YES Prep Public Schools
Jonathan Brown

On Saturday, February 4, we welcomed over 175 high school students from across the district to YES Prep Southside Secondary to celebrate our annual Brotherhood Sisterhood Summit. Our summit provides a safe and welcoming space for our Black/African American students and staff to embrace their unique identities, make meaningful connections and become empowered to lead change in their communities. Through this year’s theme, The Celebration Will Be Televised, attendees celebrated their identities in a way that was relatable through TV shows that span generations and are still relevant today.  

Both informative and entertaining, each session was rooted in a TV show that guided crucial conversations to explore different situations and scenarios that our Black students will find themselves in the future. For example, Black-ish, a popular TV sitcom, is a show that highlights the fact that Blackness is not a monolith. The summit held a session about debunking myths and stereotypes about Black people and Black culture. Students were able to engage in discussions and activities on how society measures "Blackness" and how to live their truth despite what society says. This session also talked about lesser-known careers and hobbies amongst the Black community, further emphasizing that Blackness is not monolithic. 

This year’s summit co-leads were YES Prep staff members Te'Ron Simmons and Carnetta Griffin and they shared with us key highlights from the event and how transformative the experience was for them personally. 


The social hour was, for some, the pinnacle of the entire day. All students, attendees, special guests and staff joined together to dance, eat and connect. You could call it a YES Prep Family Reunion!  

Simmons pointed out his favorite moment from the summit was seeing the students and staff enjoy themselves and create a welcoming, community atmosphere during the social hour. “Songs like the wobble and other shuffle dances helped connect everyone in the space, whether they already knew how to do it or not! Even I had to learn a Houston-specific shuffle that a student from another campus taught me, and that connection is something I appreciate as a lead!” 


Towards the end of the day, the seniors joined together to put on their tassels and receive words of encouragement from their educators. Griffin spoke on how she enjoys this experience year after year because it truly is a time to give seniors recognition before they are off to their post-secondary journeys.  

Griffin’s favorite moment from the summit was when Ms. Porch, a college counselor at Southside, spoke inspirational words to the students letting them know that everything that they need to be successful already lives inside of them. “Those words hit home, because we, as Black people, are often told we must work twice as hard and truly all we must do is continue to be ourselves and live our truth.” 


The summit is evolving every year, and students who attend the event gain enrichment through fellowship with students from other campuses they may have never had the chance to meet. Each year, participants share how much they enjoy engaging in the sessions and having opportunities to connect with other Black students at YES. Simmons reflected, “Being surrounded by and sharing experiences with other students who look like them will only strengthen their sense of belonging at YES Prep!” 

Whether a student has previously attended a summit or it is their first time, students can gain life-long memories and help build the space for other Black/African American students to share experiences, knowledge and joy with each other. 


Sponsors and special guests contribute and play a vital role to the Summit experience. With their support, we are able to offer unique and exciting opportunities that help our students connect, engage, and be inspired by Black professionals. Thanks to our corporate partners that helped provide an impactful and memorable experience for our students.  

One of the activities held at the Summit was the Senior Mixer where we were joined by several career professionals who shared with students about their experiences in their field. Below are the speakers who joined us from our corporate sponsors, Comcast and Microsoft. 

  • Rod Easterling, Comcast -  Rod brings over 20 years of HR leadership experience, with a focus on organizational health, talent management, and leadership development to his role providing strategic HR support for Comcast Business, Human Resources, External Affairs, Finance and Business Operations. He has a track record of success in developing talent and building a customer experience-focused workforce and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Texas A&M University. 

  • Calicia Johnson, Xbox Product Manager, Microsoft - Calicia Johnson is a Senior Product Manager at Xbox, where she collaborates with cross-functional teams to create products that enhance the gamer experience. She is also the founder of Student Career Studio, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing underrepresented collegiate students access and exposure to scholarships, internships, and leadership opportunities. 

  • Leron Lee, Comcast - Leron Lee is a Senior Leader at Comcast NBC Universal with over 20 years of experience leading large teams in Engineering, Advance Construction Services, Sales and Marketing, and Program Management. He has a track record of pioneering organizational transformations and delivering double-digit revenue growth and savings. Additionally, Leron served in the U.S. Army for 9 years and enjoys volunteering in the community in his free time. 

  • Ashlea Turner, Client Executive, Microsoft - Ashlea Turner is a Client Executive at Microsoft leading a team focused on sales growth in Houston and Central Texas for education clients, including large school districts and state agencies. Prior to joining Microsoft, she worked in government relations, public policy, and political campaigns, and was Mike Bloomberg's Texas State Director during the 2020 Democratic primaries. 

Aside from the speakers, Comcast Houston also provided more than 200 swag items, including water bottles, for every student and staff in attendance. And one lucky senior was gifted a new laptop, courtesy of Comcast. The winner, Jazmyne Jesse—a 12th-grade YES Prep Northside student—shared that she plans to take it with her to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this fall.

If you were not able to join us this year, make sure to join us at next year’s Brotherhood Sisterhood Summit! To learn more about our past summits and what to look forward to, visit our YES Prep Affinity page.  

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