He’s coached the likes of Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood during his time in school sport, but Peter Allen says it’s seeing kids grow and develop that has been the most rewarding part of his career.
The Bolwarra Public School teacher has retired after 36 years in education, 22 of which was at Bolwarra.
But it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, and Mr Allen says it probably won’t until school goes back late January.
“I feel like I’m just going away to come back again next year,” he said. “I guess I’ll feel some relief and joy when it does kick in, but I’m going to miss the school. We have a wonderful community here, the kids are wonderful and the staff are great.
“It’s been a big part of my life.”
Sport has also been a massive part of Mr Allen’s life. He was the school’s sports coordinator for a long time, but stepped aside to mentor other staff for the last few years. This led to region and state-wide positions including coach of the NSW and Hunter boys cricket teams, NSW PSSA cricket convenor, president of Maitland PSSA and coach of zone rugby league teams.
And while that has led Mr Allen to help shape some of the state – and now country’s – best cricketers, he just loves watching kids get involved in sport.
“You see those good kids, but you also see kids at their first and only carnival – they take a lot away from it, they make friends for life.”
His passion for sport has seen Mr Allen granted life membership to the Hunter and NSW PSSA in the past few weeks – the cherry on top of his retirement.
“[The state membership] was a bit of a surprise,” he said.
“It’s certainly something I don’t seek, but it was a nice way to finish the career.”
Outside of sport, Mr Allen said it had been rewarding to see kids develop and nice to see them come back with stories of success – such as former student Alexandra Fletcher who recently topped the state in HSC Visual Arts.
The retiree said he planned to relax, enjoy plenty of fishing, gardening and reading, but also come back for a touch of casual teaching next year.