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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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    Longtime Livonia bus driver says kids continue to teach her daily

    The bus pulls up to the stop, and she’s there with a smile and a “good morning.”

    There might be some 1980s music playing, and the driver has some rules. She expects kids to stay in their seats, keep their voices at a reasonable volume and not leave any trash behind. But she’s aware students’ school day starts with her, and she’s always looking to make someone smile. 

    Welcome to Bus 131 — Wendy Kacsmark’s school bus. 

    Kacsmark, who graduated from Livonia’s now-closed Bentley High School in 1977, is in her 41st year as a bus driver for Livonia Public Schools and is the transportation department’s most senior employee. 

    “I love my job,” she said. “I love driving and I love children. That’s what’s kept me.”

                                   Wendy Kacsmark laughs as she talks about her forty plus years as a Livonia Public Schools bus driver.

    Kacsmark wanted to become a driver at 18 when she graduated from Bentley, but the district didn’t hire drivers that young at the time. She had considered becoming a teacher like her mother, but jobs weren’t available due to declining enrollment.

    She finally got the driving job at 21 years old and has stayed with the district ever since. In the early 1980s, the district only had nine automatic transmission buses, so Kacsmark learned to drive a stick shift school bus. 

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