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Mentorship paves way for male students

Men of Distinction program to begin third year at Harmon, hopes to expand throughout district

Members+of+Men+of+Distinction+listen+to+a+community+service+speech.
Members of Men of Distinction listen to a community service speech.

Members of Men of Distinction listen to a community service speech.

Photo by Paris Varnado

Photo by Paris Varnado

Members of Men of Distinction listen to a community service speech.

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Dressed in suits and ties with precision, the male students take their seats with notepads, pencils and anticipate lessons the mentors have to share. The wisdom and knowledge taken from the mentors is absorbed by each student, impacting their lives in unique ways.

The Men of Distinction organization was created by Harmon campus assistant principal Melvin Owens. He began the group in 2016 but has been envisioning it since 2014. The group was created to mentor male students in effort to help them become model students and become the best they can be. With much preparation, thought and countless hours, the group has exceeded expectations and currently holds a partnership with Loving Community founded by Jim Mustain, who mentors students and helps them become the leaders of tomorrow.

“The purpose of Men of Distinction is to take young men and mold them into great men of the future and to be able to give the tools needed to be able to operate in our society,” Owens said. “[We] talk about work habits and give them a tool box of characteristics that will equip them for the workforce, military or post-secondary education.”

Men of Distinction meets every Wednesday during lunch for a learning workshop. Students eat as well as listen to the teaching of various leaders and mentors within the community. For example former Florida State University football player Alphonso Williams changed career passions and is now mentoring male students across North Texas. He has told his story to Harmon students on various occasions. He is a role model to the young men and he impacts those who listen.

“I have gained a sense of maturity and [the group] has taught me how not make some of the dumb decisions of my past and grow up and develop into a man,” sophomore Courtland Russell said.

Members of the group such as freshman William Williams have been a part of the organization since last spring and have seen personal transformations within themselves. They wish to continue the program throughout the rest of high school as well as recruit more students to join.

“I have gained a lot of guidance and self-discipline since joining the group,” Williams said. “I have grown in my academics and behavior. I love the program and all the lessons we have learned and taken away from it.”

Since the group was created, it has separated itself from every other organization at Harmon.

“This group is unique and different from any other group because we are given responsibilities as members,” Russell said. “We must follow those responsibilities in order to a become good leader and learn what it is to be a man in society.”

With the group going into its third year, high goals have been established; Owens, mentors and members wish to spread the group throughout the entire district. Owens and the mentors see greatness in all of the mentees and want what’s best for them.

“We are ‘Men of Distinction’ and we are great,” Owens said. “I want the guys to know I am willing to put all of my effort into their life successes and accomplishments. I see great potential in each of them and there is no limit in the things possible for each and every one of them.”

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