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My name is Beth Shipman and I drive for Sunrise Busses.
I drive Mattituck-Cutchogue School District children from K-12 to school and home again every day.
I’ve been doing this since 2011, when my children were all in school and I was home. I actually asked the bus driver that was picking my children up if she liked what she did. And she said she loved it. So I applied for a job, I got my [commercial driver’s license], and I’ve been driving ever since.
I wake up around 5 a.m. I start at 6:20 in the morning, checking the bus over to make sure that it’s safe, its operational, everything is functioning the way it should. And then I get on the road. I start picking kids up for the high school run and get them all off to school and then I come back and I start it all over again for the elementary run.
It’s a little bit more challenging with the younger kids, and it’s a little bit more fun, too, because they are unique.
And then you move up to the high school kids, and they’re kids that I’ve had since they were little. Its amazing to watch them grow up.
My daughters happened to be on the bus run that I was given when I first started driving. Up until two years ago, my own children were on my bus run. So it was really nice to be able to see them every morning and get to say goodbye to them when they went into the building. The only downside is that I didn’t get to take the first day of school pictures when they were little – so I did have a fantastic neighbor who took pictures of my daughters getting on the bus on their first days.
I’m the first face that they see in the day when they leave home, and you try and make that fun, happy, good — so that their day starts off on the right foot. I just want them to know its a safe place and that I care about them. I think that our greatest asset in our community is our children and I feel privileged to be able to be a part of their life, to get to know them, and get them safely to and from school.
“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork.