HOMER, N.Y. — The ACS MultiMedia June Trucker Buddy Driver of the Month tribute was awarded to Bonnie DeWitt, who is better known to her class as “Grandma Bonnie.”
The nomination was put forward by teacher Jeanne Stevens, who teaches supplementary reading and writing for students in grades three to six at Homer Intermediate School in Homer, N.Y.
“As I look back at my teaching career, Grandma Bonnie is one of the best things that has happened to my students,” explained Stevens. She also noted the Trucker Buddy program, “…gave my students a meaningful and authentic reason for reading and writing. It even incorporated the content areas of math, social studies and geography.”
The highlight of the year for the students – and the teacher – was the classroom visit Grandma Bonnie and husband Frank were able to make thanks to the support of their carrier, Arizona Pacific Transport of Springfield, Mo.
“They were so supportive. They routed us through Homer, which doesn’t happen often, so we could visit our class. They also gave us APT flashlight key rings for all of the students,” noted Grandma Bonnie.
Grandma Bonnie, who was a company driver along with her husband, with Arizona Pacific at the time of her nomination, has since come off the road due to back problems. However, she still works for Arizona Pacific in the office and her husband runs the company’s shop.
Grandma Bonnie says she really misses being a Trucker Buddy, although the Trucker Buddy program will likely miss her even more.
“Grandma Bonnie’s letters seemed poetic when describing our country. We were able to visualize the landscapes and wildlife she saw. It was wonderful how everything dovetailed with our studies,” said Stevens. “The first-hand pictures of Mount St. Helen’s came when the volcano was in the news. Postcards of armadillos came when we were reading about armadillos. One of the best things is that she has taught me many things as well.”
Grandma Bonnie went the extra mile with a personal touch for each of the students. She took the time to answer individual questions from more than 75 students throughout the school year.
“As I was researching creative ways for my students to learn more about the United States of America, I came upon Trucker Buddy International. The program of having a Trucker Buddy sounded wonderful,” said Stevens. “I never imagined the impact this program would have.”
Grandma Bonnie is one of nearly 4,000 other professional drivers who share their time with elementary classes throughout the world. Drivers and teachers can find out more about the program by visiting www.truckerbuddy.org or calling 1-800-MY BUDDY.
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