Laura Schmidt of Douglas Middle School in South Dakota, nominated Duane Donner, a Walmart driver as the trucker of the month for March 2011.
Ms. Schmidt talks about Duane, “He is an amazing trucker and both my students and I have been blessed to have him as our driver. I teach a population of middle school students with special needs. Most of my students have pretty severe both physical
and/or mental disabilities. They are a very unique population,
and are often difficult to relate to. The students are
chronologically middle school age, but the disabilities make
actual functioning levels at lower elementary.
Duane has never faltered or been nervous in relating to these
special students. He works hard to come up with ways to make
his journeys come alive and be educational for the students. He
relates to each student individually, and when they move on to
the high school, often he checks on them through letters. He
e mails, sends letters, and sends postcards regularly. He also
works to make things special for the students by sending pizza,
gifts, and learning tools in the mail.”
In addition to the traditional letters and postcards, which he sends
regularly, Duane goes above and beyond by purchasing gifts for
the students. One trip he purchased pizza for everyone. Duane’s
wife helps him in connecting with the students by working tirelessly
to find activities and materials that are meaningful to each student.
The Douglas Middle School class is lucky and blessed that he
continues to choose our classroom, and be their trucker buddy
. In the spring, when he comes to visit, this proves to be the
highlight of the school year for all the students.