Being an undergraduate student can be really stressful and challenging. This is also why school bus driver Clayton Ward dropped out from school ten years ago. Nonetheless, the idea of coming back to school and earning a college degree had always haunted him. This desire burned, even more, when high school students saw his potential for teaching, which is his dream job.
Last year, he was driving some high school students to school and he had a discussion with them about history. Ward had always wanted to be a history teacher and he was so surprised when the students told him he should be their teacher. This undergraduate bus driver was inspired and encouraged to continue his journey on achieving his dream of being a history teacher.
Ward expressed his love for working with kids, especially with high school students. He said, “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.”
Armed with inspiration and determination to do better in school, he enrolled at MassBay Community College in Massachusetts. He didn’t give up driving and continue working full time while still focusing on his undergraduate studies. He would take his classes every night and between his shifts. He also took online classes to complete his school requirements.
Ward’s goal at first was to do well in school and not let the stress and pressure get in the way of his dreams again. Little did he expect that he would not only earn his college degree but would also do it in flying colors.
It took Ward three semesters to earn an associate’s degree in liberal arts but he still got a 4.0 GPA, which he never imagined. “I expected to do well, but I didn’t imagine doing straight As, I didn’t imagine being on the dean’s list, getting three or four awards for having one of the best GPAs for the graduating class. It’s still kind of all surreal to me,” Ward said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ward wasn’t able to walk on stage and receive his diploma but he believes it was not his last chance to do so. To continue his academic journey, he is planning to earn a bachelor’s degree in history at Framingham University.
Ward was very thankful for the high school students who gave him the courage to go to school again and work on his dreams. If not for these students, he might still be doubting himself and his potentials as a history teacher.
Congratulations to Clayton Ward for earning his college degree and kudos to him for not giving up on his dreams despite all the struggles of student and work life.
May this story inspire everyone, especially the undergraduate students who are struggling to juggle work, personal and student life. To those who stopped schooling but still want to earn a college degree, don’t give up on your dreams just yet. Like Ward, you can always go back to school and continue working on your dreams and aspirations.
Watch this video to know more about Clayton Ward and his amazing journey to earning his college degree: