Written by – Jesse Cole (Spruce Grove Examiner/Stony Plain Reporter)
Known affectionately as Bus Bentley to its riders, the Brookwood S13 school bus has become a mobile art gallery over the last six weeks after dozens of students contributed their art to the inside ceiling of the bus.
Over the last six weeks of school, roughly 53 students from Spruce Grove’s Brookwood School have helped to create more than 300 pieces of artwork that have been posted on the inside of the bus. The idea was a joint effort between the students who take the bus to and from school and the bus operator who said that the inclusion of artwork would help liven up the otherwise drab interior of the bus.
According to the bus operator and her students, the bus is “nearing retirement age” and has enjoyed its fair share of cuts and scrapes over the years prompting students to give Bus Bentley a much needed makeover.
The 212 pieces of artwork, which cover the entirety of the bus’s 45-foot ceiling, has run the gamut from watercolour paintings, sketches, crayon drawings and a variety of other creations. Art supplies have even been included in the bus for students to use during their commutes to and from school.
To acknowledge the hard work of the students who helped to beautify the bus, Brookwood’s staff, students and staff at Parkland School Division helped judge the artwork adorning Bus Bentley and choose a number of winners across three different categories. In the category for favourite portrait picture, student Calida Satermo won the first place prize followed by Feiyth Mosca and Daniel Smith in second and third place.
Much of the artwork depicts Bus Bentley, so the category of favourite picture of a bus was also added with first place going to Callan McConnell-Schmidt and Keaton Satermo. The second place prize went to Emryk Lindskog and third place was given out to Alyssa Vanderhoek.
Awards were also given out for the most colourful picture and favourite overall picture.
Brookwood School Principal, Terry Caouette, said that the mobile art show has been a hit amongst staff and students alike.
“It brings a smile to our faces every morning when we’re out there and we see how happy the kids are when they get off of the bus,” she said.
Caouette added that school administration understands the huge responsibility bus drivers take transporting students to and from school each day. Caouette said initiatives like the Bus Bentley art show help to put a stop to distracting behaviour that sometimes occurs on bus rides.
“We know that bus drivers have a huge responsibility in transporting our students,” she said. “The bus driver is very proactive about engaging students and the art show has really helped ensure student safety and engagement on the bus. That, in turn, diverts negative behaviour and management problems that are sometimes present on buses.”
Caouette said that other buses have similar initiatives to help manage students during their morning and afternoon commutes.
“When the bus pulls up and we see kids reading or drawing and enjoying the ride, we just can’t think of a better way to start and end a day than to have that sort of atmosphere,” she said. “Typically, we support bus drivers in whatever initiatives they take. There are a number of our drivers who have books that they give out to kids to read or other activities they’ve put in place and we absolutely encourage and support it.”
Awards were given out to the students on June 15 and 16.