Honoring their school bus drivers Middle-school students prepare breakfast buffet for 21 adults at Old Mill

February 01, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Five mornings a week, school bus driver Jenny Decker picks up energetic, seat-fidgeting children at stops on Burns Crossing Road in Severn and carefully drives them to Old Mill Middle School South in Millersville.

Yesterday, it was the students' turn to serve her and 20 other Old Mill bus drivers by preparing a buffet-style breakfast at the school.

"This is wonderful," said Ms. Decker, who has driven a school bus for two years. "Very few schools do this. We all look forward to it."

Seven students brought out pans of scrambled eggs, noodle and broccoli casserole and bagels for the bus drivers in the school's cafeteria.

"They do so much for us," said eighth-grader Brian Rodrique, 13. "We never do anything for them."

Bobby Linkins, also a 13-year-old eighth-grader, saw it the same way. "It's nice to do something for them," Bobby said.

The breakfast is the brainchild of Assistant Principal Ed Scofko, who was looking for a way to thank the bus drivers. It has been a school tradition for five years.

"This is a team," Mr. Scofko said. "For many of the children, this is the first school official they see. I consider the bus ride to school the first class of the day."

Being a bus driver is not as easy a job as people may think, said Gerald Kabo, supervisor of bus drivers for the Old Mill and Severna Park area.

Drivers are expected to navigate the roads with expertise and are responsible for the safety of their passengers.

"You have the most precious commodity Anne Arundel County has to offer sitting behind you, and that's the children," Mr. Kabo said. "And you have to worry about motoring in and among the people who also use the roads."

Sharon Kilgore, who has been picking up children in the Hastings Hunt community in Severn for six years, called the safety of the students her No. 1 priority.

"When the weather's not perfect, I always tell my supervisor, 'I'm going to be running late,' " Ms. Kilgore said. "I'd rather explain why I was running late than explain an accident."

Some of the students who prepared the breakfast said they appreciate the difficulty of a school bus driver's job.

"I think they have a hard job," said Jessica Linkins, 11, a sixth-grader. "A lot of people jump up and down, and they have to keep their eyes on the road."

Andrea Hanback, 13, an eighth-grader, said she and her friends "try sitting in the back and shutting up."

Ralph Denton, a bus driver for 11 years, acknowledged the difficulties, but said he enjoys the job because of the children.

"When you get to know them and they get to know you, it gets to be one happy family," he said.

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