By Heather Lusk
What began as a job to balance seasonal work during the winter months turned into a longer gig for Zionsville Community Schools bus driver Roger Adams, who celebrates 40 years of driving this week.
“It’s something I enjoy doing, so it’s not hard to come back,” he said.
Adams has the longest tenure of the roughly 90 bus drivers at ZCS and plans to add at least a few more years.
“I started out driving bus number one, route one,” he said. He’s driven several of the routes over the years, but for the majority of his career has transported students in the Village.
Meredith Abbitt, who has been driving ZCS busses for 30 years, began by driving teams to sporting events. A former athlete himself, playing basketball, baseball and softball, Abbitt felt he knew how the players felt going to and from games.
“I can sympathize with the boys when you lose a hard game,” he said. Abbitt was part of the 1953 Zionsville Union basketball team that won the regional basketball championship and lost in the semi-state finals.
“I’ve got good memories,” Abbitt said. “It’s my privilege.”
Both men agree that the kids are one of their favorite aspects of the job.
“I think kids are better now than they were years ago,” Adams said.
Adams recalled that the parking lots were gravel when he first began driving and the oak tree that stood when he was a student at Eagle Elementary is still behind the school.
By driving elementary students, Adams feels they can set expectations with one another before the students reach a potentially “rambunctious” middle school age.
Abbitt, who grew up in Union township, has always driven middle and elementary school routes, which he prefers.
“I’ve been blessed with good parents, good kids and good schools,” he said.