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January 01, 2009  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Thomas Built Buses names essay contest winners


HIGH POINT, N.C. — Hundreds of children across the country nominated their favorite school bus driver for the third annual Thomas Built Buses Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year national essay contest.

This year’s winning essay was submitted by Matthew, a second-grader from Ridgefield, Conn. In the 90-word essay, Matthew described the actions of his bus driver — Sharon Scott of Ridgefield Public Schools — during a severe storm.

Matthew’s essay included the following passage:

“The trees started swaying, and after three stops, Sharon told everyone to close the windows. Just as we got near [my friend] Connor’s stop, we turned a corner, and there was a giant tree on top of a car! Sharon turned the bus around and drove us safely back to school.”

Scott has been driving school buses for 16 years. As Thomas Built Buses’ 2008 School Bus Driver of the Year, Scott will receive a $1,000 Visa gift card. Matthew will receive a $1,000 educational savings bond and a laptop computer. The two will also get Thomas Built jackets and Saf-T-Liner C2 school bus lunch boxes.

Three runners-up and their favorite bus drivers were also selected from this year’s nominations. All three drivers were nominated by students from Shepherd Elementary School in Mooresville, N.C. Madison, 8, nominated Dianne Swartz. Tamia, 8, nominated Shari Dilday, and Nicholas, 8, nominated Bernadine Stickle. All runners- up and their drivers will receive Thomas Built jackets and Saf-T-Liner C2 school bus lunch boxes.

Thomas Built Buses created the national Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest in 2006, the company’s 90th anniversary year, to acknowledge and thank school bus drivers for their hard work and dedication.

“The work of school bus drivers goes beyond the stops between school and home,” President and CEO John O’Leary said. “It’s important that we recognize drivers for the larger role they play in students’ lives.”

Representatives from the National Association for Pupil Transportation, SCHOOL BUS FLEET magazine and Thomas Built Buses judged the entries based on content and originality. Thomas Built verified driver qualifications with each district.

For more information on the contest, photos, and scans of top-placing essays and accompanying illustrations, visit


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