The job description for a janitor at R.L. Paschal High School generally includes mopping floors and clearing the cafeteria of lunch trash, but one janitor at the school is also known to students as a mentor and truant officer.
Charles “Slick” Williams has been at Paschal for 18 years.
During any passing period when students grab snacks and dart between classes, they’ll hear his voice booming in the hallways, “What’s up son! Get on to class now; you’re going to be late. I don’t need you getting in trouble today.”
School officials, students and alumni said Williams has dedicated his life to making sure the students at Paschal have somebody they can look up to and lean on for help when they need it.
“I see him in the hallway when the tardy bell has rung,” said Stephanie Lewis-Boatner, an administrator at Paschal. “He talks in that military voice, and he’ll say, ‘Sir, what are you doing out here you need to get to class.’ He’s funny, but he’s authoritative and the kids respect him.”
Williams grew up in Fort Worth’s Como neighborhood. When he retired from the Navy, he returned and went to work at Paschal.
He said being in the Navy molded him as a leader who could inspire others to be leaders.
“Most of all, the Navy helped me appreciate every color and nationality in the good ‘ol U.S.A.,” he said. “No matter where you go, you represent your country proudly, and most of all you represent your home-front, your family [and] that last name that God gave you.”
Williams said the principal who hired him recognized his leadership and mentorship could benefit students.
“I think she liked the way I interviewed,” he said.
Lewis-Boatner, an administrator at Paschal for 14 years, said Williams is drawn to students he thinks are on the wrong path in school.
“He’s like a father figure,” she said. “He just carries himself that way. Some kids even look for him when they need something. He’s just there for faculty, students and staff.”
Moses Gomez, who graduated from Paschal in 2012, said Williams was a mentor for him personally.
“There were days when I just wanted to give up on school and just skip class,” Gomez said. “But Slick was always there to keep me going.”
Gomez studies at Tarrant County College and works as the accountant clerk and hospitality services coordinator at Bass Hall. While at Paschal, Gomez said he could always count on Williams to encourage students without judging them.
“He just genuinely wanted the best for you and wanted you to make something out of your life,” Gomez said.
Williams said students named him “Slick” in part because he always manages to be around.
“I used to walk up on the students doing something they have no business doing,” Williams said. “One kid said, ‘Man you so slick!’ And from then on, I just told them to call me ‘Slick.’”
Williams said students like Gomez motivate him to keep serving the students of Paschal as a leader and mentor.
Each year when students graduate, he said he hates to see them go but is proud of them.
“My memories of them graduating are the best because they’re on their way, and they have made it to the point where they go on to different universities,” he said. “They are representing their families very well.”
Williams said that he plans to spend the rest of his career at Paschal until he retires a couple of years from now.
“Knowing me I’ll probably still be doing the same thing: mentoring,” Williams said. “I’ll probably still walk around in different areas and just talk to folks. That’s me; I’m just a people person.”