Bus driver Kenneth Staten made Christmas a little brighter for students on his route on the day before Dalton Public Schools' winter break.
"Staten hand delivered a small Christmas gift to each and every student on his bus" on Dec. 18, said Hannah Talley, media specialist at City Park School, which is part of Staten's route. "It was the most kind act."
That magnanimous gesture was perfectly in character for Staten, said Talley, who oversees Staten's bus for afternoon departures of students from school. "Every day, my duty partner and I watch him exhibit the utmost patience and kindness to his riders."
"I only see (him) for about 10 minutes each afternoon as I load my students onto his bus, (but) in these short snippets of time," Staten stands out, Talley said. "His pleasant demeanor is both refreshing and contagious."
"Daily, he greets our students with a warm smile and verbal greeting as they enter the bus," she said. "Even when the energy is a bit overly enthusiastic on the part of the students, he maintains a kind and calm atmosphere on the bus."
Though Staten has only been driving Dalton Public Schools students for First Student buses for about a year, he's already made an outsized impression, said Robbie Moore, First Student's Dalton location manager. "Kenneth is an impeccable driver — no accidents or incidents with us — and if it's a work day, he's always here."
"He comes from a great background in business, and he's doing very, very well in his position," Moore added. "I feel we employ the best of the best; even with that said, I could use 25 other drivers just like Kenneth."
Bus drivers "are often the first and last face from our school (system) our students see when they arrive and leave from school," Talley said. "We are very blessed and thankful to have people like (Staten) impacting the lives of our students."
For his dedication to, and patience with, his student passengers, the Daily Citizen-News names Kenneth Staten Citizen of the Week.