For the third year in a row, we proudly honored Cleveland Elementary School's “Guys with Ties” as they received their certificates of completion. This year, we also graduated our inaugural class of “Guys with Ties” from Buchanan Middle School. After a six-week schedule of meetings and activities with male mentors from the U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF, the Tampa Police Department, and the Federal Public Defender’s Office, this group of young men visited the U.S. Attorney’s Office where they were met and lauded by their mentors and the USAO staff. After a brief tour of the USAO facilities, the students were presented with words of wisdom and special gifts to use as they continue their journey toward becoming future leaders.
The goal of the "Guys with Ties" program is to expose students to positive male role models, to offer insight into various educational and professional opportunities, to help develop critical thinking skills, to promote positive choices, and to assist students in developing plans to achieve their individual goals.
After listening to commencement remarks from U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez and other mentors, each student stood and took the national Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, vowing to keep themselves safe and to never use a gun to settle a dispute.
The graduation ceremony concluded with lunch at a downtown pizzeria.