Collegiate athlete, comrade, custodian and clerk: Parris Mosley finds fulfillment in each chapter of his life

Parris Mosley prepares to work his first shift cleaning the floor before lunch. He is also employed by Circle-K, where he works at the front desk. “I want my legacy to be changing a kid’s mind. I want them to know that you shouldn’t see the worst in people. If I do that, I did my job,” Mosley said.

Beatrice Antonenko

Parris Mosley prepares to work his first shift cleaning the floor before lunch. He is also employed by Circle-K, where he works at the front desk. “I want my legacy to be changing a kid’s mind. I want them to know that you shouldn’t see the worst in people. If I do that, I did my job,” Mosley said.

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In the background of the school day, custodian Parris Mosley does custodial work around the school. But, behind stacking chairs and wiping off tables, Parris has an unexpected story to tell.

“My job here is just a stepping stone for something I want to do in the future. What that is, I don’t know,” Mosley said. “When you grow up, there are some things in life that make you think: there is no pleasure here. Even if you don’t dislike it, there still isn’t any pleasure. It won’t worry you because it’s just a stepping stone, but everything in life is a stepping stone.”

Mosley also holds a job at Circle-K. He enjoys the extra cash, but he does not need it to support himself.

“I wanted a little more money, so I decided to work at Circle-K. It isn’t a job that provides self-satisfaction, but it makes money,” Mosley said. “I’m not going to say it’s an easy job, but it’s definitely not a hard job. When you grow up, you learn there is no why, there is just do.”

Before becoming a custodian, he applied to work as the wrestling coach at the school but was not hired. Mosley has been an avid wrestler ever since he was a kid and even wrestled in college for the University of Illinois

“My brother took me to a wrestling meet when I was really young. It the was the first time I ever took a look at wrestling. I thought it was fun and different. I went to state a few times in college, but I never got first place,” Mosley said. “The only reason I stopped is that I worked and paid the tuition out my own pocket. I was able to hold it up for two years, but then I ran out of money. With nothing going on, I dropped out and decided to join the Navy.”

Mosley comes from a military family. He served in the Navy on a predominantly woman-based nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman. The carrier was larger than West in volume and brand new. He was not only the first of the crew stationed there, but he also helped build and launch the boat.  

“[The boat was] just like this school on the water. I think all young people should go to the military. There is a huge misconception about it, but being in the military is just a job. Same thing as a custodian, a clerk or a teacher. While you’re young, you need to experience different people and different cultures. Diversity is food, and we need to eat. If a plant doesn’t get food, then it won’t grow, and you will never see what it can bloom to,” Mosley said.

Although cleaning up the same place every day might be repetitive, he tries to make the best out of any situation he is in and advises students to do the same. He respects the kids in our school. However, he thinks some kids are not using their potential to the fullest.  

“High school is the first step into living on your own. You have to keep it in your mind to balance work and play. These grades matter, and when you go out into the real world, it’s the only thing people will know you by,” Mosley said. “You guys have a lot of skill, so I don’t understand why some of you just throw it on the backburner. You guys can have fun and do all your work at the same time as your youth will let you do it. If I’m at work I worry about work, but I pour myself into my family once I get home. It’s all about balance. ”

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