The Villages - August 2018 - 19

Tony ValenTe

Bus driVer

for The Villages CharTer sChool
Story By Mark anderSon | PhotoS By roB WilkerSon

When students from The Villages Charter School
have somewhere to be, Tony Valente helps get them
there.
Valente is one of the bus drivers for The Villages
Charter School - ready to pick up and deliver students
to field trips, performances
and sporting events.
If you have driven anywhere in The Villages during
the school year, you likely
have seen one of the large,
white buses with The Villages
Charter School logo emblazoned on the side. Each bus
has dozens of seats and storage space for equipment or
instruments, allowing students to pack everything they
need for a field trip or competition.
For Valente, a Village of
Hemingway resident, driving
the bus is a way to stay busy
and earn some extra income
after retiring. A bus driver for
the charter school for more
than eight years, Valente
moved to The Villages with the intention of finding a
part-time job just to "have something to do," he says.
"I saw the ad in the paper and I missed doing it,"
Valente said. "I didn't want to just retire completely, so
I applied for the job and got it right away because I have
a lot of experience."
After retiring from a state job in upstate New York,
Valente took a job driving school buses with the Averill
Park Central School District near Albany. He drove
buses for the district for 13 years, and his route took
him through snowy, mountainous areas that often
made for tricky driving.

Here in The Villages, driving the bus is far less
treacherous. Valente traded the snowy mountain roads
of upstate New York for the palm and oak tree-lined
streets of Florida's Friendliest Hometown.
The charter school buses are kept on school
property, ready and waiting for
Valente and the other drivers to
pick them up for a day's travels.
On travel days, Valente
arrives early to prep the bus for
students and faculty. For most
events, museums or theme
parks, Valente also receives
entry, meaning he does not
have to spend the entire day
waiting on the bus for the
students to return.
"The best places we've
gone to are the museums and
zoos," Valente said. "We went
to (ZooTampa at Lowry Park),
Homosassa Springs and the
Kennedy Space Center - those
were the best trips."
For longer trips - such
as an all-day marching band
competition in Leesburg -
Valente may not stay for the entire event, but he still
will be in the stands to cheer on the charter school
bands.
"We go watch the band competitions or we'll go
back to the bus and sit outside and read a book or
something," Valente said. "When our school plays,
we'll get there and watch them - we'll watch
everything they do."
Wherever the students need to be, Valente is there to
ensure they arrive safely and on time.
"Here, it's pretty quiet, which I like," Valente said.
"Whatever (the school) needs, we do."

MAGAZINE

19



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Villages - August 2018

Contents
The Villages - August 2018 - Cover1
The Villages - August 2018 - Contents
The Villages - August 2018 - 1
The Villages - August 2018 - 2
The Villages - August 2018 - 3
The Villages - August 2018 - 4
The Villages - August 2018 - 5
The Villages - August 2018 - 6
The Villages - August 2018 - 7
The Villages - August 2018 - 8
The Villages - August 2018 - 9
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The Villages - August 2018 - 11
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The Villages - August 2018 - Cover4
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