It’s the job, and a whole lot more for STA bus driver
Elvira Karic of Hooksett in the entryway of bus No. 15, which she drives to all three Hooksett schools. Karic, originally from Bosnia, became a U.S. citizen last month. (CORY FRANCER)
AUBURN — For 14 years, Elvira Karic has loved the life she has led in America and now to make it official, Karic became a citizen last month.
As a bus driver for Student Transportation of America’s Auburn location, Karic, originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been immensely grateful for the opportunity to find work she loves in the U.S.
The Hooksett resident drives bus No. 15 to all three of Hooksett’s schools. Since moving to New Hampshire at age 18 in 1997, she has learned English, obtained her bus-driving license and become a citizen. Karic said she and her husband, along with their two young sons, have found a comfort level in the States that they are grateful to experience.
“I have everything here,” she said. “For my kids, for myself and for my husband. We have a nice life right here. We are working, and we feel comfortable here in the United States.”
When Karic left Bosnia in the ’90s, a period of war and tumult for the eastern European nation, she said she did not speak a word of English. She said she attended high school in Manchester for a few months, but mostly had to pick up the language on her own.
While in Manchester, Karic said she began work at another company before she became a bus driver. While working in Manchester, Karic said she met the man who would become her husband. Coincidentally, he is from Bosnia as well.
Now with STA for nearly four years, Karic said the company has provided her with everything she could ask for. She gets to spend time with her sons, who are both students in Hooksett and ride on her bus. In addition to being able to spend time with her family, she said the people at STA have become just as close.
“The company is good, and the people in this company make it feel like a family,” Karic said. “Everybody is nice to me.”
Patricia Pappas, the bus manager at the STA Auburn location, said Karic has been a model employee. Pappas said that Karic’s love of America shows in her work.
“She’s very grateful to be in the country and to be working here,” Pappas said. “She is very dependable and reliable. She’s a wonderful person.”
On April 20, when Karic officially became a U.S. citizen in a ceremony at the state Supreme Court in Concord, she said she was thrilled to have the process completed and to become a citizen.
Karic said the test was hard, and she had only one month to study for the 100-question exam that spanned everything from U.S. history to Presidents to wars the country has been involved in.
“I was so excited and so happy,” Karic said. “It was something really nice.”
Since she has been in America, Karic said she has returned to her home country three times to see her parents. She said she has brothers and sisters in America, but her parents split their time between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the U.S. She said her sons love visiting their grandparents overseas, but Karic said New Hampshire is home.
“I came here and everything was new,” she said. “But I got it.”