Trinity school blesses, celebrates safest bus in Mississippi

Published 9:11 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NATCHEZ — The safest bus in Mississippi pulled up to Trinity Episcopal Day School amidst clapping and cheers Tuesday.

The bus is the only bus in the state that has three-point seat belts — belts that have a should and a lap strap — Head of School Delecia Carey said.

“It gives me great pleasure to look out at all these students who will ride safely and proudly in our new bus for many years to come,” Carey said.

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Students, faculty and administrators gathered outside on a crisp morning for the blessing of the 44-passenger, air-conditioned bus.

Carey said blessing the bus is important.

“That’s part of our identity as an Episcopal school,” she said. “It’s one more way for us to demonstrate the importance of God in everything we do in our school.”

Prayers were said and the bus was consecrated with Holy water and incense.

Trinity started searching for a new bus after their old one broke down, Carey said.

There had been complaints prior to it breaking down, but Carey said she had been concerned with fixing other things in the school first.

“In 2000, we were worried about keeping our classrooms air-conditioned,” Carey said. “But by 2007, we were out of survival mode and into growth.”

So in August 2007, a six-member bus committee was formed.

The new bus was eventually purchased from Greg Patterson of Waters International.

The committee, during the searching process, had suggested that the bus should have seat belts.

“Even though that was going to add more than 10 percent to the cost of the bus, the committee recommended that Trinity Episcopal Day School make a commitment to student safety a priority,” she said.

The Rev. Chip Davis said safety was one of the most important considerations.

“We take the safety of our children seriously,” Davis said.

The school bus was paid for through advertising dollars gained by selling space on the school’s scoreboard.

Carey gave special thanks to Concordia Bank and Trust, United Mississippi Bank and Natchez Community Hospital.

The Trinity Athletic Booster Club contributed $20,000 for the down payment of the bus.

If the seat belts don’t already make the bus unique, its exterior does.

“I cannot let this morning pass without recognizing the individuals who turned our plain, white school bus into a work of art,” Carey said.

The school bus committee worked with Jeff McBride of J & M Digital Corporation to paint the school’s name and its fleur-de-lis logo, as well as the Episcopal church’s shield, on the side of the bus.

Running along the bottom of the bus is an intricate mural composed of pictures of students and images close to the school designed by J & M artist Jamie Saunders.

Carey said McBride and J. & M donated all of the painting to the school.

The school’s seniors were the privileged ones given the first ride in the new bus.

“We wish we could use it more,” senior Caitlyn Mayfield, lamenting they were graduating mere months after the bus’ arrival.

Senior Aubin St. Clair said she was happy for the younger students, though.

“It’s good, though, because my younger sister is going to get to use it,” she said.

Senior Larrica Calcot said not only is it a big change but its also safe.

Carey said the bus will be used for athletics and field trips.

The bus committee initially considered leasing a bus, but added up all the miles they travel in a year, between 10,000 and 15,000, and realized that it would be best to get a new bus.

“It’s a big deal for us,” Carey said as students excitedly filed on to the bus for a look, honked the horn and examined the mural.