BELPRE, Ohio (WTAP) - Karen Locke got behind the wheel of a school bus for the first time 35 years ago after some encouragement from her husband, who drove a semi. She fell in love with the job and continues to pick up students for Belpre City Schools to this day.
Locke has run the gambit for different types of pickups and she always tries to make the children’s day better. From special-needs students to preschool, Locke loves her students.
“She’s pretty steady with just about everybody. She treats them all about the same. She’s kindhearted to all the students,” said Steve Snider, another Belpre school bus driver.
Locke cares for the students she picks up as if they were her own.
“They are our kids. Everybody in this district from up to the superintendent down, they’re our kids. When they start this Belpre City Schools, they’re our kids,” said Locke.
Locke not only cares for her students, but she also remembers most of them long after they’ve grown up.
“I have had kids on the bus and now they have grown up, they have kids of their own and they’ve come up and said, “you were my bus driver,” and I’ve said “Oh my goodness, I didn’t recognize you because, my memory’s of them young, they have beards now, they have hats on, but they introduce themselves and of course I can just remember, I usually remember just about everybody,” said Locke.
Locke is considering retiring after this year, and Steve Snider says she will be missed.