Once a year, here at School Bus Fleet, we get to take a peek into a unique aspect of the pupil transportation world: through the eyes of our readers.
I have to tell you that the August issue is my favorite one to work on because of our annual Photo Contest. (The digital edition of that issue will post here on our website soon — stay tuned.) It allows me a closer look into this fascinating world of pupil transportation that hides in plain sight, and that many people outside the industry don’t think about all that much.
And yet, as our readers know well, there’s so much to consider — the bus model and type, the mirrors, stop arms, lights, seating, windows, bus bodies, the areas the buses serve, the students … the list goes on.
From the headlights to the rear bumper, there are a variety of different parts of and ways to look at a school bus, and this big yellow vehicle conveys elements that are invisible yet crucial to pupil transportation: security, commitment to education, pride in the community, and most of all, love for the kids.
To me, this contest is also yet more evidence of the fact that the pupil transporter is so much more than “just a bus driver.” There are so many talented people — and not just drivers — in this profession.
Many of the strongest entries showed the bus in striking landscapes that the entrants call home. This year’s winners and honorable mentions, who hail from across the U.S. — Missouri, Arizona, Indiana, Texas, California, and Georgia — demonstrate that. We see interesting perspectives of the buses on the road from the winners. Jay Hamrick captures the bright red of autumn leaves juxtaposed with the yellow of the bus. Katrina Falk conveys the chill of winter with a school bus fringed with icicles. And then there’s Ernie Ontiveros’s reflection of the bus in a puddle left behind by the rain.
Among the 100-plus entries we received, a diverse array of bus types, backgrounds, perspectives, climates, occasions, and times of year was represented. Additionally, amazing images have been captured in these entries over the years of a multitude of people who make student transportation possible, from the drivers to the technicians to the safety trainers and aides and transportation directors. (You can check out photo galleries from recent years here, here, and here.)
Selection was difficult, of course. The judges — myself and our assistant editor, Sadiah Thompson — were hard-pressed to pick only a handful of photos to name as winners and honorable mentions, and to only choose a few for our “Also Noteworthy” category. (Take a look at those in our 2019 Photo Contest photo gallery here.)
We hope you enjoy these glimpses into the world of student transportation, and that, if you haven’t done so yet, you consider submitting an entry next year.