The Original Gentlemen (OG) Squad of Coleman Junior High held its first Spencer Nobles Business Dinner in honor of their friend and schoolmate, Tuesday.
In fine style, some 28 neatly dressed OGs walked down a red carpet at the entrance of the school’s cafeteria. With untied neckties around their necks, they were greeted by 27 professional men, including Waxahachie Mayor David Hill and Ex-NFL star Bethel Johnson, who were ready to teach them how to make a perfect knot.
A moment of silence was held in memory of Spencer who died in January from what police say was a gunshot wound.
“Spencer was such an integral part of this group. He was kind of the leader amongst this group. All of these guys looked up to him,” Coleman Principal Brad Andrews said. “Everybody in school knew him. He had a funny personality. He was really funny. He was also very, very intelligent, was not afraid to speak up in class. He was a character. It’s a huge loss.”
Johnson visited with the OG Squad as a guest speaker last November, telling the boys, including Spencer, about his troubled upbringing and how they too can overcome the odds.
“Having a conversation with Spencer, he was one of the kids I spent the most time with that day, so it kind of hit me a little harder than normal when something like that happens, especially when you tell a kid, ‘Hey, I’ll come check on you in the Spring,’ and, unfortunately, something like that happened and he’s not here and I didn’t get a chance to keep my word to him…,” the former two-time New England Patriots Super Bowl champion regretted.
The mentorship program for boys, created by English teacher Ryan Essl, is meant to steer them in the right direction and bring them face to face with successful men
“It’s really impactful and everything that has happened from it and all the lessons I’ve learned, I’ve grown up and I’ve matured a lot more in this group and I’ve learned a lot more etiquette and ways to better and I’ve been getting in a lot less trouble,” Dylan Terrell, 14, explained.
Terrell added that the loss of Spencer was still very emotional for the Squad.
“He was the biggest part of our group. We all looked up to him,” he reminisced. “He always kept a smile in the group and ever since his passing there has been a dent in our group.”
Xavier Manhard, 12, said the death of his friend was “devastating.”
“It hurt me real bad,” Manhard admitted. “We try to manage, it’s hard but we try.”
Among the men lending their time and words of wisdom to the boys was Spencer’s cousin, Royce Massey.
“The family is doing good because I come from a strong family, strong church-going, praying family, so that’s our motto, that’s what we stand on,” Massey affirmed. “They say a house that’s built on sand will surely crumble. We built ours on rock. We’ve always been in church. We’ve always trusted God’s never-changing hand and that’s what we continue to do in our time of mourning.”
Before sitting down to mingle with the guests around a meal of lasagna, salad and sweet tea, the boys were each presented with a copy of the New York Times bestselling autobiography - The Pact: Three Young Black Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream.
“I just want them to be successful because I love them so much,” said Essl, laughing affectionately.
The business dinner, which was Spencer’s favorite event, was renamed by the OGs as a way to keep his memory alive.
The group is currently raising funds for upcoming trips to the National College Fair in Irving and the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas.