Port Arthur students receive iconic black suits, mentoring opportunity kicking off Black History Month

Published 6:46 pm Monday, February 1, 2021

It is sometimes said a man needs three color suits for life; black, blue and brown.

On Monday ten male students from Port Arthur Independent School District received their first black suit, complete with white shirt, black tie and black shoes courtesy of Grace Hub Inc. in conjunction with Port Arthur LNG.

Lincoln High School alum the Rev. Dr. Simeon Queen of Grace Hub Inc. described the black suit as “life giving.”

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Queen and PAISD School Board President Brandon Bartie were brainstorming Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month ideas and came up with presenting 10 boys with the iconic black suit.

Dominic Hardie, right, shakes hands with Port Arthur Independent School District student Kaesun Mitchell. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Each participating student also gets to meet with an “All I Do Is Win” mentor, who will give him guidance.

Bartie made the crowd assembled at the PAISD Administration Building Monday afternoon smile when he said he likes to dress up, saying it makes him feel good to put on that crisp white shirt, black suit and tie.

Queen said the suit is empowering and important in how one is perceived in life.

Memorial High School senior Jordon Thomas said he was blessed to be there and grateful to be chosen.

Thomas may already be a local household name as a member of the Titans football team committed to the University of Texas, where he will play college football.

Dominic Hardie, right, adjusts the tie of Port Arthur Independent School District student Duante Grogan. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Kendric Bush, who attends Memorial Ninth Grade Academy, was also thankful for being chosen for the group. Standing in the room with the other students, mentors and family members, Bush said he understands what it means to put on the black suit.

Bartie placed calls to the various school principals and told them of the program and asked to find young men in need of a suit.

One of the mentors, Dominic Hardie, a Lincoln High School alum, said at a time in his life when things were a little shaky, Bartie’s father Thurman Bartie — who was then a Justice of the Peace — reached out the olive branch, decorated him up and gave him a suit. This allowed him to participate in an internship when he was in college.

“When I think about a black suit, I think about professionalism and preparation,” Hardie said. “When you go in life you’ll understand what we mean… it makes you feel professional. It makes you feel prepared and I think it just helps your mind.”

PAISD students, front row, Kaesun Mitchell, Cornell Allen, and Jacob Garza along with Rev. Dr. Simeon Queen of Grace Hub Inc. Back row PAISD Board President Brandon Bartie, Willie Samuels, Kendric Bush, Jordon Thomas, Dakarai Wiltz and Duante Grogan. (Mary Meaux/The News)