Christine Carter starts her work day at 8 a.m. by making sure the windows at Richmond Hill High School’s west campus are clean.
Thanks to Carter, they may well be the cleanest windows on any school in Georgia.
Carter, known fondly as “Mrs. Tish,” has been a custodian at RHHS for 15 years, and it’s her work ethic and her friendliness that make her stand out, RHHS assistant principal Mickey Bayens said.
“Mrs. ‘Tish’ Carter brings not only a smile to school every day but she has an incredible work ethic that is second to none,” Bayens said. “She is well respected among her peers and is always looking for something to clean.”
And then there’s this.
Carter is 71. And she really doesn’t have to work. But she’d rather stay busy than be retired, she said.
“I get bored sitting around the house,” Carter said. “I want to do something. I tried part time a while ago. I didn’t like it.”
Carter is from Richmond Hill and has worked her entire life, including the years she spent up in Virginia. She’s married — her second husband is Wayne Carter – and has three children, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
It’s a big family that plays together. Carter said weekends, especially in the summer, are devoted to family cookouts in her big yard.
But come Monday, she’s back at work.
“I think if I quit work I’d get sick, I really do. And I don’t want to have to quit work because I get sick, I want to work as long as I’m able and then retire and still have my good health,” said Carter, who said she gets along with both students and faculty at the school.
Co-workers say Carter more than pulls her weight, whether it’s helping clean the lunchroom or making sure there’s soap in the bathroom dispensers.
“She’s always busy doing something,” said Richard Bessert, who said that while he usually works alone, “whenever (Carter) is around, she’s always helpful.”
Her regular duties also include taking care of offices and carpets, along with the doing windows and making sure the bathrooms have soap. And she refers to each responsibility with a sense of ownership.
“I start by taking care of my windows,” she said.
Carter said the job keeps her young. She likes the kids and the teachers.
“I’ll be 72 in February,” she said. “But this keeps me going. I think it keeps me healthy.”
As for how long she’ll keep working, Carter said 75 sounds like a good age to retire. Ninety, on the other hand, is not.
“I don’t want to work that long,” she said.