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Voyageur's Best Features of 2003

Marv Holsten and students

New beginnings
Marv Holsten retires
by John Grones  |  June 10, 2003

The end is the beginning for Palisade School bus driver, Marv Holsten, and the graduating class of 2003. Marv officially retired this year and the fourth grade class moves on to Rippleside Elementary School in Aitkin.

Marv Holsten is retiring from bus driving after 27 years of service with the Aitkin School District. Dr. Anderson, Superintendent of Schools, recognized Marv at the Palisade fourth grade graduation ceremony held Thurs., May 29. According to long-time resident of Palisade and grandmother of several students, Vi Spolarich, Marv has always been there volunteering time to take students to various functions. “He is always going out of his way,” said Vi. “They are really going to miss him.”

Marv began driving bus for the school 27 years ago in Aitkin. After 15 years, he took over the route in Palisade. Marv drove about 130 miles per day, and his route never took him more than 12 miles away from town. The route is a bit confusing, but Marv was responsible for gathering all the students in the area, whether they attend Palisade or Aitkin. Students that go to Aitkin are transfered to another bus Marv referred to as ‘the shuttle bus.’ Marv had three routes due to the fact the Palisade school let out earlier than Aitkin. When school ended, Marv first took the first thru fourth grade students home, then returned to meet the shuttle bus and took the older kids home from Aitkin High School.

Retirement is bitter-sweet for Marv and despite holding back a few tears, he is ready to move on. “You have good times and bad times, but more good,” said Marv. “It’s been fun, but that 5:00 a.m. gets old after a while.”

The students didn’t hesitate when asked what they are going to miss the most about Marv. “Everything,” exclaimed Josey Andrews. “He’s the funnest bus driver I’ve ever had! He grabs our feet and takes off our shoes. He throws them in the garbage can.”

“Yeah,” agreed Amanda Faughn. “He’s always pickin’ on us. He’s funny. When we give him the thumbs up, he turns up the radio. Then his head starts dancin’ in the mirror.”

There’s no question about it. Everyone is going to miss Marv, but he’s not going very far. Marv is a farmer and he has some beef cows near Palisade. He’s going to spend his time making hay, hunting and fishing.

As for those fourth graders that graduated, they too will be moving on. They had a ceremony in the Palisade gymnasium. Their teacher, Cheryl Hess, has taught them the past two years and shared a memory of each one. The third grade class presented each student with a going away gift.

At the conclusion of the graduation, the ‘Outstanding Student’ was recognized for 2003. The award began in 1997 and this year’s recipient was Charlie Lamke.

This article first appeared in the June 10, 2003 issue of the Voyageur Press.