CACHE, Okla. (TNN) - A man in Cache has made an impact on many generations, both in the classroom and on the bus. His teaching days are over, but he is still driving, 43 years later.
Every morning before school, Roney Smith gets in bus number 37 and starts his route. He is a man of few words, however, he makes sure to greet every student by name as they get on the bus.
Smith picks up about 70 students on his route, ranging from primary to high school. He has taught his bus riders to look out for each other and to be friendly, something he leads by example as he waves to each driver passing by.
“We’re lacking that in our world today, respect and courtesy and being able to communicate with an elder or anyone else," said Smith. "We live in a world of fast-paced technology, and some of the younger generations are losing the communication of being able to visit and speak and be friendly with one another.”
Smith’s legacy of going above and beyond led one of his former students, Jackie Green, who is now a principal at Cache Primary School, to nominate him for bus driver of the year for the state of Oklahoma a couple years ago.
“He makes sure that they are doing what they need to do to be safe, and that’s what we want for our kids," said Green. "We want them to come to school, be safe, and be happy when they get to school, and his kids are when they get off the bus.”
Smith is proud of that award, but said the best part of his career at Cache Public Schools is seeing his students and bus riders do well.
“I’ve taught doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, college professors, even my own children, they’re successful. They work hard," said Smith. "I think to help instill a good work ethic in youngsters, and I think if you look at those or see some of those today, they will agree with me.”
Smith said he does not plan on retiring from bus driving any time soon.
“Oh, I’ll make 50 at least," said Smith. "Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”