Kids! Enter Your Essay, Win a Yellow Hybrid Bus

By dancurranjr On February 27th, 2009

hybrid-bus1Taking a cue from the trend toward eco-friendliness, a bus manufacturer is offering a free hybrid bus to a school whose “green” practices are best extolled in a student essay.

Warrenville, Ill.-based IC Bus, which describes itself on its website as the only manufacturer of hybrid school buses, says its bus reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40% and improves fuel economy compared with a regular diesel school bus. The company created an essay contest to encourage students from kindergarten through 12th grades to start environmentally friendly programs in their schools.

“We feel strongly about the fact that every school bus takes 36 cars off the road, about the billions of gallons of gas that it saves per year for every school bus we have on the road,” says IC Bus president John McKinney.

Students who enter the contest, which is open until April 30, should write 500-word essays on the ways their school seeks to become green.

Christian Laskaros, a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills, N.Y., entered a few weeks ago. He described how small eco-friendly programs at his school, including a paper recycling program, fliers with energy-saving tips in classrooms and ceiling lights with timers, add up to make a big difference.

“I really hope (the judges) grasp the entire gist of the essay, how you can see nothing being eco-friendly one day, and the next day you’re looking at the bus you’re riding on in the city and how eco-friendly it actually is,” Laskaros says. “And you look at your water bottle, something so small, and realize how much damage it can do.”

For contest judges McKinney and Terra Wellington, author of the upcoming book The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home, the contest is all about who is the most excited about going green.

“I’m looking for that passion and emotion in the essay,” Wellington says. “I would love to see children who write these essays show how maybe they got their school involved. Children have a capacity to influence.”

Students can enter their essay at, where they can read about hybrid buses and learn ways to create a more eco-friendly school, such as shutting off unnecessary classroom lights and packing “litterless lunches” in reusable containers.

Ten finalists will be posted on the website May 11-17, and the public will vote on who should win. In addition to the hybrid bus prize, the winning student will get a $5,000 scholarship, and a faculty sponsor can win $3,000 for educational materials.

Source: USA Today

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