A proud carriage

‘Legacy of Excellence’ bus honors Ganado grads who made good

GANADO, Ariz.

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
For years, bus driver Freddie Yazzie has been saving pictures of Ganado graduates who did well and pasting them on his bus.

School bus drivers are often overlooked in comparison to schoolteachers and athletic coaches, but one Diné showed that his job as a bus driver allows him to share in the responsibilities of being a teacher and coach as well.

“We want (students) to be successful,” said Freddie Yazzie. “Bus drivers, we go beyond; we’re part teachers as well.”

Yazzie said bus drivers do more than take your kids to and from school every school day. Some build friendships with students they’ve driven every morning over the years, some drive athletic teams across the reservation to sporting events and some take students on field trips they will never forget.

“Sometimes we’re the only ones who take them to these places off the reservation,” said Yazzie, standing proudly in the “Legacy of Excellence” bus.

The inside of Legacy of Excellence is coated with photos and posters of football players, basketball players, a rodeo queen, college graduates, models, cross-country runners, a doctor, college and high school coaches — all former students Yazzie has driven throughout his 24 years with the Ganado Unified School District school bus.

The name of the bus comes from the title of a reading Yazzie has posted at the front of the bus, over the windshield, which Yazzie says he reads to his students to encourage them to do well in school and sports.

Other bus drivers in Yazzie’s department began calling his bus “The Legacy of Excellence” and the name stuck.

“Many students ask me about the students up here,” said Yazzie, pointing to the various photos on the celing of The Legacy, “and they ask, ‘How do I get my picture up there?’”

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Categories: Education