Thomas Built Buses Invites Children to Nominate Their School Bus Driver for ‘Driver of the Year’

Children Can Honor Unsung Heroes and Win Laptop Computer

High Point, N.C. – Thomas Built Buses asks: Do you know school bus drivers who are making a difference? Do they stand up to bullies? Do they nurture a spirit of giving by helping organize food, toy and book drives? Do they know your name or start each day with a friendly greeting? Do they help celebrate special milestones? Do they work hard to keep you safe?

These are just some examples of heartwarming and impactful actions by previous “Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year” winners in an annual contest sponsored by Thomas Built Buses, a leading manufacturer of school buses in North America.

“A school bus driver’s primary responsibility is to get students safely to school and home again. The essay contest provides a platform for us to shine a light on drivers who do this and so much more. Many of the essays describe drivers who have become champions, admired mentors, trusted guardians and dear friends,” says Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses, “and we want to recognize those drivers in a big way.”

School bus drivers are often the unsung heroes of the school community, so in 2006 as part of the company’s 90th anniversary, Thomas Built Buses introduced the Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essay contest to recognize the contributions individual drivers make to children’s safety and overall well-being. Every year since, Thomas Built has received hundreds of heartfelt essays from children across the U.S. and Canada who share stories of bus drivers’ overwhelming compassion and extraordinary actions that help make their day brighter.

Now in its sixth consecutive year, students in kindergarten through sixth grade are invited to submit essays of at least 90 words to nominate their favorite school bus drivers. In their own words and through illustrations, students can describe just what makes their school bus drivers so special. The winning essays will be featured on the Thomas Built website when the judging is complete.

Entries must be postmarked by July 1, 2011. The grand prize nominating child winner will receive a laptop computer, and the nominated driver will receive a $1,000 Visa® gift card. Grand prize winners and top finalists also will receive Thomas Built Buses jackets and Saf-T-Liner® C2 school bus lunch boxes. To enter the contest, visit for complete rules and an entry form.

Completed forms and typed or legibly printed essays of at least 90 words should be mailed to: Children’s Choice Essay Contest, HMH, 1435 W. Morehead St., Suite 140, Charlotte, NC 28208.

There is no safer way to transport a child to school than on a school bus, according to the American School Bus Council (ASBC). In fact, the school bus is 50 times safer than automobiles for transporting children to and from school, and the ASBC reports that the nation’s 480,000 yellow school buses carry 26 million children every school day.

Today’s buses have advanced safety devices that include specially-cushioned high-backed seats, flashing red and yellow warning lights, and rollover protection.

“Today’s school buses meet, and very often exceed, strict safety standards, but one of the most important safety features is the one who sits behind the wheel,” says Platt.

To nominate your driver for School Bus Driver of the Year, visit for complete rules and an entry form.

Founded in 1916, Thomas Built Buses is a leading manufacturer of school buses in North America. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line, the company has been committed to delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America. Learn more at or at

Thomas Built Buses, Inc., headquartered in High Point, N.C., is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America and a leading manufacturer of class 4-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.

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