As he waited for the night to begin, Tyler Burgmon, a senior at North Forest High School, nervously adjusted a red rose pinned to the lapel of the first suit he’s ever owned.
A new suit can provide confidence and self-assurance, but for Tyler, a student enrolled in HISD’s Ascending to Men Project (ATMP), it stands for so much more.
“This suit is an extension of what ATMP does for you,” he said. “ATMP creates men; it creates a foundation where you can be safe in your community and build powerful bonds between brothers.”
Tyler was one of over 200 students who were celebrated at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday during the ATMP and ROSES Second Annual Winter Ball. Tyler’s suit, along with the others worn by his cohorts, were generously donated not just for the evening soiree but also for their future endeavors.
“This suit is going to help me get the internship I want,” he said. “This is going to help me get an internship at a law firm and continue to better myself and be great.”
The ball was a formal debut to society for the students enrolled in ATMP and its sister program, ROSES, which both provide underserved young people in grades 3 through 12 with access to role models and higher education opportunities. ATMP, now in its second year, is serving over 2,000 boys on 65 HISD campuses, while ROSES, in its inaugural year, is serving nearly 1,000 girls on 32 campuses.
“Students, tonight is about you; you look absolutely beautiful tonight,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “Please take advantage of all the resources we have for you in HISD.”
At the ball, students performed a waltz and practiced their formal dining etiquette. Many students mingled with community members, seizing the opportunity to talk about what the district’s flagship mentorship programs means to them.
“When I joined the ROSES program, I met someone who understood me, someone who saw beyond the facade I wore in my daily life,” Sterling High School senior and ROSES mentee Johntrise Nelson said. “I stand boldly before you as a testament to the effects of positive mentorship,”
ATM and ROSES are actively seeking community support. To learn more on donations or to become a mentor, visit https://www.houstonisd.org/face.