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February 10, 2010 > 'America's Greenest School' receives hybrid bus

'America's Greenest School' receives hybrid bus

By Miriam G. Mazliach

There was excitement in the air as Irvington High School officially received a hybrid school bus on February 4, as "America's Greenest School." Valued at over $150,000, the bus was won in June through the efforts of students Alex Chen and Jasper Lin, who submitted the winning essay on Irvington High School's efforts toward going green and sustainability.

"We're donating it to the school district so that the transportation department can properly maintain this special bus," says Irvington's Principal, Pete Murchison. "But we did get to take some rides on it as acknowledgement. By using the school bus for field trips, we can serve all the students in the district and widen the support of green programs."

IC Bus, the nation's leading bus manufacturer, developed the first plug-in electric hybrid bus. With the ability to charge batteries by plugging in the vehicle, fuel savings can reach 70 percent making this a true eco-friendly vehicle.

"This shows great student effort and gives importance to all other schools that 'going green' pays off and it's a symbol for education and the green movement," says Chen.

Lara York, President of Fremont Unified School Board came to show her support.
"I think this is tremendous for the whole community. Irvington High School has to be proud and it shows all of us what the initiative of students can achieve."

She also added that the district recently received three new low emission, but non- hybrid school buses from the Bay Area Resources Board to replace older buses.

David Hillman, Director of Marketing for IC Bus, LLC, of Warrenville, Illinois,
utilized the day's event to launch 2010's contest for another hybrid school bus giveaway.

"We've altered the submission rules by expanding the methods of entering," says Hillman. "This year you can also apply by creating videos, if you prefer rather than writing an essay. We want to appeal to and reach all age levels and interests of students."

Rules and entry requirements can be found online at AmericasGreenestSchool.com.

Again, the top 10 finalists will be posted on the website, giving America the opportunity to vote on their favorite school to win the hybrid bus.

According to Hillman, the unique specifications for this particular hybrid bus are based on requests from FUSD. It has the newest of children's safety seats that can each hold three seat-belted kindergarten students or two older students.

"The school bus has wheelchair capabilities with a wheelchair lift in the rear," says Hillman. "The last two to three rows of seats are re-moveable, making room for four wheelchairs. This enables students to go with their classmates on field trips, rather than being transported in a parent's car or another special van. Air conditioning has also been included to make it more comfortable for special needs students," he adds.

"This plug-in hybrid is the next generation of buses," explains Hillman. "It has high voltage circuits with an added boost of energy stored in the battery, uses less fuel and can be plugged in daily when not in use to re-charge.

"Everyone in FUSD is going green," says student and co-winner Lin. "We are trying to spread the word."

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