Local News

Fayetteville School Custodian Doubles as Artist

Posted November 7, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Possibly, the single most thankless job at any school is that of the custodian. If you doubt that, just imagine cleaning up after 500 kids inyourhouse every day! But WRAL-TV5'sTerri Grucamet a custodian in Fayetteville who considers his work an art.

His broom stroke may be no different. His speed is about the same as other janitors, but there's something that makes Howard Cradle, known in his school as Smiley, quite special, according to principal Willie Wright.

Cradle's talent is not as hidden as you might think in the halls of Jerald's Elementary School. Another principal noticed it nine years ago.

Cradle has a knack for making strokes with a different kind of brush, too -- a paint brush. He's created thousands of works of art, and everywhere you look at Jerald's Elementary school you're sure to see at least one.

Jerald's fifth-grader Allan Autry says Cradle's art is good for the school.

Teacher Debbie Angelone says Cradle provides a good role model for the children.

Cradle says his art is his first love.

Cradle's world is one many students say they are happy to be a part of. He says he loves his time at school but his first love is art. Some day he would like to be able to make a living just selling his paintings.