The bus drivers for Ohio's Loveland City School District are wishing their 392 graduating seniors good luck in the best way they know how.
A viral video from last week captured a bird's-eye view of their special tribute: a fleet of 22 buses arranged to spell out "2020." With schools across the country canceling commencement ceremonies due to the coronavirus crisis, administrators and parents alike have tried to find creative ways to make students still feel special, from drive-thru diploma handouts to wave parades.
Lisa Moorhead, who's been a bus driver for 23 years and organized the event, told TODAY that it took about 3 1/2 hours to put together. She added that the seven drivers involved only knew they'd done it correctly when an art teacher in the district flew a drone to look at the busses from above.
"To us down on the ground, it looked like a maze," she explained. "When Jim Barrett ... took (the drone) up, there were tears and screams. We were so excited we'd done it."
The response from parents in particular was "over the top" enthusiastic, Moorhead said. But the seniors, many of whom have known their bus drivers for years, were the inspiration.
"We didn’t have our last days with any of the kids in district," she said. "We thought (school closing) was going to be three weeks, but it turned out to be the rest of the year. As bus drivers, we bond with our kids. We’re the first ones they see in the morning and the last ones before they go home."
The clip on the school district's Facebook page has been viewed almost 4,000 times.
"This is so awesome and really touching!! Thank you for your dedication!!" commented one user on the video.
"Thank you to the drivers. They have the hardest job of all, and I am a retired teacher," wrote another.
"Loveland really comes out for their students," added a third.
In a release published on the school district's website, other Loveland bus drivers shared why they participated.
"Some of us have been around long enough to transport these kids since kindergarten, and some of us have only been working with the district for a few years, but the one thing we all have in common is the love for our students," said Jennifer Bloom Bowman. "This is a huge accomplishment and anyway we can show them some love, we will do it. So here's to the Class of 2020. Your bus drivers are proud of all of you."
Fellow driver Michele Winter added that each student "will always hold a special place" in their hearts.
"Every story, every hug, every laugh and every tear with them are memories and sometimes even lessons. To the kids of the past, the present and the future, this is for you!"