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Local bus driver spends forty years behind the wheel

Anyone who has lived in the Bald Eagle area while attending the Tyrone Area School District will probably recognize Donna McClellan immediately.
She has been transporting children from the area to and from school for the past 40 years. McClellan just recently made her last run when she retired earlier this year, in March.
Forty years ago, at the age of 29, McClellan began transporting students for the Tyrone Area School District.
When the Bald Eagle area route opened, McClellan and her husband bid on the job. They had their own vehicle and in those early days, the contract was through Snyder Township. The route included Old Philipsburg Pike and what is now South Mountain Road.
She said in the beginning there weren’t a lot of kids in the area so she drove a van to transport the students.
The winters were especially tough and McClellan recalls having to put chains on the van was an everyday occurrence in order to travel up the mountain.
By the early 1970s, the route had grown and McClellen began driving a small bus to accommodate the growing number of students. As the area’s growth continued, a full-size bus was eventually needed for the route.
McClellan’s route included students of all ages, from kindergarten through senior high school. Years ago, when the school had half-day kindergarten, McClellen made another trip at noon, hauling students who lived in the hollows. She did this until the school stopped providing noon-time transportation for half-day kindergarten.
Over the years, McClellan has seen many families step onto her bus, including several generations of area families. Students who rode her bus 40 years ago have sent their children, and even their grandchildren, to school on McClellan’s bus. She said people who grew up in that area tend to stay nearby.
Recalling her years behind the wheel, McClellan said she has enjoyed the experience and was really lucky to have such a great group of students over the years.
McClellan is married and has four children. While she didn’t drive her own children to school very often, her youngest daughter Sally recalls riding along in the van before she was old enough to go to school.
McClellan is thankful for her husband Jim’s help, saying he has been her faithful substitute all those years. Her daughters, Sharon Schmidt, Susan Yothers and Sally Woomer all live in the Tyrone area, while her son Scott McClellan lives in Frederick, Maryland. The McClellans also have several grandchildren.