Strayer Middle School students present Jane Buckley, their bus driver, with an engraved thermos filled with thank you notes.

When Strayer Middle School students get on Bus 219 sometime after 7 each weekday morning, they know it’s going to be a good ride with Jane Buckley at the wheel.

“She’s always making our day better,” seventh-grader Kavai Sieger said. “We feel safe when she’s driving.”

Kavai is not alone in her praise of Mrs. Buckley, who has been a bus driver for Levy School Bus Co. for 17 years. All Bus 219 riders recently each put their fond thoughts on paper and placed their notes in an engraved thermos as a gift to their favorite driver. It reads “Mrs. Buckley is Strayer Stronger.” One recent afternoon, Bus 219 students lined up and presented her with the trophy.

“It made me feel great, like I’m doing my job,” Mrs. Buckley said. “I’ve had these kids for a few years. They know what my expectations are, what I will tolerate and what I won’t. They’re a great bunch of kids.”

Strayer has a program where each bus driver is given “Strayer Stronger” tickets to write positive comments if the students act well during bus rides. Those tickets are placed in a box and administrators will pick a ticket from the box and reward students for their positive behavior. Bus 219 students recently received a pizza lunch because of Mrs. Buckley’s ticket. That’s when the students decided to do something kind for her.

“We’re all good to her because she’s good to us,” said Dylan Lystad, an eighth-grader. If a student on the bus begins to act up, other students handle the situation so Mrs. Buckley can drive safely, he said. “We keep each other in line and will tell them to quiet down.”

Dylan Chauhan, also an eighth-grader, said Mrs. Buckley has a one-to-one connection with students on her bus. “She creates such a positive, ‘Strayer Stronger’ bus trip,” he said. “She’s good to us by driving safely.”