Standing room only crowd cheers Black Tie Guys achievement

Standing room only crowd cheers Black Tie Guys achievement

A standing-room-only crowd was present Sunday at the Monroe Civic Center Bayou Room as 13 members of the Black Tie Guys male mentoring program were promoted to the first level of achievement toward the coveted “Black Tie.”

The program, sponsored by Tab-N-Action, Inc., a non-profit headed by Robert Tanzy and Roosevelt Wright, promotes academic excellence in young men in a structured mentoring program that leads to college scholars when they reach the “Black Tie” level and graduate from high school college-ready.

Sponsored by the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and Reps. Pat Moore and Andrian Fisher through legislative grants, the program provides male mentors for its members, paid tutors in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies, as well as workshops for parents to improve parenting skills and better manage households.

The program is tied to a special app for iPhones and Androids which turns their school learning into games that promote writing and critical thinking skills.

Anger management and the importance of non-violent conflict resolution are at the core of the program.

All through high school, the program will privately tutor participants to achieve four year college-acceptable ACT scores. A $5,000 cash scholarship donated by local businesses and political leaders awaits Black Tie Guys who graduate from high school and meet its ACT requirements.

The young men saluted Sunday completed the first “tie” of the four steps that lead to the Black Tie Award. They have demonstrated that they know the Black Tie success oath, have written a life plan, performed community service, maintained acceptable grades in school, passed a values exam, and have begun networking with adults who may be able to assist them in their journey. With a mentor, they have participated in and passed a personal self-evaluation of their goals, behavior, strengths, and weaknesses. They have also evaluated their success in avoiding violent or delinquent behavior and, where necessary, made plans for improvement.

Ace Bosworth

Ace Bosworth was born into a loving and supportive family. He has found a rock-solid source of guidance and love in his guardian, Cynthia Sanders. She has been a constant presence in Ace’s life, nurturing his interests and encouraging him to chase his dreams.

From a young age, Ace exhibited a diverse range of interests. Music, with its rhythms and melodies, has always resonated with him.

While he’s currently a third-grader at Boley Elementary School, he’s already looking forward to the day when he’ll don a cap and gown to graduate from West Monroe High School in 2033.

Julius Brown

Julius Brown, a bright and ambitious young boy, was born on a sunny summer day on June 15, 2013, to Fratonna Williams and Jarrod Brown.

Julius is currently thriving as a fifth-grader at Riser Elementary School, where he has consistently impressed his teachers and peers with his keen intellect and natural curiosity, particularly in the realms of math and science.

Raised in a loving and supportive family, Julius has embraced the values and guidance offered by his parents. His stepfather, Robert Sharkey, has also played a significant role in his upbringing, providing additional support and care.

The family worships at the Solomon Temple Baptist Church, where the Reverend James Howard is the pastor. This community has been a cornerstone of Julius’s moral and spiritual education.

Julius has developed a particular passion for music. His love for music is matched only by his enthusiasm for learning, which is evident to all who know him. He enjoys science, loves to read, and aspires to be a scientist in the future.

At present, he enjoys telling jokes and posing riddles.

Julius is determined to maintain his honor student status throughout his educational journey, anticipating with excitement his graduation from West Monroe High School with the class of 2030.

 Jonathan Cash

A rem

arkable young boy named Johnathan Cash was born on May 25, 2014.

From a very early age, it was clear that Johnathan possessed boundless curiosity and an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Currently, Johnathan finds himself in the throes of 4th grade, where he attends the welcoming halls of Jack Hayes Elementary School. His teachers and peers alike have come to recognize his unyielding dedication to learning and personal growth.

His parents, Eliza and Jessie Elmore, provide the love and support that have allowed his dreams to flourish.

Young Johnathan’s interests are as diverse as they are inspiring. In the digital realm, he’s an avid video game enthusiast, where his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills shine.

He’s been a cherished member of St. Paul United Methodist Church since his early years, guided by the charismatic leadership of Rev. John Tellis.

The future holds boundless opportunities for Johnathan Cash. He eagerly anticipates the day when he will proudly graduate from Ouachita High School as part of the Class of 2031.

Brandon Collins, II

Born on July 31, 2014, in Monroe, Louisiana, Brandon Collins, II, embarked on a remarkable journey that would lead him to become a talented musician, an aspiring member of the “Human Jukebox” at Southern University, and a part of a transformative mentorship program called “The Black Tie Guys.”

As a student at Robinson Elementary School and as a result of his experiences at Mt. Union Baptist Church, Brandon’s passion for music and thirst for knowledge are shaping his path, making him a true inspiration for those around him.

His parents are Brandon Collins, Sr., and Erin Simmons.

Growing up in Monroe, he is attending Robinson Elementary School. However, it was within the walls of the Mt. Union Baptist Church in Marion, Louisiana, that Brandon’s musical journey began to flourish. Embracing his passion for music, he took up the role of the church drummer, bringing rhythm and soul to the congregation’s worship services. He thanks the church and his grandfather, the Reverend Willie D. Simmons, for giving him the opportunity.

He dreams of being part of a school or college marching band someday. His supportive mother, Erin, is encouraging him to plan for a future at Southern University, renowned for its prestigious “Human Jukebox” band. With this dream in mind, he continued to hone his skills as a drummer and dedicated himself to becoming the best version of himself. Last month he traveled with the Black Tie Guys to see the Southern University Band perform.

As Brandon looks forward to his high school graduation, he is focused on enrolling in college and becoming a member of the prestigious “Human Jukebox” at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Austin Davis


is the beloved son of Dustin McGee. His parents are Charles Wilhite and Andrill D. Wilhite, who provide him with a nurturing and supportive environment to flourish.

A true athlete at heart, Austin has boundless enthusiasm for physical activities. From skating and dancing to climbing, running, and jumping, he embraces life’s adventures with passion. His favorite sport is soccer, where he showcases his skills and love for the game.

Alongside his family, Austin engages in online Bible study sessions with Pastor Ron Carpenter, Jr., nurturing his spiritual growth and values. Eager to explore opportunities beyond his academic pursuits, Austin joined “The Black Tie Guys” on July 10, 2023.

As a Black Tie Guy, Austin aspires to chart a purposeful life path with the guidance of his mentors. He dreams of embarking on a journey across the United States, networking with influential individuals, and acquiring diverse skills that will shape his future.

Determined to achieve and maintain honor roll status, Austin strives for excellence in all aspects of his life. Looking ahead, Austin Davis eagerly anticipates graduating with the Ouachita Parish High School Class of 2031.

Prince Elijah Gipson


nce Elijah Gipson was born on November 27, 2012, in Monroe, Louisiana. He is a bright and ambitious 5th-grade student currently attending Lakeshore Elementary School.

Neequa Gipson DeGraffenreid, his mother, along with Robert and Eva Armstrong, Prince Elijah’s godparents, have been constant sources of love and support in his life. They have nurtured his dreams and provided him with a loving and caring environment to flourish. He is the grandson of Beverly Loyd, who joins the village of family members who provide nurture for him.

His dreams include traveling across the United States, networking with influential individuals, learning new skills, and maintaining his academic excellence as an honor student.

Education is of utmost importance to Prince Elijah, and he is committed to excelling in his studies. Through active participation in “The Black Tie Guys” programs and initiatives, he envisions himself graduating with the Ouachita High School class of 2031, well-prepared for the opportunities that await him.

Jaden Griffin

Jaden Griffin, born on May 27, 2012, is a spirited and curious 5th-grade student attending Minnie Ruffin Elementary School in Monroe, Louisiana.

He is the beloved son of Eric Griffin, Sr., and Cassandra Griffin, and their family is associated with the New Tabernacle Baptist Church where the Reverend Brian Reed is the pastor.

With the hope of discovering his unique talents and nurturing them, he eagerly embraces the opportunities offered by the program.

During his first week as a Black Tie Guy, Jaden displayed determination and enthusiasm as he mastered essential swimming skills, earning a well-deserved certificate in the process.

As the years pass, Jaden Griffin eagerly anticipates graduating with the Wossman High School Class of 2030.

Jeremiah Griffin

He is the beloved son of Eric Griffin, Sr., and Cassandra Griffin, and their family is associated with the New Tabernacle Baptist Church, where the Reverend Brian Reed is the pastor.

Embracing opportunities for academic excellence, the program facilitated his enrollment in a specialized High School Scholars class to learn computer coding during the summer.

As graduation nears, Jeremiah plans to apply for scholarships to attend a four-year university, a testament to his unwavering commitment to education and personal advancement.

Looking ahead, Jeremiah Griffin eagerly anticipates graduating with “the” Wossman High School Class of 2025.

Marzuq Harris

Marzuq Harris, a young and aspiring individual, was born on January 17, 2011, in the heart of a city filled with dreams and opportunities. Growing up, Marzuq showed an early curiosity for knowledge and a passion for exploration that set him on a unique path.

Currently, a 5th-grade student at Roy Neal Shelling, Sr. Elementary School, Marzuq, has already displayed a remarkable thirst for learning. With his mother, Felicia Morgan, as his guiding light, he has embraced education with enthusiasm, making his mark as an honor student.

With unwavering determination, he aspires to develop a life plan, shaped by the guidance of his mentors. Traveling across the United States, networking with influential figures, and acquiring new skills are all part of his vision as a Black Tie Guy.

With eyes set on the future, Marzuq eagerly anticipates his high school graduation in the class of 2031 from Carroll High School.

Legend James

He is the beloved son of Tiffany James, and their family worships at the New Tabernacle Baptist Church, where the Reverend Brian Reed is the pastor. Legend’s life took an exciting turn when he joined “The Black Tie Guys” on July 1, 2023, seeking to explore new horizons and unlock his full potential.

He is attracted to athletic activities, and he also enjoys showcasing his passion for singing and dancing. He embraces boxing as a sport. He is a member of the Wossman High School Marching Band.

Prior to his venture with “The Black Tie Guys,” Legend was part of the prestigious “Top Gun Time Travelers,” where he acquired invaluable skills and embarked on exciting journeys.

During his first week as a Black Tie Guy, Legend demonstrated unwavering determination by mastering swimming skills, earning a well-deserved certificate for his efforts.

Looking ahead, Legend eagerly anticipates graduating with the Wossman High School Class of 2029. His mother, Tiffany James, will now present him with his Yellow Tie and T-Shirt, symbols of his accomplishment so far on the road to earning the coveted “Black Tie.”

Tyler Leonard

He is the beloved son of Aaron Sherman and Germekia Leonard.  Intrigued by the prospect of self-discovery and personal growth, Tyler embarked on an exciting journey as a member of “The Black Tie Guys” on July 14, 2023.

He enjoys sports and is a member of his school’s soccer team.

His dedication to academic excellence remains unwavering, and he is determined to maintain his status as an honor student throughout this transformative journey.

With a clear vision for his future, Tyler Leonard looks forward to graduating with the class of 2031, armed with the knowledge, experiences, and self-assurance gained through “The Black Tie Guys” program.

Caseio Mason

 Caseio Mason is a bright and talented young individual born on November 26, 2013, who currently attends Sallie Humble Elementary School as a 3rd-grade student.

He is the son of Dy’Nisha Tools and Casey Mason. Recently, Caseio and his mother made a significant move from Illinois to Monroe, seeking new opportunities and adventures in their lives.

From an early age, Caseio has shown a genuine passion for art, with drawing being his favorite creative outlet. Whether it’s sketching imaginative characters or bringing landscapes to life with color, Caseio’s artistic endeavors showcase a remarkable talent that captures the essence of his creativity.

In addition to his deep passion for art, Caseio remains dedicated to his academic pursuits. He values education and strives for the status of an honor student.

With excitement and determination, Caseio envisions the future with optimism. He eagerly anticipates graduating from Neville High School as part of the Class of 2033.

Jordan Stewart

Born on November 15, 2011, Jordan Stewart’s story is a testament to the power of dreams, determination, and community support.

Jordan’s life began with the loving guidance of his parents, Dr. Aeja Jackson and Darrell Stewart. From an early age, they instilled in him the values of hard work, perseverance, and kindness. Jordan’s strong foundation at home serves as the bedrock for his future endeavors.

Currently in the sixth grade at Ouachita Junior High, Jordan demonstrates a keen thirst for knowledge. He has consistently excelled in his studies and is striving to maintain an honor student status.

Beyond his academics, Jordan has a diverse range of interests. He enjoys video games, where he hones his strategic thinking skills. He is also an active participant in sports, particularly soccer and basketball, showcasing his athleticism and teamwork abilities.

Jordan is an active member of the Macedonia Baptist Church, where the Reverend Montrell Bradley leads the congregation.

With his sights set on the future, Jordan eagerly anticipates graduating from Ouachita High School as part of the Class of 2030.

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