RUPERT — A longtime Minidoka County bus driver was recognized Wednesday by the Idaho Education Association during Education Support Professionals Day.
Caroline Davis has been driving a school bus for the district for 51 years.
“Bus drivers are the first people students see in the morning and we can set up their day for them,” Davis said in a press release.
Davis said schools would not be the same without bus drivers, janitors, cooks and other employees.
“I have enjoyed every one of the children I have hauled,” she said. “I really get attached to the kids — they are like family.”
Since most of Minidoka covers rural areas, the roads she drives have idiosyncrasies.
“Getting stuck in the snow is a pretty common issue around here and it has happened to me quite a few times,” she said. “There’s really nothing you can do except wait for the tow truck to come and pull you out.”
If the weather doesn’t interfere, her route takes about two hours to complete.
The Education Support Professionals Day is part of American Education Week that celebrates Parents Day, Educator for a Day and Substitute Educators Day.
Davis has driven several routes during her tenure with the district and, for the past 15 years, she has primarily driven special needs students.
She has about half-dozen students on her bus this year after the district shifted away from open enrollment.
Davis comes to work early and puts on coffee for the other drivers before she heads out on her route. She’s held in high esteem by her colleagues.
“I think all of the transportation employees look up to her as a mentor and an example,” said Maria Fassett, past president of the Minidoka Education Association.
Davis has served as a building representative for years and when the district was looking at privatizing its transportation service, she mobilized employees to show how valuable they are to the community and students.
“Caroline has always been very active in sharing information about the MCEA and IEA with new hires,” Fassett said. “She distributes materials and information to the team and is a great recruiter for the association.”