ECHUCA Specialist School finally has its hands on a long-awaited new bus.
After years of fundraising efforts to update its ageing fleet, the school’s dream became a reality when children’s charity Variety kicked in the remaining funds.
Principal Paul Marshall said he was ‘‘ecstatic’’ to get the keys to the modern and improved vehicle.
‘‘This is the first brand new bus we’ve had at the school for the past 15 years,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s something we, as a community, have been working really hard for over several years.
‘‘It came out of the blue. We applied for a bus through Variety for several years and this time we were just lucky to get it.’’
Mr Marshall said the benefits of the new bus, which was delivered on July 17, are already being felt by students.
The school uses its buses daily to transport students to the library, work experience, inclusion days, sporting activities, transition programmes, camps, excursions and other activities.
‘‘It opens up a whole new world of opportunities for our students,’’ Mr Marshall said.
Variety’s welcome intervention means the school now has some extra money in its pocket and it is preparing to buy another bus in the coming weeks.
Mr Marshall said that would not have been possible without the community’s generosity, including Echuca Lions Club and Lions Club Australia, which each donated $10,000 in recent months.
Variety — the Children’s Charity Victoria chief executive Janette Connolly said she was proud to support the school in its quest to give students a better education.
‘‘These coaches are particularly important to regional schools and we look forward to hearing about all the incredible activities these children will now be able to access,’’ she said.