This group of dedicated drivers decided to donate their time and efforts to put together a bus safety plan for the year. They began by meeting in August to set up safety education classes for Bainbridge and Roachdale Elementary schools and the sixth grade class at the Middle School.
"We wanted students to understand why we have certain rules and how distracting so many things on the bus can be and how dangerous," said Driver Jim Hazelwood.
In their training sessions kids learned about the rules of the School Ride Guide and enjoyed a competition of bus safety questions. The program carried over into the class rooms with teachers participating.
"We need to do this more often and we'll continue to extend this program," said Hazelwood.
In October the drivers celebrated National Bus Safety Week with programs to reinforce what they taught students earlier. Kids were asked to enter a coloring contest in which the winning pictures will be featured in next years' program.
Fourth and fifth grade students participated in an essay contest. They had to reference something they learned about the rules of safety.
Fifth Grade Essay Winner Madalyn DeLattre wrote about some of the rules of safety.
"I learned you should always face the front when you ride. Keep your fee out of the aisle. Never lean over the seat. Don't distract the bus driver by screaming and yelling," she said in her essay.
Some other options were offered for students to take part in. These included a video, activity books, songs, a cut and paste bus for the younger students and extra coloring pictures, all of which had a bus safety theme.
Winners of the coloring and essay contests for Roachdale Elementary are as follows:
Essay winners: Ethan Winnings, fourth grade and Samantha Bathauer, Fifth grade. Coloring contest winners are Justice Riggen and Taylor Louk, Kindergarten; Lexi Claycomb, first; Lilly Brown and Jaden Day, second grade; Emily O'Neal and Cooper Strasburger, third grade; Maddie Criss and Katera Weist, fourth grade.
Winners from Bainbridge Elementary for the essay are Aleah Duncan, fourth grade; Lauren Johnston, Isaac Steven Sosbe, Roger Lopez, Lauren Horner, Skyler Ramsey, Madalyn DeLattre, Lauren Johnston Faythe Schultz, Anna Roach, Bobby Scheele and Mackenzie Taylor, all fifth grade students.
Wendy's donated frosty coupons as the prize for winners.
Drivers taking part in the program are Barb Schultz, Lynn Sweet, Jim Hazelwood, Ann Wood, Deanna Livesay, Michelle Hager, Barb Lawhorn, Judy Sanford, Tina Spencer, Kila Dallacosta, Heather Dorsett, Mandy Cox and Penny Rush.
The drivers have also been working on emergency folders for all the buses that will include a student list, route map, school maps, key personnel phone numbers and emergency procedures as well as instructions for conducting emergency exit drills on the school buses.
"These provide a ten foot safety zone so the kids are always in the view of the driver," said Assistant Superintendent Kevin Emsweller. "It helps the bus drivers know where the soft zone is."
"This program will get better and better. I just don't see any down side to it," he concluded.