So you think you've driven a long way with noisy kids in the car? Forget it — you can't even come close to Roslyn Da Silva.
During her 25 years as a school bus driver, Da Silva has safely driven students enough miles to circle the earth 22 times.
The California Highway Patrol, which knows something about driving, recognized just how valuable Da Silva is.
The CHP recently presented her with a 2007 Bus Driver of the Year award. The CHP honors two bus drivers a year, selected from the more than 30,000 school bus drivers statewide.
Da Silva, a member of Monterey County Office of Education Chapter 35, was nominated for the award by her supervisor, Hector Anaya.
"She is very diligent," Anaya said. "Roslyn is a standout driver in this operation and I felt that it was worth nominating her."
Anaya added that Da Silva always follows the department's policies and procedures and is never lax on attending work-related seminars and workshops.
"She's rarely absent from work and she has a tremendous dedication to her route, responsibilities and equipment," he said.
In his nomination letter, Anaya wrote that Da Silva demonstrates outstanding knowledge, leadership and other job-related skills. He wrote that she has an excellent working relationship with other staff, the students and parents, and she takes personal pride in keeping her assigned school bus safe and clean.
"It was really hard putting her 25 years of experience on one nomination page," Anaya said. Da Silva said she is happy to be honored.
"It was surprising because I didn't expect to be nominated," she said. "I didn't know what to think."
Da Silva has taken countless children ranging from ages 3 to 22 to school and back home safely. Currently, she transports special needs children.
"I enjoy getting along with the students and talking with them," she said. "I like to see how everything's going for them and how they are doing in school."
It takes special focus to maneuver a huge vehicle.
During the last school year, Da Silva logged about 264 miles daily. She said it requires special focus to maneuver a huge vehicle among a herd of much smaller vehicles traveling at faster speeds.
"There is a lot of traffic sometimes, but you just have to be careful," she said. "You get used to cars traveling much faster than you are."
Da Silva said she is not the only outstanding bus driver in California or even in her chapter. She credited all of the bus drivers statewide for making sure that students get to school safely and on time.
"I wish more bus drivers were recognized," she said. "This award isn't just for me; it's for all of the good, safe bus drivers."
Da Silva's dedication was also recognized in 2003 when she was selected as Chapter 35's Member of the Year for transportation.