Riverview Employee Highlight
Margie McGill and Diane Magnochi
Diane Magnochi and Margie McGill (with plaques) stand with fellow colleagues from district transportation along with Director of Business and Operations Bill Adamo (L), Superintendent Dr. Anthony L. Smith (second from L), Riverview School Board President Carol Van Noy (front right), and Transportation Supervisor Sabrina Warren (back right).
“We are a big family here, we all jump in and help everyone,” says Margie McGill, brandishing a large smile as she turns to colleague Diane Magnochi, who smiles back and nods. Together, these two Riverview School District bus drivers share a combined 55 years of service to Riverview students and families, and each were recognized by Superintendent Dr. Anthony Smith, Transportation Supervisor Sabrina Warren, and the Riverview School District School Board of Directors at the November 8, 2016 school board meeting.
For McGill (30 years) and Magnochi (25 years), the memories arrive quickly, amid waves of laughter, richly detailed stories and reflection. In their tenure with Riverview, they have observed lots of changes - new schools, more buses, more drivers, more and more students - but one constant remains year after year: they love their job and more importantly, they love the kids.
“It really doesn’t seem like 25 years,” shares Magnochi. “In some ways, it seems like we started this yesterday.”
Listening to these friends and co-workers share stories back and forth, it is being around children and the collective sharing of experiences that cements the bonds created through the years. As mothers who saw their own children matriculate through Riverview and graduate from Cedarcrest High School, they joke about having “seen it all.”
“You’re the first person they see in the morning and sometimes we forget that we can make or break their day,” says Magnochi. “So many of the kids we see are always so kind in saying ‘Thank you’ or ‘Good morning’ from Kindergarten on up,” adds McGill. “You feel like a person who is important in the students’ lives and in many ways, we really are more than just a bus driver.”
Agreeing that it definitely “takes a village” to not only raise children but foster a sense of community, their observations are telling. “Everyone is in just such a hurry nowadays,” notes McGill.
With both parents working more and more outside of the home, and the prevalence of smartphones, Magnochi observes that “more and more kids seem to miss conversations they might have with Mom and Dad in the mornings, or that they anticipate having in the afternoon right after school. We prove to be a captive audience for one another.”
“Moms and Dads would be embarrassed to know some of the things they tell us though!” laughs McGill.
Margie and Diane speak with a folksy eloquence and ease, and time spent with them makes you sit back and smile. For them, and the sense of community that exists within the Transportation offices, the students, the parents and families, their co-workers, dispatchers, and substitute pool all comprise a second family.
“This job is great in that you can be off when your children are off, and you can really be something of a mentor to the students as well,” says McGill. “But also, your kids become your family and the connections stick with you for a very long time.”
And so do the memories. Thoughts are shared on the unfortunate driver who backed into the bus one morning. Then there was the tree that fell, ahead of a bus on Highway 203, unexpectedly, as the bus accelerated towards it. And then there are the cougars. And the bobcats. The bears. And the foxes, deer, elk, and coyotes. “We see it all!” Margie proclaims.
And what also stands prominent in their thoughts are the holiday gifts and end of school “thank you’s,” nearly all of them kept and looked at time and again. “Every gesture truly means something,” says Magnochi.
While on the one hand it seems surprising to them to have spent 25 or 30 years of time in their jobs, both Diane and Margie are proud of the long hours spent transporting kids from home to school and back again. Diane also works as a driver trainer, often working extended hours after her routes are complete to ensure that new and prospective drivers are ready to go once they complete their CDL requirements.
In the end, it all comes back to the precious cargo they deliver on a daily basis.
“We can now say we have driven the kids of kids,” Magnochi states proudly. And through all the changes in Duvall and Carnation over the years - one thing remains the same: the smiles, the questions, the conversations, and the relationships they share with their students making each and every day worthwhile.