Taking the bus

State Superintendent June Atkinson visits county to celebrate Love the Bus Week.
Feb. 15, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

Rutherford County Schools had more to celebrate than just hearts and candy this Valentine's Day. They also celebrated a visit from State Superintendent June Atkinson.

Excitement was in the air at Ellenboro Elementary School on Thursday morning as Atkinson stepped onto one of their school buses. She met students at a bus stop and rode the bus back to the school as a way to honor bus drivers for the American School Bus Council's annual Love the Bus week.

"It was wonderful. I sat with a student who wants to be a basketball player. He told me about scoring a winning goal in the last two seconds of one of his games. I also sat with a girl named Alexis who told me all about her school and how much she likes her principal," Atkinson said. "It brought back many memories of when I was young and rode the bus."

Atkinson received a warm welcome at Ellenboro from students, teachers, principals and members of the central office. They lined the hallways and greeted her individually as she headed into a reception to honor the bus drivers.

"School buses offer the safest way for children to get to school and they are the best choice for our environment as they reduce the number of vehicles on the road," Atkinson said in a statement. "Many students would not have a ride to school if it were not for our school buses and bus drivers so I encourage principals, teachers, parents and students to find a special way to thank them for their service today and throughout the year."

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory proclaimed that Feb. 11-15 as "School Bus Driver Appreciation Week" in North Carolina. In his proclamation he said that every day in North Carolina, over 13,000 school buses carry more than 790,000 students to and from school. According to Brian McClung, transportation director for Rutherford County Schools, 100 of those buses are carrying about 45,072 students from this county.

"We are appreciative of our school transportation staff, including our bus drivers, who take great care in transporting our many students every day. They approach their duties with the utmost concern and care for the safety of our students.” said Janet Mason, Rutherford County Schools Superintendent.  “We have an outstanding team with an impeccable safety record." 

Atkinson says that taking the time to honor the drivers that do so much for the county and the state is important.

"I know all of you have busy days and children to serve, but I think it is important that we take the time to celebrate the wonderful work of bus drivers across North Carolina," Atkinson said. "I want to thank you drivers and the people you represent across North Carolina. Thank you for your work."