HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Between 15-20 men lined the front door of Cypress Springs High School on Monday, shaking hands and greeting students with a smile and a "good morning" as the Thousand Guys in Ties event kicked off.
The first day, Father's Day In, which featured fathers of Panther students giving the warm welcome, launched the weeklong celebration of unity and empowerment in which at least 1,000 young men or women on each campus will wear business or dressy attire while gaining an educational experience.
“They were so taken aback. They weren’t expecting it,” Kenyatta Simmons, the pastor of Life Changer Community Church, 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.”
James Garner, a former student at Jersey Village High School, said he enjoyed the Thousand Guys in Ties celebration, which is sponsored by Assistant Principal Clay Smith.
“Coach Smith was a huge inspiration to me at that time," Garner said. "He was one of my mentors growing up and had a lot of faith in me. 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.”
“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."
Each day of the Thousand Guys in Ties celebration will feature a themed activity.