Inspired by Students He Drives Daily, Bus Driver Earns Degree to Become a Teacher


He dropped out of college some 10 years ago, but with encouragement from the students he drives every day, Clayton Ward returned to school to earn a degree and become a teacher! His story touched hearts, particularly because people were happy that he returned to school after being inspired by the students he drives daily.

Being a bus driver actually runs in the family. It could even be said that it is the profession they are best known for. His grandfather had been a bus driver – and both his parents are also bus drivers!

Photo credit: CNN

While Clayton enjoyed history more than driving a bus, he would later find himself becoming a bus driver like the others in his family. He felt resigned to that fate and has worked as a bus driver for 10 years in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Over the years, he befriended the students who rode on his bus. A history buff, Clayton would share tidbits of history to the students. He had the knack of making the usually boring history lessons into fun stories that the students loved it!

Some kids were like, ‘You should be my teacher’ or ‘I wish you were my teacher’ because it was a different view, a different voice instead of hearing the same thing (from their teachers) over and over again,” the 30-year-old bus driver shared.

Photo credit: CNN

At first, he just laughed the compliments off, but he would later realize that perhaps he could actually become a teacher instead of just staying as a bus driver. So, with the inspiration of the students pushing him to reach for his dreams, Clayton went back to school.

It was a challenging time for Clayton who still had to ferry the kids to and from school before going to his classes at night at Massachusetts’ MassBay Community College, but he did not quit. He drew inspiration from the students who pushed him forward.

It wasn’t always easy. I would drive my route in the morning and afternoon, take a class in between shifts and take night classes and classes online to complete my degree requirements. I would think of those students and all the years I wanted to make this happen, and it helped me focus my energy,” Clayton admitted.

He was able to graduate with an Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts with High Honors! Every semester, he also belonged to the roster of Dean’s Listers. As he graduates from college, this bus driver wowed everyone for getting a 4.0 GPA!

Photo credit: CNN

Clayton really exemplifies the spirit of MassBay — resilience, persistence, and dedication. I am so proud of his accomplishments across his program and division. His future students will benefit in so many ways. They will learn about history. They will learn what it means to be a successful student. And they will learn that hard work translates into success,” said Nina B. Keery, the MassBay Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.

He will proceed to Framingham State University to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree in history with a minor on secondary education.


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