School bus drivers awarded at banquet

By Rachel McAuley

June 13, 2014

LAURINBURG — Scotland County bus drivers on Wednesday were not only shown appreciation from their schools for their dedication to drive students safely to and from home everyday, but they were also given the chance to earn a few extra bucks and door prizes.

Hugs were given all around when Scotland County School principals, assistant principals, school board members and other representatives showed their appreciation for each of their schools’ bus drivers, substitutes and bus monitors at the Sycamore Middle School cafeteria.

“It lets you know you’re appreciated for what you do,” said Cathy Hunt, school bus monitor of I.E. Johnson Elementary.

Zachariah McNeill, of Wagram Elementary School, was voted the 2013-2014 Scotland County Bus Driver of the Year, receiving $200 along with the award.

Dr. Ron Hargrave, Scotland County Schools superintendent, recalled a moment when he was a new principal at a middle school and received a call that one of the buses overturned with 25 students inside and was thankful to learn that no one was injured.

“You transport over a million students safely each day,” Hargrave said to the group of bus drivers, bus monitors and bus mechanics sitting before him. “You set the tone for the day they’re going to have. Let them see a smiling face. Let them see someone who cares. Thank you for what you do and don’t let anyone tell you your job doesn’t matter. Every job is connected to the success of our students.”

Scotland County Schools’ Transportation Director Roger Ammons said thousands of miles were traveled throughout the school year.

“We drove those miles without any incidents,” he said. “We got the student to school safely every morning and brought them back home safely. We transported 3,833 students one way every day.”

Twenty-six bus drivers were recognized for their perfect attendance during the 2013-2014 school year and received $200 each. Eight bus drivers had perfect attendance for the last 90 consecutive days and were awarded $75 each. Two bus monitors had perfect attendance for the 2013-2014 school year and three bus monitors had perfect attendance for the last 90 consecutive days.

Each school in the county also voted for their bus driver of the year to be recognized for their hard work, dedication and patience. Each driver was awarded an incentive bonus of $100.

School board member B.J. Gibson said that it’s already “hard to deal with children in a still environment,” nevertheless a “moving environment.” He applauded the bus drivers and bus monitors for their support with the school system.

Larry McEachin has been a substitute bus driver at Scotland High School for about five years. He said that he likes attending the annual banquet to see and catch up with old friends since he doesn’t see them often. “I enjoy what I do,” he said smiling. “And I enjoy the kids.”

Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.