THE MAGIC BUS – FACT 33 of 50
In the early ‘80s Spring Term at GMVS was packed with experiential learning opportunities, famously highlighted by the legendary four to six week western outdoor “Senior Trip.” For younger students, the spring schedule offered academic classes Monday through Thursday, followed by three day adventure-based outdoor educational trips every weekend. Some groups traveled in vans or staff cars, while others students embarked on their trip in the school’s traditional yellow school bus. One weekend Steve Utter and Ashley Cadwell were assigned the bus for their adventure trip. They developed a vague plan (those on this trip may consider this characterization generous) of where they were going to take the kids, through Central Vermont, near Ashley’s childhood home in the southern Champlain Valley, but didn’t share details–scant as they were (if they even existed!)–with the kids. Steve and Ash assembled the kids and teed up their adventure by playing the iconic 60’s rock song Magic Bus by “The Who”, then boarded the bus and left. From that moment, students and staff alike dubbed the school bus as ‘The Magic Bus’.
GMVS owned several ski buses in the first ten years of its existence, most known colloquially as the Magic Bus. The final Magic Bus met its end with Steve at the wheel, driving kids to Lincoln Peak for a morning of skiing. Ascending German Flats Road, with the motor billowing smoke, Steve pulled into the Common Man parking lot and unloaded the kids as the engine caught fire. Motor blown, the bus was towed away–and we’ve only used vans for transportation since that day. There is some GMVS bus lore that may or may not be true–doing donuts in the Spruce Peak parking lot, ripping the facade off the Waitsfield Village covered bridge, the senior class entering their graduation ceremony riding on a modified version of the bus that died earlier that year with Steve at the helm, and the City of NY towing the bus in Manhattan while on an all-school trip, stranding students and staff. There may have even been a bus named Hugo, named after Hurricane Hugo that hit the eastern United States in 1989, or was the Magic Bus actually Hugo? We can haggle and reminisce over those details when we all gather next month for the 50th!