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Oct. 19 proclaimed School Transportation Appreciation Day in Kansas

Oct. 19 proclaimed School Transportation Appreciation Day in Kansas
Posted: Oct 17, 2022
Categories: KSDE
Author: Ann Bush

Oct. 17-21 celebrated as 2022 National School Bus Safety Week; Altamont teen becomes first Kansas student to ever win National School Bus Safety Poster Contest

Being in the Kansas Capitol building made 13-year-old Jihyeon “Elly” Han “feel so small.” But the eighth grader from Altamont Grade School really is a big deal. She is the first Kansas student to ever win the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest.

In fact, Han’s artwork is being used to promote National School Bus Safety Week, which is this week, Oct. 17-21. On Sept. 28, Han and her family – brother, Daniel, 11, and parents Sangyeop and Joungmi Han – were invited to the Kansas Capitol for a proclamation signing designating Oct. 19 as School Transportation Day in Kansas.

Han spent a few minutes before the proclamation signing showing her winning artwork to Gov. Laura Kelly.

“I’m very grateful,” Han said of winning the art contest. “Really thankful.”

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.

The theme for this year’s school bus safety poster 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.

Han’s 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.

“She has done this for a couple of years,” Tiffany Flatt, principal of Altamont Grade School, Labette County Unified School District 506, said of Han’s artwork. “It’s exciting.”

Transportation employees play an integral role in the safety of Kansas children. That is why it’s so important to honor their dedication and expertise, said Melissa Ostermeyer, training coordinator for the Kansas State Department of Education’s School Bus Safety Unit.

Ostermeyer, Flatt and Mary Hewes, secretary of the Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association and director of transportation for Mission Valley USD 330, also attended the proclamation signing.

“I think school bus drivers are awesome,” Hewes said. “I think they have one of the most understated jobs. If we didn’t have bus drivers, kids wouldn’t be in school.”

In Kansas, there were 3,866 school bus drivers during the 2021-2022 school year who transported 196,040 students more than 52 million miles to and from school and another 9.8 million miles for activity trips.

School Transportation Appreciation Day falls within National School Bus Safety Week, which is Oct. 17-21. National School Bus Safety Week takes place the third full week of October each year. It is designated to promote school busy safety.

The 2022-2023 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest theme is “Safely Rolling to My Destination.” Posters must win at the state level to be entered into the national contest. The KSDE School Bus Safety Unit is responsible for submitting posters to the national contest.

For more information on the 2022-2023 poster contest, visit https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Fiscal-and-Administrative-Services/School-Finance/School-Bus-Safety/School-Bus-Safety-Poster-Contest.

Additional details about National School Bus Safety Week can be found at https://www.napt.org/nsbsw.

For information on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National School Bus Safety Week “Prevent Illegal School Bus Passing” awareness campaign, visit https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/school-bus-safety/school-bus-passing.

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