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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01

NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: MARCH 23, 2001

SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS HONORED WITH SCHOLARSHIPS


Chatham County

Cynthia Strickland, a 12-year bus driver for Chatham County Schools, was one of three North Carolina bus drivers to receive the annual Thomas Built Buses School Bus Driver Scholarship. Thomas Built Buses presented one scholarship for each of the three regions of the state. Strickland, who received the award for the Central Region, plans to use the scholarship to pursue a degree in education.

Strickland said she receives a lot of personal satisfaction as a school bus driver, "The highest reward I've received in all the years I have driven a bus or, just been in the educational field, is the respect and admiration from the students I come in contact with. As bus driver, dropout prevention coordinator and varsity cheerleader coach, I am with a lot of these students 12 hours a day. I smile at them in the morning, ask them how their day went and tell them to have a good night. I listen to them when they want to talk and most of all I speak to them when I see them and treat them as human beings."

Mike Trifaro, assistant principal at Northwood High School in Pittsboro, spoke highly of Strickland. "It would be very difficult to find a bus driver with better skills or a more orderly bus than Cynthia Strickland. She is one of the very best drivers in North Carolina. Her driving record is impeccable. She rarely misses a day. She can be counted on to cover parts of other routes when a driver is out and no substitutes are available. She also is a former "bus driver of the year" at our school and a perennial candidate."

The $3,000 renewable scholarship awards may be used by a school bus driver or a family member at a two- or four-year college or university. Applicants must have a clean driving record, be currently employed as a bus driver, and have been a bus driver for five of the past six years.

The scholarships were presented at the North Carolina Spring Pupil Transportation Conference by John W. Thomas III, President and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. Thomas said the scholarship program provides the company with "an excellent opportunity to give back to an education community that has done so much for Thomas Built Buses." Thomas Built Buses, a subsidiary of Freightliner Corporation, is a major supplier of school bus bodies and chassis and is based in High Point, NC.

For more information, contact Derek Graham, Transportation Services, DPI, 919.807.3571.


Catawba County

Sandra Kimsey, a six-year school bus driver for the Newton-Conover City Schools, was one of three North Carolina bus drivers to receive the annual Thomas Built Buses School Bus Driver Scholarship. Thomas Built Buses presented one scholarship for each of the three regions of the state. Kimsey received the award for the Western Region on behalf of her son, Jacob, who is completing his first year at Catawba Valley Community College.

Speaking of her decision to accept a position as a teacher assistant and school bus driver, Kimsey said, "With all honesty I have never regretted my decision. I have the longest route and most difficult students at the high school. With all my heart, I wouldn't trade them for anyone. Most of the students have difficult home situations and I know that the way I greet them in the mornings can have an impact on their school day. Driving a bus is a huge responsibility that I take very seriously. Each day 80 kids' lives are in my hands. Their safety is my top priority."

Kevin Campbell, assistant principal at Newton Conover High School, agreed that Kimsey's top priority is the safety of all the students on her bus. "She genuinely cares about every student on her bus and hurts when they are hurting and celebrates when they are celebrating. She is well respected by the students on her bus. She treats everyone on her bus just like she would want to be treated."

The $3,000 renewable scholarship awards may be used by a school bus driver or a family member at a two- or four-year college or university. Applicants must have a clean driving record, be currently employed as a bus driver, and have been a bus driver for five of the past six years.

The scholarships were presented at the North Carolina Spring Pupil Transportation Conference by John W. Thomas III, President and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. Thomas said the scholarship program provides the company with "an excellent opportunity to give back to an education community that has done so much for Thomas Built Buses." Thomas Built Buses, a subsidiary of Freightliner Corporation, is a major supplier of school bus bodies and chassis and is based in High Point, NC.

For more information, contact Derek Graham, Transportation Services, DPI, 919.807.3571.


Wilson County

Donna Webb, a 15-year school bus driver for Wilson County Schools, was one of three North Carolina bus drivers to receive the annual Thomas Built Buses School Bus Driver Scholarship. Thomas Built Buses presented scholarships for each of the three regions of the state. Webb received the award for the Eastern Region on behalf of her son, Timothy, who plans to use the scholarship to pursue a degree in agriculture at North Carolina State University.

Webb said that as a school bus driver, her main priority was transporting her students to and from school safely. "This requires an effort from all of us to eliminate distractions. From day one I try to make them aware of their importance in assisting me in concentrating on my driving." She said that she hopes what she gives to her students will play a part in molding them to become honest, caring, and kind human beings. "I want to have an impact on each student that rides my bus in a way that will guide them and encourage each of them to make their future successful."

According to Wilson County Transportation Director Phillip Williamson, Webb has received a safe driving award each year that she has driven a school bus. "She is a very dependable driver and has an excellent attendance record. As a matter of fact, she has received the perfect attendance award for a number of those years. She is a vital member of the transportation staff of Speight Middle School. She takes her job very seriously and realizes the importance of observing the greatest care when transporting her students to and from school daily."

The $3,000 renewable scholarship awards may be used by a school bus driver or a family member at a two- or four-year college or university. Applicants must have a clean driving record, be currently employed as a bus driver, and have been a bus driver for five of the past six years.

The scholarships were presented at the North Carolina Spring Pupil Transportation Conference by John W. Thomas III, President and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. Thomas said the scholarship program provides the company with "an excellent opportunity to give back to an education community that has done so much for Thomas Built Buses." Thomas Built Buses, a subsidiary of Freightliner Corporation, is a major supplier of school bus bodies and chassis and is based in High Point, NC.

For more information, contact Derek Graham, Transportation Services, DPI, 919.807.3571.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.