Patrick Noonan ’19
On a Monday night at chapel early this fall, Reverend Smith gave a sermon about his coffee mug. Every morning, the mug shows up magically cleaned, as if a fairy comes to clean it overnight…Which is sort of true. He spoke of one particular Tuesday morning, when he found the lip of the mug chipped. Directly next to the mug was a small post-it note written by Cathy Braxton apologizing for the chip and offering to replace the mug if Dr. Smith so wished. Dr. Smith kept his chipped mug as a reminder of the selfless act of Ms. Braxton cleaning his mug. This whole event shed light on someone who everyday, selflessly and tirelessly, goes the extra mile.
For the majority of her ten and a half years at Woodberry, Ms. Braxton has worked in the student store, restocking items and working behind the register. Although, she was moved this past year, and now works in the housekeeping department, helping to keep the campus clean and beautiful every day.
“The hours are harder in housekeeping,” Ms. Braxton says, explaining how seeing the students in the store each day made her work more exciting and personal. “I miss talking to the boys. I don’t have that anymore,” she says. Being around the people who she works so hard to help each day was much more “rewarding.” She also enjoyed seeing the dogs on campus, especially Tucker and Luna, who used to come into the student store with Mr. Guldin and Mr. Collier.
Ms. Braxton is still working hard in housekeeping though, as she wakes at 4:30am to arrive for work at 6:00am. The women and men of housekeeping split the buildings up so that the women cover the academic buildings while the men work in the dorms.
Ms. Braxton’s job each morning is to clean up the classrooms in the third floor of Armfield and Anderson. She vacuums the floors, organizes the desks, and tidies up the rooms. “When I do my work I try to go the extra mile. If I see something in a corner that the vacuum can’t get, I bend over to get it,” she says. “Each day that I work upstairs in the classroom, I look at what can be done to make someone else’s day easier.”
Every day on upper Armfield, Dr. Smith can count on a clean mug in the morning, which is only a small representation of Ms. Braxton’s selflessness and care for others. After finishing her work in the classrooms, Ms. Braxton cleans the many other buildings around campus, from the Walker Building and the chapel to the lower athletic buildings. She gets off of work at 2:30 pm in the afternoon, and comes home to an energetic welcoming from her one- and three-year old grandson and granddaughter, who call her GiGi and GeeGee. She has a son, 24, and a daughter, 27, and one in-between whom she lost, which she says was one of the most difficult experiences of her life. However, the family still lives together in Orange, keeping a tight knit atmosphere back home.
When asked if she has any pet peeves related to her job, Ms. Braxton says, “Not much bothers me, but, I love seeing all the chairs pushed in where they belong. I was just raised that way….you push in your chair when you leave a room.” So before you walk out of each classroom, think of pushing in your chair; such a small act of kindness would be a mighty act of thanks. We are all glad we have her as a part of the Woodberry community. Chipped cups and all.