FREMONT, Calif., (June 15, 2009) -- Nearly 2,000 students from hundreds of schools nationwide competed for the coveted title of "America's Greenest School" in the first annual essay contest sponsored by leading school bus manufacturer IC Bus. America voted among the top ten finalists and chose Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif., as the prestigious winner.
Irvington High School will receive a plug-in hybrid electric school bus from IC Bus in the fall, based on the award-winning essay from sophomore Alexander Chen. The hybrid school bus is up to 65 percent more fuel-efficient than standard school buses and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 39 percent. The hybrid bus has an estimated retail value of $200,000. Chen also receives a $5,000 scholarship. Chen’s teacher and the school's green coordinator, Clint Johns, receives $3,000 for green school supplies
"This award proves hard work pays dividends over time. The bus is a perfect acknowledgment for socially responsible efforts on the part of the students and the Irvington High School community," said Principal Pete Murchison at a ceremony at the school on Friday where the city's mayor, Bob Wasserman, and a representative from Congressman Pete Stark's office were also in attendance to present Alex with a certificate.
16-year-old Chen's essay outlined the areas where his school has become more energy efficient, including reducing the school's energy use by one-third. The school was the second in the state of California to be recognized as an EnergyStar school because of its efforts to reduce energy consumption by connecting computers to power strips, installing timers on exterior lighting and reprogramming classroom thermostats. Student responsibility was also a key area in Chen's essay. He wrote that students are encouraged to recycle, including a food scrap recycling program that diverts waste from the landfill.
When asked about his experience participating in America's Greenest School, Chen said, "It was awesome and I hope this contest will inspire future students to step up and voice their opinions."
Nearly 2,000 essays were submitted on behalf of more than 760 different schools. Students in New York, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and California submitted the most essays (in that order).
"We were impressed by the response from students across the country who are devoted to making their schools greener," said John McKinney, president of IC Bus. "It's no surprise that America voted for Irvington High School because of all the amazing things they are doing to improve the environment. We're pleased to help them further their goals by presenting them with a hybrid school bus."
IC Bus developed the contest to encourage bus ridership as the most eco-friendly way to travel to and from school. One school bus is equivalent to taking 36 cars off the road according to the American School Bus Council.
Terra Wellington, author of Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home, and representatives from IC Bus, the nation's largest school bus manufacturer, served as contest judges to narrow the field to 10 finalists before the voting was turned over to the public.
About IC Bus
IC Bus, LLC of Warrenville, Ill., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navistar, Inc. (NYSE: NAV) . The nation's largest integrated manufacturer of school buses, IC Bus is a global leader in passenger protection, chassis design, engines and ergonomics. The company is also a producer of commercial buses. All IC Bus buses are sold, serviced and supported through a renowned dealer network that offers an integrated customer program encompassing parts, training and service. Additional information is available at www.icbus.com.
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