The week of Feb. 12-16 is North Carolina’s School Bus Driver Appreciation Week, and each day one of our dedicated drivers will be introduced to the HCPS family.
With 22 years behind the wheel, Chuck Evans has seen his share of students literally grow up before his eyes. But more than that, Evans said driving a big yellow school bus has given him insight into how students blossom during their first few years in school.
“Bus riding is part of the maturing process that kids have to go through,” said the Atkinson Elementary bus driver. “As you actually work with them in the process of the first year, you see they mature and learn about the school system and behavior, and listening to people,” said Evans.
He fondly recalls the story of a particular 3rd-grader, who was beside himself when he started riding the bus to school.
“What really endeared me to (the student) was, when he got on the bus, the child cried with the most unbelievable crying all the way,” Evans said. Eventually, the student grew out of crying on the school bus, but Evans said, “It really was an adjustment process.”
“I can observe a maturing process that takes place in kindergarten and even up to the 5th grade,” said Evans. “The bus is as much a part of their learning process as the school room itself.”
Evans has been driving Atkinson students to and from school since 2010, when he retired as senior pastor at Pinecrest Presbyterian Church in Highland Lake. Long before his retirement, though, Evans served as a substitute bus driver for Henderson County Public Schools in the late 1980s, and took on Atkinson’s morning routes in 1996.
“I have driven in all the schools on the East side,” he said.
Atkinson principal Mark Page said the school is lucky to have Evans in the Cougar family.
“He is an incredibly kind, spiritual, and humble man. He always has a smile, even through challenging times,” Page said. “He wouldn’t tell you this, but he also whistles and sings when he drives.”
“I like to welcome kids with a bright spirit in the morning when they get on the bus,” Evans said. “I do see it as my responsibility to have them in a good frame of mind when they start school.”
– By Molly McGowan Gorsuch
Public Information Officer