By: Madison Bowden
Remember the people who pick you up early in the morning and drop you off after a long day at school? For some students, bus drivers are the first people they see in the morning. If you didn’t know, the time to show special appreciation to them is today. March 18 is Bus Driver Appreciation Day! Some officially celebrate school bus driver appreciation day on February 22, but March 18 officially recognizes all bus drivers. The students of CHS would like to thank all 479 bus drivers for their service towards Cherokee County.
Approximately 25,000 students in Cherokee County ride the bus in the morning and 28,000 ride in the afternoon. That’s a lot of kids to take care of, but the bus drivers of Cherokee County take on the job with enthusiasm and personal dedication. Most have actually taken the time to form relationships with students, identifying them by name, and taking interest in their day.
This effort of driving a bus should be easy for them because all drivers must have gone through three weeks of training prior to acquiring their CDL (commercial drivers license). However, the care and concern the drivers instill into their jobs goes far beyond driving.
“Cherokee County School District’s Transportation Department is committed to providing safe, professional, and reliable transportation for eligible students. This includes transportation to and from school, educational field trips, athletic trips, and all other approved activities. We also provide on-going training for all department personnel to ensure adherence to all federal, state, and county regulations regarding school bus transportation.”– Jim Georges, Director Transportation/Routing Operations
Getting kids to school everyday is a very important job, but it is easily underrated. In all, the CCSD bus fleet drives 4.5 million miles per year, and many bus drivers still drive very run-down buses with no air conditioning. Also, some drivers volunteer to drive for field trips and provide athletic transportation.
Dennis Roberts drives bus #25. He drives for Clayton Elementary, Teasley Middle School, and Cherokee High School. This year will be his 18th year driving for Cherokee County.
When he was asked “How long have you been driving a school bus,” he said:
18 years. 16 of which have been at Clayton Elementary.
When he was asked “What’s your favorite memory from being a part of the CCSD,” his response was:
Teamwork. Every one works together using all available resources to ensure all the students get to and from school on time each and every day.
When he was asked “What’s a funny / memorable memory from being a part of the CCSD,” he said:
Little kids and their perception of things. Sometimes we forget how innocently they see the world. If only adults were that way again.
Kenleigh Spence is a freshman who rides Mr. Roberts’ bus.
Mr. Roberts always has a smile on his face. He knows how to make your day. He’s never late picking up or dropping off students.Kenleigh Spence
We always make safety our top priority. It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure. Always expect the unexpected.
Angie Naves drives bus #32. She currently drives for Clayton Elementry School, Teasley Middle School, and Cherokee High School.
When she was asked “How long have you been driving a school bus,” she said:
27 years. 2 years on special needs bus as an attendant/ driver. 25 years full time route and Clayton ES where myself, by brother, sister, my children, and 2 grandchildren, have also attended Clayton.
When she was asked “What’s your favorite memory from being a part of the CCSD,” her response was:
Seeing current and past students around town and hearing “Ms. Angie” and then telling me I was the best.
When she was asked “What’s a funny / memorable memory from being a part of the CCSD,” she said:
I had a special need student strip his clothes off and throw them out the window! I also had a special need student that made cow sounds the whole route! Another time, a student wanted to see if he could get a quarter up his nose and he did! I had to call 911 and he was taken to the ER!
I have had so many memorable moments – it’s really hard to remember them all. I love getting to see different personalities and getting to know so many students and parents. It’s a great job.
Madison Bowden is a freshman that rides Ms. Angie’s bus.
Ms. Angie is the best bus driver I’ve had. She is always polite towards her students and she is a very pleasant person in general.Madison Bowden
Here are some additional facts provided by CCSD Transportation about our CCSD drivers.
- Combined with the 479 regular route drivers, 60 of them are special needs drivers.
- All bus drivers must attend continuing education classes.
CHS thanks all their 479 drivers for their dedication and their hard work towards the CCSD. We love our bus drivers!