American Children Show Appreciation for Bus Drivers

Thomas Built Buses School Bus Driver of the Year Announced

High Point, N.C. – School bus drivers may go unnoticed as they follow their daily routes, but students show their appreciation every year with the help of the Thomas Built Buses Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest. Now in its third year, hundreds of children have participated by nominating their favorite bus drivers in 90-word personal essays.

This year’s winning driver, Sharon Scott, was nominated by one of her passengers, second-grader Matthew C. of Ridgefield, Conn. The 7-year-old’s essay detailed a ride home during a severe storm in which trees were falling, and Sharon Scott turned the bus around and headed back to the school for safety. In part of his essay, Matthew wrote:

“The sky turned dark gray with swirling colors…

Trees started swaying and after three stops…

Sharon tuned the bus around, and drove us safely back to school.”

Sharon Scott has been driving a school bus for 16 years and feels the opportunity to work with children is a gift. As Thomas Built Buses’ 2008 School Bus Driver of the year, she will receive a $1,000 Visa® gift card. Matthew will be awarded a $1,000 educational savings bond and a laptop computer. The two will also get Thomas Built jackets and Saf-T-Liner® C2 school bus lunch boxes.

“It makes me so happy to see the kids every day and play a role in their lives,” said Scott. “Children truly are one of life’s greatest gifts.”

Some 475,000 school buses in daily service make approximately ten billion round trips every year, transporting at least 25 million children every day. Despite this high volume of trips and passengers, school buses have a safety record unparalleled in the transportation industry.

Thomas Built Buses created the national Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest in 2006 during its 90th anniversary year as a way to recognize and thank bus drivers everywhere for taking such good care of their precious cargo. The national essay contest has become a new Thomas Built tradition.

“The work of school bus drivers goes beyond the stops between school and home,” said Thomas Built Buses president and CEO John O’Leary. “It’s important that we recognize drivers for the larger role they play in students’ lives.”

This year’s contest also recognized three runners-up and their favorite bus drivers. All three drivers were nominated by students from Shepherd Elementary School in Mooresville, NC. Madison O., 8, nominated Dianne Swartz. Tamia H., 8, nominated Shari Dilday, and Nicholas L., 8, nominated Bernadine Stickle. All runners-up and their drivers will receive Thomas Built jackets and Saf-T-Liner® C2 school bus lunch boxes.

Representatives from the National Association of Pupil Transportation, School Bus Fleet magazine and Thomas Built Buses judged the entries. Essays were judged based on content and originality. Thomas Built Buses verified driver qualifications with each district.

For more information on the contest, photos and scans of top-placing essays and accompanying illustrations, please visit

Thomas Built Buses ( is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused on delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America.

Thomas Built Buses, Inc. is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer on the continent and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America and Detroit Diesel Corporation are Daimler companies.

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