School Bus Driver Earns College Degree After Students Inspired Him To Go Back To Classroom

A Massachusetts school bus driver earned a college degree after being inspired by the students to back to the classroom.

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Clayton Ward

Clayton Ward’s family owned a school bus company in Tennessee, and when he moved to Massachusetts, he too became a school bus driver. Ward had to drop out of college 10 years ago after a few semesters.

It was his students who he transported to and from school who helped him rediscover his desire to get back to school and earn a college degree. “I really enjoy working with kids, especially the high school students, and during the bus routes, we would chat about their classes. As a history buff, I would share lessons that I learned in school and we talked a lot about academics.

“After several of these discussions, some of the students would tell me they wanted me to be their teacher. I think they only said that because I was a different person than their regular teachers, educating them in a different way to pique their interest. But, however small that mention was from those kids… it stuck with me and gave me the motivation to complete a goal I had started years ago,” said Clayton.

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He enrolled at MassBay Community College in May 2019, working full-time driving the school bus while attending classes. He earned a spot on the Dean’s List every semester and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. “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.”

“Many years ago, I heard a quote from my former middle and high school band teacher, but it has stuck with me and has helped me stay the course and get to where I am now. My teacher said, ‘Discipline is not doing what you are supposed to be doing when everyone is watching. Discipline is doing what you are supposed to be doing when nobody is watching.’ This quote has allowed me to be successful at MassBay.”

Clayton completed his Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts in just one year and will transfer to Framingham State University in the fall to pursue his bachelor degree in History, with a minor in Secondary Education.

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Clayton will be recognized at MassBay’s commencement ceremony for the following awards: Highest Honors, the All-College Award for his 4.0 GPA, the All-Divisional Award for having the highest GPA in the Humanities and Social Sciences division, and for having the highest GPA in the Liberal Arts program.

What an achievement by this young man after dropping out of college ten years ago. This story should be shared widely so that everyone who thinks that they are too old to complete their education would read it and change their mind.

Verse of the Day

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

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