We draw on many aspects of our world for inspiration. I have been fortunate over the past year to hear two wonderful people speak in Canberra. Both were astronauts who walked on the moon – Buzz Aldrin was the second man on the surface while Gene Cernan was the twelfth, and last man (to date), to make that exceptional journey.

I was saddened to learn that Gene Cernan died recently. It is extraordinary to understand that his footsteps and daughter’s initials, which he etched in the dust, remain clearly imprinted in the moon’s fine surface.

Those twelve courageous moon walkers will eventually be no more and we will be left with memories and stories of their adventures.

How many people did they inspire? How many children were emboldened by their achievements?

As we begin the school year I wonder at how the students in our school today will be encouraged and inspired. How will their curiosity be stimulated?

Only yesterday, a brochure proposing interested schools invite Dianne McGrath, an Australian candidate for the Mars One mission, to speak at their school. I hope our students will find this inspirational as I will do my best to arrange for Dianne to come to the school sometime this year.

There is nothing quite as special as the first day of the new school year. Staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the first day, first week, first month all proceed as well as possible.

This year was no exception. Students looked impressive in new uniforms with happy faces and positive dispositions, reconnecting with friends and staff after a long holiday break. Our new students have been warmly welcomed and I trust they will settle quickly into the Burgmann community. I am thankful to parents and students for their preparation and positive commencement of the school year.

From Preschool to Year 12 our students face known and unknown opportunities and challenges.

It was a delight to see Kindergarten students happy, yet somewhat unsure of what awaits them. Some parents were a little nervous and a few teary. However, seeing the children together, with staff outlining routines and answering a swath of questions, marks Day One as very special for the children, their parents and staff alike.

Our Year 12 students return to school for their final year of formal education. These students are, typically, happy in knowing the year ahead offers wonderful opportunities tinged with the challenge of the transition to a life beyond the school. Staff and parents aim to shape this final special year to provide productive, engaging and meaningful outcomes.

Ours is a special community with students, parents and staff working alongside each other to provide learning outcomes for a world which is rapidly changing. I thank students for their positive attitude and enthusiasm for the year ahead.

Over the school holidays major works have occurred around the school. These include work preparing the new modular building site in Senior School, landscaping in the preschools areas at both campuses, concreting and upgrading of the bridge behind the Indonesian building, painting, and storage containers removed and replaced with a large shed at Valley campus.

IT infrastructure has been upgraded at Forde to enable the Year 6 iPad program and 36 interactive screens have been installed in classrooms across the Valley campus.

Over the past six months an extraordinary amount of work has been done in developing the Burgmann Portal, an online management system and communication portal for students, parents and staff. More information will be forthcoming in the coming weeks, however it is our intention that all parents and our older students will have access by the end of Term One. This is an exciting project for the school and I look forward to its implementation.

I hope to meet many of our families around the school and at upcoming events in Term One including information evenings and the School Twilight Fair on Friday 24 March.

Steven Bowers