Sunday, January 18, 2015

Just a school custodian

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, honoring the life of the slain civil rights leader. Dr. King once said, "The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human, and, therefore, brothers." Today's crumb salutes a neighbor who fits this description. His name is Charles Clark.

Twenty-five years ago, Clark took a custodial position at Trinity High School in Euless, TX. He expected to stay until he found something better, but he never left. And when alumni return to Trinity for class reunions, most want to see Clark first. Why?

School custodian Charles Clark

Early on, Clark realized many Trinity students came from single-parent homes, lacking any father figure. Clark's strong bond with his own Dad made him realize how important it is for kids to have positive role models, or at least someone who will listen and care. During his years as custodian, he's purchased clothing and shoes for needy students; provided transportation to jobs, and even taken students into his home when they needed a place to stay.

Assistant principal Stephanie Millar recalls how Clark helped Ryan McBean. She says McBean was a lost soul when he came to Trinity from Jamaica until Clark took him under his wing and let him sleep at his home. McBean joined the school football team and later played in college. Now he's playing for the NFL. But Charles kept on him to finish his college degree, and he did.

Clark would not trade his job for any other. He says "what is rewarding is when students come back and tell me that something I said or did 17 or 18 years ago had a positive influence on their life."

No comments:

Post a Comment