John Dan Sitar’s story is being featured on the West Virginia Department of Education’s website in its “I(heart)MyWVSchool” section. You can find it at wvde.us.
Education has done pretty well by me. It has given me many opportunities and allowed me to do many things in my life. I’m a school bus driver in Romney, West Virginia, and every day I wear a shirt and tie. I started first grade in 1952 at Romney Elementary School, the first year the school was opened. When I was a student here, my teachers dressed up every day. The men wore shirts and ties, usually a suit, and the women dressed that way too. So, I decided even as a bus driver, I would dress that way too. I wear a shirt and tie every day.
I might be the only person my students see dressed like this. It sends a message. Bus drivers are the first representative of the school that these students see each day, and the last people they see before going home. That is pretty important. My goal is to encourage and help today’s students to be successful in obtaining a good education. I want them to know somebody cares for them. I know things are hard for some of them. That bothers me. I take my job very seriously because I know what a good teacher can do for a student.
The school system had a profound effect on me. I wasn’t a great student. I liked to farm more than I liked school, but I learned so much, so I must’ve had exceptional teachers. I’m a retired second commission lieutenant in the U.S. Army, a green beret, Army Ranger, lay Presbyterian minister and traveled all over the world in the service. The Ranger training was pretty tough, but after working on our farm and practicing on the Romney High School football field, I got through it okay. Those Veteran’s Day programs, I don’t go to them. I owe this country more than it owes me. I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without my family, my teachers and the Army. o