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Bus drivers take one last lap

HUBBARD — Hubbard students braved the rain to greet their bus drivers one last time before summer break officially starts.

A dozen school bus drivers started up their buses to kick off summer as they drove their routes to honk and wave at students.

“I’ve missed mine and I know they miss me,” said Sam “Mr. Sam” Neri, who drives bus No. 7. Neri has been a bus driver for Hubbard for about 20 years and said he still loves it.

“These kids are very special to me, they’re like my own,” he said.

Starting at 2:30 p.m., the buses left the school — just like on a normal school day — and followed their routes.

Mona Jones, transportation director, said the bus drivers missed their students so much that they came up with the idea.

“They love their kids,” Jones said. “Teachers see these kids every day for one year. Some of these drivers see these kids twice a day from kindergarten through 12th grade.”

Brian “Mr. Brian” Fiorentino, who has been driving bus No. 19 for about three years, stopped and waved at every house on his route. He can’t wait to see his kids in the fall and even put a big sign in the bus windows reading, “See you in the fall!”

A lot of students came out to see “Mr. Brian” as he drove by, and a few gave him goodie bags as a thank you for getting them to and from school safely.

“I missed this, I missed my kids,” Fiorentino said. “You drive all year and you can’t wait for it to be over, but then when they shut you down, you really miss it.”

Megan Phiel, media specialist for Hubbard schools, hopped on a bus to try to catch some of her students as well. She, too, misses her students and waved to them out the bus window.

Phiel’s daughter Zoe, 5 is going to be in kindergarten in the fall and wanted to test out riding the bus. So she and her little brother Oscar, 3, asked if they could ride Fiorentino’s bus and help wave goodbye to the students.

“We were going to just drive behind the buses but they wanted to see if they could ride the bus too,” Phiel said.

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