Students Breck Bryan (left), John Watson and Samantha Mazzara nominated winning school bus driver Leslie Andrews in the Children's Choice contest.
HAMPSTEAD, N.C. — Leslie Andrews has been named the 2013 Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year, although her dedicated efforts extend beyond the bus.
Andrews, a 13-year driver for Pender County Schools, also serves kids in the school cafeteria and is heavily involved in the community — often orchestrating donation drives throughout the year for local charities.
Four students nominated Andrews in the Children's Choice essay contest, which Thomas Built Buses holds annually. Two of those students tied for first place for their essays about their bus driver.
Samantha Mazzara, 10, wrote that Andrews “is involved in her community, loves helping people of all ages and wouldn’t hurt a fly.” John Watson, 8, noted that Andrews “shows us how to love others. She shows us how to do things right and help other kids.”
As the 2013 Children's Choice Driver of the Year, Andrews will receive a $1,000 Visa gift card, a laptop computer and a Thomas Built jacket. The grand prize winning essay writers, Mazzara and Watson, will receive a laptop computer, a $500 Visa gift card and Thomas Built jackets.
Essays were judged for content and originality by a variety of pupil transportation industry representatives.
Runners up in the contest were:
• Breck Bryan, 12, who also nominated Andrews.
• George Zach, 9, of Lovettsville, Va.
Students in second and third place will receive Thomas Built jackets.
“We are committed to building safe, dependable buses, and we recognize, too, the important role of drivers in transporting children safely to and from school,” said Kelley Platt, Thomas Built president and CEO. “This contest lets us say thank you to the school bus drivers who take such good care of their cherished cargo, and to recognize their significant role in students’ lives.”
To read the top essays, go here.