VALLEY COTTAGE, N.Y. — The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) announced on Tuesday the winners of the 43rd Annual New York State School Bus Safety Competition, which was held May 17 in Valley Cottage.
With more than 130 drivers, this year’s competition had more participants than ever before, officials said. Each driver had to choose from a specific school bus division, including large (Type C and D) buses to smaller (Type A) buses.
The day began with a written exam on school bus safety, and throughout the afternoon drivers tested their skills in a variety of hands-on situations, including vehicle inspection, loading and unloading students, turning and stopping, and railroad crossings.
Here are this year’s winners in each category:
Small Bus/Van (Type A):
• 1st: John Moore – Suffolk Transportation Service Inc.
• 2nd: Peter Hlywa – Acme Bus Corp., Baumann & Sons Buses Inc.
• 3rd: Susan Miller – Suffolk Transportation Service Inc.
• 4th: Manny Beltran – Croton Harmon School District
• 5th: Howard Baron – Acme Bus Corp., Baumann & Sons Buses Inc.
Conventional Bus (Type C):
• 1st: Raymond Defiore – Clarkstown Central School District
• 2nd: Rafael Solorzano – Acme Bus Corp., Baumann & Sons Buses Inc.
• 3rd: Michael Murray – First Student Inc./Valley Central School District/Wallkill Central School District
• 4th: Michael Bertrand – First Student Inc./Valley Central School District/Wallkill Central School District
• 5th: Carolyn Cliffore – We Transport Inc./Towne Bus Corp.
• 1st: Eli Diaz – We Transport Inc./Towne Bus Corp.
• 2nd: Bill Vivian – First Student Inc., Rochester
• 3rd: Daniel Farley – Quality Bus Service LLC
• 4th: David Kirkup – Educational Bus Inc.
• 5th: Jose Torres – We Transport Inc./Towne Bus Corp.
Rookie of the Year:
• Eli Diaz – We Transport Inc./Towne Bus Corp.
“This year’s perfect weather set the tone for a phenomenal day of competition,” said New York School Bus Contractors Association President Bob Pape. “These drivers lead by example and represent the best of the best by demonstrating exceptional driving skills across the board and, most importantly, the utmost attention to student safety.
"The drivers who competed, especially those who finished at or near the top, have made themselves, their school districts and school bus contractors proud, not just by competing in this event, but for the work they do in bringing our kids to school and back home safely every day,” he added.
The winners of the competition can now choose to participate in the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) Safety Competition in Albany, N.Y., on July 12 or the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) International School Bus Safety Competition in Charleston, S.C., on July 19-20.