OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – School is more difficult this year for both students and parents, but it’s necessity that can put things in perspective.
Internet is something we think of as a luxury until we don’t have it. It’s a problem that’s adding an extra layer of resilience for one group of students.
“We were anticipating those changes; we just didn’t know what they were going to be.”
Changes not only for teachers and students, but for those responsible with providing a safe trip to and from school.
Dale Carraway has been driving for Daviess County Public Schools for six years, and many of his students are new not only to school, but to Owensboro.
“They’ve had a hard and long road to travel. They’ve come from different parts of the world. Here they are in Owensboro.”
In a world of change, Dale is a constant in their lives Monday through Friday. But this year Dale isn’t taking his students to school, he’s bringing the classroom to them.
“Some of the kids that do not have access in their homes for whatever reason, they get to come out here and we get to spend some time with them,” shared Carraway from the seat of his bus behind the driver’s wheel.
His bus is equipped with WIFI, allowing students to connect with their teachers on a virtual schedule.
“They’re having to learn. It’s not an opportunity. They’re having to do it and they’re doing a good job at it.”
Carraway has recently started taking a smaller group than usual to school in the morning as DCPS has moved to a hybrid schedule. But after those students arrive at their school, he cleans his vehicle and drives to Chuck Gray Court. It’s where he provides internet through his vehicle each day.
Literally on the sidewalk, these students impress Dale and his partner Carolyn who watch them solve problems most adults would throw fits about.
“They don’t have a lot of confidence in their English yet. Unfortunately, I can’t understand the language they are more confident in. So I’ll get our little computer guru, she’ll go over there, she’ll figure out what’s going on. She’s excellent and she’s in the third grade,” said a proud Carraway.
If it’s not technology, some challenge seems to be thrown at these students. Like the weather.
“It started raining and obviously with these laptops and everything we’ve got to get these laptops in out of the rain. We had to get on the bus. They get on the bus and the rain all coming in the windows and everything, it’s raining hard enough so we had to put the windows. up.”
Through it all, parents and teachers can feel good knowing not just here, but across Daviess County, there are people who care like Dale.
The tables where these students are sitting are an improvement from day one when more than a dozen sat together on the ground, and they’re provided by Dale and his family.
“We decided we’ve got some chairs and tables, let’s take them over there and let these kids, get them up off the ground.”
In a pandemic adaptation can come from places you didn’t expect, and for Dale so can inspiration.
“Their mind is on the screen. They’re listening to their teacher and everything. Again, it’s still difficult because look at the environment they’re in. It’s a challenge, but the kids are so disciplined. I’m so proud of them.”
(This story was originally published on Sept. 18, 2020)