Renowned for his feats on the football field, Wimmera-raised PE teacher Wayne Schultz was recognised in May by Cricket Australia for his work teaching cricket skills in schools.
Mr Schultz was awarded the Celebrating Cricket in Schools award at the 2022 National Community Cricket Awards, after being awarded the same award at the Cricket Victoria Community Awards in March.
The award recognises Mr Schultz' work at Roxburgh Park Primary School - where as well as teaching PE he is a Cricket Australia School Ambassador - in helping to drive engagement and growth in the game, among his involvement in various cricket programs and initiatives.
"I'm a bit blown away by the whole process really," Mr Schultz said of his award win.
"You just go about your job and chip away with what you do."
Mr Schultz has been at Roxburgh Park since 2019 and worked worked for School Sport Victoria in a Coordinator role between 2009-2021.
According to Mr Schultz, when he started in his role at Roxburgh Park, they only had one student participating in out-of-hours school cricket.
Mr Schultz said he saw the lack of interest as an opportunity as a facilitator to see if numbers could grow.
And grow it did. Remarkably, in early 2022, the school had 31 students participating in the after-school Cricket Blast Program.
"That's probably been the greatest highlight for me just to see not just getting the students to develop a love for movement across all areas but to see the students getting involved in the community which they really need that out where we are," he said.
"A lot of them don't participate in community sport."
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Schultz and those involved at the school were able to continue some of their cricket programs for vulnerable students and students whose parents were essential workers.
"COVID never impacted our programs, we just went remote, we still facilitated onsite, we just adjusted and did everything we could to keep students physically active for their health and wellbeing. With cricket being one of the vehicles for that," he said.
Mr Schultz said he was "beyond grateful" for experiencing the process of going through the Cricket Victoria Awards and then the National Awards.
"The experiences, the learnings and the friendships cricket's provided not just myself but our family along the way, it's been pretty awesome," he said.
"I'm sure there's far more superheroes out there honestly than myself. I feel like I should be sharing it with a lot of others out there."
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