Early last Tuesday, one school bus driver tells another, it was a "nice summer but we're back on the road again."
Chuck Feaster then walks around the bus doing his daily checks, making sure everything is in working order. The Marine veteran takes a couple sips of coffee before Bus 304 starts its route for the first day of school about 6:40 a.m. Feaster has driven the same route for the past four years. The bus contains students from all grade levels of the Boyle County school system. The path starts on Ky. 52 and hits Goggin, Pope and Clifton roads, a 28-mile trip one way.
The bus is pretty quiet. Feaster greets each student with a hello or asks, "Did you have a good summer?" Students look around to find their seat. Bus 304 is not quite full; the afternoon drive will have more passengers.
The bus pulls up to one house, and fifth-grader Haley Southerland calmly gets on as her two cats see her off. Students file on the bus stop after stop. The kids appear to be tired. Haley tries to fight her sleepiness, but she still nods off while high school students in the back of the bus talk about their summer.