VALLEY COTTAGE, N.Y. — The top finishers have been named in the 44th Annual New York State School Bus Safety Competition.

More than 100 drivers took part in the competition, which was held by the New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) on May 16 at Rockland Lake State Park in Valley Cottage.

“Early rain didn’t put a damper on what proved to be an outstanding day of competition,” NYSBCA President Bob Pape said. “All of these drivers exhibited incredible skill and attention to detail as their driving skills were put to the ultimate test.”

The day began with a written exam on school bus safety, and then went throughout the afternoon with drivers testing 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:

Lakisha Thomas of Baumann was named Rookie of the Year.

Lakisha Thomas of Baumann was named Rookie of the Year.

Type C (Conventional)

1st — Mitchell Mattison, Monticello Central School District
2nd — Vicki DelVecchio, First Student, Pine Bush
3rd — Cheryl Wyman, Monticello Central School District
4th — Robert Tomassi, Chestnut Ridge Transportation, Hillburn
5th — Joanne Wright, Baumann

Type A (Small Bus/Van)

1st — John Moore, Suffolk Transportation
2nd — James J. Baumer, WE Transport
3rd — Djymi Aide, Chestnut Ridge Transportation, Spring Valley
4th — Lakisha Thomas, Baumann
5th — Donna Brown, Suffolk Transportation

Type D (Transit)

1st — Manuel Beltran, Croton-Harmon Schools
2nd — Bill Vivian, First Student, Rochester
3rd — Daniel Farley, Quality Bus Service
4th — Thor Hendrickson, Durham School Services
5th — Jose Torres, WE Transport

Rookie of the Year

Lakisha Thomas, Baumann

Transportation, buses and equipment were provided by Chappaqua Transportation, First Student, The Trans Group, Quality Bus Service, Rolling V and Suffolk Transportation.

The winners of the competition can choose to participate in the School Bus Driver International Safety Competition, to be held by the National School Transportation Association in Minneapolis on July 18 and 19, or the New York Association for Pupil Transportation Safety Competition in Albany, New York, on July 11.

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