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Forreston school bus driver decorates front seat of her bus for the holidays

The pandemic puts restrictions on many area schools, but one Forreston bus driver wasn’t going to let that damper the holiday spirit.
Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 10:56 PM CST
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FORRESTON, Ill. (WIFR) -Marsha Birkholz has driven a bus for the Forreston School District for the past twelve years, but this year came with a few changes.

“Since we have a quarantine and the COVID-19 situation that we’re in, our drivers always have the seat directly behind them empty,” said Forrestville Valley School District Superintendent Sheri Smith.

Instead of letting that seat sit empty, Birkholz decided to decorate it.

“Yesterday was my favorite it was elf on the shelf, so I had elves sitting on my bus and all my stuffed animals had masks on,” said Birkholz.

Birkholz changes the display everyday. She says students stop by, check it out and often ask some fun questions.

“One of them said, ‘if you were a reindeer what would you be?’, and I said I guess I would consider myself Prancer and he said ‘no, you should be Rudolph because you’re driving the bus!” said Birkholz.

Smith said she thinks Birkholz is a special person and a great employee.

“It doesn’t surprise me because that’s how Marsha is just as an individual, to always add something special to make her students day a little bit brighter,” said Smith.

Birkholz says it’s the students reactions that make her effort all worthwhile.

“I love to see their smile,” said Birkholz. “I can’t see their face because their mask is on, but I see their eyes.”

Birkholz’s says her themes range from snowmen to the Grinch, and as an added bonus she gives her students goodie bags to take home.

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