The American School Bus Council launched its annual “Love the Bus” campaign at Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools. Shown here speaking to students is A.L. Reeves, director of mentoring at Harford County (Md.) Public Schools. Photo courtesy National School Transportation Association

The American School Bus Council launched its annual “Love the Bus” campaign at Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools. Shown here speaking to students is A.L. Reeves, director of mentoring at Harford County (Md.) Public Schools. Photo courtesy National School Transportation Association

APOPKA, Fla. — The American School Bus Council (ASBC) launched its annual “Love the Bus” campaign here with two Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) events on Tuesday.

In the morning, ASBC held a student assembly at Rock Springs Elementary School. The assembly was followed by a recognition of all OCPS transportation employees at the district’s new transportation facility.

The program began with remarks by district officials and the ASBC council. Then, A.L. Reeves, director of mentoring at Harford County (Md.) Public Schools, spoke to students, drivers, and guests about the importance of the school bus helping students achieve success. ASBC also recognized the district’s school bus drivers and presented them with a certificate and small gift.

A total of 250 students, bus drivers, faculty members, and administrators attended the event, according to the National School Transportation Association (NSTA).

The day’s celebrations continued at OCPS’s new Pine Hills bus facility with a short program that recognized OCPS’s transportation employees. Representatives from the three major school bus manufacturers — Thomas Built Buses, Blue Bird, and IC Bus — were on hand and brought buses to feature some of the latest school bus technology. Also in attendance, according to the NSTA, were 100 drivers, administrators, and transportation staff, as well as officials from the NSTA, National Association for Pupil Transportation, and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.

ASBC filmed the events and conducted interviews with district officials and employees to use in promoting 2020 Love the Bus activities nationwide.

Launched in 2007, Love the Bus is a month-long celebration held every February. The event celebrates the important role of the yellow school bus in education, with a focus on thanking school bus drivers for safely transporting more than 25 million children to and from school every day. Love the Bus events are held at schools, school bus facilities, and other locations across the country.

ASBC encourages school districts and school bus contractors to hold their own Love the Bus events throughout February. Events from previous years have included special breakfasts, awards, candy and prizes, and visits from special guests.

The council also provides downloadable materials to help with Love the Bus events, including certificates, cards, and coloring sheets. ASBC’s color sheet, “Stop for Safety,” reminds motorists to stop when children are loading or unloading from the bus.

Rock Springs Elementary School students recognized their school bus drivers with gifts and certificates as part of Love the Bus. Photo courtesy National School Transportation Association

Rock Springs Elementary School students recognized their school bus drivers with gifts and certificates as part of Love the Bus. Photo courtesy National School Transportation Association

In addition, as in previous years, ASBC is holding a contest on social media. School bus operations can use the hashtag #LoveTheBus or @WeLoveTheBus on the ASBC Facebook or Twitter pages to share stories, videos, and photos showing how they are observing Love the Bus. Based on the number of likes and how the posts commemorate the meaning of Love the Bus, ASBC will award a $250 first prize, $150 second prize, and $100 third prize. Creators of the top three selected posts will receive Visa gift cards.

Districts and contractors can also submit photos and stories demonstrating their love of the bus or about a driver or school transportation employee who deserves recognition for their efforts in supporting student safety at www.lovethebus.org. ASBC will share stories on its website.

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