Feeling Young

"Feeling Young"
Katie Knecht
Published in the Talisman, 2012
Western Kentucky University's annual yearbook

     If ever one walked into Garrett Food Court, through both sets of glass doors, past the cashiers, Poptarts and Nutrigrain bars, away from the coolers of drinks and the appetizing aroma of Home Zone and made it to Grille Works, one found a white marker board on the yellow wall. The marker board shouted “Happy Birthday” in colorful stick-on letters, and featured Western students whose birthdays were on that day, along with special sentiments for an “awesome day.” But the board didn’t get there on its own.

     It was a product of Charita Hudson Moyers, Supervisor of Grille Works in Garrett Food Court. “I know there are foreign students who won’t see family members on their birthdays,” she said. She also submitted student birthdays to WBKO.

     How did Moyers’ birthday board gain popularity? “When they created Facebook, they made it for me,” she said. Moyers added and accepted students on Facebook, reviewed birthday reminders, and tagged the student in the photo of the birthday board she uploaded to Facebook everyday.

     But the birthday board is not Moyers’ only legacy on campus.

     “She builds a bond with you,” Radcliff, Ky. junior Stephanie Maloney said. “She talks to you, says hi—she was telling me jokes this morning.”

     Maloney was a theatre major at Western, and said there was no bigger fan of the department than Moyers. She went to most productions put on at Western, a habit that was not overlooked by theatre major and junior Joseph Sturgill from Ashland, Ky. “We always save her a seat,” he said. “She loves her theatre babies.”

     Moyers began working at Western in 1999 as a cashier in Garrett Food Court, and took the lead in Grille Works in 2002. “I love my job at this university,” she said. “The students get me out of bed everyday.”

     Moyers said she got to see students mature over their years at Western. “You see these little greenies who think they’re going to take 20 hours, party, have no homework and not go to class,” she said. “Then you see them buckle down. They grow up.”

     Sturgill met Moyers when he was a freshman and went to get a burger. He said she greeted him with so much kindness he didn’t know how to react. He visited her every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the spring. “She’s like the mother I never had,” he said.

     Moyers always tried to make it clear with her students that she didn’t care about race, color, sexual preference, or any other discrimination. “I’m gonna love you no matter what,” she said, and Maloney agreed.

     “Charita thinks people should be more accepting,” Maloney said. “People being ignorant does hurt her. She feels for people who go through rough times.”

     Many of the connections Moyers made during her time in Garrett lasted, too. Moyers said her favorite thing about adding students as Facebook friends was that she didn’t have to lose touch with them after graduation. “Come May and December, I would be a wreck,” she said. “Now I can keep in touch.”

     Sturgill said Western students would get a better experience if there were more people like Moyers. “She doesn’t see annoying or weird,” he said. “She sees a human being and someone who deserves to be treated like one.”

     Many students at Western likely knew exactly who you were talking about if you said, “You know, the lady in Garrett with the birthday board? She works at Grille works?” And Moyers, who always served food with a smile, knew most of her students in return.

     “I’ll be 49 but I feel 19,” she said. “These students keep me feeling young.”