A symposium dubbed "The Distinguished Gentlemen of Jordan" was held at Jordan High School on Wednesday, and its goal is to help young minority men find a path toward a promising future.
"It should be a lot of help for a lot of the young men right here," said 12th grade student David.
Some 100 professionals from a variety of different fields acted as mentors, guiding the high school students through simple, but symbolic, steps, like how to tie a tie.
"I'm getting the hang of it," said 11th grade student Jesus.
During the symposium, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa shared stories about his own troubled childhood, and touched on his relationship with his father.
"He was an alcoholic, beat my mom. He was a very violent man. Left when we were five," Villaraigosa said.
David said being able to relate to his city's mayor was galvanizing.
"It's really inspiring to a lot of us from right here, because he can relate to a lot of the things that kids from right here, what they go through," the 12th grade student said.