Corrimal High School principal Paul Roger joined student leaders for a walk around memory lane on Monday.
They strolled through the area which once housed a thriving industrial arts building, gutted by fire on November 3, 2018.
Mr Roger didn't need reminding of that horrific day that ravaged the heart of the school.
But he was happy to mark the one-year anniversary to highlight how much Corrimal High had progressed in the last year.
At the height of the fire, 15 Illawarra-based trucks containing 60 firefighters were onsite battling the inferno, which could be seen in neighbouring suburbs.
It was eventually extinguished later that afternoon, however not before destroying six classrooms and damaging three more.
"Today is a very different start to the week compared to this time last year," Mr Roger told the Mercury.
"For me it it is important that people get to see that we haven't just shut down and stopped. There has been a lot of good things happening at the school in the past year.
"It really showed us this last year about what we could do as a school community with the support of the people around us when we come together for a common purpose.
"We certainly didn't let that [fire] incident define who we are as a school. It is actually something we've used as a catalyst pushing forward and changing what our school is and what we can do."
We certainly didn't let that [fire] incident define who we are as a school.Corrimal High School principal Paul Roger
The good news is new demountables are on site and being used as the school's industrial arts building.
Mr Roger has also been successful in another focus of his, and has improved the aesthetics of the school.
"About four weks after the fire, we had a pretty significant storm which caused some flooding damage," he said.
"Our hall has been completely refurbished with new windows, new paint job, new carpet and new walls.
"We've done some work in another outdoor learning space. We are in the process of extending our agriculture farm and a few other bits and pieces along there.
"We've also had a double kitchen upgrade so now have two industry standard kitchens. There has been a lot of positive movement forward in the last year."
Mr Roger said the rebuild of the new industrial arts building is still years away, and in another location.
"Ideally it would be great to have it ready sooner but I've got to work to the plan," he said.
"They [Department of Education] told me the whole process from start to finish could take two to three years. That process has already started with some of the background investigation and conversations we've had with the loss assessor.
"The new building is going to be in the front area of the school.
"While sentimentally it might have been good to have it where it was, in the middle of the school, it would have impacted on teaching and learning for a long time.
"Out the front here, it is going to be our showpiece building.
"Our whole school community is going to see that building coming from the ground up and it is going to allow us to continue with business as usual without impacting too much on teaching and learning."
Mr Roger added while the building was still years away, the school was moving ahead looking after its students and teachers alike.
"The community involvement in the school has also increased, which is pleasing, he said.
"What's also pleasing is that we've had a 30 per cent increase for Year 7 enrollments next year.
"So for me, having the year that we've had, that's fantastic and is something that I really want to celebrate and share with the community."
'It was a great building to work out of'
Craig Mulder has taught at Corrimal High School for 18 years - almost as long as he has lived in the suburb.
So the Industrial Arts head teacher was naturally "devastated" when he heard about the blazing fire that gutted his beloved industrial arts building.
"It was a great building to work out of and run a team out of," he said on Monday.
"There had been a lot of years getting that faculty to perform like it did in such a good work space, so it was a huge shock for my whole faculty and the school and the community, to lose such a good resource."
Mr Mulder said 12 months on teachers and students alike had no choice but to move on.
"Fortunately we have a good principal who has got the school moving forward and we've come a long way in 12 months," he said.
"We've got demountables there which have got the kids back into where they need to be. And, we are going to get a building which is state of the art and everything that we had before but newer."