Little fish in a big pond


Stu Mair

Many elementary students, such as science teacher Theresa Dollinger’s son, ride a bus to the high school in eighth period to be with their teacher parents.

Michelle Leddon, Staff Reporter

Most elementary school students ride the bus to and from their own neighborhoods, but that’s not the case for the children of some teachers on campus. Instead of going home, these  children ride the bus from their elementary school to the high school during seventh period.

“We really didn’t have another option other than Arwyn, my daughter, riding the bus up to the high school,” AP Language Arts teacher, Jasen Eairheart said. “My wife teaches at Allen High School and I know that she has duties that she has to take care of at school, so her picking Arwyn up was not feasible either. The Kids First program, for the amount of time she would spend in there, is not cost effective for us. Cost wise, while it’s cheaper than daycare, cost effectiveness makes no sense for us for the amount of time she would be spending there.”

The program is convenient for many teachers’ children, ranging from kindergartners to fourth graders, also known as the upperclassmen of elementary school.

“They like it a lot,” biology teacher Theresa Dollinger said. “There is a group of fourth grade girls who ride the bus from Hart to the high school. They have their own group of friends and Cooper has a few friends as well.”

Having their children brought to the school opens more opportunities for tutoring and retakes for high schoolers.

“It would be very difficult if they didn’t ride the bus to the high school. I don’t know what I would do,” Dollinger said. “I would have to hire someone to bring them up to me or I could pay for the after school program where they can stay at Hart until 5:30 p.m., but that still would be an extra cost.”

In the eyes of many of the parents, having their children bused over is better than staying at their school.

“Ms. Arriaga’s daughter was her buddy for the first few weeks, so Arwyn had someone to look after her and make sure she was on the bus and that she arrived in my classroom,” English teacher Jasen Eairheart said. “She still likes the bus ride except for the hot days when she gets all sweaty. She really likes being in my room for 8th period. She’ll read, work on arts and crafts; it’s a time for her imagination to run free. Oh, and Legos. She builds Lego sets sometimes in class.”

The time at the high school may be fun for the elementary school students, but for at least one, the journey matters just as much as the destination.

“Sometimes the bus is boring and very noisy,” kindergartener Arwyn Eairheart said. “My favorite thing about riding the bus is that there’s a girl named Grace that rides the bus with me and I play with her. I want to keep riding the bus when I get bigger.”