Cleveland Elementary School's “Guys with Ties” class of 2016 received their certificates of completion on June 1. After a six-week schedule of meetings and activities with male mentors from the U.S. Attorney's Office, ATF, and the Tampa Police Department, this inaugural group of third and fourth graders 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 seven young men were presented with 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 a flurry of commencement remarks from mentors, each student stood and took the national Student Pledge Against Gun Violence, vowing to stay away from firearms and to never use a gun to settle a dispute.
The graduation ceremony concluded with lunch at a downtown pizzeria, with one student exclaiming, “This is better than a dream….”