Hilliard City Schools students riding a bus for the first time when classes resume Aug. 22 can get rid of any jitters from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 11, at Weaver Middle School, 4600 Avery Road.

The first-time-riders event is designed for students entering kindergarten but open for any student riding a bus for the first time, said Cindy Leibrock, a bus driver for Hilliard schools for 28 years.

This is the fifth year for the program but the first at Weaver. The event was held at Heritage Middle School the past four years but was required to be moved to Weaver because of constriction work on Scioto Darby Road near Heritage.

"Kids can board buses and go for a short drive that includes crossing railroad tracks," Leibrock said. Bus drivers are required to stop at all railroad crossing and open the doors to observe the approach of any train.

Several mechanics from the district's transportation department also will show the exterior of the buses and engines to children.

Hands-on activities include using tools to remove lug nuts from a dismounted tire.

About 250 students have attended past programs, Leibrock said.

"It's a chance to ease some of their anxiety, she said.

The program began in 2014 when then transpiration coordinator Randy Snyder brought the idea to Hilliard from Westerville City Schools, where he had been an administrator.

It has since been a success for students and parents, said Stacie Raterman, a spokeswoman for Hilliard City Schools.

"It gives moms and dads the comfort of knowing their little ones have had a chance to ride a bus before the first day," she said. "We get to spend some time teaching students bus safety and they get to know some of our drivers."

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