Westerville Gives New Students A Chance To Check Out School Buses Before First Day

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Riding a school bus can be scary for some students, and that is why the Westerville City School District allows first-time school bus riders a chance to take a trial ride.

On Thursday, more than 200 students turned out to for the district’s annual first-time rider event.

Alex Cooper didn’t hesitate when asked how she was going to get to school on the first day. The future kindergartner declared she was going to get on the bus.

On Thursday, Cooper and a few hundred other first-time riders got a chance to climb aboard a school bus.

Kelly Chapman’s daughter Brooke will be attending kindergarten at Mark Twain Elementary in two weeks.

“There is a lot of nervous energy going on today, but I think this will be a good way to get this out of the way first, and then she'll be ready when the first day of school comes to get on the bus,” Chapman said.

Brooke was eager to climb onto a bus, but other students were not.

Bus driver Terry Ruh said that is common.

“We've had occasions where mom has to get on the bus with the child and sit in the seat and make the child feel comfortable, then they get off the bus,” Ruh said.

One of the organizers of the program says the event came about several years ago after parents would frequent the district’s bus garage during the summer asking if their children could get on a bus.

On Thursday, instructors offered students and parents more than a ride.

They also provided a lesson on when to approach the bus, where to approach the bus and the different sounds to listen for.

Alex Cooper’s grandmother Mary Wehrle said she feels better after having attended the program with her granddaughter.

After her ride on the bus, Alex exclaimed she was ready to ride to school.

Westerville district leaders say more than 500 first-time riders are expected to catch the bus on the first day of school, which is Wednesday, Aug. 14.

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