FHSD Bus Driver Hannah Scharfenberg - A Champion of Bus Safety

Posted on 08/06/2019
Hannah Scharfenberg and her daughter hold bus safety competition awards

While the FHSD transportation Department is new this year, what’s not new is the dedication and skill of many of the bus drivers. For Hannah Scharfenberg, driving a bus is more than just a job. It’s a mission to keep students safe during the commute to school. Each year, she participates in safety bus competitions to continue her growth as a driver. In June she won the 2019 State School Bus Safety Competition hosted by the Missouri Association for Pupil Transportation. As state champion, she earned the right to compete in the Annual School Bus Driver International Safety Competition hosted by the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) where she placed fifth in the nation.

The annual competitions provide an opportunity for drivers to improve their skills and knowledge regarding student and bus safety. Participants compete in both written and driving tests that examine their abilities in a variety of areas, including parallel parking, first aid, and more. “This competition has a lot to do with self-development,” said Scharfenberg. “It helps me to stay up-to-date on state laws and regulations as far as driving a school bus and operating a motor vehicle.”

Her passion for bus safety has resulted in many awards over the years, and it also has led to many friendships. “It’s a networking opportunity,” said Scharfenberg. “I have friends from all over the state that drive a school bus and participate in the competition.” The international competition has also provided her with the chance to meet drivers from all over the United States and Canada.

Those friendships have also been important to Scharfenberg and her professional development. “The more you can learn from other drivers on how they handle a situation with students, the better. It gives you that outside look for student management and the rest of your job,” said Scharfenberg.

Scharfenberg, who has been a bus driver for fourteen years, certainly makes safety a priority in her job. However, she also emphasizes the importance of interacting and getting to know the students she drives. “Some of them want to talk to you and find out more about what you do, and I also want to know what these kids are doing,” said Scharfenberg. “The more you can be connected to the kids, the more they are going to respect you and listen to you because they feel like you care.”

The bus drivers in FHSD are one of the first friendly faces our students see in the morning, and often the last they see at the end of a long day. It’s reassuring to know that FHSD has such caring employees, and bus drivers like Scharfenberg who strive to know our students and keep them safe every day. Congratulations to Hannah on the great achievement, and thank you for all that you do for FHSD students!

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