Dougherty County school bus driver steers to be best in the state
Albany -- Who is the best school bus driver in the state? Georgia has a competition each year to name the winner. Dougherty County Schools think they have a top contender, a soft spoken little lady who can really drive the big yellow rigs.
Sheila Holbert has been driving a Dougherty County School Bus for 11 years, and competing in the bus road-e-o competition for ten. Holbert said "I love competing. It makes me better on my everyday job."
Holbert has driven her way to the state finals. One event, driving through these narrow cones. Holbert said "Your dual tires are only an inch narrower than these two cones."
Maneuvering the 36-foot long, nearly 30 thousand pound bus through a maze. Both forward and backward. Holbert said "Maneuvers for inches and diameter. It helps you in the control of watching for your children, when you are approaching your children." 40 top school bus drivers will meet in Perry June 1st to decide who is the best. Many practice for the road-e-o everyday, but Holbert says her workouts are her regular routes. Holbert said "It's like everyday practice when you are out there running with the children. That's when you get the most of your practice."
Holbert says traffic can be the biggest daily challenge. Holbert said "No one wants to get behind a bus. So everybody is trying to get ahead of the bus. " But of course 54 elementary school kids can add another level of difficulty. Holbert said "Kids aren't all the time going to get along, so you have to make sure that nothing is going wrong in the bus also."
But Sheila says those students are why she drives a school bus. Holbert said "Their safety. I feel like if I can touch one life and make that person change and be different, then I've done what I'm supposed to for that year."
Sheila Holbert has competed in the state bus road-e-o three times, finishing 11th last year. This time she hopes to break into the top ten.
Competition is the fun part of the job she takes very seriously. Holbert said "It's probably the least money I've ever made in my life, but the job I love the best."
Her co-workers think she has the stuff to win it all this year, and be crowned the best school bus driver in Georgia.
The State School Bus Road-e-o competition will be held June First and Second in Perry at the state Fairgrounds.