Carving Connections
CK Schools Bus Driver Helps with Brownsville's Native American Club
Posted on 11/29/2023
Darin Locke, left, helps a young student in Brownsville's Native American club with his paint. 

For a couple days a year, when Central Kitsap Schools bus driver Darin Locke finishes his afternoon route at Brownsville Elementary, his day isn’t done. 

He comes back to the school, parks his bus out front, and returns to an eager group of students who anticipate his arrival. 

Locke, who has driven a bus for CK Schools for the last 15 years, sculpts Indigenous-themed wood carvings for Brownsville’s Native American Club to paint. 

Locke isn’t Native American, as a Pacific Northwest native, he’s always been interested in the style and detail of Indigenous carvings. After connecting with Leslie Stensvold, a paraeducator at Brownsville, and learning about the Native American club, Locke offered to share his wood carving experience with the kids. He’s been a part of the club for the past two years. 

Last year they painted salmon. This year it is black bears.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Mr. Darin take the time to share his woodworking skills,” Stensvold said. “It has allowed them to learn more about Native culture, while creating a treasure that they will cherish for a lifetime.”

In addition to teaching kids about wood carving, Locke helps in teaching students about how Indigenous communities carved their sculptures, what sort of materials they used for the paint, and which colors were commonly found in native art.

His bus route isn’t Locke’s only connection to Brownsville. Locke went to the elementary school in the late 70s.

“I love working with Brownsville because I went to that school and I have a lot of good memories and friends from Brownsville to this day,” he said. “Native culture is all around the Pacific Northwest and I always appreciated it. I decided it would be great to share my talent and give back to the school and community.”