THE OHS NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY hosted a Bus Driver Appreciation Breakfast on Tuesday, Oct. 25 in the Owosso Performing Arts Center Lobby. Each of the bus drivers was honored with a certificate, a gift bag and a delicious breakfast created by sous chefs from the culinary arts program.
Shown are members of the National Honor Society under Mrs. Laskowski, who thoughtfully organized and planned the event – and the OHS Culinary Arts sous chefs with the team of bus drivers in attendance. Renee Secor-Jenks is the OPS Transportation Supervisor (far right, 2nd row).
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
As many know, Michigan school districts continue to grapple with filling bus driver positions and this is also true of Shiawassee County. Owosso Public Schools currently has 12 full-time drivers with three full-time subs, but as OPS Transportation Supervisor Renee Secor-Jenks shared, there is a need for more.
On Tuesday morning, Oct. 25, members of the OHS National Honor Society (NHS) under the guidance of Mrs. Laskowski, presented a celebratory breakfast to honor Owosso’s bus drivers for their continuous efforts in getting students to and from schools safely. Along with the NHS students, who had carefully organized the event, members of the Owosso Culinary Arts Program assisted in creating the meal. The breakfast was held in the front lobby of the Performing Arts Center. The tables were decorated and each bus driver was presented with a certificate of appreciation and a gift bag for their contribution to the district. The NHS students and Culinary Arts Program sous chefs waited on the bus drivers, filling coffee cups or providing water.
According to Secor-Jenks, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a school bus driver is in relationship building. She explained how the drivers strive to learn the names of the students, paying attention to birthdays, holidays and other special happenings. She added that it is often the bus driver that can start a “student’s day off just right” simply by offering an affirming comment. Not every student necessarily is leaving an ideal environment in pursuit of scholastic involvement in the morning, but a kind comment from a bus driver can be a positive endorsement, motivating that student to have a positive day. Contemporary bus drivers are tasked with accommodating students across a broad spectrum of backgrounds, students who are often dealing with complex issues. Education is not as simple as the basics of reading, writing and math: particularly in 2022.
Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle shared the district recognizes a bus driver could be the first person a student sees every morning and possibly the last person they see in the evening. She emphasized the significance of that relationship for many students as often being key to the learning environment and how they cope in school. Tuttle stated she is continuously impressed with bus drivers and their accomplishments – which go far beyond safely delivering students, though that is obviously important, as well.
If interested in becoming a school bus driver, Secor-Jenks suggested calling the OPS Transportation Department directly. Driver training is still being offered. A trainee initially would be required to pay for their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), but the school fully compensates drivers for their training.
Likewise, many area schools are also seeking bus drivers. To find out more on becoming a bus driver, call the Shiawassee Regional Education Service District or contact the individual school districts.