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Stokes nets national award

December 21, 2000

Stokes nets national award

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Rebecca StokesCHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Rebecca Stokes has no doubt about the biggest on-the-job challenge she faces.

"Winter, winter, winter," said Stokes, supervisor of transportation for Jefferson County Schools. "It's a guessing game every day when it's winter."

When ice and snow threaten, Stokes kicks into high gear, sometimes hitting the road as early as 3 a.m. to assess whether area highways and roads are safe for the county's 62 school buses.

Along with the superintendent of schools and other school officials, she then makes the call whether it is safe for buses to pick up the estimated 5,200 students they haul every day.

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It's just one aspect of a job Stokes puts her heart into.

For years, Stokes has worked to organize the West Virginia State School Bus Rodeo, and every year she helps judge a national poster contest to celebrate National School Bus Safety Week.

She is a trainer for school bus operators, a certified Red Cross instructor and often attends seminars to better serve the transportation needs of disabled students.

Stokes' consistent efforts to improve the field have earned her a national award.

On Nov. 5, Stokes was awarded the Professional Growth Award at a National Association for Pupil Transportation meeting in Buffalo, N.Y. The award, given by Thomas Built Buses, is given to someone in the field who shows excellence in professional growth.

Judging a poster contest may not sound glamorous, but it's a big job, said Wayne Clutter, director of school transportation for the West Virginia Department of Education. Each year, students enter an art contest in the hope of having their works selected as the poster used to promote National School Bus Safety Week, Clutter said.

Stokes helps judge thousands of drawings for the contest, Clutter said.

"She's a self-starter. She doesn't need to be asked," Clutter said.

Stokes, who has been supervisor of transportation for nine years, was recently honored at a West Virginia Board of Education meeting in Charleston, W.Va.

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