Exceptional Education Alumnus Inspires “Fun on the Bus” Day

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Brandon Almonte, a 2016 graduate of the Darwin C. Smith School, looked on with a smile as several groups of current students loaded up on buses at Fun on the Bus day at TST BOCES on Sept. 20.

The event, which offered an opportunity for Smith School students to get acquainted with buses and the drivers, as well as monitors and attendants, was inspired by Almonte’s inquisitive nature when he was a student.

“When Brandon rode the bus home he was always asking questions about the bus,” said Bethli Beeman, an Ithaca City School District bus rider. “He was opening windows, looking around and very interested in how it all worked.”

Beeman, along with Ithaca City School District bus Driver Brandon Van Amburg, decided to host the event as a fun way to educate other students about buses and safety procedures.

“It’s a great way for the kids to get to know the bus and the drivers,” Van Amburg said. “We hope to come back next year and continue to do this.”

Bus drivers from nearby school districts invited students on their buses, demonstrating things like where the emergency exits and first-aid kits are, as well as how to safely exit the bus during an emergency.

All participants were given certificates of completion, as well as notebooks donated by Wal-Mart, erasers donated by Blue Bird, and apples and pumpkins donated by Wegman’s.