Jeri Gorsline has been a driver for Vicksburg (Mich.) Community Schools since 1971. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday. - Photo courtesy Karen McKinstry

Jeri Gorsline has been a driver for Vicksburg (Mich.) Community Schools since 1971. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday.

Photo courtesy Karen McKinstry

A school bus driver for Vicksburg (Mich.) Community Schools is celebrating five decades of driving a school bus for her district.

Jeri Gorsline, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday, has been driving the yellow bus since 1971. She got her start at Vicksburg after her sister, who was a school bus driver for the district, encouraged her to apply for a driver position, Karen McKinstry, the district’s transportation director, told School Bus Fleet. The extent of Gorsline’s training at the time, McKinstry added, was only learning how to back up the bus in a driveway.

Now, with very different training protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McKinstry said that Gorsline has continued to show her dedication to the district — showing up to drive as Vicksburg Community Schools reopened under a hybrid learning plan in September.

“Being a bus driver during COVID, it’s a lot different than Jeri thought, but our kids have been exceptional and very well behaved,” McKinstry noted. “They’re doing well with the new safety procedures and mask requirements, and Jeri has been very happy to see that.”

McKinstry added that Gorsline also appreciates “the full circle moment” of driving some of the students’ grandchildren that she drove back in 1971.

“As the transportation director, Jeri helps me make sure that we’re giving that personal touch to the families, always looking out for the students’ best interest,” she said. “Jeri's very dedicated to be here every day for her kids.”

Vicksburg Community Schools posted a statement on its Facebook page in September recognizing Gorsline for her achievements (view the post below). McKinstry said the district plans to host a greater presentation or ceremony honoring Gorsline later this year, in accordance with the district’s COVID protocols.

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