Meet Shawna Swaine, head bus driver!
What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
The students and their families are my absolute favorite aspect of my job. Over time, bonds and relationships are formed that last well past high school graduation. The last 20 years I have shared so many moments with so many families. Being a school bus driver you wear many hats: Nurse, mom, gramma, or counselor. Hugs are given because they miss mommy or daddy, bandaid a “boo-boo,” or fix a broken toy. Years later, you hug them after break ups, fights with friends, family issues, general problems. Years of pictures: Prom dresses, sleepover stories, sport stats, college visits and choices and vacations have all been shared. You learn quickly as a driver that the children we drive become like our own.
Why do you believe in and support the work of the Minisink Valley School District and what it does for the community?
I am a 1988 graduate of MVHS. My three children are all graduates as well. There is no greater compliment than ” coming back,” in my opinion. I could not imagine raising my children to be anything other than Minisink Warriors. I feel between the district and community we are the “Minisink family.” Our community revolves around our school district. Teachers, administrators, retirees, families and students support our district in so many incredible ways. Whether it be a sporting event, fundraiser or coming together for a member in need we are always here for each other. This makes our district unique. Minisink has made some very tough decisions this past year. Its focus has always first and foremost, the children and their safety.
How has this pandemic refocused the work you do every day?
This past year has taught me so much about who we are as a district. Meal deliveries started a week after the pandemic hit. Our district bonded together and made it happen. Our buses ran five days a week. Our mechanics, drivers, monitors, cafeteria staff, administrators, teachers, aids, coaches and nurses worked together doing meal deliveries. Children made banners they hung outside their homes, drew pictures and made cards to thank everyone. Parents made masks and brought them to the bus garage to say thank you. We are a team, it was a true testament as to who we are as a community.
For me, personally, it showed me how the little things we do daily can be so taken for granted. I am definitely more thankful, appreciative, patient and compassionate to others. The little things are the big things in life that matter the most.
What do you want to say directly to the community about the importance of your work?
I am grateful everyday for the work I do. The children are our future, being able participate in their worlds and seeing them grow is a gift . Speaking from a “driver” standpoint…please be patient! We know we are slowing your commute, but we carry the most precious cargo. Be alert, stop for our reds, we will do our best to find a safe spot to let you pass. Safety is our goal and we love what we do.