I read with interest “Families petition for bus service,” that appeared on page one, Aug. 10, 2011, in the Henry County Local. It brought back recollections that my dad and mother worked through to get a school bus for the Smithfield grade school students.
Dad was elected Trustee for the Smithfield School District and his main focus was centered on having a bus pickup for the Smithfield School District students, as there was no school bus pickup at the time. This was accomplished with help from Mrs. Lucy Smith, Superintendent of Henry County Schools, Judge Wirt Turner and Arnett LaMaster Sr. Henry County road supervisor. What a joy when Mr. Tandy drove the wood sided bus and picked us up for the very first time! Before that, my brother, William Lee and I rode “Old Mollie” our mare to school and dad paid Mrs. Bess Hammond for a stall to house Mollie in during the day. In good weather, we walked to school, which was a distance of approximately three miles counting the lane from our residence to the main road.
Starting in the sixth grade, I became a student of Mrs. Lucille Shannon’s, New Castle Grade School class. This required us to be on the bus at 6:30 a.m. and returning home about 4:45 p.m., then walking the half mile plus lane to our house.
I’m mentioning this because in the article, Superintendent Abrams mentioned that the length of the bus ride, from Le Compte Bottom Road would be a problem — approximately one hour. My brother and I had a much long ride than that and it never bothered us a bit, in fact, we had lots of fun. We worked on math problems, gave each other quiz questions and, oh yes, Billy Hieatt’s mother always prepared an extra cream cheese, olive and nut sandwich, which he shared with me for an afternoon snack!
My point is this: It is wrong to deny any LeCompte Bottom Road student a conveyance to the Henry County Schools, particularly since they pay school tax to Henry County. No exceptions! If at times weather does not permit bus travel in that area, then get a four-wheel drive vehicle and driver. I’m sure the money can be arranged — it was arranged for luxurious items that were not necessities for the addition to the high school.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Frankie C. Stewart