Marking one week after a bus of their students plummeted off the side of a highway and into a ravine, the Parkway School District wants to remember the good that came out of the day.
“To see all of that happen in real time and reflect on that; I think as an adult it’s rewarding to see our St. Louis community come together like that,” said Dr. Patrick Shelton, principal and Hanna Woods Elementary. “That’s something we want to pass on to our kids.”
That’s why the school hosted an assembly honoring the first responders, medical teams, and Good Samaritans who helped ensure that all 13 kids and their bus driver made it out okay.
Representatives from the Kirkwood Fire Department, Children’s Hospital, and other Parkway Schools were on hand.
Michael Nelson, who jumped a fence to get to the bus, also met the kids for the first time since that day.
Lavitta Conrod-Wooldridge, the bus driver credited with steering the bus upright as it went down the ravine, also had a private meeting with the children. Only recently released from the hospital, she hugged each of the kids, who she told she was “so happy to see” doing well.
The Hanna Woods student body gathers once a week for an assembly to talk about one of their core values. This week’s value: integrity.
But two fifth graders, Abdi Malik and Richelle Gipson, already know a lot about that. They led the charge kicking down the door and leading kids out, even keeping count to make sure everyone was off the bus.
Dr. Shelton hopes these are lessons that stick with all of his students.
“I think this just validates that what they were doing is a natural human response—to care for people.”