Ann Hamby — Mrs. Ann to her riders — has driven a bus at Parkway School for 45 years, and while transportation has undergone significant changes since the early 1970s, Mrs. Ann said one constant spanned her four-decade career: her dedication to the safety of her students on the way to and from school.
Hamby, who began work with Watauga County Schools in 1973, was the first driver in the district to be assigned a school with an automatic transmission. Over the course of her career she has transported three generations of Parkway students.
Hamby said today she transports the children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those first students she drove to school in the early 70s. Ms. Ann herself has left an impact on Parkway school as a mother of five, a grandmother of 9 and a great-grandmother of 20 children.
Hamby said, after 45 years driving, the best part of her day was seeing the smiles of all the children that depend on her for a safe ride home.
Parkway Principal Patty Buckner said Hamby had become more than a favorite bus driver over the years — she’d become a part of the school’s culture and personality.
“I wish we had 100 of Ann Hamby,” Buckner said. “She is one of our most reliable, dedicated, caring and compassionate bus drivers. She cares so much about the students who ride her bus. She knows them — and often, she knows their parents and grandparents, too. Parkway wouldn’t be what it is without Mrs. Ann.”
Hamby was honored during the February meeting of the Watauga County Board of Education as part of the board’s recognition of Love the Bus week, a celebration of bus drivers and transportation personnel across the district.
Watauga County Schools Transportation Director Jeff Lyons said Hamby was chosen to be recognized for her lasting dedication to the safety and wellbeing of all the student in her care.