Delavan-Darien High School Class of 2004 graduate Hank Butitta returned to his alma mater in the same type of vehicle he rode more than a few times while he was a student here — a school bus.
But Hank wasn’t in any old yellow bus. He was in his custom-built recreational, “soon-to-be a cabin,” bus.
Yup. Hank bought a bus and rebuilt it. For fun, sure. But also for his master’s degree in architecture, which he obtained this spring at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
You see, Hank didn’t want to do just a design and show project for his thesis. He wanted a design, show and tell for his project. So he set ought with a dream to not only complete his college education, but build something he could use and enjoy for some time. And, he finished it.
Hank, the son of DDHS science teacher Kerry Butitta, completely revamped the inside of the bus, replacing seats for some 70 students and replacing them with custom-built cots/couches, storage bins, a sink, heater and even a bathroom.
He even added custom privacy screens to each of the windows and vanity lighting.
The design is simple, yet space saving, versatile and fully functional. Hank and his friends put on more than 5,000 miles on a trip out West and back, touring national parks and scenic spots in Western American cities. (Check out his trip’s website at: http://www.hankboughtabus.com/).
Upon his return, Kerry Butitta encouraged Hank to bring his bus south to Delavan and visit area schools and students.
Hank recently came to all five Delavan-Darien schools, giving tours to students and staff. He also visited St. Andrews School and Badger High School in Lake Geneva.
Hank talked about using his education and skills for good use. He also talked about design, construction and engineering principles with older students and the importance of staying in school and pursuing dreams for the younger ones.
Soon, the bus, which has a tired engine, will be retired to family property up north and become a cabin.
We’re glad our students could come see a work of functional art and be inspired by what hard work, dedication and education can do!