparing the band and choir. A large troupe of student dancers performed a beautiful liturgical movement. There was great joy in hearing the College song performed in the beautiful atmosphere of the Cathedral by close to 2000 people. In addressing the congregation, College Principal, Maria Pearson reflected about this historic time for the College, “This is a time to look back with gratitude for all those who have built this community through their hard work, generosity and commitment, and to orient ourselves to the future to ensure that our College continues to be a relevant and important part of the wider community, as we prepare our young women to be leaders in the future, within our Church, our local communities and more globally.�

November 2016 Bennies Buzz | 9

Reflections of a Bennies ‘Pioneer’ Cathy Ferndale (nee Woods), Class of 1971 and first College Captain, gave the after dinner address at the Jubilee Ball. Excerpts from her speech are included below, a highly entertaining speech about the beginnings of the College.

same material. The colour was called ‘Airforce Blue’. We all thought we looked just so grown up and lady like. The sports uniform was a pleated white skirt made using about 4 metres of material and hundreds of pleats and knee length. Those who did high jump wearing this uniform found it prevented them from soaring to great heights without knocking off the high jump bar! We also had a checked pinafore that we had to wear to protect the uniform. Class of 1971 Carmel Kelly, Lyndall Perriam, Marilyn Brittliff, Katie Tognetti, Cheryl Travers, Tess McMahon and Cathy Woods

Seven members of ‘The Pioneers’ were present at the Jubilee Ball (Cathy Ferndale 5th from left)

I would like to start by saying that my years at high school here at Mount St Benedict’s were some of the best and most memorable years of my life. I still cherish the friendships that I made, some of whom were classmates that I started kindergarten with (at St Agatha’s) and I am still goods friends with today over fifty years later…. I would like to share some of our memories as ‘The Pioneers’ as we were affectionately referred to. Memories of that first year When we started secondary school be clear about one thing there was no school as you now know it. We started secondary school in the basement of the old Novitiate building and to us this was a very mysterious and intriguing

10 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

place…. and where we were forbidden to ever go up the stairs into the building under any circumstance. What happened up those stairs and who were these veiled women?! On the first day we all turned up in our primary school uniforms, some from St Bernadette’s, Dundas and some from St Agatha’s, Pennant Hills. The school uniform had not yet been decided on. So that was one of the first tasks for the ‘The Pioneers’, to design the new uniform. In the end it was a red bow tie, red gloves, a bowler hat, red head band that had to be worn no matter how short your hair was and a box pleated uniform. The uniform was the combined colours of blue from St Agatha’s and red from St Bernadette’s and of course a school blazer of the

There was no choice of subjects and no ‘levels’ as they were called then. We did english, maths, science, social studies and home science (cooking and sewing) in one big class group. We had Sister Christopher and Sister Hyacinth (Sister Mary Roche) and the Home Science teacher was Sister Blandina and one of the mothers came in to help. Oh, we also had private music lessons with Sister Carmelita, not that any of us had much talent! There was no canteen or sport and our playground was the tennis courts down at the back of the Novitiate and the adjoining paddock which we shared with the cows. The Novices were allowed to come down to visit us every so often and to sometimes play a game of tennis with us. We had no equipment to speak of just text books, exercise books and a small amount of sports equipment ... We had to make our own fun, and fun we had. Often we would walk across the paddocks to see the progress of the building of the new College as it slowly took shape. This was the school that you all would enjoy in years to come. Memories of the first years after we moved into the NEW school Finally the school building was finished and so in October 1966 we moved from the basement to our new school. It was quite sad to leave our basement classroom and our close friends in the Novitiate above us. At the same time it was a great thrill to be the first class to enter the brand new Catholic high school for girls.

Things we remember about that first term in the new building: • We had a tuckshop that sold meat pies, sausage rolls, lollies, chips and icy poles but only once a week on a Friday • We had a proper science lab and a small library with BOOKS • We had classrooms and an admin wing with a proper staff room • We had proper toilets and a tennis court of our own • We were divided into different levels for academic subjects • We had more subject choices because a few more teachers came on staff. We had a PE teacher, a History teacher, a French/German teacher, an English teacher, a Science teacher, and an Economics teacher Sport and gymnastics Sport was the big thing at school in those days, after the academics of course. Swimming was at a 25m pool in Oratava Ave, West Pennant Hills. PE was held on the front lawn near Pennant Hills Road (in those days there was a high wire fence with barbed wire on top and no trees)….Gymnastics was finally introduced so we then had to design a gym uniform but we could only wear that for gym in the hall, never to and from school. We were the smallest and youngest school competing against other Good Samaritan Schools but every year we went to the swimming and athletics carnivals and those that wanted to could enter as many events as you wanted. By Form 6 (Year 12) we had won the Good Samaritan Schools Swimming Carnival… which we all thought was a great achievement. For swimming training we used a classmate’s back yard pool after school. It was about three strokes long which made for lots of practice of turns. For athletic training we had to walk down Hull Rd for about 20 mins to the oval to practice for 20 mins and then walk back (we had no bus).

Other memories The school could not afford a cleaner so it was ‘The Pioneers’ job to sweep floors and halls and paths, clean the toilets, clean the staff room and office, in fact cleaning duties involved every part of the school. The only thing we didn’t have to do was mow the lawns. Maybe the cows did that! We were never allowed to use the front internal stairs and Sister Hyacinth used to be in the small uniform shop at the bottom of the stairs and catch anyone being disobedient and breaking this rule.

Engage and Innovate

Professional Development – showcasing innovation @ MSB

Tuesday 23 August 2016

We had to change into jiffies in the classrooms to protect the new floors. During all those early years there were many hours of consultation between Sister Christopher and Sister Hyacinth and ‘The Pioneer’ class because everything was so new. We were always special I think and when the next class joined us we were a bit sad as we loved being part of ‘The Pioneer’ Class of 1966. By 1971, when about 28 of us were in our final year of school, the school had grown so much. There were more new school buildings, many more students and teachers, we even had some male teachers by then. On our last day, as the first class to graduate, after assembling at Pennant Hills Station, a group of us walked up Pennant Hills Road timing our entrance to coincide with the morning assembly as we sang with gusto “Glory, Glory Mount St Benedict, ‘Bennies birds’ go marching on” and ‘Bennies birds’ have continued to march on now for 50 years. However we do, and always will recall very fond memories of our first years at Bennies but never fonder than being the first class to go through Mount St Benedict College as ‘The Pioneers’. We made lifelong friends and had instilled in us the special values and standards we still hold dear today. Cathy Ferndale (nee Woods) First College Captain of Mount St Benedict College

It was important during the College’s Jubilee year to also look to the present and the future and showcase innovation at Mount St Benedict College (MSB). The College hosted a gathering of teachers and other interested educators entitled ‘Engage and Innovate’. It was an opportunity to share many of the innovative and engaging techniques implemented by staff in the College’s mission, pastoral and teaching programs. Internationally renowned keynote speaker, Julie Temperley, along with Keren Caple, ensured the afternoon was off to an inspiring start with stories of innovation around the world, followed by inspiring stories of the work of staff at MSB. The final part of the afternoon, TeachMeet included presentations from teachers from MSB and other schools sharing their successful practices. Presentations included: STEM, integrated learning, student voice and choice, innovative use of technology, service learning, embedding social justice in school culture, creating a space for meaning making, innovative approaches to particular subject areas, using Teaching for Understanding as a Learning Framework and the role of formation in the development of student engagement.

November 2016 Bennies Buzz | 11

The MSB Jubilee Identity

Artist Statement – Jubilee Logo Inspirations It is a privilege to be a part of the Bennies community and to have been invited to design the logo in celebration of its Jubilee celebrations. Bennies is not just a school to many of us; it is a place where we first met our treasured friends, were inspired by mentors and discovered the visions we have for our futures. This Jubilee logo attempts to incorporate these ideas to what make Bennies such a special place for its students, alumni and staff – past and present. The triangular composition of the Jubilee logo harks back to the symbol of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit of the Catholic faith. The dove

Jubilee Artwork

During the Jubilee year it has been fitting to reflect on the identity and traditions of the College. An important legacy of the celebrations has been the development of Jubilee banners which were on display in St Mary’s Cathedral for the first time during the Jubilee Eucharist. The banners were designed using original artwork from a group of students who undertook a Jubilee artwork project under the guidance of then MSB Visual Arts Teacher, Ms Therese O’Kane. The designs draw on distinctive features of our College campus such as the Blue Gum forest, the Courtyard of Peace and the stained glass windows of our Chapel. These features are then blended with the characteristic symbols of our Christian faith such as the dove and flame symbols for the Holy Spirit together with the cross and symbols of Eucharist.

12 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

carrying the branch has traditionally been associated with the story of Noah, as well as God’s promise of hope and salvation for responsible stewards of the earth. This Jubilee logo draws on the rich history of these symbols to highlight the Benedictine values and vision of the College. The dove symbolises peace. The flickering flame symbolises the Holy Spirit that calls us to be generous to those in need. The springy branch of gum nuts symbolises the College’s commitment to conservation of the rare blue gum forest and serves as a key reminder to the principles of stewardship. The dove emerging out

of the flame also evokes the image of the phoenix, a mythical bird that symbolises death and rebirth. These imageries give voice to the College’s 50 years history of nurturing and educating young women. When you take it all together, it is not hard to see what a special place Bennies is and will continue to be in the hearts of the young women it nurtured – past, present and future. Irene Mok, Class of 2009

LEFT: This design recognises our indigenous heritage through the use of the image of the rainbow serpent. This image is overlayed with motifs which capture aspects of our environment such as the leaves and gum nuts of our Blue Gum High Forest and the droplets of water representing our Courtyard of Peace. These images transition throughout the design to introduce the traditional Christian symbols of the fish, the cross, the dove and the flame. CENTRE: This design echoes the stained glass window effect from our College Chapel and blends this with themes from our Blue Gum High Forest and our Courtyard of Peace. As these images rise through the banner they are gradually transformed into images of the Holy Spirit culminating in the symbol of Eucharist layered across the image of the globe in elevated hands cupped in the shape of a bowl. RIGHT: This banner design draws strongly on motifs of our natural environment with the gum nuts and leaves of our Blue Gum High Forest. The gum nut images transition with an increasingly distinctive Sign of the Cross which moves to face outwards to convey the symbol of Eucharist layered across the image of the globe.

Sister Mary Roche SGS and current Mount St Benedict College students Kelly-Ann D’Sylva and Sarah-Jane Eades

Vale Sister Mary Roche Deputy Principal, Mount St Benedict College 1966-1973 Principal, Mount St Benedict College 1974-1979 Sister Mary (Hyacinth) Roche, second Principal of Mount St Benedict College passed away on Friday 8 July 2016 in her 90th year of age and 69th year of Religious Life.

Mass. A number of ‘Bennies’ ex-students from those early years also travelled to Brisbane to attend the funeral. “It was a very moving occasion and one on which we could give thanks for the wonderful life of Sister Mary, who made the huge effort to be present at our Jubilee Mass in Sydney in June,” said College Principal, Maria Pearson.

Sister Mary (known as Sister Hyacinth in her years at Mount St Benedict) holds a special place in College history as the original deputy principal when the College first began. Her memories of the first years of the College have formed an important part of the College’s first history book ‘The Early Years’ launched in 2016, its Jubilee year. The College community was fortunate to welcome Sister Mary to its Jubilee Eucharist at St Mary’s Cathedral on 19 June 2016. Many former and current students and staff able were able to reconnect or meet with one of our ‘pioneer’ principals for the first time.

Sister Mary pictured with current College Principal, Maria Pearson at the College’s Jubilee Eucharist.

Current College Principal, Maria Pearson accompanied by College Captains and Vice-Captains, Jessica Pereira, Jessica Corcoran and Ashleigh McDonald represented the College at Sister Mary’s funeral in Brisbane. Our students joined with students from fellow Good Samaritan Education school, Lourdes Hill College to escort the coffin into the church and likewise to accompany the coffin from the church at the end of the Requiem

“It was clear from the many stories told of her that she was a strong leader with a compassionate heart, and that she left a lasting impression on the students she taught. Many have spoken of her outstanding skills as a Maths teacher and the ways in which she inspired them into their careers.”

“Some of the sisters who lived with Sister Mary told me of her great affection for Mount St Benedict and how much she had concentrated her energies and efforts on being able to attend the Jubilee Mass. When her doctor said “Go for it” she was delighted and then successfully travelled to and from Sydney. I told her on the day of the Jubilee Mass, when she congratulated me on the way the College has developed, that the College was built on the efforts of the pioneers such as herself. We are indeed privileged to enjoy the legacy of her fine work.” Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 13

Graduation Dinner

Class of 2016 Mrs Maria Pearson, College Principal noted in her Graduation Dinner Address, “As you look back over those years there are memories of so many things shared – lessons, camps, reflection days, sporting teams, prayer and liturgies, retreats, social justice events and many more. In your final week we have had the opportunity to hear some of your recollections and it has been inspiring to hear you express your gratitude for many of the opportunities you have enjoyed.” Academic Assembly Over two hundred parents and family members joined Year 12 and the College community for the Year 12 Academic

Jessica Pereira

College Guard of Honour

Assembly. As well as a range of academic prizes for individual subjects, the major award winners were: • The Mount St Benedict Award - Academic Excellence – Isabella Croker and Nicole Zeaiter • Best All Rounder – Jessica Pereira • Young Christian Leader – Jessica Corcoran • Pierre de Coubertin Sports Award – Kirsten Simpson • All Round Excellence – Michaela Ashurst, Bethany Carr, Isabella Croker, Gillian Diekman, Erin Frost, Samantha Hardman, Binh An Ly, Amy Maher, Teyah Miller, Brianna Taylor, Nicole Zeaiter • Principal’s Award Winners – Emily Boffa, Isabella Croker, Gillian Diekman, Sarah-Jane Eades, Kiarah Fisher, Jessica Griffith, Caitlin Harris, Brittany Haskins, Sarah Hogan, Madison Nicholson, Emma Smith, Kate Smith, Rachel Takchi, Brianna Taylor, Olivia Taylor, Natalie Thomas, Georgina van Yzendoorn

Jessica Corcoran

Nicole Zeaiter an

d Isabella Croke

14 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016


Favourite Memories of Leaving School

Connect Night

Parents of the Class of 2016

“The air of excitement – excited to be leaving school, starting on new paths, but also the overwhelming feeling of change.” “Smiles for the anticipation and excitement of what was ahead for me but I do strongly remember the tears as well. Tears of sadness as I did not want to say goodbye to my friends – my friends that meant the world to me who shared all my highs and lows as well as the teachers with whom we had become close to. They had been our lifeline during the HSC years and without us knowing, helped prepare us for the big world we were about to enter.”

House and Homeroom Farewells

“…also grateful that we have kept the friendships. They are the dearest and longest friends I have for the last 35 years. It is a wonderful blessing to have each other and I know you will also have your friends for life!”

Legacy Project The Class of 2016 made a valuable contribution to Mission in the College’s Jubilee Year, enriching the College as a community of faith. This commitment to service continued to the very end with a parting gesture of a legacy fund set up by the Class of 2016 to support the further education of students of the Good Samaritan Bacolod Kinder School in the Philippines. 2016 College Captain, Jessica Pereira announced the Year 12 initiative in her Captain’s Address at the Year 12 Academic Assembly. “This year, the graduating class has chosen to support an initiative which aligns with our Good Samaritan heritage and the parable’s teaching, “Go and Do Likewise”. One of our partner schools, The Good Samaritan

Graduation Mass

Kinder School in Bacolod, Philippines, runs a Scholarship Program whereby fifty Australian dollars can fully fund one child to complete elementary and secondary schooling. This small figure covers tuition and school supplies, and will greatly assist children in breaking the cycle of poverty which is rife in such developing countries. It is with great pleasure that I announce that the Class of 2016 has currently contributed $2000 to the Bacolod scholarship program equating to approximately 40 students’ uniform and school supplies for a year. This sort of service is how I will remember the Class of 2016, as girls who are full of kindness and are always thinking of their neighbour. “

Graduation Dinner

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 15

One to Make a Difference, Together Make a Change

Young Australians of the Year inspire at MSB Social Justice Forum 2016 Young Australians of the Year, Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett from Orange Sky Laundry inspired attendees at the College’s Social Justice Forum in June. The College held its 17th annual Social Justice Forum as part of their ‘One World Week’ celebrations as a joint initiative between the Social Justice and Environment student portfolios. The theme: ‘One to Make a Difference, Together Make a Change’ was aimed at raising awareness and educating MSB students, staff and the wider community about the many social justice issues our world is facing and encouraging collective action in addressing them. This social justice event attracted 500 students from over 20 schools across NSW as well as over 20 community organisations who shared their work on a range of issues. These included organisations working in disability care, refugee and asylum seekers, women’s shelters, fair trade and ethical fashion, environmental sustainability, homelessness, poverty and gender inequality. A highlight of the evening was the ‘Action Think Tank’ that provided an opportunity for students from different schools to share social justice initiatives that are working well in their schools. The College was blessed to have Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett from Orange Sky Laundry, 2016 Young Australians of the Year, as keynote presenters for the evening. Their stories of humble beginnings and a desire to make a difference in the world inspired all that were in attendance. Although their primary service is to offer free mobile laundry to the homeless, they spoke of the significance and value of the six orange chairs they set up as a means of connecting the homeless with the community. Nic and Lucas

16 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

Community organisations shared their work with student attendees

Young Australians of the Year Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi (pictured top right) with MSB teachers David Greenwell, Christina He and 2016 Social Justice Captains Brianna Taylor, Raelene Corpuz and Environment Captain – Lara Nicholson

MSB was pleased to welcome fellow Good Samaritan schools including Stella Maris, Manly who have worked closely together on outreach with the Good Sam Kinder School in the Philippines

emphasised that human connection and relationships with one another are important in addressing some of world’s problems.

much passion to create change across so many areas of social justice,” said College Chaplain, Christina He.

Staff and students left the event feeling inspired and passionate to achieve more equality in the world. “There was a lot of positivity and enthusiasm in the room and it is exciting to know that young people have so

“Despite living in a world that seems to be faced by constant conflict, intolerance and uncertainty, it is promising to know that our students of this generation are determined to make a difference and work together to create a change!”


MSB are Future Problem Solving World Champions The College is thrilled to announce that their Year 10 Community Problem Solvers and Senior Scenario Performer are World Champions! Three thousand high school students representing thirteen countries competed at the International Future Problem Solving Competition held at Michigan State University in the USA. In what is fast becoming a College tradition, the girls achieved a third and fourth world title, made all the more special in the College’s Jubilee year. Arabella Young carried the Australian flag at the opening ceremony, an honour bestowed on MSB. Her futuristic scenario performance on futures energy ranked first in the senior division. The Year 10 Community Problem Solving team (Natalya Denaro, Annabel Fisher, Caitlin Kelly, Jessica Kotzander, Alex Maher, Emily James, Anna Macoustra, Nicole Sandow, Eshaa Sood and Coach Mrs Gail Davey) with their project StressLESS were hot favourites having won the national competition in 2015. The girls were announced as World Champions of

The girls proudly display their first place trophies at Michigan State University

middle division, health concerns and human services. StressLESS members Emily and Anna reflected on their team’s achievements, “Our project started in 2015 and developed to have a focus on educating and empowering the school community to independently manage healthy levels of stress. We ran activities for our school-wide Mental Health Week, with yoga, mindfulness colouring and stress ball making. We visited Samuel Gilbert Primary School in Castle Hill to focus on the myths surrounding stress in high school and ways to prepare for transitioning from primary to secondary. We distributed our own resources including infographic posters, wallet cards, brochures, bookmarks, our own website and our social media accounts including Instagram and Spotify. “Our study tips and two week planner is now a part of the College Assessment Notification. These were also added to the Bennies App for students to

personalise. On Open Day, we presented to current students and visitors to promote resources and coping strategies. Our outreach into the wider community became a major part of the project, as we created displays for Hornsby and Pennant Hills Community Libraries.” “A StressLESS afternoon was held to enjoy games, pizza and Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ as a relaxing end to the school week. Leading up to Internationals we were invited to discuss our project on a local radio programme ‘Stay in the Loop with Lucy.’ We will also be the focus of another article to be published in the young adult magazine ‘Spine Out’”. Many thanks go to Mrs Gail Davey and Mrs Elizabeth Dirckze for their outstanding coaching and to Dr Miriam Gillet for also accompanying the students on the international tour. Fifty students and their dedicated coaches are currently preparing for the national competition that will be held in Victoria in late 2016.

Future Problem Solving (FPS) is a program designed for gifted and talented students to encourage creative higher order thinking, reasoning and problem solving. The FPS program was established at MSB in 2006 and has grown steadily each year. Since then the College has successfully achieved in the top 10%, to be invited to participate at each national competition and has now secured four world championship titles.


Chur ch








Girl Guides

Drama Music

Se win

Iceting a Sk ir ho


ni Te n

e nc




18 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016










o .. .



Il ike

d to


r a Ye

s i h is wha t d n a t 7


Year 8 engage and innovate in our STEM Challenge Days Day 1 (Term One) – from a sheet of cardboard, build a chair that can bear the weight of a person. No glue or tape, loads of creative and innovative design ideas.

Year 8 students have energetically and enthusiastically involved themselves in a variety of collaborative learning experiences through the College’s STEM Challenge Days. Designed for our students to be able to work and learn in an integrated manner, these days have brought together concepts integral to the teaching and learning of Science, Technology and Mathematics through the prism of a series of engineering challenges aimed to elicit high-order thinking and genuine collaboration.

Day 3 (Term Three) – three different challenges about the scientific understanding of energy and forces with the mathematical analysis of speed.

The overall response from students and others involved has been extremely positive.

Day 4 (Term Four) – All details under wraps at the stage. But as always in STEM, nothing is ever the same!

Day 2 (Term Two) – design and build a robotic arm that simulates remote operations being performed across the globe by robotic surgeons.

Year 8 engage with STEM through STEM Club It has been a year of discovery, creativity and fun in STEM Club. Interest in this co-curricular activity was overwhelming – 38 students participated after school every fortnight through Terms Two and Three. With an appreciation for not only the design process but the integrated nature of being able to solve engineering problems successfully, the girls were generous with their time and open to the possibility of new ways of approaching problems. Teams designed and built prototypes of laptop shelves being considered to replace those currently in use in

the College’s classrooms. STEM Club ventured for a night tour of the Sydney Observatory to investigate astronomical concepts and get a closer look at Mars and other celestial bodies. The girls also conducted a series of video conferences with the Powerhouse Museum learning how to program, navigate and drive Mars Rovers on a virtual Martian surface. Some of the STEM Club members also participated in the national programs of the ‘Day of STEM’ and the ‘Computational Thinking Challenge’. There were also times for reflection and evaluation which are critical for good learning experiences.

Year 8 engage with STEM and the broader Bennies community An integral part of STEM@Bennies is the importance of involving our wider community in the learning experiences of our students and the genuine links we make to life in the real-world. We thank the many MSB teachers from across the faculties of Science, TAS and Mathematics, as well as Parent Mentors currently involved in STEM-related fields, visiting teachers from schools within and outside the Sydney area, ex-students and student teachers. Sharing ideas with people outside the classroom who share a common passion for integrated learning and the value of STEM skills is vital for the upcoming generations of students who will become our future innovators and leaders. Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 19

Students Lead MSB App Development A group of Year 9 girls from Mount St Benedict College have led the development of a College mobile app. With features including bus arrival notifications, canteen specials, daily notices and the College newsletter, the girls’ ambitious project has been an important foundation in building their leadership skills. The inspiration for the app came while the girls were participating in the College’s inaugural Year 9 program ‘Leadership without a Badge’ in 2015. During the Year 9 Camp and then over subsequent Pastoral Care sessions, students were challenged to make a difference within the College community, identifying a need and how they could initiate and develop a change. The ‘Year 9 App Group’ focused on the well-being of new Year 7 students and any issues or concerns about starting at the College. Whilst brainstorming ideas that might make them feel more supported in their new environment, they identified missing a school bus as a stressful situation and focused on how they could alleviate this. Using the program frameworks, the girls embarked on an extensive consultation process including presenting to their house group and their year group. At each stage the girls had to refine their brief based on the feedback received including additions for the app. The girls were also encouraged to seek advice, support and approval from professionals within the College. The College’s Head of ICT was a key mentor for the girls, involving them in briefing the developers as well as the pilot and subsequent launch of the app. The girls ran the app development as a mini project, all taking specific roles and following a basic project methodology. For most, it was the first time they had worked in this way. Being introduced to terminology such as ‘business requirements’ and ‘change management’ were new concepts for the girls, but seeing the project through to the end demonstrated to them the power and importance of good planning and teamwork. When asked about their key learning points on the project, two of the student leaders on the ‘Year 9 App Group’ said they were grateful to have built up their teamwork and project planning skills and could see the importance of having a reliable team in place. The girls are pleased that their work on the app has been of benefit to the College community and are excited about

20 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

further stages planned with personalised content e.g. individual student timetables. One of the most popular functions of the app has been the ability for bus departure notifications. Students have the ability to select which bus they wish to be notified about. When that bus arrives at the College at the end of the school day, the app will notify the girls that it is ready to board. To date there has been a positive response to the app with over 500 students and staff downloading the app since the start of the school year.

From left: Diana Kazakov, Annabel Anderson and Olivia Kobal

Student Leadership

2017 College Captains embarking on the next 50 years College Captain, Annabel Anderson; Vice-Captain Portfolios, Olivia Kobal and Vice-Captain Spirit, Diana Kazakov are looking forward to kick-starting the College’s next chapter in history after a successful Jubilee year in 2016. To set the tone moving into their final year, the 2017 student leaders gathered for a two day Captain’s Retreat, working together to look at the big picture and reflecting on the place of Benedictine values as the basis of authentic leadership. The Retreat culminated in finalising their theme for the College to work towards in 2017 – ‘One small step for me, one giant leap for MSB’. “The main message of our theme is the idea of unity. When we take individual action we can make change, however when

2016 and 2017 College Leaders pictured with College Principal, Maria Pearson

the whole school community steps forward together into the years beyond Jubilee, we are able to make history”, said College Captain, Annabel. All three College leaders admired the collaboration and creativity of the 2016 Leadership Team, in particular the way that they encouraged the community to reflect on and celebrate the College’s diverse history. In their year of leadership, The Class of 2017 aim to strengthen the sense of community at Bennies and encourage their fellow students to develop friendships across year groups and have greater involvement in cocurricular activities.

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 21

Current Student News Four young women transforming the future

2016 College Captain, Jessica Pereira, runner up in Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award Congratulations to Jessica Pereira (2016 College Captain), runner up in the 25th Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Jessica was nominated for her leadership in the College and involvement in community projects and was one of fourteen finalists who attended the awards dinner in June. Jessica presented a speech on the evening addressing advancing the status of women, an excerpt of her speech is below: The status of women in a national and global context, is one which is lagging when compared to our male counterparts. However, this is not due to a lack of ability or ambition; but rather by a society which accepts inequality as a traditional norm. Appalling 2015 ABS statistics show that the full time gender pay gap is 17.3%, that on average one woman is killed every week from a domestic violence incident,

and that one in two mothers have experienced workplace discrimination – just a few examples of how the status of women is compromised in a variety of social settings. I believe it is extremely important to develop the confidence and esteem of all females; particularly those in the community who need support the most. My work with Josephite Community Aid supports this notion through the tutoring of newly established refugees; teaching young children, predominantly girls, practical skills such as reading and writing. Through

mentorship, it is evident that these women can be empowered and self-sufficient, thus advancing the status of women through personal development. Additionally, as a leader of my College community; I aim to advocate for the rights and potential of women, through my service and the slogan “Make the woman, Make the world”. This phrase embodies the idea that by nurturing the strengths of individuals, women can follow their passions and transform future of our society with confidence and assertiveness; thus advancing the status of women as a whole.

Healthy balance between study and play 2016 College Vice-Captain, Jessica Corcoran achieved a childhood goal this year while managing her HSC studies. She shares her achievement and an important message about balance. Getting involved with representative sport has been one of many highlights over my time at Bennies. Not only do you get to know girls in other grades who share similar sporting passions, but representative sport also allows you to set and achieve goals. Ever since I was eight it has always been a dream of mine to represent CCC at State level for cross country and since I am in Year 12 and this year was my last chance, I wasn’t going to let my school work stop me from achieving this goal.

22 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

It is so important to maintain a healthy balance between study and co-curricular activities, high school becomes so much more enjoyable when you have a passion to pursue in your life separate from study. For me that is sport and to finally see my dream turn into a reality this year, made me realise just how important it is to never give up and to just keep trying and getting involved. This year I conducted a study for Community and Family Studies on whether physical activity improves the mental health of students, and results have proved that girls who are involved in sport tend to perform better academically as sport reduces stress. Bennies has so many wonderful sporting opportunities and I encourage everyone to give something a go, it doesn’t have to be competitive, it is just great to have fun with your friends and clear your mind.

Elizabeth receives highly commended at the Dame Marie Bashir Peace Awards Sylvia with Colle ge Bear ‘Francesca’

a’s Sylvia pictured with St Agath n rki Parish Priest, Father Paul Du

Sylvia’s World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Kraków, Poland Year 11 student, Sylvia Burgess-Tate travelled as part of the Broken Bay Diocese pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) in Kraków, Poland. The pilgrimage began in Italy and Sylvia was thrilled to visit the Benedictine Basilica of St Paul, reporting that hidden at the back of the church was a large statue of St Benedict, and another one in a small chapel. Along for the ride with Sylvia was the College’s Jubilee bear who was renamed for the trip ‘Francesca’ in honour of Pope Francis! 230 pilgrims from the Diocese of Broken Bay gathered together in Krakow for the official WYD events including daily catechesis and the Opening Mass. Sylvia reported that her group decided to leave the Papal Welcome early to avoid the crowds, and to their surprise, the Pope drove past, only about 5m away! The group’s travel to the WYD vigil site was a pilgrimage in itself, a 17 km walk in the scorching heat with 1.7 million fellow pilgrims. Sylvia described the sea of a million candles glowing and stretching out as far as the eye could see, as one of her favourite moments of the whole pilgrimage. “I have made lifelong friends, visited places that I will never forget and experienced God in an amazing way,” said Sylvia.

Elizabeth pictured with Dame Marie Bashir and Jackie Duncan, MSB Assistant Principal-Dean of Students

It was a proud moment for Mount St Benedict College when Year 11 student Elizabeth Khoury was presented with a highly commended award at the Dame Marie Bashir Peace Awards. The Awards are open to girls in NSW (Years 10-12) who have made a significant contribution and displayed leadership in the areas of harmony or social justice. There were only twelve recipients in the state. Elizabeth was nominated by the College as a worthy candidate because of her great energy and commitment in social justice and promoting harmony within the community. A strong advocate for women’s rights, Elizabeth was key in producing a video about domestic violence to educate others on this issue. She has educated both the College community through facilitating smaller groups within the College as well as addressing the whole community at assemblies. Elizabeth is also passionate and involved in other social justice issues. She has been involved in working with refugee families through a variety of programs as well as taking opportunities to be involved in Vinnies Van. A strong and confident voice within the College community she is known for her strength of character and passion for promoting harmony and justice for all.

Elizabeth confidently addressed the awards ceremony on the United Nations International Day of Peace. An excerpt of her speech is below: Social justice is, as I see it, a deeply personal issue that connects every individual to a communal conscience. ….My personal social justice adventure began with becoming a member of the AGSA Student Network Alliance, a group which encourages young women to challenge a woman’s place in the world and explore our passions concerning the rights of women. Bringing the work of the Alliance back to the College was something I was so proud of; I was bringing back deeply entrenched issues that could affect the future of the amazing young women around me and I wanted them to be educated and proactive. After establishing a College based team of girls who have discovered their own interest we began to take on bigger projects reaching further into the community. From our viral ‘1 Minute’ domestic violence video to radio interviews, our work has spread further and further. My deepest passions lie with the advocacy of women’s rights and promoting equality. Some of my greatest experiences at school have come from my work within this area and has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 23

Footsteps of Benedict A Pilgrimage to Remember The concept of pilgrimage is very important within the Catholic faith. Mount St Benedict College is proud to offer a pilgrimage opportunity to interested students and staff every three years titled ‘The Footsteps of Benedict Tour’. Over the Christmas break a group of 34 students and staff commenced the College’s Jubilee year with a Benedictine tour in the Footsteps of Benedict. Prior to the trip the group had met a number of times to learn about a pilgrimage, about Benedict, the Benedictine way and about each other. They visited a number of monasteries after which the College Houses are named, and many places where St Benedict spent his early life and began his monastic way of life and writing of The Rule. This was a wonderful opportunity for both students and staff to gain a deeper knowledge of the traditions which underpin all that we do at Mount St Benedict College.

Many of the girls cite this pilgrimage as the highlight of their time at the College, here are some of their reflections: Munich, Germany Sister Katerina gave us a tour of the Benedictine monastery at Tutzing and showed us the history of the place and in particluar, the New Norcia girls on the trip were able to see the connection of our House and House partner, Bacolod, to the bigger Benedictine story. Sr Katerina shared her personal experience of becoming a nun and we were privileged enough to be able to share the evening Vesper prayer and Eucharist with the Sisters where we were invited to sing our College song as the offertory hymn. …We then spent an enjoyable night at the Hofbrahaus for dinner where we were able to share stories and have a mini reunion with the students on the MSB German Exchange Trip. Domnique (Year 11) Rome, Italy Today we visited Norcia, the town where Benedict and his sister Scholastica were born. We went inside the church and the site where Benedict was born. It was very special to visit a place that has an important and meaningful connection to our school. Alana (Year 9)

Happy travel compa


24 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

‘Juba’ Jubilee Bear was well taken care of!

We participated in midday prayer with the monks of Norcia and enjoyed the hospitality of the Benedictine nuns for lunch. Very spoilt! Christina He, MSB Chaplain

We were able to see the Jubilee doors of St Peter’s in Vatican City. The symbol of the door is a strong one in the Church celebration of Jubilee - the door provides a threshold, a place of transition from one place to the next, a way of moving in to new arenas. Maria Pearson, College Principal Off to the Papal mass without tickets. Armed with a letter from the Bishop, an email for the Australian Ambassador and his advice not to take no for an answer, I walked to the Bronze Door of the Vatican. I approached the Swiss Guard and confidently asked for our tickets, only to be told there were no tickets for MSB. After some pleading and presenting my correspondence, a policeman escorted me to the barrier to collect our group and allow us entrance to St Peter’s! Guy Fitzsimmons, College Business Manager and Tour Leader During our travels to Monte Cassino, we visited Benedict’s cell where he wrote ‘The Rule of Benedict’ and where he died. We learnt about the history of Monte Cassino and how it had been destroyed three times and rebuilt and miraculously, the remains of Benedict and his sister Scholastica were unharmed throughout the wars. Once we arrived at Subiaco, we were greeted with an overwhelming view of the stunning countryside and surrounding mountains. This section of the trip was very significant as we were able to go into the monastery and reflect on Benedict’s life. Abbey and Ashleigh (Year 11)

Barcelona, Spain Montserrat has significant importance to us, as it is a Benedictine Monastery which the school has a very close connection with. During our visit here, we were given a tour of the monastery and the school which is an all-boys choir school run by Fr Sergi, a Benedictine Monk who is the principal of the school….Montserrat is one of our eight school Houses and we all agree that Montserrat has been one of the highlights of our trip so far. Rachelle (Year 9) Bath, England We travelled out into the countryside to visit the Abbey of Downside, the monastery of Bede Polding the founder of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. Their archives had prepared for us a small exhibition of memorabilia connected with Bede Polding and the Sisters. We were also honoured to visit the sisters of Stanbrook Abbey where the vibe of sustainability within the Rule is lived to the full. The Sisters’ new abbey has won multiple awards for its design. Tim Tams were given as gifts to all our hosts along the way – we were very popular! Guy Fitzsimmons, College Business Manager and Tour Leader

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 25

Language Exchange

More than just an international adventure Girls studying languages at Mount St Benedict College have access to rich learning opportunities. The Australian / German exchange between Mount St Benedict College and partner school, Elly-Heuss-Knapp Gymnasium is now in its tenth year. It was an exciting finish to the school year of 2015, as twenty Mount St Benedict College students from Years 9 to 11 spent a month at partner school – Elly-Heuss-Knapp Gymnasium in Stuttgart, Germany. The girls were hosted by German students and their families and were able to immerse themselves in the German culture and way of life. As part of this experience the MSB girls attended lessons with their partners and helped in Years 5 and 6 English classes. The partner school had also organised an informative and entertaining program of events and excursions with highlights including a performance by the Stuttgart Ballet, a chocolate making workshop at the Ritter Sport chocolate factory, as well as a tour to the medieval town of Rothenburg. The German families were very welcoming and the girls settled in quickly. Being an exchange student allowed the girls to improve their German speaking and listening skills. In addition to this they were able to experience many customs and traditions first-hand – such as traditional regional dishes and celebrations leading up to Christmas, including the Christmas markets. Many girls were fortunate to travel with their host families to other areas of Germany, Switzerland or Austria, and some were even able to try skiing. In return, the German girls, accompanied by their teachers – spent the month of Term Three

26 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

staying with their Australian partners. The MSB Languages Faculty had organised an educational program to enable the girls to learn more about Australian culture and history. They particularly enjoyed an excursion to the Muru Mittagar Cultural Centre, where they learned about Aboriginal culture and tried boomerang throwing. Other highlights included a tour of the Opera House and visits to Taronga Zoo and Watson’s Bay. The boys from the German school were hosted by Shore School, and there were some combined excursions such as a bowling evening. While at school, the German girls accompanied their partners to a variety of lessons, and helped younger MSB students practise their conversations skills in German. They were also involved in workshops on intercultural communication, discussing a range of themes with Year 11 Society and Culture. The German exchange has now been running for ten years, and the ties between Mount St Benedict College and the partner school, EllyHeuss-Knapp Gymnasium have become strong. Both schools greatly value the partnership and the wonderful opportunities it offers students to experience a different way of life and to work on their language skills. Many strong friendships and links between families have been forged during these visits.

Bringing Language Studies to Life MSB Japanese Study Tour

During the September / October term break a group of twenty four students studying Japanese (Years 9-11) and three staff departed on a languages study tour of Japan.


As well as the cultural and language immersion aspects, this tour formed a significant part of Mount St Benedict’s (MSB) Jubilee year and provided a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the College’s longstanding relationships in Japan. After World War II, a small group of Good Samaritan Sisters travelled to Japan to assist in areas which had been devastated by the atomic bombs and there have been Sisters there ever since. The College also has a long-standing relationship with the Seiwa School in Sasebo, who visit MSB each year.

1. Calligraphy at Seiwa


The MSB Japanese Study Tour were honoured to visit the Good Samaritan Sisters in Nara, the Cherry Blossom Kindergarten, as well as Seiwa, in addition to many of the important cultural and historical sites of Japan.

2. Cherry Blossom Kindergaten visit in Sasebo 3. Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)

Two of the students reflected on their time in Japan: The 2016 Japanese Study Tour was a fantastic experience for all of the students and teachers who attended. Throughout the jam-packed two weeks of travelling, we had the opportunity to visit multiple sacred sites and tourist attractions, such as the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the Deer Park in Nara, spend time with the Sisters at the Good Samaritan Convent, as well as the children at the Kinder School in Sasebo. We experienced Japanese culture first-hand through our homestay with our host sisters from Seiwa Girls High School. The homestays allowed all girls to not only practice Japanese with their host families, but to also make friendships with girls that will last a lifetime. At the homestay, girls were taken to classic sights in Sasebo including the aquarium, a Germantheme park: Huis Ten Bosche, a ferry ride, and even a visit into the neighbouring city of Nagasaki. To top the trip off, the girls spent an entire day at Tokyo Disneyland. The last day, everyone got a chance to do some last minute

4. Japanese Tea Ceremony at Seiwa 3


shopping along Harajuku, and visited the Tokyo Edo Museum where it was an eye-opening experience to see what Japan used to be like. Overall, the trip was an absolute blast and the memories made throughout the trip will always be remembered. Sara-Jane Arns and Hannah Chadwick (Year 11)

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 27

Hildegard Centre for Creative and Performing Arts

The next stage of the College Master Plan has been approved and building of a state-of-the-art creative and performing arts centre is now underway and will be opened in early 2018. With a modern design aesthetic, students will have access to high quality learning and performing spaces with industry standard technology. The environmentally sustainable building design allows for ample natural light, with large banks of windows and an outdoor courtyard facing out onto the College’s blue gum forest. Students will have stunning nature views as they access the building roof to paint in the outdoors. “This development promises to be an exciting and long-awaited addition to College facilities, engaging our students in developing the skills they need to make their way into the future,” said College Principal, Maria Pearson. “Over the past two years, members of the College Board, the Finance Committee and the Building Committee have been working with our builders Paynter Dixon in developing plans for the Hildegard Centre for Creative and Performing Arts and I thank them for their efforts.”

The Hildegard Centre for Creative and Performing Arts will feature: • a performing arts space with full stage production facilities and retractable seating for 220 people

• 6 peripatetic rooms

• 2 music classrooms

• 3 art studios

• a drama studio • a dance studio

The College community has chosen to name this new facility after the Benedictine Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) who lived in the region of Bavaria. She was an extraordinarily creative, visionary and passionate woman of faith who is now recognised as one of the giants of Christian history. She is recognised for her spiritual visions, her poetry, her art (illuminations), her hymns and meditations, alongside her significant scientific prowess and political activism. Her capacity to integrate the fields of art, science and religion are beyond compare in her era and her environmental concern shows an understanding of the fragile ecology which was far ahead of her times.

28 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

Monsignor John Boyle, together with College Principal, Maria Pearson; College Captain, Jessica Pereira; Peter Watters, Head of Creative and Performing Arts and Matthew Greene, Architect, Paynter Dixon took part in a ritual of turning the soil on MSB Day to mark the beginning of the new Hildegard Centre for Creative and Performing Arts.

Jasmine presents Sister Leonie with the laptop. Pictured also are Year 11 students Vanessa, Amelia and Eva who attended the Good Samaritan Education immersion trip to the Philippines in September.

Jasmine’s “very big heart for the poor” Thanks to the efforts of a Year 8 student from Mount St Benedict College in Sydney, the Good Samaritan Kinder School, which supports children from one of the poorest areas of the Philippines, now has a new computer – and it’s very likely that a few more may follow.

Thirteen-year-old Jasmine Rheinberger first heard about the Good Samaritan Kinder School in Bacolod City during a school assembly last year, when senior students were sharing their experience of helping out at the school as part of an immersion program in the Philippines.

So Jasmine got to work to find out how a laptop (and others later) could be sourced from within the Mount St Benedict College community.

Earlier in the year while Leonie was in Australia, Jasmine had the opportunity to present a new laptop to her personally. “It was a lovely surprise,” said Leonie.

r Jasmine presents he he to r clas “MYBennies” project

Afterwards, Jasmine “started researching [the Kinder School] out of interest, and I realised how much help they needed because they’re obviously from the poorest areas in the Philippines.”

Then later in the year, Jasmine decided she would focus on the Good Samaritan Kinder School as part of an integrated learning program at Mount St Benedict College, known as “MYBennies”, where students are encouraged to explore a topic they are passionate about. After much research, she discovered, among other things, that the Kinder School provides about 130 children from very lowincome families in Bacolod with pre-school learning experiences, as well as access to a health clinic and nutrition program. With the aim of raising awareness about the needs of the children and the work of the school, Jasmine created a website, “Children of the Philippines”. She hoped to mobilise others to show their support. But Jasmine wanted to do more. “So I asked my ‘MYBennies’ teacher and she suggested donating something [to the school],” she said. Wanting to ensure that any donations were what the Kinder School most needed, Jasmine contacted Good Samaritan Sister Leonie Duenas, Principal of the Kinder School. “We started emailing back and forth, and after a while, we got to the conclusion that they needed a laptop because they’ve had theirs since 2009,” she explained.

“I’m just so happy that we received this laptop, an additional one that we can use at the Kinder School.” Leonie is very grateful to Jasmine and Mount St Benedict College for this new school resource.

“It means so much for us… It’s a very big thing for us”, she said. The gift of the laptop highlights for Leonie the importance of the relationships that have been established between the Kinder School and individuals like Jasmine, and communities like Mount St Benedict College. “They are really partners with us because we cannot do this on our own here in the Philippines,” she said. Leonie is also struck by the fact that Jasmine, now in Year 8, was in Year 7 when she first began her project to support the Kinder School. “I really feel that there is so much future for this young girl who is so passionate in doing something for the poor. I just hope and pray for a good future for her… I feel she has a very big heart for the poor in choosing this project,” said Leonie. For Jasmine, engaging with the Kinder School has not been a one-off project. She is keen to continue her efforts to raise awareness and organise other donations for the Kinder School. She’s also planning to visit the school in Year 11 as part of her school’s immersion program in the Philippines. In fact, she’d like to visit before then. “I’d go any day if I could!” she laughed. Reprinted with permission. Originally published in The Good Oil, May 17, 2016.

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 29

Sporting News Swimming Broken Bay Champions Our MSB swimming team were overall champions at the BBSSSA Swimming Championship with Georgia Platts from Year 7 named as the Under 13 BBSSSA Champion. Caitlin Walsh from Year 9 established a new NSW All Schools record in the Under 15 50m Breaststroke and gained selection into the NSW All Schools team to compete at the School Sport Australian Championships. MSB swimming coach Nathan Doyle once again prepared our girls well resulting in a MSB swim team of 14 students and more relay teams at the NSW All Schools Championships than any other school in NSW! Nathan then went onto the Rio Paralympics as an Australian swimming coach.

MSB relay teams w ith coach Nathan Doyle Cricket NSW CCC Representative – Kate Barry This is the second consecutive year that Kate Barry has gained selection into the NSW CCC Open Girls Cricket team, an impressive achievement for this Year 10 student.

Capri Vidler

Jessica Corcoran

Touch Our Year 9/10 Representative team qualified for the Australian Championships to be held on the Sunshine Coast over four days. The team qualified after winning the Parramatta NSW All Schools Regional tournament undefeated and finishing in the top three schools at the NSW All Schools Championships. Individually we had two Year 10 students selected into NSW CCC teams - Shannyn Bissett (Opens) and Julia Zubak (Under 15).

30 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

Cross Country Congratulations to Capri Vidler, BBSSSA Cross Country Under 16 Champion and Jessica Corcoran, Under 17 BBSSSA Runner Up who progressed through to the NSW All Schools Championships. MSB won the Under 18, Under 17, Under 16 and Under 15 team events at the BBSSSA Championships.

Junior and Intermediate teams with their medals

Netball The MSB Intermediate team were undefeated NSW CCC Champions. The core of this team have only lost two games across four years at these championships. The MSB Junior team were NSW CCC Runners Up.




All three teams brought home medals from their BBSSSA championships. MSB Seniors and Intermediates won silver and our Junior team finished as champions!

Six MSB students represented BBSSSA at the NSW CCC Championships at Milperra. It was very exciting that MSB students comprised half this team!

MSB had five students in the Open BBSSSA team with Alex Black (Year 11) then selected as the NSW CCC goal keeper.

Athletics MSB were overall BBSSSA Champions after winning both the Intermediate and Senior Divisions. Year 9 student Amie Bowrey had a great day winning five events and breaking the Under 15 Javelin record. Fourteen MSB students qualified for the NSW CCC Championships. Elly Gallagher and Amie gained selection into the NSW All Schools Team.

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 31

Lunchtime Learning for Teaching Staff

In honour of the College’s Jubilee year, teaching staff at Mount St Benedict College engaged in a series of meaningful conversations around learning. Teachers new to the profession and MSB community, as well as experienced staff gathered in important learning conversations at three lunchtime events. The questions over the course of the lunches provided a framework for deep sharing from experienced teachers on their lived practice of high quality teaching and learning, and an opportunity for new teachers to reflect on their insights and learning within and outside the classroom. Below is a sample of the responses which made for engaging and thoughtful conversation. Why did you become a teacher? Was there a catalyst or an experience(s) that brought this decision into sharper focus for you? “…I knew I wanted to be around people. I love children, that’s why I started teaching.” “I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was 8 years old. I had a great aunt who was also a teacher and I used to holiday at her place from time to time. I admired this woman a lot.” “… I started out doing a sports science degree and I realised I needed less chemistry and more interaction with people so

32 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

I studied teaching and haven’t looked back since and enjoy every minute of it.” Challenges in learning “We need to show we are not perfect and we need to model it” “It is one of the things we talk about in design in STEM… we talk about there always has to be a problem. We are looking for design thinking, what works, what doesn’t. In a sense we are not looking for specific answers but the ability to solve problems.” Advice for those thinking of entering the profession “Do it because you love it!” “…have a passion and a general interest in young people… because at the end of the day you are working with them and having an impact on who they are going to become.” “Go for it, as it is a wonderful rewarding career with huge opportunities for growth and development.” These occasions were well received by teachers who attended, as is evidenced by comments such as: “It was such a great chance to sit, talk, learn and wonder about the possibilities.”

Beyond Bennies

MSB Welcomes Back Inspiring Past Students

Staff News Congratulations to:

Left to right: Molly Dover (2016 Communications Captain), Julia Calixto (Class of 2005), Melanie Drayton (Class of 1993), Catherine Holliday (Class of 1994), Jessica Micallef (MSBESA President) and Kate Smith (2016 Communications Captain).

Stewart Duncan and his wife Emma welcomed their second child, daughter Morgan on 21 September 2015 weighing 3.4kgs.

It was an inspiring morning as the College welcomed back three ex-students to share their career journeys at the annual Beyond Bennies Assembly. Each had a story to tell about how Mount St Benedict College influenced their career. Former College Captain, Julia Calixto (Class of 2005), Melanie Drayton (nee Simpson, Class of 1993) and Catherine Holliday (Class of 1994) entertained the MSB community with their stories, experiences and guidance from their varied careers. With a common passion for human rights and caring for others, each of the speakers are modelling Benedictine values to this very day. Melanie Drayton shared stories about her start in the legal field, working in the not-for-profit sector in roles relating to imprisoned parents and juvenile justice. She found her time working at The Yasmar Juvenile Detention Centre particularly challenging but she found that the values instilled in her, particularly from her time at Bennies, helped her care for those through the legal system who had little or no support. A nursing career led Catherine Holliday to some valuable overseas opportunities including ten years working in Switzerland with the United Nations (UN), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, UNICEF and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Catherine’s work at the UN was made possible due to her German language studies at MSB! Catherine’s great passion for research blossomed with her “enquiring mind” wanting to know more about her patient’s care with cancer. Four years ago she took a leap of faith and established a charity, The Centre for Community Driven Research, ensuring that feedback from patients is valued and heard in health research and development. Julia Calixto, currently a journalist at SBS advised that “you need to keep your eyes open for opportunities, be prepared to do anything for your dream job in media”. She wasn’t discouraged by her first knock back, as persistence, patience and flexibility opened doors to her ideal role. With practical tips for girls keen for a start in the media industry, Julia recommended they “start now, write a blog, write stories, do photography and this way you will know if this is something you know you want to do.” Each speaker drove home the message to be conscientious, listen, engage and interact with others. They also emphasised that the HSC is not the end of the road, to do your best and that there are always other avenues to getting to your end goal.

Marion Zammit and her husband welcomed a baby boy, Sebastian James Bodilly, born on 26 November 2015, weighing in at 4.2kg, 54 cm long! Mum, Dad and bub doing well. Amy Scott – Bell and her husband welcomed into the world Lily Ann Olsen, born 22 August 2016 weighing 7.4 pounds, 50 cm long. Amy adores her little girl and Lily is just beautiful!

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 33

Ex-Student News Reflections from the Class of 1975 - 40 Year Reunion “Thank you for organising such a lovely night... It was wonderful seeing so many happy, smiling faces still laughing about the same things we always did. It’s hard to believe it has been 40 years!”

“I loved my time at much so I sent my three daughters there! Your hard work coordinating everything is greatly appreciated.” “I am grateful we were educated by nuns like Sister Hyacinth and Sister Christopher and teachers like Mrs Carey and Mrs McDonald, who all gave me my love of books, an appreciation for quality writing and an enjoyment of modern history.” “I thought of all the things the girls in that room have faced since some of us met at either St Agatha’s or at Bennies... we have all had our ups and downs but through it all we have had life-long friendships. We are truly blessed to have all met and are happy to continue to meet so many years on. We are a very resilient lot!”

Class of 1985 - 30 Year Reunion With the sun setting, and the splendid Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, 24 October 2015, was an evening of excitement, emotion and renewed camaraderie for the Class of 1985. With over seventy of the cohort previously connected via a group Facebook page, more than forty were fortunate to be able to gather in person at The Deck Sydney to reconnect friendships made as teenagers or earlier. Thirty years post-graduation, we reminisced about the school, the parties, the relationships, and the music played. We chatted about the different choices we’ve made and their consequences, the good times and the bad. We ate, drank and mostly laughed through a nostalgic visit back to a time and place that formed a significant part of our lives.

For now, many of us will keep connected via the tools of technology, however we also fondly look forward to seeing one another again face to face in the future. Nicole Wheeler (nee Pincini)

Class of 2005 - 10 Year Reunion Ex-students from the Class of 2005 got together for a casual 10 year reunion at Bar 100 in the Rocks, earlier this year. Some had not seen each other since high school, while others had remained close friends since their time at school. The event was organised by Julia Calixto and Ashleigh Campbell. 30 girls were able to pop into the casual event.

34 | Bennies Buzz Summer 2016

Elizabeth King - Class of 2010 With some incredible help from my friends, family, Mount St Benedict College Ex-Students Association and other networks, I was able to undertake an internship working with the Office of the Co-Prosecutors at the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia. My internship (March-June 2016) was a truly lifechanging experience. The Khmer Rouge killed around 1.7 million people in a genocidal regime of terror in the 1970s. Interning in the Prosecution team gave me some invaluable insight into international law and human rights and how we can hold accountable those who have committed unforgivable crimes. It was challenging and confronting work, but also immensely rewarding and it was wonderful to work with and learn from dedicated, selfless and wholehearted people fighting for justice in a difficult environment. Living and working in Cambodia was as fun and interesting as it was challenging, and I was so fortunate to have the ongoing support of Bennies.

Lisa Vukovic (nee Kaan) Class of 2007

Thanks to the generous donations, I was able to find a safe and secure apartment in Phnom Penh that met UN security standards, and I was able to Skype with Ms Lentern’s Year 9 RE class and engage in some fascinating and reflective discussions, which helped me stay motivated and keep perspective. Working for the UN was a dream come true, and so much more than I had hoped it would be. I am looking forward to whatever life brings next, and am forever grateful for having such a wonderful community to share my journey with.

Hannah Ryan - Class of 2010 Three months volunteering in rural Zambia My experience teaching financial literacy and sexual health in Zambia has begun a snowball of change in my life. Not only has it made me appreciate how profoundly lucky I am to have had a high standard of education from Mount St Benedict Collage but also the privileges I have in Australia and the UK as an independent, outspoken woman. The programme was not an easy three months. Hard work and determination for a better world, even if I was only starting in a small community, pushed me through the difficult times. I will never forget my 10-year-old host sister, Costa, upset one afternoon and giving her a hug of comfort. Every day after this she would run up to me with the biggest smile – arms ready to jump into my arms. I was later told that, culturally, hugs are not common. The emotional connection I made with Costa will never leave me, even though we never spoke in the same language. I hope I have inspired her to continue her education and be an outspoken voice in

Hannah and her host sister, Costa

the community. My advice to every young woman in Bennies would be to embrace change and force yourself out of your comfort zone – you will never know what you are capable of until you try. ICS (International Citizen’s Service) is an overseas volunteering programme for 18-25 year olds, funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development and is currently available for EU passport holders.

In November 2015 Lisa married Daniel in a wedding ceremony held at Oakhill Chapel. Lisa shared her special day with her close group of girlfriends from Bennies! Since leaving Bennies, Lisa has studied Speech Pathology at Sydney University and a Masters of Special Education. She currently works as a speech therapist at an autism specific school in Sydney.

Nerida Shipley (nee Wood) Class of 1992 Nerida and her husband welcomed their second child, Emily Clare on 5 November 2015 weighing 3.64kgs and 55cms. Their eldest child, James is 3 1/2.

Hayley Tanna (nee Elias) Class of 2007 Hayley married Nathan in April 2016, at St Joseph’s, Croydon. Many of her Bennies friends were in attendance. Since leaving Bennies, Hayley has graduated with a Bachelor of Business with Distinction from the University of Technology, Sydney, completed a CPA qualification from Deakin University and currently works as Corporate Accounting Manager at Caltex Australia Limited.

Summer 2016 Bennies Buzz | 35

Dates for your calendar 2016 Term Dates Term 4 2016

2017 Term Dates Term 1 2017 • Years 7, 11 and 12 return • Years 8, 9 and 10 return • College Photo Day • Opening College Mass • Open Day • Parent Information Meeting for Year 7 2019 • Term 1 ends

Tuesday 31 January Wednesday 1 February Wednesday 1 February Friday 3 February Sunday 5 March Thursday 9 March Friday 7 April

Term 2 2017 • Term 2 commences • College Tour • Beyond Bennies • Co-curricular Photos • College Musical • MSB Day & end of Term 2

Wednesday 26 April Tuesday 16 May Wednesday 17 May Monday 29 May Wednesday 14,15,16 June Friday 23 June

Term 3 2017 • Term 3 commences • College Tour • Term 3 ends

Tuesday 18 July Thursday 17 August Friday 22 September

Term 4 2017 • Term 4 commences • College Tour • Presentation Day • Term 4 ends

Monday 9 October Thursday 19 October Thursday 30 November Friday 1 December

449C Pennant Hills Rd Pennant Hills NSW 2120 Phone: 9980 0444 Email:

Bennies Buzz is printed under ISO 14001 EMS accreditation as manufactured by Hankuk Paper. Paper is FSC Certified, Elemental Chlorine Free and Acid Free. Designed by

Thursday 1 December Friday 2 December

• Presentation Day • Term 4 ends

Profile for Fresco Creative

Mount St Benedict College > Bennie's Buzz Magazine > November 2016  

Mount St Benedict College publishes a school yearbook and magazine which recap the news and events of each year at the school. Graphic desig...

Mount St Benedict College > Bennie's Buzz Magazine > November 2016  

Mount St Benedict College publishes a school yearbook and magazine which recap the news and events of each year at the school. Graphic desig...