Margarita Castellanos, a senior, is well known across Harrison and Lafayette.
She is Harrison’s Homecoming Queen, a marching band member, an honor student, and a server at Southside Diner.
Her mother is the owner of Southside Diner, and Castellanos has been working there since its opening in April 2011.
The homestyle restaurant has been going strong since then, and has numerous regular customers, some of whom come in for three meals a day.
Multiple positive reviews of the ‘60s themed diner can be found online.
Southside Diner’s numerous dishes are all reasonably-priced and tasty.
They serve breakfast and lunch entrees, so it is easy for everyone to find something they like.
“I love everything! If I had to choose, my favorite would be the Club sandwich with sweet potato fries dipped in syrup,” said Castellanos.
The blueberry pancakes have a good review as well. They are incredibly sweet and flavorful.
They also have homemade pies for sale everyday.
Castellanos’ mother, the owner of Southside Diner, is a busy mom; not only does she care for Margarita, but she also has 4-year-old triplets and a 2-year-old.
But that didn’t stop her from doing what she truly wanted.
“[My mother] wanted to work for herself, and not someone else,” said Castellanos.
Castellanos was still in middle school when Southside Diner opened.
She hasn’t always been paid, though.
“I started getting paid about a year and a half after working there,” Castellanos said. “I don't really blame them for not paying me though, because I'm pretty sure that in the beginning I didn't work very hard because I was pretty young.”
She is paid now, though, due to the success of the restaurant and her age.
Being a restaurant server can be tough, with always having to put on a smile and do everything the customers ask for, but Castellanos said that she enjoys it most of the time.
“If we get busy and there are crappy customers, then it is hard to keep a smile and be very nice to customers,” said Castellanos. “The hardest thing about the job is keeping the customers happy. The customer is always right, even when they are so wrong. [But] most days I really enjoy the job.”
Castellanos’ co-workers make her job even better.
She has been working with them for five years, and has formed great friendships with them all.
The customers love her too. After Castellanos was crowned Homecoming Queen, many of the regulars could be heard telling other customers about Castellanos’ success.
“I was ecstatic,” Castellanos said. “It was such an honor, and I was not expecting it at all. I don't think I've ever smiled so much in my life. It was such a memorable experience that I'll remember forever.”
Castellanos was crowned with fellow marching band member, Elijah Wood.
The atmosphere at AJ Rickard Field that night was amazing. So many people surrounded Castellanos to congratulate her and take pictures.
Band members and honor students were the happiest, as they were glad to see one of their own crowned.
“When I found out that Margarita had won homecoming queen I was overjoyed,” said Nic Murphy, a senior and Margarita’s marching band section leader. “She is such a smart and caring person. Nobody was more deserving of that honor than her.”
Marching band was a huge time commitment, and so are Castellanos’ AP classes, but none of that stops her from helping out around the restaurant.
Margarita Castellanos is certainly a figure to look up to at Harrison.