South Carolina seventh-grader Jack Kendrick (shown center) is honored by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) for getting his school to add a propane-powered bus designed for special-needs students to its fleet. Shown right presenting the award and a check for science programs at Kendrick's school is Tucker Perkins, PERC's president and CEO. - Photo courtesy Greenville County (S.C.) Schools

South Carolina seventh-grader Jack Kendrick (shown center) is honored by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) for getting his school to add a propane-powered bus designed for special-needs students to its fleet. Shown right presenting the award and a check for science programs at Kendrick's school is Tucker Perkins, PERC's president and CEO.

Photo courtesy Greenville County (S.C.) Schools

A special-needs student in South Carolina was recently honored by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) for his efforts to get his school to add a propane-powered bus designed for special-needs students to its fleet.

About a year ago, according to a video posted on the Greenville County Schools Facebook page, Jack Kendrick, who attends seventh grade at League Academy in Greenville, petitioned his bus driver and wrote a letter to the Greenville County Schools director of transportation, Adam James, requesting a propane school bus that he and his classmates with special needs could ride. James then sent the letter to state Superintendent Molly Spearman.

When Spearman received the letter from Kendrick, who has autism, she authorized the purchase of the propane-powered special needs bus, Tim Waller, the director of media relations for the district, told School Bus Fleet. (Because the state owns and maintains all school buses in South Carolina, the bus was paid for with state funds.)

“Spearman specifically assigned the bus to Kendrick’s route,” Waller added. “She could have sent it anywhere in the state.”

The propane-powered school bus is the first in the district’s fleet, which currently has more than 20 propane-powered buses, to be designed for students with special needs. Features for special-needs students include a wheelchair lift, wheelchair tie-down slots, and seats that can be equipped with child safety restraints, James told SBF.

On Oct. 28, Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of PERC, presented Kendrick with the 2020 Clean Energy Hero Award and donated $1,000 to League Academy’s science programs, according to a news release from PERC.

“Jack wanted a better way to get to school. Greenville County Schools, with the help of Jack Kendrick, is now on the forefront of a revolution in clean student transportation,” Perkins said when presenting Kendrick with the award. “Heroes stand up for what they believe. They’re not going to be denied what they believe, and they’re going to do right no matter what the odds are — for them or against them.”

The award is given to recognize an individual’s pursuit to improve their community’s air quality and environment by leading clean energy initiatives, according to PERC.

Dr. Burke Royster, the superintendent of Greenville County Schools, said at the event that the district saw the advantage of propane vehicles, which Kendrick, who is an advocate for school buses and the environment, had long recognized.

Kendrick also impressed the school with his dedication to his cause.

“Jack shows us that no matter what, when you have a purpose, a goal, a drive, that you can achieve that,” said Mary Leslie Anderson, the principal of League Academy.

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