(Finley, WA) -- Jaws dropped while eyes and smiles widened with excitement as a Ben Franklin Transit bus pulled up to Riverview High School in Finley Wednesday. Students are typically used to waiting for buses, but this time was different for Zaydean Valdez, in particular, as the bus arrived wrapped partly with her own artwork. Zaydean is the first place winner of a recent art competition. Nearly 150 students from across 15 area schools participated, and the top three now have their illustrations featured on the exterior of the BFT Art Bus.

"I've done it since I was in eighth grade. First year, I got in the top twenty, and then in the second year I got in the top ten so I really wanted to get first. Well, here I am today," remarked Valdez after being acknowledged in front of fellow students at the school.

The top 25 entries are also displayed on the interior of the bus.

This is the 9th year BFT has held the contest; its theme was "Bridging our Past with our Future". The top three get free summer youth passes and a Visa gift card in addition to having their work featured all around town.

"This bus does regular routes throughout Tri-Cities every single day. It is on tour for twelve months out of the year." said BFT Communications and Marketing Director Marie Cummins.

The second place and third place winners are Paul Erickson and Cuin Reagan, respectively. They both attend Kamiakin High School in Kennewick.

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