As a member of the Oklahoma Christian University custodial staff, Stencil Littleton keeps the cafeteria clean, takes care of trash and generally works to ensure Gaylord University Center remains tidy. The connections she has developed with students on campus over the past five years, however, go far beyond any requirement she finds under her employment description.
The self-deemed “OC Mom” was born in Oklahoma and attended Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, OK before graduating from Midwest Beauty College. Littleton found herself working at Church’s Chicken for 10 years before also putting in an application with Oklahoma Christian about five years ago.
“When I started here [at Oklahoma Christian], I was working at night over in the library,” Littleton said. “I found myself sick doing both jobs—Church’s in the day and OC at night—and I went to the hospital where they said I was getting too stressed out, so I dropped working at Church’s and stayed here instead. I asked God which one would be better for me and He gave me OC. So, I chose OC and I have been blessed ever since.”
Littleton, who has two children and seven grandsons of her own, said her daughter, Brenda, often jokes about being ‘jealous’ of how much her mother loves the students at Oklahoma Christian and views them almost as her ‘other kids.’
“She always tells me, ‘Momma, you only have two kids,’ but growing up, my kids would have friends come over and stay the night, and they just kind of also adopted me as mom,” Littleton said. “I have just always been everyone’s mom, because if there is something I do not like, I am going to tell you about it—like when it is winter time and some of the OC students come in the cafeteria wearing not enough clothes. That is where I step in. I tell them, ‘It is not summertime yet.’”
After leaving her job at Church’s to focus on her work at Oklahoma Christian, Littleton moved from the library to the University Center, because that was where the students were. She said she decided to switch because students have to come eat sooner or later, so she knew they would be coming through the cafeteria at some point each day.
“I love the kids,” Littleton said. “I have grown attached to them and I just love greeting everyone every morning. One greeting can change someone’s life, so that’s what I do. When people have something they are stressed about, we pray about it and I tell them it is going to be okay. This is school, this is college and you are supposed to be stressed out a little bit, because that is part of life.”
In addition to keeping the cafeteria clean, Littleton said she cleans the study rooms and bathrooms, takes care of the trash and helps Lois out with scanning IDs when she is sick and cannot get around. As she said the students and faculty give her energy—she tries and wants to be on campus everyday.
“Just trying to keep the building clean because I love this place—that is what my job is,” Littleton said. “Just as long as I am in my building, I am happy. I want to continue to stay here and see the students grow up, graduate and go on to do great things. They have talent. I went to Spring Sing last year—I have been going since I started working here—and I got to see a stage full of awesome, awesome kids. I was like, ‘Is that who I see every day in the cafeteria on that stage?’ They are all going to be something when they leave here.”