African-American Men Role Models Deliver Lively Encouragement, Support on Pasadena Unified’s First Day of School

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By BRANDON VILLALOVOS and LIZ SPEAR | Photography courtesy WILLIAM SYMS | Video courtesy JAMES FARR

5:54 pm | August 15, 2016


With the intent to welcome students back and encourage them to have a great year and try their best to be successful, a group of about 100 African-American men from the community delivered uplifting support at four Pasadena Unified School District campuses Monday morning on the first day of classes.

Dubbed August 15-6teen, the group fanned out to four campuses, John Muir High School, McKinley Elementary, Cleveland Elementary and Altadena Elementary, to cheer students on with lively displays of encouragement and camaraderie.

“Today was amazing,” said August 15-6teen organizer of August15-6teen and John Muir Alum William Syms. “Students were very receptive. We saw the smiles and we saw their eyes light up. That was so fulfilling.”

“Many of us were students here at John Muir and the other schools we went to today and so to be able to serve our community and let students know that we have their back is the most important part,” said Syms.

The volunteers greeted students in a tunnel (similar to those athletes run through at sporting events) to boost morale through friendship and encouragement at the entrances of the select campuses.

“It was a really encouraging way to start the school year,” said John Muir High School Principal Timothy Sippel. “We’re here for our students because they have the potential to do amazing things with their lives. We see that potential and we want to help them nurture it and discover what their calling it. It’s going to be a great year,” he said.

Visit http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/we-have-your-back-100-african-american-men-role-models-will-cheer-on-students-during-first-day-of-school/#.V7JS5z4rKu1 for more information on Sym’s group.