Argatha Williams: The Smiling Custodian

Photo by Alex Schuler, Staff Writer
Photo by Alex Schuler, Staff Writer

Argatha Williams is the custodian that we all know from the halls. She smiles, waves and greets every student she sees. Her gleaming optimism puts a smile on any weary student’s face, and she loves that. Argatha is, in entirety, a ray of sunshine.

“She’s really nice, and she lifts my mood if I’m having a bad day. I don’t know her name though,” said Andrew Bowers, sophomore.

In fact, no one really knows Williams. Most refer to her as “the smiling custodian.” So I decided to sit down with her and find out more.

We met up in the school cafeteria. She seemed tired, but most people would be after cleaning all day. Her upbeat personality still shone through.

She was soft-spoken and kind. All of her sentences started and finished with a smile.

She grinned when I ask her about her childhood.

“I grew up in a small little town called Richland, in North Carolina. Born and raised. I came from a family of 8 brothers and 7 sisters.” She paused, awaiting my reaction.

“It was a lot of fun. There was always someone to talk to or play with,” she said, in response to my surprise.

Her parents were together her entire life.

Williams had a fun childhood and a close family. She went to Richland Elementary, Middle and High, but stopped after eleventh grade.

“I had to help my mom out around the house, with all the kids and stuff,” she explained.

She recently earned her G.E.D. at Wake Tech.

“I just wanted my high school education; I wanted to have that diploma.”

Williams is now married. She has two kids who are 28 and 25, and two grandchildren 3 and 5. She resides in North Raleigh, off of Lead Mine Road.

As for hobbies, Williams enjoys taking care of the elderly, going to games, dancing, joking and playing around.

“I’m a big child and I love to have fun,” she said. One of her biggest jokes was a couple months ago, when she went into the cafeteria with ketchup all over her hands.

“I scared Ms. Berry [a cafeteria manager] so bad, but I quickly told her it was a joke. That was my meanest joke,” she responded.

Her main hobby however, is the universally understood “golden rule.”

“My biggest hobby is treating people the way I would love to be treated.”

When asked about working at LRHS, Argatha Williams beamed.

“I love working here. It’s a job that I really appreciate having, because I’ve had some really horrible jobs. I wake up looking forward to coming to this place.”

She enjoys everything she does because she strongly believes that being happy is key in life.

“I smile and wave at everyone because I love to see people happy, it means a whole lot. I think the world would be a lot better place if people treated each other the way they wanted to be treated.”

Sometimes, as we all know, it is hard to be happy. When I asked her about those times, her answer was equally buoyant.

“It starts within me. Whatever goes on outside me, it is still up to me. The more you smile the less frown you have.”


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