High Point, N.C. – When you consider the precious cargo they carry, school bus drivers keep company with pediatricians and teachers as conduits to children’s well being. That’s why Thomas Built Buses has created the nationwide “Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year” contest to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

The contest, which runs through August 11, 2006, will award the child who nominates the winning driver with a $1,000 educational savings bond and a laptop computer. Children in kindergarten through sixth grade are eligible to enter.

“We think the greatest honor school bus drivers can receive is recognition from the children who depend upon them for safe travel every day,” says John O’Leary, president, Thomas Built Buses. “The contest is also a great way to celebrate Thomas Built Buses’ 90-year tradition of providing safe and innovative transportation solutions.”

With the help of their parents, children in kindergarten through sixth grade can nominate their favorite drivers by submitting a 90-word essay about what makes their driver so special. Entries can be entered with or without pictures by e-mailing, or by mailing them to the following address:

Children’s Choice


1800 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 250

Portland, OR 97201


The Children’s Choice Driver of the Year will receive a trip for two to the National Association of Pupil Transportation Show (NAPT) Nov. 5-9, in Kansas City, Mo. The prize includes round-trip airfare and a two-night hotel stay.

All winners and runners-up will receive 90th anniversary-themed Saf-T-Liner® C2 school bus lunchboxes and themed jackets. They will be featured on the Thomas Built Buses Web site and will be included in national and local hometown publicity.


School Bus Fleet magazine publisher Frank DiGiacomo and Knowledge Learning Center Fleet Services senior manager Dave Lear will assist Thomas Built Buses representatives in judging entries. Winners will be notified and announced in September.

“We’re thrilled to help Thomas Built Buses celebrate its 90th anniversary by honoring school bus drivers everywhere who make a difference in the lives of children,” says DiGiacomo. “That’s what this business is all about, and Thomas Built Buses has been devoted to best practices for its entire 90 years.”


The contest begins May 9, 2006. All entries must be received by Friday, August 11, 2006. Abbreviated rules: Entries must include a 90-word essay about why the nominated driver should win. Photo inclusion is optional. J-peg photos may be e-mailed with the essay, or prints may be attached to written entries. Photos will not be returned. No text attachments will be accepted or opened. Written entries should be typed or legibly printed on a single sheet of 8-1/2? X 11” paper. All entries must include the first and last name of the child and parent or legal guardian, home address, school name, contact phone number, a parent or legal guardian’s signature approving participation, and the full name of the driver along with the school bus district they serve. Entries will be judged based on essay content, originality and driver qualifications.

To qualify for nomination, drivers must have been a school bus driver for at least five years and be in good standing with their employer.

To obtain an official set of rules, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Children’s Choice Driver of the Year Contest, HMH, 1800 SW First Ave., Suite 250, Portland, OR 97201. For more information, visit

Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, 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 entirely on delivering the smartest, safest and most innovative buses in North America. Thomas Built Buses is a member of the Freightliner Group, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. The Freightliner Group produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Freightliner is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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