Superintendent of Perry Township Schools
Annie Singleton, one of our beloved bus drivers, retired last week after 32 years of service. Annie began driving a bus for Perry Township when buses were privately owned. The first one she drove was owned by Fred Shonk’s family.
When asked what the best part of driving a bus was, Annie wholeheartedly replied, “The kids! I love the kids, all of them.”
Annie said there is more to the job than driving ... there is developing relationships with the kids. Not all kids are alike and some have struggles. “Everyone, even kids, has bad days, days when they are sick and/or scared.”
Annie listened, comforted and talked to the kids on her bus. “If you understand your kids, there aren’t a lot of issues,” she said.
Annie shared a story from her early years when her bus ran out of gas and two high school students ran to their homes for gas. There were no bus radios or cellphones. The students returned with gas, the bus started up, and the kids were delivered to their homes with hardly a delay. That wouldn’t happen today with modern technology, bus mechanics and security policies for students, and today’s buses do not use gasoline.
Another memory related to the annual senior day, when Annie drove her passengers to Dairy Queen.
Annie recalled driving kids and coaches to a game in Jasper, Ind., when her bus broke down. As this was before cellphones and bus radios, she walked to a nearby farm where she had seen a bus. The farmer let her use the bus to drive the kids home.
Annie remembers the tornado that swept through the Southside in 2004. A lot of neighborhood roads were impassable; cellphone towers weren’t working and phone lines were down. Bus drivers returned students to their school where they waited for parents to pick them up. Later in the evening, bus drivers transported students to a central location set up at Perry Meridian High School for families to reunite. She transported students until 10:30 p.m.
Annie noted that Perry Township has excellent drivers who care about kids. “I am proud to have worked with them. Everyday is different,” she said. “Take each day as it comes and build relationships. You have to show respect in order to receive it.
“Driving a bus for Perry Township has been my love,” Annie said. “It was a great job to raise my family. It is a great life. I loved my job and I loved the kids. I have wonderful memories.”
Annie, you will be dearly missed, but we celebrate you as you begin your retirement.