Keep­ing Ohinewai School kids safe

North Waikato News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Con­tin­u­ing with our

se­ries, reporter Caitlin Wal­lace talks to Ohinewai School care­taker Al­lan Pow­ell.

He’s only re­quired to be at Ohinewai School five days of the work­ing week. Yet Al­lan Pow­ell is of­ten there on his days off.

He’s there check­ing that ev­ery­thing is in place and no trou­ble has been caused.

The school care­taker of 15 years takes pride in keep­ing the school look­ing spick and span.

‘‘I just like com­ing to the school daily...who knows, maybe it’s old school ded­i­ca­tion,’’ he said.

In the morn­ings he will work on main­te­nance and the af­ter­noons are about clean­ing.

Pow­ell says his job is about keep­ing the chil­dren safe.

‘‘It’s prob­a­bly health and safety, for the kids know­ing they can come to a safe school.

He’s asked all sorts of funny ques­tions by the chil­dren.

One day he was seen with­out his hat and was ques­tioned why he had no hair.

The 63-year old Huntly res­i­dent was un­em­ployed be­fore pick­ing up the job.

He had been out of the work­force for about a year af­ter work­ing long hours as a bus driver, some of his routes in­cluded pick­ing up school stu­dents.

‘‘The only rea­son I fin­ished that, was be­ing a solo dad, I wanted to spend time with the kids.’’

He knew the prin­ci­pal who of­fered him the job and so he jumped at the chance.

The fa­ther to three started the po­si­tion when his youngest also en­rolled at the school.

‘‘I just car­ried on, I don’t take days off, I don’t get sick... it’s been a long jour­ney but it keeps go­ing.’’

It’s only nat­u­ral to wit­ness a num­ber of changes through­out that amount of time in a job.

tech­nol­ogy has come into play, par­tic­u­larly with the pool clean­ing sys­tem which has meant it stays blue all year round in­stead of turn­ing green in the win­ter.

Per­haps the best of all was a change in grass mowing meth­ods.

‘‘Back in the early day we used to mow lawns with a push mower... [then] we de­cided to get a ride-on mower, that was the best thing we had ever done.’’

Pow­ell also plays a part in get­ting stu­dents to and from school as bus driver from Huntly to Ohinewai. ‘‘When I drive the bus, I shut aside the school, the bus is for the kids to get to and from school safely.

‘‘Kids ask me if I en­joy driv­ing the bus, and yeah I do, it’s about safety for me.’’

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