Almost every successful adult has a handful of school teachers, guidance counselors, and other mentors that they remember fondly as inspirations, helping them grow as both students and people.  Not many are fortunate enough to have a bus driver on that list.  Students of Manchester Township are the exception.  

It's impossible to have gone through the Manchester Township public school system within the past 40 years and not have encountered the most memorable bus driver that any student ever had: Mr. Bee.

Throughout the years, thousands of Manchester students have waited at their bus stops anxiously on that first nerve-wracking day of school, fretting about the uncertainty that lies ahead.  Will I like my teacher?  Will I have friends in my class?  Will I be able to handle the workload?  Before ever entering a classroom, the lucky ones would be greeted by the smiling Mr. Bee, welcoming each student onto his bus like a member of his family.

A charming man with a big smile, Mr. Bee's reputation preceded him, as students would clamor to get onto his bus, much to the envy of those who didn't.

After school, Mr. Bee would be there too, taking student-athletes home after big victories and heartbreaking defeats, remaining a constant in a world that is always changing in young lives.

Even after the academic year ended, Mr. Bee would still be there, shuttling dozens of excited Manchester campers to and from Harry Wright Lake each summer day, as lyrics like "boom chicka boom", "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar" and "this is the song that never ends" echoed endlessly throughout the bus.  Thinking back on that alone, this man has the patience of a saint.

To this day, Mr. Bee continues to make an impact on the students and the community that he serves.

I bring these memories up because it was recently announced that everyone's favorite bus driver was recently added to the Manchester Hawks Hall of Honor, a space within the high school dedicated to the many Manchester Township High School graduates that have served our country in the form of military service.  The hall is specifically dedicated to the memory of Matthew Zegan (Class of 1992), Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott (Class of 2006) and Sgt. Ronald Kubik (Class of 2006), each of whom gave his life while protecting our country.  These three heroes are displayed prominently in the Hall of Honor, with new inductees added below them each year.

This year, Julius Bee was among the frames added.  A district employee for over 40 years, "Mr. Bee" is also a proud veteran of the United States Air Force.  In addition to Bee, the following service members were deservedly recognized by the Hall of Honor this year: MTHS NJROTC Educator 1st Sergeant Tim Hinger (United States Marine Corps), MTHS Class of 2014 Graduate Ravino Johnson (United States Army), and MTHS Class of 2016 Graduate Nicholas Cybenko (United States Marine Corps).

Congratulations to Julius Bee, 1st Sergeant Tim Hinger, Ravino Johnson, Nicholas Cybenko, and all of the brave men & women who make up the Manchester Hawks Hall of Honor.  

The Hall of Honor is located and proudly on display near the auditorium entrance of Manchester Township High School.  The Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott Memorial Fund is specifically thanked for their generous donation of the frames used to honor each inductee.  CLICK HERE to donate to the Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott Memorial Fund.

If you would like to apply for or nominate someone for the Hall of Honor, there is an application that can be found HERE.

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