HIS holds drive-by parade for retiring bus driver

By CONNOR MARTIN-LIVELY | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – Helena Intermediate School recently honored long-time friend and respected bus driver Donna Channell with a drive-by parade at the HIS campus on Tuesday, Sept. 29. After more than three decades of shuttling students to and from the school, Channell is retiring from her time on the road.

The celebration was a surprise for its guest of honor, as Channell said she was “shocked” at seeing the procession of well-wishers at the school.

Channell first got behind the wheel after a friend introduced her to the job. It was the children that made her want to stay. “The thing about it is I love kids,” Channell said. “You have to love kids to be able to do this type of work.”

After 33 years on the job, Channell said the children are still the best part of her time on the road.

“The children are always the highlight of your day,” she said. “They can be very challenging, but also very rewarding.”

Channell also credits her coworkers for making her time with the school so special.

“If you’ve got a great group of people to work with, that makes it even more rewarding,” she said.

Now that she’s retiring, Channell plans to take time for herself and her family. “I’ve got five grandchildren, so I’m looking forward to spending time with them,” she said.

She also has some other ideas and projects she wants to tackle, like plans to complete a renovation project on her home.

“I have been so blessed for so many years to have so many people in my life that have both challenged me and benefitted me,” Channell said, looking back on her career. “It’s very difficult to leave, very bittersweet, but I’m ready to move on to the next part of my life.”