Inspired driving

Students at Mossy Oaks Elementary and Beaufort Middle School know Alvina Cleveland Gadson as their bus driver, but audiences across the Southeast know her as an outstanding gospel singer.  Gadson began singing publicly in the youth choir at Adams Street Baptist on St. Helena Island, and today she sings at churches and special events from Florida to New York, bringing an infectious blend of gospel, pop and jazz.  “Music is my passion,” she says.  “If I’m feeling down, when I hear music, it just lifts me up.”  A single mom with six children, Gadson says her work as a school bus driver helps pay the bills, but her job means more than just a paycheck.   “I love kids,” she says.  “Sometimes they’ll come to me and talk about school, and I encourage them to do the best they can because they’re going to need their educations down the road.”  Gadson’s oldest child is a teacher, and she has two children in the U.S. Air Force, one of whom is deployed in the Middle East.  Her two youngest children attend Beaufort Middle School, and another child attends the Technical College of the Lowcountry.  She continues to sing at her current church, the Church of the Harvest on St. Helena Island.