Strathewen Primary School principal Jane Hayward has chilling first-hand experience of some of the modern history classes taught to her students.
Ten years on, it's time for the hard lessons of Victoria's Black Saturday fires to be shared with the new generation.
Some of the youngsters have grown up in town but are too young to have been alive or remember the wildfire devastation experienced by their families and neighbours.
Introducing the subject to the curriculum has been handled delicately as some members of the community still battle with their memories.
Only recently has the school reintroduced bushfire education.
A town obliterated on February 7, 2009, Strathewen got many things right in the aftermath.
The community of 200 people lost 27 lives - the greatest per capita loss of any township that day.
And Ms Hayward said it was a sense of community and resilience that sets the town, just 50 kilometres north of Melbourne, apart from the rest.
With only the school, community hall and sports oval in town - Ms Hayward says some amazing friendships and connections came out of the devastation.
"People looked after each other ... and that's why a lot of people came back, because the community was so important to them," she said.
Strathewen Primary School, like so many other buildings, was destroyed in the blaze.
All that remained was a tiny mud brick cubby house built by students only a few years earlier.
But just five days after the blaze the school was up and running on the grounds of Wattle Glen Primary School, a short drive away.
"Homes were gone, businesses, jobs, friends, people, pets, farms and the school were all gone but the fact we could run our school and give our kids a normal-ish day was important," Ms Hayward said.
The school also became a meeting point for parents who had nowhere else to go while their kids were in class.
"Some of these people lost everything, they didn't have a house to go home and clean and there was a lot of separation anxiety, so our school became a safe place for them," she said.
"And we had so much amazing support, fresh Subway rolls appeared every day and a local cafe prepared takeaway containers of food for families to take home."
Not knowing whether her own home was still standing, Ms Hayward stops to think about how she kept going.
"I probably in hindsight, and my little gang of staff ... we needed normal too," she says.
"In a small school you become very embedded in the community, the kids become your family and we needed to see them and touch them to know they were safe."
Ms Hayward and her team had to wear many hats in the days, weeks and months following the fires and while going to school gave the kids some normalcy in their lives, their learning was affected.
And despite the challenges, a decade on Ms Hayward was able to keep her team of teachers together.
It's an impressive statistic given the average staff turnover in the bushfire-affected areas is 80 per cent.
Ten years on, Ms Hayward and her team still play a big welfare role in the community.
While many of her students weren't even born when the fires ravaged their town, they were born into families impacted by a major disaster, many of whom are still struggling.
Over the past three years, students have taken part in bushfire education projects including claymation and picture story books.
As she looks toward to the 10-year commemoration, Ms Hayward expects it will be a busy and interesting time.
It's not a time for celebration, but it's a good opportunity to celebrate the community and all of those who helped in the aftermath, she noted.
"We're all still a little bit broken, grief and loss doesn't have an end date.
"You always miss the people you've lost too soon ... but we've got a lot to be thankful for."
Australian Associated Press
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