March 6, 2017
Kenyatta Simmons, pastor of Life Changer Community Church, greets Cypress Springs High School senior Justin Simmons as he enters the school on March 6 as part of the Thousand Guys in Ties launch, “Father’s Day In.”
March 6, 2017—Cypress Springs High School kicked off its annual Thousand Guys in Ties celebration on March 6 with “Father's Day In,” inviting fathers of Panther students to greet every Cypress Springs student as they entered the school on Monday morning.
Between 15-20 men lined the front door and rear bus entries of the campus, shaking hands with the students and greeting them with a smile and a “Good morning” greeting.
Cypress Springs fathers welcome students as they walk through the front doors of the school on Monday morning, March 6.
The warm welcome helped launch a weeklong celebration of unity and empowerment in which at least 1,000 young men or women on each campus to wear business or dressy attire while gaining an educational and inspirational experience. Thousand Guys in Ties is facilitated by Cypress Springs’ Men of Honor club, sponsored by Assistant Principal Clay Smith.
Kenyatta Simmons, pastor of Life Changer Community Church, was one of the first faces to greet the students as they walked through the doors.
Adult men greet Cypress Springs students as they enter the school on the morning of March 6.
“They were so taken aback. They weren’t expecting it,” he said. “You could see some of these young people coming in with Monday morning frowns, but as soon as they saw us, I saw teeth. Young people were giving us high-fives. Our belief is that this is going to be a great day for them, but it’s also going to stay in their minds for the rest of this year. They’ll say, ‘I remember that one day when there were crazy men at the front door high-fiving us.’ That’s our goal.”
Cypress Springs father James Garner, who played football for Smith as a student at Jersey Village High School, enjoyed the “Father’s Day In” festivities.
Excited Cypress Springs freshman student Nashon Pichon high-fives the men welcoming Panthers as they enter the building for “Father’s Day In” on March 6.
“Coach Smith was a huge inspiration to me at that time. He was one of my mentors growing up and had a lot of faith in me,” said Garner, a 1991 Jersey Village graduate. “He asked me to participate in these events, and it was a no-brainer. I had a blast. it was probably more fun for me than for anybody else. Just seeing the kids’ faces and seeing them smile was priceless. I got to capture that excitement they had first thing in the morning.”
Thousand Guys in Ties activities will continue throughout the week at Cypress Springs, where each day follows a different theme with planned activities. The grassroots movement was spearheaded by Clay Smith, Cook Middle School Assistant Principal Chris Rose and Cypress Creek High School Police Officer Faladrick Brown in 2013. Other CFISD campuses participating in the fifth annual event include Cypress Creek and Cypress Falls high schools; and Campbell, Cook, Dean, Labay and Thornton middle schools.
Male volunteers join Cypress Springs staff members in front of the school following their “Father’s Day In” morning greeting on March 6.
“Any time you get the chance to encourage young people, it’s exciting,” Simmons said. “Our young men in this day and time need encouragement and visible support. For them to see us as grown men in front of them this week saying, ‘You can do it, you can be successful,’ that goes a long way.
“Cypress Springs is the center of this particular community. Our job was to encourage these young people and support the faculty and staff. I want to give a big shout-out to the principal of this campus, Dr. Cheryl Henry, and Mr. Clay Smith and the vision they had. That’s big on their part to allow the community to come in.”