Nearly 100 miles, 150 students and 23 bus stops.
This is Darlene Bashaw’s daily routine. She is a school bus driver for Cascade Student Transportation and drives for the West Ada School District.
“I love my job, except for the traffic,” Bashaw said.
Bashaw’s job is to get kids safely to and from school. But she also wants every student to feel welcomed on her bus.
“These kids start the school day with me and end the day with me,” Bashaw said. “I want to make my students feel special.”
Bashaw makes plastic canvas name plates for her elementary, middle and high school riders. The magnetic name plates are shaped as a ruler, pencil or school bus and placed above each seat on the bus. This is how Bashaw arranges assigned seating.
“I didn’t like the stickers we used for name tags,” Bashaw said. “I wanted something different that would bring personality to my bus and it’s a way to learn names.”
It takes Barshaw a month to make more than 150 name plates at the beginning of the school year. At the end of the year, the students get to keep them.
“I love how colorful the bus is,” said Keeli Duncan, a fourth-grader at Mary McPherson Elementary School. “Mrs. Darlene always gets us home safely.”
Barshaw has been driving a bus for 13 years. She started her career transporting senior citizens back-and-forth from a retirement center. Her family moved to Meridian five years ago from Salem, Ore., and Barshaw decided to work with children.
“I have my days when the kids have a lot of energy, but I think my students are awesome,” Barshaw said. “I wouldn’t change a thing about my job and what I do.”