Randolph, NJ — More than 45 bus drivers and members of the transportation department gathered on Wednesday for an end-of-the-year appreciation brunch organized by district parent, Tracey Drazek, and funded by the Randolph Education Foundation (REF).
It was an unusual scene at the transportation department. Given the nature of their work, bus drivers and staff do not have the opportunity to get together. “This is great,” said John Aymil, transportation director. “I never get to see them all together in one place.”
Drazek, who came up with the idea and made it come to fruition, explained that she felt compelled to do something to show appreciation for the bus drivers after she realized how important and difficult their job is. This realization came on May 17, when she chaperoned her third-grade son’s field trip to the Waterloo Village. She was there when she learned the news about the tragic accident of the Paramus School bus that was also transporting the kids to the Waterloo Village.
“It made me realize that you have a very hard job,” said Drazek, as she spoke to the group. “We entrust you with our most precious treasures every morning and you bring them safe back home every afternoon, and for that we can’t thank you enough.”
In her remarks, Drazek thanked the REF for providing the funding. She also acknowledged the contributions of ACME, Brooklyn Bagels, and a group of parents who donated items for the event and helped her with the preparations.
“By enabling students to come to school every day, our bus drivers are supporting our mission,” said Paola Heincke, member of the REF board who participated in the event. “I’m glad that Tracey brought the idea to us and we were able to support it. We have wonderful bus drivers in our district and it is great to have the opportunity to show them our appreciation.”
Six posters representing each of the schools in Randolph decorated the room and were part for the highlights of the event. They included creative drawings, messages, students’ signatures, and notes of “thank you” and “UR GR8” in the license plates. Some other highlights were a unique cake, created by Lindsey Ohlssen, in the shape of a school bus with the text “Thank you” written in the license plate; cookies with the words “Thank You!” donated by Sharon Ferraro; and creative favors made by Theresa Fogel with cookies, Starburst candies and a note in the shape of a star that said “BURSTING to tell you that you are an AMAZING bus driver. THANK YOU!”
Bus drivers were surprised and very appreciative. They repeatedly thanked the parents for putting together such a nice event and told them how much they love their jobs and the students. “We treat these kids as if they were our own,” said one of them.
The spirit of the event was well captured in one of the cakes served for dessert, it read: “Anyone can drive a car. It takes someone special to drive a school bus! Thank you!”
The mission of the Randolph Education Foundation is to harness the power of our community to create opportunities that inspire teachers to innovate and enable students to thrive. Randolph Education Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable trust that provides alternative funding to support education and innovation in Randolph Township Schools. Launched in 2010, the REF relies on donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations. These donations are directly applied to vital educational programming for Randolph children.