Axel Harrington was so excited to start kindergarten at Orchard Elementary this fall. But when the first day came and the school bus showed up, he found himself afraid to get on board. His parents ended up driving him to school that day and the next day and the day after that.
That’s when the community at Orchard stepped up to help Axel overcome his fear. Principal Alysia Arsanto and Axel’s teacher Karen Lipp offered to ride the bus with him. A second-grader named Kyle offered to sit by him every day.
A paraeducator and the bus driver invited him to help them prepare the school buses at the end of school each day so Axel could become familiar with them. Mrs. Lipp and another teacher, Megan Noren, suggested Axel have a stuffed animal ride with him and that led to him taking “Gerald,” his classroom’s elephant puppet, along for a few rides.
Through those efforts and Axel’s growing confidence, he is now riding the bus to and from school each day. And he wants other students to know that if they are afraid to ride the bus or try anything new, they just need to ask those at their school to help them.