March 28, 2014
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard attended Cypress Lakes High School on Friday for a Block Party rally celebrating the school’s victory in the D12 Foundation’s Block Out Violence campaign.
March 28, 2014—Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard brought his nonviolence message to Cypress Lakes High School in a “Block Party” rally at the school on Friday, celebrating the Spartans’ victory in the D12 Foundation’s Block Out Violence campaign.
Howard joined Cypress Lakes for two spirited assemblies that featured a performance by the Houston Rockets Power Dancers, a beat poetry recital by senior Marcus Royster and a surprise appearance by the artists behind the hit single “Drop That NaeNae,” We Are Toonz.
“Be proud of who you are,” Howard told the crowd of students. “Each one of you is special, no matter your size, race, gender, whatever.
“Don't let anybody tell you that you can't do something. If you have a dream, hang onto it. They said I wasn't tall enough or strong enough, they said my hands were too small. I said I wasn't going to let anybody stop me from getting to the NBA. It doesn't matter what you do, you all have a purpose for this life. Don't let anybody say you can't make it.”
Howard shared his 12 steps to Block Out Violence with the students:
Dwight Howard congratulates Katina Wallace, Cypress Lakes teacher and sponsor of The Red Poet Society, and student Marcus Royster for their role in making Block Out Violence a successful campaign.
Cypress Lakes senior Derrick Thompson said that the Block Party was a great reward for the two-week effort that the students put in to Block Out Violence.
“It was an experience. It was touching to see how a few people started it and then everyone got involved,” he said. “It absolutely changed the school and pulled us closer. We love each other and this is our family.”
Principal Sarah Harty said the Spartans plan to maintain their momentum from the non-violence campaign. She has already met with teacher Katina Wallace, the sponsor of The Red Poet Society who spearheaded the entire Block Out Violence effort, to plan monthly “booster shots” to keep it as a priority.
“We want to give constant reminders to students of how to behave decently to one another,” she said. “I think the social media aspect of it is going to be huge – using it for positive as opposed to negative. I think we proved during this effort how it can be a great force for positive change.”
During the Block Party rally, Howard handed the microphone to Wallace, who provided some lasting words to the student body.
“Cy Lakes, you are amazing. It starts with you,” she said. “This is not a campaign, this is a movement!”
Houston Rockets Power Dancers excite the crowd of Cypress Lakes students prior to Dwight Howard’s address.
Dwight Howard dances with hip-hop artists We Are Toonz as they perform “Drop That Nae Nae” during the Block Out Violence Block Party.
Dwight Howard presents Cypress Lakes principal Sarah Harty with the framed “Winning High School” poster for the Block Out Violence campaign.
Former Cy-Fair High School and Stanford University standout basketball player Nneka Ogwumike speaks with Dwight Howard as he departs Cypress Lakes High School on Friday after the Block Party.