Bright and early, Deerfield students who attend Concord High School get on dimly lit buses where the only sources of light are red swinging stop signs or bright screens of cell phones students pull from their pockets and backpacks.
Frequent stops to pick up students begin at 6:15 a.m. and end around 6:40 a.m., meaning that by the time Deerfield students get to CHS they may have ridden 40-60 minutes on the bus.
The return trip home takes a similar amount of time.
Some upperclassmen drive themselves to Concord. Others take the bus. A few switch back and forth.
One advantage of riding the bus is that it provides a perfect place to catch some extra sleep.
“I get to sleep for an extra 45 minutes and I don’t have to use as much gas,” explains junior Colin Brinson as to why he sometimes prefers the bus.
A nap on the way in or way home comes in handy for upperclassmen getting only five or six hours of sleep per night, sometimes due to homework. After a long night writing essays or a long day sitting through AP classes, a little sleep is well deserved.
Brinson, left, steps onto one of the two buses on Woodman Street behind Commons D on a Wednesday afternoon earlier this school year.
Generally three buses ferry Deerfield students back and forth to CHS but on this day the third is missing in action for the afternoon ride home.
Occasionally bus driver Gina Neily gets pulled from her regular Concord route to drive another one, forcing “her” students to double up on another bus: one that shares a similar route.
Senior Adrianna Escabi doesn’t enjoy rides when students are doubled up. “It’s awful, it’s crowded and hot,” she said. “Sometimes, yeah, I’ve considered walking home.”
At left, Escabi slips off into a dream state following a busy school day earlier this year.
Because many upperclassmen prefer driving into Concord for their own personal reasons, maybe so that they can participate in afternoon sports or club activities, there are few other seniors to talk to on some rides.
Bus ridership is primarily made up of underclassmen who converse in the front but often try to inch themselves towards the back of the bus where upperclassmen usually sit.
Bright duct tape stuck to the ceiling of the bus marks sections for students of different ages.
Some underclassmen with junior and senior friends ride in the back of the bus but such visits tend to be occasional and short: for a day or two.
At left, ahandful of freshman and sophomores gather their heads in the aisle to gossip about the day, talk about weekend plans and play cell phone games on the way back to Deerfield after a busy day at school.
They’ve got a ways to go before they too see the bus as a potential place to nap.