Schools embrace Empowerment with Guys in Ties, Girls in Pearls programs

April 9, 2019

Motivational speaker and hip-hop artist Austin Lanier (left) visits with Cook Middle School students after he served as the guest speaker during the school’s fifth annual Thousand Guys & Gals in Ties Conference on March 9. Cook was among numerous CFISD schools to celebrate unity and empowerment through conferences, events and programs. Young men and women were invited to wear dress attire while programs provided educational and empowering opportunities.
Motivational speaker and hip-hop artist Austin Lanier (left) visits with Cook Middle School students after he served as the guest speaker during the school’s fifth annual Thousand Guys & Gals in Ties Conference on March 9. Cook was among numerous CFISD schools to celebrate unity and empowerment through conferences, events and programs. Young men and women were invited to wear dress attire while programs provided educational and empowering opportunities.

April 9, 2019—Throughout the month of March, numerous CFISD high schools and middle schools celebrated unity and empowerment through Guys in Ties, Thousand Guys and Gals in Ties or Girls in Pearls conferences, events and programs. The events invited young men and women at each participating campus to wear dress attire for educational and empowering opportunities.

Cypress Springs High School students and staff pose for a group photo as part of the campus’ annual Empowerment Week on March 8. Through a collaboration between the Men of Honor and Girls Rule organizations, Cypress Springs held events each day to celebrate unity and empowerment. (Photo by Destiny Cisneros, Cypress Springs HS)
Cypress Springs High School students and staff pose for a group photo as part of the campus’ annual Empowerment Week on March 8. Through a collaboration between the Men of Honor and Girls Rule organizations, Cypress Springs held events each day to celebrate unity and empowerment. (Photo by Destiny Cisneros, Cypress Springs HS)

The empowerment program was first established within CFISD in 2013 at Cypress Springs High School and has since grown as many secondary campuses and even some elementary schools have not only participated, but tailored their own programs. Cook Middle School Assistant Principal Chris Rose helped launch the event at Cypress Springs before bringing it over to Cook students.

“I’m very optimistic and I appreciate the people who come,” Rose said. “This isn’t feasible without the people and volunteers in the community who come and give back to these schools. In addition, the kids come and they’re dressed up to be part of it.

“We can’t do this without these kids wanting to be here and wanting to participate. Without all of them, this is nothing.”

Cypress Springs High School continued its annual Empowerment Week through a collaboration between the Men of Honor and Girls Rule organizations, which consisted of events each day during the week of March 4-8. The first two days focused on young women, with “Muffins with Mom” allowing students to enjoy a breakfast with their mothers and volunteers, and a “Sisterhood is Sweet” café and photo bringing students together. The following two days focused on the young men, with a “Donuts with Dad” breakfast and “Brownies and Brotherhood” cafe to go along with an open gym basketball event.

Campbell Middle School students meet members of the High School Takeover Tour, who visited the campus with hip-hop artist Yung Martez to entertain and motivate students March 8 to conclude the school’s Guys in Ties and Girls in Pearls program.
Campbell Middle School students meet members of the High School Takeover Tour, who visited the campus with hip-hop artist Yung Martez to entertain and motivate students March 8 to conclude the school’s Guys in Ties and Girls in Pearls program.

The week closed with an invite-only Student Empowerment Brunch, where attendees were dressed in professional attire. Pearls and ties were available to those who didn’t have their own, while school staff helped teach students how to tie a tie when needed. Both groups took a photo in front of the school to end the event.

Cook Middle School hosted its fifth annual Thousand Guys & Gals in Ties Conference on March 9. The day-long program featured vendor tables and presentations, while students were dressed in professional attire and took large group photos.

Motivational speaker and hip-hop artist Austin Lanier served as the guest speaker and shared his story with students in addition to performing.

Cypress Creek High School students and staff members dressed for success on March 8 to open the school’s Guys in Ties program. Staff led a discussion panel featuring college students and industry professionals serving as guest speakers.
Cypress Creek High School students and staff members dressed for success on March 8 to open the school’s Guys in Ties program. Staff led a discussion panel featuring college students and industry professionals serving as guest speakers.

“I just wanted to encourage them on what steps to take to make their dream a reality and really get their minds sparked on what it means to have a vision and have a dream for your life,” Lanier said. “We talked about purpose and we talked about identity. Just really confirming that each kid really does have a unique and special purpose for his or her life and a special plan they can walk through.”

Cook students met with professionals from various career fields, including law enforcement, military, medicine, education, business, engineering, transportation, banking and firefighting. Jersey Village High School students attended to offer information on health science courses offered in CFISD.

During Cook Middle School’s Thousand Guys & Gals in Ties Conference on March 9, students were able to get up close and experience various career fields, including law enforcement, military, medicine, education, business, engineering, transportation, banking and firefighting.
During Cook Middle School’s Thousand Guys & Gals in Ties Conference on March 9, students were able to get up close and experience various career fields, including law enforcement, military, medicine, education, business, engineering, transportation, banking and firefighting.

Networking opportunities allowed students one-on-one time with industry representatives, while the day also featured a best dressed contest for the students.

“My word is exposure and I believe that kids need to dream,” Rose said. “In order to dream, they have to have seeds planted in their heads. So when they meet an engineer or when they meet someone in an industry like fashion, they’re able to dream. If they can’t see it, they can’t dream it.”

Campbell Middle School continued its Guys in Ties and Girls in Pearls program, held the week of March 4-8 and featuring the theme “Back to the Basics.” The week included themed dress days such as military spirit and college spirit, and concluded with students in professional attire March 8.

The final day featured breakout sessions and also included the High School Takeover Tour and hip-hop artist Yung Martez entertaining and motivating students.

Cypress Creek High School held a discussion panel on March 8 for its Guys in Ties program, with college students and industry professionals serving as guest speakers. Male students wore ties and the entire group took photos before moving into the auditorium for a question-and-answer discussion that allowed attendees to learning about experiences and opportunities after high school.

Author and life coach Hershell Earnest speaks with Langham Creek High School during its Guys in Ties program March 29. Participating students took a Gentlemen’s Pledge and attended a tie and professional dress tutorial before closing the program with a breakfast.
Author and life coach Hershell Earnest speaks with Langham Creek High School during its Guys in Ties program March 29. Participating students took a Gentlemen’s Pledge and attended a tie and professional dress tutorial before closing the program with a breakfast.

On March 21-22, Langham Creek High School students who signed up for Guys in Ties took a Gentlemen’s Pledge and attended a tie and professional dress tutorial. They were then encouraged to wear ties and collared shirts the following week, with a breakfast March 29 concluding the empowerment event. Author and life coach Hershell Earnest served as the guest speaker.

“The reason I do what I do – investing in our youth – is because without a roadmap to where you’re going, you could travel for years and not realize you’re going the wrong direction,” Earnest said. “A lot of our kids leave after graduation with an idea of what they want to be but have no clue how to get there. You have to know where you’re going and take the time to map that out.”

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