Birmingham school bus driver who died of COVID-19 sons honor her legacy with scholarship

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Sons of a Birmingham school bus driver who died from COVID-19 are honoring their mother by giving back to the school system she loved.

Her sons established a scholarship that honors her name, Diane Williams Kennedy, in an effort to keep her legacy alive. Kennedy is remembered for opening her heart with financial support and motivation to Birmingham students for more than a decade.

“She would say ‘Good morninnngggg!’ and that’s how she was known for her good morning slogan,” Lazarus Lewis, a former co-worker, said.

Kennedy was known as the ‘School Bus Mom,’ Lewis told CBS 42. Not only was she a mom to her fellow drivers but also to the students she met on her routes over the 13 years she drove for the Birmingham City School System.

“She would buy Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, even as far as when they were getting ready to graduate,” Lewis said.

The late bus driver’s son, Alvarez Kennedy, said his mother found her sense of purpose through bus driving.

“She really found her ministry in being on the bus being able to talk to the kids, sometimes being able to encourage them,” Alvarez Kennedy said.

Diane Kennedy was struck with COVID-19 in June 2020. Alvarez Kennedy said when his mom contracted the virus it was somewhat of a shock because she was a part of the many people helping fight the virus making masks.

“When we learned that she had COVID it was kind of ironic because she was the one who was making the masks to prevent the coronavirus to others,” Alvarez Kennedy said.

Diane Kennedy, the single mother of two, and everyone’s ‘School Bus Mom’, died July 19, 2020, after a tough battle with COVID-19. It also happened to be her eldest son, Ervin Kennedy’s birthday.

Now, her sons are honoring their mother with a scholarship in her name. Alvarez Kennedy said there will be about three scholarships, at the least, consisting of $500 to be given to Birmingham City Schools graduating seniors.

“At the end of the day, all things happen for some type of purpose and at this point we do see her as our angel,” Alvarez Kennedy said.

The deadline to apply for the Diane Kennedy scholarship is March 9. Click here to apply.

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