Thomas Built Buses Is Looking for School Bus Drivers who Go the Extra Mile

Children Can Honor Unsung Heroes and Win Laptop Computer in Annual ‘Driver of the Year’ Essay Contest

High Point, N.C. – School bus drivers take seriously their charge to deliver their passengers to and from school safely and on time, but many of them literally go the extra mile. Thomas Built Buses asks: Do you know drivers who are making a difference?

Does your driver put in extra effort to make you feel secure on the bus? Or nurture a spirit of giving by helping organize food, toy and book drives? Does she know your name or start each day with a friendly greeting? Does he help celebrate special milestones?

These are just some examples of heartwarming and impactful actions by previous “Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year” winners in the annual essay 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,” says Kelley Platt, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “Many of the essays describe drivers who have become champions, admired mentors, trusted guardians and dear friends, and we want to recognize those drivers in a big way for the meaningful role they play in children’s lives.”

Over the years Thomas Built has received thousands of heartfelt essays, from children across the U.S. and Canada, sharing stories of bus drivers’ overwhelming compassion and extraordinary actions that help make their day brighter.

“She is like my grandmother, and I even call her nana sometimes,” wrote fifth grader Mauriene Ann, who nominated the 2011 winner, Joyce St. John of Decatur, Ala. A 42-year veteran bus driver, St. John had driven Mauriene’s mom, as well as Mauriene’s four siblings, two of whom had medical issues to which St. John was extra attentive.

Now in its seventh 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. Through words and pictures, 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 June 30, 2012. The child who nominates the grand prize winner will receive a laptop computer and $1,000 educational savings bond, 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.

“While today’s school buses meet, and very often exceed, strict safety standards, 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.

About Thomas Built Buses

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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