The event on Oct. 29 at South Cobb High School was filled with mentoring workshops, etiquette training, a youth luncheon and a “tied to greatness” grand finale program where the young men learned to tie a neck tie and received copies of Alex Ellis’ book, “Restoring the Male Image.”
This past summer, the principals of South Cobb High School, Pebblebrook High School, Lindley Middle School, Lindley Sixth Grade Academy, Garrett Middle School and Floyd Middle School planned the conference to inspire, motivate and empower the young men toward excellence, in school and in life.
“We’re just all passionate about helping our young men achieve higher goals,” Teresa Hargrett, Floyd Middle School principal, said.
“This is an attempt to really have an impactful day, where they can be exposed to community leaders, business leaders and others to help give them the same messages they hear from their teachers during the day.”
The students spent the morning in workshop sessions focused on career choices, communication, finance, military service, understanding the law and motivation for academic and behavioral wellness. Scheduled guest speakers included Rashid Brown, Mike Howard, Eric Ludgood, Bill Cheek, Al Walton, Ryan Jones, Andrew Guerrier and Nathan Wade.
During the afternoon formal dining lunch session, Eric Cherry taught an etiquette session to the young men throughout the full-course meal. After lunch, students were able to ask questions of a professional men’s panel to learn about personal sources of motivation and responsible decision-making practices.
Parents joined their students for the afternoon session, which consisted of a powerful message by author Alex Ellis on improving the male image. Also attending the conference were state Rep. David Wilkerson, Area 1 assistant superintendent Robert Benson, school board member Tim Stultz, and Area 1 principals and staff.
The young men were required to wear a dress shirt and slacks.
The culminating activity involved the students’ parents and guardians in a special and symbolic “tied to greatness” ceremony, during which each parent/guardian taught them to tie a neck tie and encouraged the young men to be successful.,
“We aim to continue this each year,” said Hargrett.