U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will serve as lead speaker at the American School Bus Council's (ASBC) national 2013 Love the Bus celebration Feb. 12 in Arlington, Va.
Tuckahoe Elementary School will host the seventh annual event to honor the work of the nation's school bus drivers and to spread the word on the importance of the iconic yellow school bus. Arlington County Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy will be joined by tore than 200 students to welcome the outgoing transportation secretary. The Tuckahoe event also serves to kick off similar local events across the nation throughout the month.
For the main event in Arlington, ASBC will also invite locally elected officials to partake in the celebration, when students will present their school bus drivers with hand-drawn pictures and Valentine's Day cards and will sing and even rap for the drivers. ASBC's LovetheBus.com website offers an educator's toolkit for crafting bus-specific lesson plans as well as a variety of bus-themed downloads, including templates for creating Love the Bus T-shirts and bumper magnets.
"Love The Bus presents us with the opportunity to show our appreciation for the role each individual in the pupil transportation community plays in providing safe, efficient and effective transportation for our nation's children," said Ken Hedgecock, vice president of sales, marketing and service at Thomas Built Buses and an ASBC member.
In addition to Thomas Built Buses, ASBC consists of representatives from Blue Bird Corporation, IC Bus, NAPT, NASDPTS and NSTA.
"National School Bus Safety Week (October 21-25, 2013) has long needed a bookend on the American school transportation calendar," added Michael Martin, NAPT's executive director. "Love the Bus fills the bill perfectly."
At the 2011 national Love the Bus event in Takoma Park, Md., where LaHood spoke to a gym full of students and fielded questions about school bus safety and the role they play in helping students achieve their education, assisting Mom and Dad in getting their kids to school and reducing traffic congestion around campuses. If he accepts this year's invitation, LaHood would be the first two-time headliner of the event.
Last year's Love the Bus celebration atSunderland Elementary School in Maryland was attended by FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.
Update: See photos and more information from the Feb. 12 event.