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Bus Driver of the Year goes the extra mile

Congratulations to Patty Lutz, who was named the South Dakota School Transportation Association’s School Bus Driver of the Year for 2010! The announcement came at the group’s annual meeting earlier this summer.

Lutz, who currently drives for Harlow’s School Service, transports students in the Webster School District. She has 32 years of experience and accident free driving.

Lutz’s supervisors say she goes above and beyond her duties to make sure each student on her bus is treated with respect and is safe at all times. She knows the daily schedules of all the students on her bus and will make contact with parents, guardians or sitters if something doesn’t seem right.

She is often requested by elementary teachers to drive for field trips because of her enthusiasm and rapport with the students. Each year, Lutz goes into three kindergarten classrooms and makes a presentation during School Bus Safety Week. She shows a short video then takes students out to the bus to learn everything they can about the bus. She finishes up by presenting each student with a coloring book and a treat.

Lutz always has a smile for each student she greets. Her reputation is such that parents of new riders often request her as a driver if they think they live close enough to “Patty’s Route #2.”

The South Dakota School Bus Driver of the Year Award is presented annually by the South Dakota School Transportation Association. The SDSTA is an association of school bus contractors, public school transportation departments and Head Start providers from across the state.