From the raucous cheers that came out of the El Morro Elementary School multipurpose room last Friday, you would think that either J.K. Rowling or Lil’ Romeo was within.
But Bertha Arvizu, Cecelia Camarena, Ruth Chavez, Patricia Marquez, Raulie Marquez, Francisco Popoca, Horacio Velasquez, Sergio Villa and Marcos Zepeda offered more star power than the most popular celebrity during El Morro’s Bus Driver Appreciation Day.
The celebration began with students and parents greeting the drivers at their morning stops with homemade cards, spontaneous applause and flowers.
Then, at the end of the school day, the kids swarmed into the multipurpose room to watch a special music video set to “I Missed the Bus” by Kriss Kross, featuring El Morro students, faculty and drivers.
In the video, kids got ready for school and ran after the bus; bus drivers danced; and Principal Chris Duddy made an appearance — to squeals from the crowd.
Two of the drivers wore Lucha Libre masks to the assembly; one male driver wiped tears away as he watched the video.
The PTA then spoke of the care the drivers took with their “extra special cargo,” taking the time to console, discipline with compassion and make special connections with their charges.
Along with a copy of the video, each driver was presented with a $50 gift card to one of several local malls and two tickets to an Angels baseball game.
Kids chanted the first names of their favorite drivers — names like Raulie and Cecelia were as familiar as teachers’ names for the kids.
PTA President Kendall Clark led the kids in a pledge to be quiet on the bus ride home that afternoon, but the excited young students quickly forgot as they climbed into the buses, which were covered in posters bedecked with “Sergio’s the best,” “We love the bus” and drawings of flowers, cats, kids and wheels.