The week of Feb. 11-15 is North Carolina’s School Bus Driver Appreciation Week (or “Love the Bus” Week), and each day one of our dedicated drivers will be introduced to the HCPS family.
The length of Delwin Hyder’s driving career can be marked by the generation of her own family currently riding her school bus.
“I was pregnant with my daughter when I started. That was a good job for me to have while I was raising her because it didn’t take all my day,” Hyder said. “And then she started school and I could keep an eye on her – she rode my bus.”
Now, she said, “I’ve got my grandkids riding with me.”
Hyder started working for Henderson County Public Schools in 1979, first at the old Tuxedo Elementary School, then Upward Elementary and Flat Rock Middle – where she’s based today.
Hyder said, “I drove a big bus for years, and also did custodial,” for about 13 years until the physical demands of custodial work became difficult. She switched to driving an Exceptional Children bus for students with special needs, and has come to love the variation – both in the ages of her riders and in the routes she travels.
“She not only drives a bus in the morning and afternoon, she also does midday routes,” said Bruce Gilliam, assistant principal at Flat Rock.
For example, Hyder said, “I go to Blue Ridge Community College and pick up kids at the Innovative High Schools … and they have to have a way back to their (base) schools.” Gilliam added, “She goes and gets kids at different partner organizations and locations and takes them home.”
That means Hyder’s daily transporting high schoolers thinking about exams, and preschoolers ready for a nap.
“I’m on the bus a lot,” she said, laughing. “I drive from one end of the county to the other.”
But Hyder wouldn’t have it any other way.
“She’s one of the most dependable ladies I’ve ever been around – ever,” Gilliam said. “I don’t think she’s missed a day here in the three years I’ve been at Flat Rock.”
In fact, the only time Hyder’s missed work was when she was battling breast cancer in 2013.
“I was taking chemo, so I was out from August to January,” she said.
During that time, Hyder got involved with the Women Helping Women program through the Pardee Hospital Foundation, and even then her love of bus driving shown through; take a walk through the Pardee Kayden Radiology Center, and you’ll spot a photo of Hyder with her bus.
Now healthy and happy, Hyder has been clocking in every day since her brief hiatus and doesn’t mind the long hours a 3-route day creates.
“I just don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t drive my bus at that time of the day,” she said.
– By Molly McGowan Gorsuch
Public Information Officer