Children Across Nation Show Bus Driver Appreciation

Driver of Year Selected from Hundreds of Nominations

High Point, N.C. – The important work school bus drivers do to keep kids safe every day gets noticed and appreciated. Hundreds of children across the country proved that by nominating their favorite school bus driver for Thomas Built Buses’ second annual Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year national essay contest.

Acworth, GA, fifth-grader, Keirra, was one of those children. The 10-year-old earned her school bus driver the top honor in the contest this year by submitting a 90-word essay listing the reasons why driver Angelia Woodie of Georgia’s Cobb County School District deserved to be recognized. In part of her essay, written as a poem, Keirra wrote:

"… My bus driver is as kind as she can be

And she inspires me to be happy …

To the greatest driver alive … Mrs. Woodie"

Woodie has been driving school buses for the past 14 years. As Thomas Built Buses’ 2007 School Bus Driver of the year, she will receive a $1,000 Visa® gift card. Keirra will be awarded a $1,000 educational savings bond and a laptop computer. The two also get Thomas Built jackets and Saf-T-Liner® C2 school bus lunch boxes.

“I pray that all bus drivers treat their kids with love and kindness, because one day they might be driving my grandchildren, who I hope can say have the best bus driver ever,” said Woodie.

More than 450 thousand school buses in daily service make approximately eight billion round trips every year, transporting at least 24 million children every day. Despite this high volume of trips and passengers, school buses have a safety record unparalleled in the transportation industry.

“The industry knows how critically important the role of the bus driver is, but often the daily success of a safe and reliable trip is overlooked,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses.

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

This year’s contest also recognized two runners-up and their favorite bus drivers. Clay, 10, from Wylie, TX, nominated driver Leon Flanagan of the Wylie Independent School District. Andrew, 10, from LaGrange, KY, nominated driver Alisa Bisenius of the Oldham County School District. All runners-up and their drivers received Thomas Built jackets and Saf-T-Liner® C2 school bus lunch boxes.

Representatives from Durham School Services, part of National Express Corp., 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 is a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Freightliner LLC produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerAG.

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