Pupil transporters nationwide are letting the high school seniors they transport know that they are proud of them with a timely tribute: organizing school buses in their fleets to form “2020,” for their graduation year.
Christopher Taft, a First Student location manager in Dover, N.H., told School Bus Fleet that 48 of his bus drivers, as well as driver trainers and office personnel, arranged 22 buses to read as the year from above to honor all of the seniors attending three local school districts and surrounding towns on May 8.
The employees also made a banner to recognize all the routes and first names of the drivers for all 36 bus routes, as well as signs to celebrate the seniors, he added. The drivers stood six feet apart inside the zeroes of the 2020 bus formation, along with Taft.
Since March, area school districts have been conducting online learning, Fosters.com reports, and it is uncertain whether traditional commencement ceremonies will be held.
The parking lot of a college campus was able to accommodate the nearly two dozen buses. The First Student location hired a photographer, Memories Studio, which used a drone to take aerial photos, according to Fosters.com.
Taft told SBF that his son is a senior, and that his son’s best friend from first grade, a senior who attends one of the local high schools, showed up to the celebration.
“[We] worked every angle to show that the drivers and all staff celebrate [the seniors’] success,” he added.
Meanwhile, in Washington state, the East Valley School District 361 transportation department in Spokane Valley similarly recognized its seniors, adjusting to the change in plans brought about by the pandemic on Monday. Ten bus drivers positioned the 22 buses to read “2020” from the air.
Lorri Smith, the district’s transportation director, told SBF that, given the smaller size of the district (it transports about 2,800 students daily), many of its drivers take the same students to and from school starting from preschool and ending with graduation, and get to know them well over the years.
“They hold a special place in their hearts for our kids,” she added. “This was a small token from the transportation department to honor our seniors.”
The local newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, posted photos of the bus formation on Instagram, and it has been on several different social media platforms and shared like wildfire. The district said in a post on its Facebook page that the buses were brought to a former campus that now houses the Spokane County Sheriff's Regional Training Facility.
“It's so humbling to know what a small token such as this is so appreciated by students, staff, and the community as a whole,” Smith said.
A California school district was also among those giving graduating seniors a school bus shout-out.
Brice Sunderland, the pupil transportation director for Chaffey Joint Union High School District in Ontario, told SBF that the district’s drivers came up with the idea for using 22 school buses to read “2020” after seeing a similar photo on Facebook.
One of the district’s drivers is a parent of a senior in the district, so she was the driving force in setting it up, he added.
The transportation department began setting up the buses in a campus parking lot on the morning of May 5. It took about two-and-a-half hours to complete; the drivers used a whiteboard to map out where to place the buses, Sunderland said, and the Ontario Police Department took aerial photos.