For the past 31 years, Pearlie Able has served as a dedicated school bus driver, clocking into work before sunrise to ensure children in the Rock Hill (S.C.) School District make it to school safely and on time.

For her years of dedication and service, Able has been named the 2015 South Carolina School Bus Driver of the Year, an award given annually by the South Carolina Association for Pupil Transportation (SCAPT).

Abel was surprised with the announcement during the SCAPT conference in Myrtle Beach last week.

Transportation Director Bernard Gill said Able “contributes a lot to the department and is always pleasant and has a great attitude. She inspires others.”

Able, who has not missed a day of work in the past five years, is president of the district’s bus driver committee. With more than 430 routes crisscrossing the community, Gill said Able is capable of covering all of them without directions. Additionally, she helps develop routes for other drivers, assists with nighttime service for students attending the Phoenix Academy and trains bus drivers who work with special-needs students.

In her years behind the wheel, it is estimated Able has logged more than 375,000 miles, or enough miles to circle the Earth almost 16 times.

“For nearly 8,000 students, our bus drivers are the first district employees our children see each morning,” said Rock Hill School District Superintendent Kelly Pew. “Pearlie’s dedication to the children of Rock Hill Schools is a shining example that we can all learn from. She is most deserving of this honor and [it is] one we can all celebrate with her.”

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