Thumbs of the Week: Bus driver shortage improves for county

Staff Reports • Updated Dec 8, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Thumbs up to Wilson County Schools for implementing a $3 pay raise for bus drivers. The $3 pay raise for drivers totaled $708,801 and represented an average of 17.6 percent average pay increase for drivers. Wilson County Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall said the starting pay for bus drivers would increase to $17. Jerry Partlow, Wilson County Schools transportation director, told the Wilson County Board of Education on Monday all routes were covered throughout the district, which comes about two months after the district approved the $3 hourly pay raise for district drivers. Partlow also credited the district’s new app for bus drivers and administrators to handle discipline issues. The app allows bus drivers to file incident reports from their phones, which will be sent to the respective school’s principal and Partlow. 


Thumbs up to Lebanon police Officer Keith Maddox and Wilson County sheriff’s Deputy Jason Anderson for winning the No Shave November Challenge, a fundraiser for the Wilson Warrior Foundation. While several officers and deputies took the challenge and grew impressive and well-kept beards, Maddox and Anderson stood true to the cause and did not shave or trim for the entire month. In Maddox’s words, “it was no shave November, right?” An extra $100 and a razor were donated personally by Lebanon police Chief Mike Justice in Maddox’s name to the Wilson Warrior Foundation, which brought the total contribution to $950. 


Thumbs up to Real Mamas of Mt. Juliet for paying off the student loan debts at 11 schools in Mt. Juliet. Stephanie Godwin started the Facebook group, “Real Mamas of Mt. Juliet,” in September with the intent to do some good in the community. “I just felt like there was a lot of negativity about our county, about our schools, about our teachers and about our parents,” said Godwin. “I wanted to start something that was a little more positive.” In just one month, the group had about 500 members and a partnership with Sister Whimzy Clothing and Gift Boutique in Mt. Juliet. The group started selling T-shirts to buy lunches for students who couldn’t afford them at local elementary schools. The T-shirts sold by the group cost $24.99 and $5 from each purchase goes to helping out children in elementary schools. 


Thumbs up to the Wilson Central Dance Team for winning two titles at the Smoky Mountain Christmas Championships on Saturday at the Sevierville Convention Center. Competing against other varsity high school dance teams from across the Southeast, the Wildcats won the hip-hop competition and the jazz competition. “It’s the first time that Wilson Central has ever won both competitions at the Smoky Mountain Christmas Championships,” said Wildcats’ coach Katie Stricklin. “I could not be more proud of these girls.” The Wildcats, who dance at home high school football and basketball games, also won an award for the best choreography for the varsity hip-hop division. The Smoky Mountain championships are part of the Universal Dance Association competitions. 


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