Columbia County School System transportation workers were honored at a reception Friday at Dayspring Baptist Church.
Three employees were recognized as Bus Driver of the Year.
Shirley Cliett, who has been driving for 20 years, received the award for the Harlem/Grovetown area. Susie Culbreth, a driver with 18 years experience, received the award for the Martinez/Evans area. Jean Diamond, a driver with 21 years, received the award for the special-education department.
Sponsored by Woodmen of the World, the awards were presented by Transportation Service Manager Allen McGill, the president of the group's Harlem Lodge 1406.
Karen Arcuri, the system's driver-training and safety-education coordinator, also received special recognition from Transportation Department Director Shirley Doolittle.
The school system's business partners provided dozens of door prizes and the food and drinks for the reception.
Job Out awards were presented to drivers with perfect attendance and excellent attendance, which is considered as missing a full day or less.
Susie Culbreth, a driver with 18 years experience, received the Bus Driver of the Year award for the Martinez/Evans area from Allen McGill.
Photo by Melissa Hall
"Attendance is so critical to us," Doolittle told the drivers. "Any time you are not there, it's difficult for us to feel comfortable with the situation. You know the children, you know the stops and you know the parents."
Jim Drake, the school system's fleet manager for 17 years, was one of the retirees honored at the event. Other retirees recognized included Betty Wheeless, Mildren Wren, Oscar Taylor, Barbara Holsomback, Brigitte Koye, Anita Nabritt and Wanda Partridge.
Five years ago, the school system had 106 drivers; now it has 150, said Charles Nagle, associate superintendent of student services.
He commended the drivers not only for getting the children to school on time but also getting them there early enough to eat breakfast.
"You start their day off, and we are very appreciative," Nagle said.
Jean Diamond, a driver with 21 years, received the Bus Driver of the Year award for the special education department from Allen McGill.
Photo by Melissa Hall
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