Voice of Real Australia: When learning is a two-way street

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Denise Perry and Tony Lewis.

Denise Perry and Tony Lewis.

We've all had them - people who flick the learning switch effortlessly. The ones who connect and inspire.

Of course, they themselves never admit to being inspirational, but decade after decade in a job is not accidental. The learning has to be a two-way street, why else would you keep turning up?

That was the case for two veterans last week. Denise Perry spent 41 years at a NSW Far South Coast school while Tony Lewis racked up 30 years as a basketball coach in the state's central west.

Ms Perry found herself a HSIE (human society and its environment) teacher. She has taught a range of subjects including history, geography, international studies, Aboriginal studies, society and culture, and legal studies. She also was a year advisor for 22 years.

Her involvement extended beyond the classroom to as far as Vietnam and Cambodia where she led students groups on community house building projects. And, after a break, Ms Perry said she's likely to continue that commitment.

Meanwhile, Mr Lewis expected his agreement to coach a Bathurst basketball team to be a one-season affair. Wrong.

Three decades on, he is preparing for yet another season coaching basketball at what is now known as Scots All Saints College.

"My mantra, especially coaching at the school but probably overall in coaching, is that I've got a job to teach them how to play basketball and how to win, but to also make them better kids, better people."

Better kids and better people, there's an idea. Much may have changed in their collective seven decades of work, but the foundation remains: people helping people.

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