Liz Sager and her No. 12 bus have become a holiday staple across the Averill Park Central School District.
Every year, students have come to expect spiders, Jack-o-Lanterns, lights and bright-colored outfits during the Halloween and winter holiday seasons. Now, after 20 years of working for Averill Park CSD, Mrs. Sager is retiring on Oct. 25 and is driving off into the sunset.
Mrs. Sager began her career as a bus monitor in 1999 and spent two years riding the bus before deciding to get her license to become a driver. Since then, she has been behind the wheel, transporting students to and from school.
“I was on the bus dealing with the kids and thought, ‘you know what? I can do this.’ So I got my license and have been driving ever since,” she said.
Mrs. Sager decorates the bus for most holidays, including Trunk or Treat at Miller Hill-Sand Lake Elementary and goes all out for the winter holidays, where she will wear a different costume each day. Mrs. Sager also decorates the bus – with her own money – to be driven in local town parades.
“We did the haunted bus one year. It was so much fun,” she said.
“Over the years (Liz) has been instrumental in organizing and doing many things within our department,” Michael and Stacey Walczak, of the Transportation Department, said.
Not everything that Mrs. Sager does involves the bus, though. When co-workers are out sick for an extended period of time, you can be sure that Mrs. Sager will be coming around with a card to sign. She also collects money, does a 50/50 raffle and shops for families that the Transportation Department sponsors during the holidays.
“(Liz) does all of this with no expectations except for putting smiles on a child’s face. She is leaving big shoes to be filled and will be missed very much,” Michael and Stacey said. “There are not enough words to thank her for all she has done throughout her years at Averill Park.”
Mrs. Sager also works in the kitchen at West Sand Lake Elementary, serving lunch to students between bus runs.
“I had an awesome career here, I love driving the bus,” she said. “I love driving the kids and I love the parents, too, they’re all great. I’m going to miss everything about it.”
Mrs. Sager is heading south to enjoy the warm weather in Florida.
“Averill Park CSD would like to thank Mrs. Sager for her service to our students and our community over the past 20 years,” Superintendent Dr. Franchini said. “Mrs. Sager took her job very seriously but was able to add in some fun and became known for her creative bus decorations and outfits. In doing so, she has left a lasting impression on many of our students and staff members. We wish you the best of luck in your retirement!”