School bus drivers have a huge responsibility when it comes to the safety of children. That is why the Donna ISD Transportation Department makes it a point to acknowledge the employees who go above and beyond what is expected of them.
Just recently, Donna ISD recognized two individuals for their outstanding work as bus drivers. Ten-year-veteran Carlos Hinojosa was named District Bus Driver of the Year for 2017-18 while six-year-veteran Xochitl Moralez received the honor for the 2016-17 academic year. Both bus drivers were awarded a certificate and jacket from Property Casualty Alliance of Texas, the largest public school risk pool in the United States that is devoted solely to property and casualty coverage.
“Donna ISD has more than 120 bus drivers who are on the road daily,” Donna ISD Transportation Director Luis Solis said. “We believe it is important to recognize the exceptional drivers who carry out their day-to-day routine and always keep safety in mind for the students’ well-being. We make our selection based on their record over the past year, which includes no traffic law violations, accidents and issues with students or their parents.”
Solis said both employees are very deserving of the honor. What distinguishes them from their colleagues is that they go above and beyond to help their school district. “Mr. Hinojosa is always willing to help and perform extra duty for others. He may not know another driver’s route but volunteers anyway especially in unexpected situations. Safety becomes even more intense for him because he is out of his element and routine.”
Solis said that Moralez is just as supportive and effective. “She’ll often ask me ‘how can I help. Let me have their route. Let me help take those kids home today.’ She puts herself in a new environment but keeps up her driving skills to the highest level.”
Hinojosa and Moralez said they appreciated the recognition.
“I am very happy with the recognition that was given to me and my co-worker,” Hinojosa said. “I am grateful to Mr. Solis and the Transportation Department. I really enjoy working here. The job that we do is very important. We’re responsible for keeping our students safe while we transport them to and from school. We look out for them as if they were our own children.”
Moralez echoed Hinojosa’s sentiments. “I’m honored for this recognition. I’ve been told that I am the first female to be presented this award in the history of the department. There are more women bus drivers now who can do the job just as good as men. I’m very excited that the district is acknowledging us. Our priority is to keep our children safe. As a mother, I often think of the students as my children and treat them as if they were my own. It’s important that they’re safe at all times.”
Solis believes promoting safety within his department will let the community know that the district has drivers who are professional and care about their students. “We want the community to feel a sense of relief that the district has qualified drivers taking their children to and from school every day. Hinojosa and Moralez set an example for other drivers daily, especially new drivers who come to the district. They’re mentors without even trying. They’re leaders based on their actions more than their words. People recognize them and campuses praise them.”