HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL)— One local bus driver has seen four generations of students pass through her doors. That is more generations than any other bus driver in Harris County.
Sandy Sturges first started driving buses for the Harris County School District (HCSD) on Oct. 1, 1977. This year marks her 45th year ensuring her students make it to and from school safely. She is the longest-serving bus driver for HCSD.
“For someone to drive a school bus for 45 years, that is an exceptional accomplishment,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Services and Technology Dr. Justin Finney exclaimed. “Ms. Sandy is one of our very best drivers. The kids love her, and it just means everything in the world to us that she has served this county and served these students for so long.”
Dr. Finney says many of the parents of Ms. Sturges’ riders rode her bus as well. One 4th grader, Zeri, says her father rode her bus when he was growing up. Across the years, students recall being met by the same, smiling face every time they got on the bus.
“My favorite thing about Ms. Sandy is whenever I come on the bus, she is always smiling, and she greets me on the bus. She says good morning and then I just say good morning back to her. That’s how I know she is a kind-hearted person,” Zeri said.
Zeri went on to say Ms. Sturges always takes the time to get to know the students and never forgets to catch up with them after a weekend or holiday break. Sturges says watching her students like Zeri grow up is her favorite part of the job.
“Seeing how they start on my bus. I had one not long ago, she basically crawled up the steps because she was in pre-K and now, she’s getting a little bit taller. So, she can get up the steps by herself with the handrail. It’s good, I like to see what they accomplish in life through their schooling,” Sturges explained.
In her 45 years of driving, Sturges’ bus has never been involved in a wreck. She says this is due largely to her riders honoring her rules, and her awareness of the roads.
“It’s not easy. I’m not going to say it’s easy. You, got to be with it every day. You can’t get on that bus and say, ‘okay, I’ve been driving ten years. I’ve got this.’ You can’t because every day you’re going to meet a different challenge that you didn’t meet the day before,” she informed.
Sturges says safe commutes are only possible with the collaboration of fellow motorists sharing the roadways. To these motorists she asks, “Please slow down and watch those lights. Get ready to stop, and don’t get so close behind us.” In addition to this, she recommends all drivers who share their commute with school buses to allow extra travel time to avoid being rushed on the roadway.
While Sturges has set the record for the longest amount of time serving as a bus driver for the county, she says her time behind the wheel is not over. She plans to continue driving for at least a few more years.
“I love my job… I’ve been in this community a long, long time. A long time, and it means a lot. I love going somewhere and they say, ‘Hey, Ms. Sandy,’ you know, and walking in somewhere they say, ‘Hey, Ms. Sandy,’ I love it.”