New Jersey Bus Driver Hailed With Civics Award for Teaching Kids to Read

A school bus driver in a New Jersey township is being hailed for the reading tutorials he provides kids in between his bus routes.

Herman Cruse, 55, was honored with a civics award earlier this month in the Cape May County town after launching “Mr. Herman’s Kids” reading tutor program, reports. Cruse has worked as a school bus driver for the last nine years and would use the four-hour gap between routes to run errands.

That was until Alexandria Bakely, a kindergarten teacher at Middle Township Elementary School #1, told Cruse about one of her students struggling with learning to read. That’s when Cruse came up with the bright idea to begin tutoring and reading to Bakely’s students.

Last February, it developed into “Mr. Herman’s Kids” tutoring program for kindergarten through second-grade students; the rest is history.

“It exploded into several students and four to five classrooms,” Cruse said.

“It’s become a friendly tussle with the students. They’re all like, ‘I want to read with Mr. Herman! I want to read with Mr. Herman!’ It’s like I’m a little rag doll,” he added.

Cruse describes his tutoring program as a “labor of love.” Once the program started back up in October, it caught the attention of township officials who awarded the bus driver with a Middle Matters Award, an award created to celebrate residents’ endeavors toward building a better community.

“Mr. Herman exemplifies the community spirit that makes Middle Township such a special place to live and work,” Middle Township Mayor Tim Donohue said.

“The simple act of giving his time to read with and listen to students makes a huge difference in the lives of these children. We commend Mr. Herman for spreading compassion and we are proud to present him with a Middle Matters Award.”

Last spring, Middle Township Elementary School #1 principal Christian Paskalides recognized Cruse as a figure the kids could look up to.

“It justifies the work that I’m doing is for the betterment of the children of Middle Township because, after all, the children of Middle Township matter,” Cruse said. “The award is appropriately named and I’m extremely humbled and thankful.”