DOBSON — When schools have let out, and every student has been safely transported home, what do you do next?
If you’re the Surry County Schools, you throw a party.
Not to celebrate that the kids are gone, but to honor the more than 100 school bus drivers crisscrossing the county each school day.
On the last day of the academic year, county schools let out early. With buses finishing their routes early, a luncheon awaited drivers at the county Transportation Services center off Atkins Street here in Dobson.
Inside the garage area, tables and chairs were set up for drivers as they arrived to park their buses for the summer break.
Just outside the garage, assistant superintendent Chuck Graham manned the grill, cooking hundreds of hot dogs.
Graham, who is retiring at the end of the month, said this would be his 13th year cooking for the appreciation luncheon.
“The first year they kind of suckered me into it because it was cloudy and wasn’t that hot,” he joked.
He wasn’t the only school official roped into duty. Helping on the serving line were the superintendent and three members of the county board of education: Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves, board chair Dr. Terri Mosley, Earlie Coe and Clark Goings.
Rodney Hardy, director of transportation, said the school district has about 120 bus drivers. With personnel from the nearby central office also invited to attend, Hardy estimated that about 175 people enjoyed lunch that day.
Drawing just as much attention as the food was a three-ring baseball card album. Only, what were inside the album weren’t exactly baseball cards.
Hardy said he had this idea of creating a sports card for each of the drivers and maybe the principals and assistant principals for the whole district.
It was an ambitious project that would require biographical details about each driver, a good photo and someone talented with graphic design to pull off the creation.
The last part was easy, according to Hardy. All he had to do was look across the dinner table. His wife has Laura Hardy Creative in Pilot Mountain.
Laura wasn’t familiar with baseball cards, he said, so he showed her a lot of Topps cards so she could get a feel for the classic designs. Then she ran with it.
One driver loved her card so much she asked if she could take it home with her. Hardy said he expected people would want a copy so he had two of each made.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.