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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rone approaches her job, like her life, with a smile

The town of Pittsboro will always be home to Teretha Rone. She was born and raised there and it’s where she has lived all of her 54 years.

But Chapel Hill is a big part of her life now, too. Since August 2004, it has been the place where she earns a living.

In that sense, Chapel Hill has become a home away from home not only for Rone, but for three of her four siblings as well.

She has a brother who works for the Town of Chapel Hill and two sisters who, like Rone, work as housekeepers for the University. Her sister Anita Rone started in 2002, Rone followed in 2004 and her other sister, Schenika Garland, started a couple of years later.

Rone’s life has had its ups and downs. Divorced after eight years of marriage, she raised her two sons on her own. Before coming to Carolina as a housekeeper, she had a job on the cafeteria tray line at UNC Hospitals for 15 years.

Last January, Rone was transferred from taking care of Hinton James Residence Hall to the dayshift at the School of Government. It proved to be the right fit from the start, so much so that people at the school joined with students from Hinton James to nominate her for a C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award. Rone was among the 2012 award winners.

At the School of Government, she has won the respect of people like Danielle Phillips, a program manager there.

“Teretha is always busy around the building during the day and takes so much pride in making sure everything is clean,” she said. Rone takes on a lot and is always pleasant, Phillips added.

Random Gott, an audio-visual technician at the school, added, “This kind and good woman is of great value both in what she does and how she does it.”

Susan Austin, career services director, said Rone had demonstrated an “incredible work ethic – even in the face of personal challenges.” Austin added, “Her work on a daily basis is exemplary and she always rises to the occasion when we have special events requiring additional touches.”

Brad Bednar, an applications analyst at the school, described Rone as “an absolutely amazing person.”

In his nomination letter he wrote: “She’s always happy and upbeat, and has the Herculean task of keeping our building clean during the day. It’s her positive attitude, hard work and the fact that she always has a smile on her face that I think makes her well deserving of this award.”

Life can be hard, Rone has learned. But she has also learned that work is often what you make it, and is almost always better when approached with a cheerful attitude and grateful heart.

She has even learned to smile when people incorrectly call her “Teresa” instead of Teretha. She figures they are just trying to be friendly, and there is nothing wrong with that.

“I love my job,” Rone said.