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

Cypress Springs High School sophomore Lumiere Kahongo reads a poem.
Cypress Springs High School sophomore Lumiere Kahongo reads a poem during the school’s Thousand Girls in Pearls and Guys in Ties brunch on March 11. The brunch finished a week’s worth of events on campus for the students and staff to continue their annual Empowerment Week.

March 28, 2022—Throughout late February and early March, a number of CFISD secondary campuses celebrated unity and empowerment through Guys in Ties, Thousand Guys and Gals in Ties, Girls in Pearls or Leading Ladies conferences, events and programs. The events invited young men and women at participating high schools and middle schools to wear dress attire for educational and empowering opportunities.

The empowerment program was first established within CFISD in 2013 at Cypress Springs High School and has since grown as other secondary campuses and even some elementary schools have not only participated, but tailored their own programs through the years. Jersey Village High School Assistant Principal Chris Rose helped launch the event at Cypress Springs before bringing it over to Cook Middle School, where he served until moving to Jersey Village for the 2019-2020 school year.

Jessica Hutchinson, a 2009 Brautigam Center graduate, speaks during the school’s LBC Leading Ladies and Guys with Ties summit
Jessica Hutchinson, a 2009 Brautigam Center graduate, speaks during the school’s annual LBC Leading Ladies and Guys with Ties Summit on Feb. 23. Hutchinson started The Paradigm Project, a non-profit/awareness program for teenagers and young adults fighting addiction or mental health conditions.

Jersey Village held its first events the same year along with the creation of the Men of Honor and Leading Ladies organizations. Student Empowerment Week returned to the campus March 7-11. Houston Police Detective Monica Fortson served as the keynote speaker during the mother/daughter breakfast, while Cedrick LaFleur, a leadership coach and former sales executive, served as the guest speaker for the father/son breakfast.

Organizers also held cultural fashion shows during lunches, a talent show and a college and career day fair where student had the opportunity to meet representatives from the military, first responders and law enforcement, trade school and area colleges and universities.

: Carlos Pereira, a 2016 Cypress Springs High School graduate, speaks during the school's brunch.
Carlos Pereira, a 2016 Cypress Springs High School graduate, speaks during the school’s Thousand Girls in Pearls and Guys in Ties brunch on March 11. Pereira, who is currently an Equitable Advisors Houston financial professional, served as a keynote speaker during the event.

Cypress Springs continued its annual Empowerment Week through a collaboration between the Men of Honor and Girls Rule Reign organizations, which consisted of events each day during the week. The themed days focused on the young men and women, with “Muffins with Mom” and “Donuts with Dad” bringing students together with their parents and volunteers. Other events included after-school workshops and talks.

On March 11, students dressed for success for the Thousand Girls in Pearls and Guys in Ties brunch. Featured speakers were Kristen Indiero, a Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office inspector, and 2016 Cypress Springs graduate Carlos Pereira, an Equitable Advisors Houston financial professional.

“Muffins with Mom” was one of the themed days Cypress Springs High School students and staff celebrated to promote unity.
“Muffins with Mom” was one of the themed days Cypress Springs High School students and staff celebrated to promote unity and empowerment. The program was first established within CFISD in 2013 at Cypress Springs and has since grown to other secondary campuses and even some elementary schools.

The Brautigam Center held its annual LBC Leading Ladies and Guys with Ties Summit on Feb. 23. The full-day empowerment event allowed students to attend breakout sessions with topics that included goal setting and overcoming adversity. Carpenter Center Director Soul Singh served as the featured speaker.

Speakers for the Leading Ladies included Emelda Bates, founding partner of HR Agent LLC, and Cypress Falls High School alumna Tyisha Jenkins, the 504 Learning Success Specialist a Bridgeland High School. Speakers for the Guys in Ties included Hal Bowman, a former teacher and professional developer for educators, and Jeremy Lahar