The third week in October – this year from Oct. 17-21 – is National School Bus Safety Week, an event that shines a light on the safe transport of students to and from school.
In Mayfield, safety is a year-round feature of a job that the district’s school bus drivers love, a job that some have enjoyed for decades.
Jay Ellis is in his 30th year working in the MCSD transportation and building and grounds department. He joined the staff after graduating from Mayfield High School and began driving a school bus when he reached age 21. “The kids are the best part of the job,” Jay said. “You are taught how to drive a bus, but you learn about everything else as you go along. I try to share that with newer drivers, talking about what works and what doesn’t, to help them out.”
The students are also Steve Hathaway’s favorite part of driving a school bus. “The best part of the job is getting to know them in kindergarten and watching them grow up until they graduate, especially when you can stay with the same bus route for that long,” he said. Steve, who is also a Mayfield graduate, works as a mechanic and substitute bus driver and joined the staff in 2004.
Mike Angus started driving school bus for Mayfield four years ago because he said he “wanted a nice, easy retirement job, and it’s working out well.” After a 30-year career as a Gloversville firefighter and EMT, Mike said that as a bus driver, “the little ones keep me going. It’s a great job.”
Ryan Lorey is in his third year as an MCSD school bus driver, a job, he said, “that’s changed my life. It’s the best job I’ve ever had, with the energy of the students, the morning and afternoon routines, and their stories.”
Ryan’s past employment includes work as a police officer and Department of Environmental Conservation ranger, and he drives a limousine and reports for the Fulton County Area News in addition to driving for Mayfield.
“My dad was a school bus driver as a second job when he was a police detective in Gloversville,” Ryan said, “and I used to love going with him on bus runs. I look forward to coming to work here to drive a school bus.”
When asked what advice he’d give the community about school buses, Ryan said, “Be aware of buses on the road and know that flashing amber lights mean the bus is about to stop, and flashing red lights mean you have to stop and cannot pass – that’s the law. Also know that we have cameras that can record license plates, faces and audio of other drivers.”
“When you see a school bus, you’ve got to have a little patience,” said Jay Ellis. “Put yourself in the bus driver’s position, with 30 to 50 kids sitting behind you while you are doing your job driving at the same time.”
Steve Hathaway asks other users of the road to “Be diligent. Flashing yellow lights mean the bus is preparing to stop. Be aware.”