Later, when Adkins was preparing to make the final payment, she discovered that a school staff member had already completed the purchase for her. From that moment on, Adkins made it her goal to one day repay the good deed by helping as many students as she can who can’t afford to purchase formal attire for school dances. As a result, Adkins and bus attendant Jessica Nutter started Fancy Bus Closet, which

lends formal dresses to girls who are in need. The duo purchased eight dresses with their own money. After Adkins started a Facebook page to share information about the service, she and

Nutter received more than 300 donated dresses. They are now expanding the service to provide formal suits for boys. Adkins and Nutter said they hope to eventually purchase and retrofit a school bus to re- place a garage that serves as their fitting room. Adkins added that they plan to install racks in the bus to hang the clothes and create changing spaces near the rear. Before a scheduled dance, she said they can drive the bus to the school to allow students

to pick out a dress or suit and accessories. At the end of the dance, they will drive the bus back to the school and pick up the outfits. Adkins said she and Nutter hope the idea will spread to other school districts so they, too, can start their own traveling closets. “Some of these kids have no one [to help them] and it breaks my heart,” Adkins said.

“But they know they always have me. I will be there in the mornings with a smile on my face, no matter if they smile back or talk to me. I’ll be there and they know it.”

“A hero can be interpreted in so many different ways. Just have courage. Be helpful and kind. Lend a helping hand.”

Jennifer Gordon has been a school bus driver for the past 15 years and never considered any other profession.

Jennifer Gordon, a school bus driver for Santa Fe ISD in between Houston and Galveston, Texas, couldn’t stay away. She had to do what she does best: Help. During Hurricane Harvey, when miles and miles of

Santa Fe was underwater—including Gordon’s own home— she helped with the rescue and evacuation efforts throughout the city. She drove bus routes, picked up residents from the rescue boats and transported them between shelters and first aid

services. “It’s really no effort. It’s do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat others as you want to be treated,” Gordon explained.

“Harvey was a disaster, and when you see that help is needed, you help.” However, the district experienced another tragedy on May 18, 2018, after Gordon had

left the district and moved with her husband almost 300 miles away to Point, Texas. She watched in horror the news reports about a shooting at Santa Fe High School that killed eight students and two teachers. “I was watching in disbelief, thinking I’m surely misunderstanding,” Gordon recalled. “When I realized I wasn’t, I just kept thinking to myself, no, no, no, this can’t be happen- ing. I went to school in Santa Fe, my youngest son graduated from Santa Fe. I have family, loved ones, friends, co-workers in Santa Fe. All I could think was that I had to get there.” Gordon immediately returned to her hometown to help in any way she could. The

following school year, she returned to Santa Fe ISD and started driving again. She soon became a driver trainer, and she plans to remain at the district for as long as her supervi- sor will have her.

48 School Transportation News • JANUARY 2020

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