In honor of Bus Drivers Appreciation Week, they were asked to share their favorite stories or what they love about being a bus driver. Here are some of their responses:
After 20 years of Service there are lots of memories that I have, and it is hard to choose. A few of my memories are at Christmas time. I have received many ornaments and other gifts from my students on the bus. I have kept them all, except the food ones as those are gone and very well enjoyed. As I decorate, I enjoy looking at them and remembering the student who has given me that gift. It puts a smile on my face and my family is surprised that I can remember pretty much everyone who has given me that ornament or decoration. Another one is when you have a tradition on your bus singing the 12 Days of Christmas. We do these the last 12 days before Christmas break. Each day we add a day and each day a different student leads the rest of the students in singing. There have been years where I forget, and the students remind me by saying Ms. Natalie shouldn't we be doing the 12 Days of Christmas soon. Students that have graduated ask if we still do the 12 Days of Christmas and tell me they loved doing that every year. The relationships that you gain and build throughout the years are amazing. And are probably the best memories of them all. When you watch a student come on the bus as a Junior Kindergartner or Kindergartner and later walk off one last time as a Senior, you hope that you made a difference in their lives.
-- Natalie Lukes (Bus #25)
I have been driving a school bus for Baldwin-Woodville Schools since 2014, first as a substitute driver. Previously, I drove school bus for Hudson Schools.
I enjoy the interaction I have with the students. You get to know about their interests and lives. As a school bus driver, I am often the first and last adult, other than a child’s parent/guardian a student sees in a day. A driver must be diligent in observation not only regarding safe driving, but also of a problem a student might be encountering.
I have an unofficial daily contest on my bus of who can tell me the best “Dad Joke” of the day. I have multiple students that like to sit in the first rows of seats on the school bus and share a joke like, “Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because, the scarecrow was outstanding in their field.”
If a student has a birthday, I’ll get the entire bus load to sing happy birthday. One of the things that amazes my wife is when we are out in public, is the number of students that always run up to us and great me as their school bus driver. A student acknowledgement that I am their school bus driver is very special to me. I truly enjoy driving school bus for Baldwin-Woodville Schools.
-- Doug Jamieson (Bus No. 16)
The memories I have of driving bus...Over the past 24 years I have received many great letters, drawings, pages colored, and I have enjoyed every single one of them. Little do they know that every time one of them gives me something like this I take it home and put it on my refrigerator to enjoy. It brings joy to me every time I walk past them at my house. It also always puts a huge smile on my face when I am in public and students, either past or present, come up to me and say Hi. Past students also talk about their days when they rode my bus and their fondest memories. One of the things I remember the most though is what a great bunch of kids I've had the honor of driving to school and back home at the end of the school day. All the good mornings, good nights, and have a great weekend from them are what stands out to me and really makes me happy. My past and present students are truly special to me and will always have a special place in my heart.
-- Kay Briles (Bus No. 10)
For 37 plus years, it has been my job and pleasure to safely transport kids of all ages to and from school, on field trips and sporting events. I started my career with Baldwin-Woodville Schools and transferred to the St. Paul area where I taught classroom, trained drivers in the safe operation of a school bus. This was full time work. Four years ago, I retired and came back to the B-W School District.
There are challenges and rewards. Challenges: Inclement weather, making turns and finding parking spaces when on field trips. However, my biggest challenge is other drivers and choices they make around school buses. Nobody wants to be behind a bus, so they pull out in front and tailgate in the rear. Neither is safe. Headlights are optional. However, in inclement weather such as fog, snow, and ran it is difficult to see these vehicles. See and be seen. Turn signals are not an option. Let others know your intentions so they can make allowances. A Bus Driver sits up higher and uses seven mirrors to help keep track of possible hazards that may pose a problem. Safety and buses should be everyone’s priority.
The rewards I experience daily are my students and the biggest picture window ever. I treasure the ability to watch all four seasons come and go. Nature is amazing and I love the view.
The students are what make the job rewarding, knowing I can make a difference in their day, as well as they can make a difference in mine. Knowing their names and letting them know your expectations as a rider make student management easy. Yes, there are instances that require reprimand. Keeping students reminded of the safety rules is a necessity.
In summary, I love my job and have met some amazing kids and co-workers on this journey. I would ask that we all be proactive when sharing the road by making safe choices.
-- Faye Bergin (Bus No. 8)