Big wheels and the sound of a truck horn could be heard rolling through the Hamden Hall campus as special guest Anthony Spero, a.k.a. “Tony the Trucker,” visited his fourth-grade buddies and provided a tour of his freight truck.
While large freight trucks can be intimidating to students, Tony helps alleviate that notion by speaking directly to students in person and through a series of letters. The pen pal writing component helps cultivate a relationship between drivers and students. Fourth-graders spent class time throughout the year writing letters to Tony asking about his trucking journeys, how he feels being away from his family for long periods of time, and even asking Tony to be their lunch guest. Tony always writes back to the students answering their questions and leaving messages of encouragement.
With the sound of the truck parking and turning off, Grade 4 teacher Emily Schimelman 2002 and students from her class and Grade 4 teacher Sara Dixon’s class gathered on the front steps outside Taylor Gym to welcome Tony. As Tony stepped out of his truck, the students excitedly greeted him.
“The moment the students saw the truck in the parking lot, they got so excited,” commented Mrs. Schimelman. “Anthony has been our amazing pen pal and trucker buddy for years. He is so kind with the students, and we look forward to this every year.”
During his visit, Tony explained the ins-and-outs of his truck and how he works to get it prepared for deliveries and long trips. Afterwards, students were invited to take a seat in the driver’s seat of the truck. One-by-one, students were helped up into the front seat and were invited to pull the string connecting to the horn. Inside the truck, students got the chance to ask Tony any question they had regarding his truck, his delivery trips, or any truck-related matters. After each student got a turn, Tony demonstrated how he breaks down the truck after each stop, making sure all the parts are thoroughly looked through and secured back in place.
In a special turn of events, the students were invited to enter the back of the empty truck to play a game of dodgeball with Mrs. Schimelman. After the game, students returned to the classroom where Anthony spoke to them about the trucking industry, truck safety, and the accolades he has received including safe driving awards and driving championship honors. Additionally, he has been named Trucker Buddy of the Month over the course of several years. Anthony joined the students for lunch before departing campus for his next trip.
Anthony works as an ABF Freight Systems truck driver and part of the American’s Road Team. He has been visiting Hamden Hall since 1999. He has won numerous awards and championships during his career. He is part of Trucker Buddy International, a non-profit organization that introduces students to the trucking industry via a pen pal relationship.
“It is so important to educate the public on safety measures and how important the trucking industry is to other businesses.” noted Anthony. “I am honored to be invited each year to Hamden Hall to share this with the students.”