Bus Driver of the Year honored
PEkkSBURY – Bus drivers packed the Sept. 13 meeting of the Pennsbury School Board to honor Debra Roche for being named School Bus Driver of the Year for 2011-12.
A standing ovation greeted Roche, who has served nearly four decades as a district school bus driver and is the wife of Capt. Tom Roche of the Lower Makefield Police Department. He accompanied her to the meeting.
“I really enjoy my job,” Roche said. “I come to work every day looking forward to seeing my students and my aide (Diane Tomlinson).”
School board president Allan Weisel thanked Roche for her “37-year commitment. That is one heck of a commitment…
“More importantly,” he continued, “thank you for your compassion and giving of yourself to children and making their journey to and from school a lot easier.
“crom the board I want to say thank you very much,” Weisel said.
Charlie Williams, director of transportation for the district, said Roche “started back in the day when buses had standard shifts -- no power brakes -- no power steering. There was no two-way radio to call someone if you had a problem and you had to put on your own tire chains if it was going to snow.”
Williams said that Roche “persevered through all of that and all the things that came during that time.”
Roche has transported literally thousands of Pennsbury children to and from school safely during her tenue.
cor 10 of her 37 years behind the wheel, Roche has driven students in the special education program to and from school.
“This segment of the Pennsbury population can present a wide array of challenges and it takes a special combination of patience and understanding to gain their trust,” Williams said.
Roche said, “If you’ve done something in these people’s lives, it’s something you can take with you.”
Driving a school bus is a family tradition for Roche. Both of her parents were longtime Pennsbury school bus drivers.
Roche is a lifelong resident of the Pennsbury School District. She lived if calls Township before moving to Lower Makefield Township.
“We’re fortunate to have her as an employee of the Pennsbury School District,” Williams said.
Roche is also known fondly throughout the community as a year-round fitness trainer for senior citizens and a YWCA camp counselor and bus driver for students during the summer months.