June 12, 2020 has been designated OSTA’s Driver Appreciation Day, a day in which we recognize and thank our many dedicated yellow bus, wheelchair bus, van drivers and walking school bus (WSB) leaders for getting students to and from school every day. For the past 5 years we have set aside a special day to recognize the efforts of drivers and WSB leaders who transport approximately 60,000 students to and from OCDSB and OCSB schools each day. This year should be no different and that’s why, for the safety of all staff and drivers, we have decided to hold a virtual event. We have asked students across both school boards to share their thanks with us on social media so their drivers and WSB leaders get the recognition they deserve!
On Driver Appreciation Day – and indeed every day – OSTA offers it sincere thank you to all professional school bus and van drivers, and to our WSB leaders for their service and dedication. We couldn’t do it without you!
Thank you to all yellow bus, wheelchair bus, van drivers and WSB leaders for the challenging work of bringing students to school safely and ready to learn – from all of us at OSTA
Every year, bus operators submit nominations for the GEM Awards for drivers who go the extra mile. The GEM awards celebrate outstanding contributions that school bus drivers make every school day transporting OCDSB and OCSB students to and from school.
This year’s winners are:
Ifrah Hassan (STS)
Ifrah has worked with STS since 2008. She has always been committed to providing professional service and goes the extra mile by treating the students that she drives as her own and implements a firm but fair policy in her van. Ifrah is such a natural when it comes to caring for children; returning forgotten lunches or a pair of snow pants in her free time is simply part of the job for Ifrah.
Mark Lecuyer (M.L. Bradley)
Mark has gone above and beyond in his duties as a school bus driver by taking extra time to provide M.L. Bradley drivers with training videos on how to access particularly difficult charter destinations. Mark’s efforts have provided support to drivers on what sometimes can be lonely journeys, and we sincerely thank him for taking the time to help.
Kathy Jones (Premier Bus Lines)
Kathy has shown patience, politeness and concern for the safety of the students she drives to school every day. You can see the personnel dynamic she has developed with the students as well as the comfort and comradery.
When I informed one parent that I wanted to put Kathy forward for this award, she said she wanted to send me a quick note of how she felt about Kathy.
Kathy is an amazing person. She was always so upbeat and had a smile every day. My son always was waiting for her to come pick him up. She never got phased about what needed to be done day to day. Even when there were equipment troubles, she made sure my son was safe and listened to his concerns and addressed the issues. Kathy is a very caring person and always had her students’ interest at heart. – Parent
Ahmed Hassan (DTL)
Ahmed Hassan has proven to be extremely reliable, friendly, and a great example of what all drivers should strive to be. He has always showed a great deal of kindness and concern for all students he has driven to and from school. There have been multiple occasions where he has gone above and beyond his duties, however it would be a book I would be writing instead of a simple nomination.
Svetlana Mironova (Ottawa Safety Council – Walking School Bus)
Svetlana Mironova works for the Ottawa Safety Council as a Walking School Bus Leader and an Adult Crossing Guard. Svetlana has been a Walking School Bus Leader since the start of the program back in September of 2014. This past year Svetlana has shown exemplary commitment to her duties. With the sudden retirement of a co-worker, Svetlana stepped up and covered extra routes allowing the Ottawa Safety Council time to secure a new permanent guard.
Svetlana shows up each morning on time with a smile, reporting and problem solving any challenges the children may face. According to Svetlana, she loves working with children because they are such positive and energetic individuals that it feels like fun, rather than work to be with them.
Svetlana, your commitment to this program has really shone this past year. The Ottawa Safety Council, as well as the children and parents of Woodroffe P.S. and Sir Winston Churchill P.S. thank you!
Rick Davis (STS)
Wilson Innocent (STS)
Peter Larocque (M&R Student Transportation)
Ali Pakdham (Voyago)
Enjoy an online school bus puzzle: