FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Eric White Elementary is a Selma Unified school that has faced a lot of challenges. The principal and staff are working to build pride in the school, starting with the students.

A number of 5th and 6th graders at the school belong to a group called the Young Men’s Alliance – a student organization brought to Eric White Elementary two years ago. The principal is determined to change the culture of her campus.

“One of the biggest things that I notice when we would walk the hallways and kids they wouldn’t greet, they wouldn’t look up,” said Principal Michelle Salcido. “They wouldn’t say hello, good afternoon.”

Principal Michelle Salcido says her students face a lot of challenges at home and in the community – and it showed.

“When we look at our data, we saw a need to help pour into the kids and build them up with behavioral skills, skills they could use at school at home in life for the rest of their future,” said Program Manager Ryan Emerson.

One solution was the Young Men’s Alliance – an organization that teaches young boys how to be gentlemen. 10-year-old Oscar Gomez can tell you what that means.

“A gentleman is always polite, respects his elders, respects his peers, doesn’t cheat, not lie, and doesn’t steal,” explained Oscar.

They are also taught how to wear a tie and eat in a restaurant, with a special dining experience planned just for them.

Principal Salcido says they are seeking donations to buy shirts and books for the students. They want to keep growing the young men’s alliance because it is getting results.

“They look up to Mr. Emerson and they have that leader here at school and so it’s building, building here at school and I really believe we are going to have positive student outcomes cause of the Young Men’s Alliance.”