Everyone needs to love each other. That’s what this world is about. Help each other. Don’t pull each other down,” advised Sandra Arrington. “Put God first. I know we have a lot of people who think they’re done, but God still wakes you up every morning. You need to get on your knees and say thank you, Jesus.”
Arrington definitely takes her own advice. It’s hard to find someone with more love for others than her, and she makes sure to acknowledge her blessings each day and thank God for everything she has.
Her values and beautiful nature were ingrained in her as she was growing up. Her family was very loving and made sure to teach her and her siblings the skills and ethics they would need to be successful when they entered the “real world.”
“Growing up, I had a good life. My mom and dad raised eight of us. We were raised to respect our elders,” recalled Sandra. “I didn’t like to farm. My daddy farmed, but I didn’t like to do that. I’m not an outdoor person.”
Although she didn’t like to farm, she would still work hard to complete the tasks she was asked to do. Her hard work didn’t end with chores at home, however. She also worked hard to attain a good education, and she has always taken education seriously and considered it a blessing.
“I loved going to school,” remembered Sandra. “My mom used to tell me that I would go to school every day. I just didn’t want to miss a day of school. I looked forward to going to school to see my friends and do my work.”
Her love of education never ceased. Now, she has made a career working at Quitman High School, and she is able to help share her wisdom to the youth as she encourages them to do what they need to do in order to receive a great education.
“I’ve been working with Quitman School District for 16 years. I do In School Suspension (ISS) at the high school, and I keep it real with the students. I get along with the students,” stated Sandra. “I have some who say I’m mean all day long, but we get along real well because I say what I mean and I mean what I say. These kids need to know the truth—the world out there will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not ready for it. We’re trying to get them ready for it, and that’s all I can do.”
She may not have liked working outside on the farm growing up, but she never forgot the lesson of hard work that it taught her. Not only does she do ISS for the high school, but Sandra has also taken on a second job working in the district as part of the janitorial staff. She has worked her way up and assumed a leadership position, but she remains humble and still enjoys to actively help get things done.
“I love my evening job too. I’ve been doing it for nine years. When I’m by myself, I can think and be at peace. I’ll be talking, but I’ll be talking to the Man upstairs while steadily cleaning. I’m the supervisor of the janitorial staff for all of Quitman School District. I’ll go to each school and check on what they need. If someone is out and there’s no one to cover it, I’ll do it. I don’t ever think I’m above anyone so that I can’t clean. That’s what I started out doing, and I don’t ever want to get to the point where I just want someone else to do it. The other ladies do help me because they know I go to other schools and do different things so that I can get off and won’t be here so late at night. I’ve got some good help, and I can depend on my workers,” explained Sandra. “I started out cleaning up at the upper elementary on the fifth grade hall. I did that for a year. When GCA came in, they needed a supervisor. Ms. Sylvia asked me to supervise, so I took the job. I still cleaned at the time. I was supervisor and cleaned all the offices and the alternative school. In the last year or two, I was told I would just be supervisor and wouldn’t have to clean anymore. I like to clean; I can’t just sit around and tell everyone what to do. I like to put my hands in it and help clean. Don’t just depend on everyone else to do everything. Sometimes they just get a little behind, so I help out. My grandma did this when we were growing up, and she always told us that when we do a job, don’t halfway do it; give it 100 percent. That’s what I do.”
While she works hard to help provide for her family, she also uses it to set an example for her children and grandchildren. She wants them to be able to see that she is serious about education and has a desire for them to get an education and succeed.
“I have three sons. Now, I’m raising my grandson. He’s in the ninth grade this year, and he’s spoiled,” stated Sandra. “I asked God to let me stay at this school and get him through school and college. That was my goal with my kids, and God has given me the responsibility of raising one of my grandchildren. I want the same thing for him—get an education. Education is the way out. I don’t want him to be one of those waiting in line for help unless it’s necessary.”
She truly believes in the value of hard work. She doesn’t sit idle and has already experienced how satisfying it is to be able to have a job that she loves. That has given her high expectations for others because she knows how successful they could be if they just start working.
“If you’re able to work, it doesn’t matter if you start with a minimum wage job. Take the job and work your way up,” declared Sandra. “That’s what I did, and I love what I do. You have to know how to manage your money to move up.”
When she is not working, Sandra can be found helping others in any way that she can. She really enjoys attending church and makes sure to participate and help with everything that she can.
“I help with everything at church. This year, I’m going to have to do a little more because we lost one of our ladies who was over the kitchen. When we get back in the church, I will be in there helping with that,” said Sandra. “I work hard with anything we do with the church, though. We did a food pantry for the elderly. I participated when the church did the book bags and everything for the school kids. Whatever we do in the church, I participate in it.”
When she is able to be home, she usually enjoys doing her passion: cooking and baking. The staff at the high school is very familiar with the amazing meals and desserts that she creates and loves when she brings what she makes to school to share.
“I love to bake and cook—cakes, food, whatever you want. If I go and sample something somewhere else, I like to come home, look it up, and cook it myself. I let other people let me know what is good. Everything that I do isn’t because I like to eat it. I just like to cook it,” expressed Sandra. “The lemon pound cake and red velvet cake are my signature cakes. Most of the time, I like to cook green vegetables such as collard greens and things like that. I bake everything. I don’t fry any food other than fish. I love making different casseroles that I find.”
Her love of cooking runs deep. While most women love the idea of receiving flowers for a gift, Sandra would much rather have things that are related to cooking. She detests the idea of getting a bouquet of flowers or potted plant.
“I don’t like live flowers. If I can’t cook with it, I don’t want it,” professed Sandra. “If it isn’t Martha White or White Lily flour, don’t bring me flowers. I love the flour you cook with, not the ones you plant in the ground.”
As each day goes by, Sandra will continue to do what she loves and motivate and encourage others. She has been and will continue to be an inspiration for those around her. Despite everything taking place in the world, she will continue to live out her daily goal:
“I’m going to enjoy life because tomorrow is not promised to us,” declared Sandra. “I’m going to enjoy every moment that He gives me.”