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Altamont Grade School student wins national school bus safety poster contest

Posted: Jun 24, 2022
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

Elly Han first national winner from Kansas

The artwork of Kansas student Jihyeon “Elly” Han will be used to promote National School Bus Safety Week in October after Han’s drawing was named the overall winner of the 2021-2022 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest.

Han is the first national winner from Kansas. She will be an eighth-grade student in the fall at Altamont Grade School, Labette County Unified School District 506.

The theme for this year’s contest was “1 Bus + 1 Driver = A BIG Impact on Education.”

“Throughout the years, the school bus and driver remain a strong symbol for our education community – a profession that is as important to our education systems as it is honorable,” said the American School Bus Council (ASBC), which sponsors the contest. “Han’s artwork best depicts the theme, showing that while change is inevitable, it is the school bus and the driver that remain a steady and knowing presence in the lives of so many children. Han showcases that all you need is one driver and one bus to make a big impact on the lives of so many children.”

Poster contest judges based their votes on safety impact, originality, artistic quality and visual impact. Han’s artwork received the most votes to win first place and overall winner among entries from five divisions. Posters were submitted to the contest from 15 states.

The five divisions and this year’s top winners are:

  • Division 1 (Grades K-2):
    • First place – Emma Adcock, David Perdue Primary, Georgia.
    • Second place – Riley Cramer, Southwest Elementary School (Kansas).
  • Division 2 (Grades 3-5):
    • First place - Jeremiah Sanders, Dodgertown Elementary, Florida.
    • Second place - Jada Fitzgerald, Worth County Elementary, Georgia.
    • Third place - Mason Vanda, Clarkson Central, New York.
  • Division 3 (Grades 6-8):
    • First place/overall winner - Jihyeon (Elly) Han, Altamont Grade School, Kansas.
    • Second place - Claire Hwang, Northbrook Middle School, Georgia.
    • Third place - Alexander Tafone, Kings Park Central School District, New York.
  • Division 4, Special Education (Grades K-12):
    • First place - Kamil Samnani, Hull Middle School, Georgia.
    • Second place - Chloe Young, South Colonie Central School District, New York.
  • Division 5, CAD (Computer Aided Drawing):
    • First place – Rebekah Cullen, Sussex Technical High School, Delaware.

This isn’t the first art contest Han has won. On June 21, Han was named the first-place winner in the sixth- through eighth-grade category of the Stride Art Competition. In 2020, she was named the winner of the National ELKS Drug Awareness Poster Contest.

Han has been interested in art since she was a very young child, she said. In fact, her mother, Sangyeop Han, was an art teacher at an academy in South Korea before the family moved to the United States.

Han said it took some time to develop an idea for her bus safety poster. She first sketched her idea in pencil and then used watercolors to finalize it. Her artwork depicts a bus driver of the past, present and future, she said. No matter what time era, Han wanted to show the importance of bus safety.

Han's artwork for the School Bus Safety Poster Contest was first submitted at the state level, where it was selected to move to the national competition.

The 13-year old doesn't plan to become an artist, but instead wants to keep art as a hobby she can use as a stress reliever.

"I've wanted to be a doctor ever since I was little," she said.

The 2022-2023 poster contest theme is “Safely Rolling to My Destination.” More information will be released by ASBC in July 2022. However, entries for the 2022-2023 poster contest can be submitted anytime between Aug. 15, 2022-March 31, 2023.

Members of the coalition include National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), National School Transportation Association (NSTA), Blue Bird Corp. of Fort Valley, GA., IC Bus Corporation of Lisle, IL, and Thomas Built Buses of High Point, NC.

ASBC members are committed to providing safe, effective and efficient transportation for the more than 25 million school children who ride more than 480,000 school buses each day. In Kansas, there were 4,366 school bus drivers during the 2020-2021 school year who transported 188,848 students more than 23 million miles.

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