Belen school bus driver to participate in national competition in July

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Adam Greenwood, a Belen Consolidated Schools bus driver, walked away from the New Mexico State Bus Safety Competition with a first-place trophy, which is taller than most of the La Merced Elementary School students he transports to school every day.

Abigail R. Ortiz-News-Bulletin photo: Adam Greenwood, a Belen Consolidated Schools bus driver, stands next to the yellow vehicle that he transports about 50 La Merced Elementary School students to school in. Greenwood won the New Mexico State Bus Safety Competition and will advanced on to compete in the National School Transportation Association’s School Bus Driver Safety Competition.

Greenwood now moves onto the National School Transportation Association’s School Bus Driver Safety Competition, where he plans on dethroning the seven-time conventional bus winner Larry Hannon from Centennial School District in Warminster, Pa.

“I’m not going to compete. I’m going to win,” said Greenwood, a Los Lunas resident.

A New Mexico competitor won the national competition, which is held in Milwaukee, Wis., this year from July 14 to 15, once in 1989, said Kaitlin Fallon, NSTA membership and marketing assistant.

The competition will test Greenwood’s general knowledge of school buses and pre- and post-inspection of school buses through two written exams before a school bus driving test.

To prepare for the competition, the four-year school bus driving instructor is combing through manuals on his spare time and plans on setting up an obstacle course in the empty ALCO parking lot, next to the district’s transportation department, to practice the nine driving skills he will be tested on.

“What they’re testing me on, I do all year long when I train other bus drivers,” he said. “Last year, I trained 14 people.”

To qualify for national competitions, Greenwood won first place as the sole competitor in the Belen Consolidated Schools Bus Road-e-o in May, where he scored 100 percent on the written exam, before taking first place in the state competition on June 9 for his high marks in the written exam.

That day, the first-time state competitor took home a 4 1/2 foot-tall trophy, a plaque and certificate of completion.

“You’ve got to do it once in your lifetime,” he said.

The BCS employee completed both written exams in 10 minutes.

Greenwood contributes his win to the school district and said he was representing his coworkers at the competition.

“It gauges where we’re at in the department,” he said. “We have one of the best facilities in the state.”

When Greenwood isn’t training new drivers, he’s transporting about 50 students from Las Maravillas and Chamesa to La Merced along the Manzano Expressway.

“I work part time with the kids and I fell in love with it,” he said.

Next year, he hopes another Belen bus driver will keep the state traveling trophy in the Hub City.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.