(FOUNTAIN, Colo.) — The wheels on the bus go round and round, and all the while, the driver has the biggest smile on his face–for Tyson Decluette, he is living out his dream.
“I’ve always just had a passion for busses and I always knew I wanted to be a bus driver,” said Decluette.
The state requirement was previously 21 but changed to 18, so when Decluette approached Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 (District 8) about a position, he would hear the news that his passion could soon become a reality.
“So Tyson approached me several months ago about becoming a driver,” District 8 Director of Transportation, Robert Leach, said. “He had heard that the age limit was 21 and I said, absolutely not, you can start at 18 if you like.”
Decluette went through all of the requirements needed to drive and operate a school bus.
“So the requirements for an 18 year old or a 38 year old or a 68 year old are all the same,” Leach said. “Right, there’s very clear steps in which a person has to take to become a bus driver. What we did with Tyson just to kind of see his level of motivation was to have him go and do his permit, which is a huge first big hurdle, is to get your commercial driver’s license permit, your CLP.”
After getting his CLP, Decluette passed a physical evaluation to ensure he was capable and fit for driving a bus. Then he would become the youngest driver in the district.
“Honestly, I feel accomplished being the youngest bus driver and just knowing that I had a passion for this for so long,” Decluette said. “And now I’m actually doing it. It’s crazy to think not only am I the youngest, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it’s a dream come true for me.”
For those who step foot onto Decluette’s bus, their day is one filled with positivity.
“It’s always good to always try and put a smile on their face because it’s something they’re looking forward to,” Decluette said. “You don’t want to get on the bus with an attitude and, you know, somebody is already going through a rough time. You don’t want to make it worse for them.”
This young man is not only inspiring his riders, but also those who he works alongside.
“He just stepped in and stepped up into it and just approached bus driving with excellence,” Leach said. “I think it was really exciting… especially for a lot of us folks, that we’ve been doing this for a while, to see a younger person come in with such tenacity and such drive to become a bus driver and do it with, like I said, incredible excellence.”
For many students, a bus driver is the person who starts and ends their day.
“So how you’re managing that interaction in the morning can set the tone for the student’s entire day,” Leach said. “Our goal here is to make sure the ride to school in the morning is exceptional.”
Each day, Decluette is turning the frowns of his riders upside down and bringing brightness into their lives.
“The one thing that always gets through my mind is even when my students are having a rough day, I always at least try and get them to smile, maybe even laugh a little bit,” Decluette said. “That’s the one thing I always try and do.”
District 8 is looking to hire school bus drivers and you can find employment opportunities online.
“So we’re always looking for those great employees to come in to contribute and make a positive impact on the department, but also, again, having positive impact on students as well,” said Leach.