HIGH POINT, N.C. — Over the past three years, Thomas Built Buses has invested time and money into Oak Hill Elementary School, helping it to become the highest performing Title 1 school in the state, company officials said.
Oak Hill Elementary is located less than 1 mile from Thomas Built’s headquarters in High Point, and the school recently hosted the American School Bus Council’s main Love the Bus event.
The school is located in one of the poorest economic neighborhoods of High Point. Ninety-nine percent of the students enrolled at the school are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, many of the children come from single parent homes and 54% of the children speak a language other than English for their primary language. In total, 18 different languages are spoken at the school. In 2010, the school ranked among the lowest 5% in the state.
That year, the Guilford County Public School Board applied for a federal school improvement grant and started looking for community and corporate partners to invest in Oak Hill for the long term. The school was granted $2.8 million over a period of three years, and Thomas Built Buses became the school’s primary sponsor, “adopting” Oak Hill as its primary volunteer program.
“The commitment of the people at Thomas Built Buses has been critical to our continued success,” explained Ashton Clemmons, principal of Oak Hill Elementary. “They have become an anchor sponsor for Oak Hill and have provided funding, and more importantly, volunteers who assist in the development and execution of programs aligned with the goals of our school. Thomas Built Buses has been a part of our turnaround from the start by providing funds and countless volunteer hours in unique programs, including creation of a basketball league, literacy lunch and facility improvement initiatives.”
Other companies and organizations followed suit and have contributed to help sustain the growth at the school, which ranked as the highest performing Title 1 school in North Carolina for the 2012-13 school year. The school has been nominated a second time for this award for the current school year.
“Thomas Built Buses has made a conscious effort to enter into a long-term partnership with Oak Hill Elementary,” said Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “We have a commitment to our community, and we are so proud to have been a part of Oak Hill Elementary’s success. Our staff members love the volunteer opportunities that the school provides, and we cannot wait to see what is in store for the school and its students in the coming years.”
Platt and Thomas Built Buses Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service Ken Hedgecock were among the school bus industry officials who attended the Love the Bus event at Oak Hill Elementary on Feb. 21.