First they chant, "Confidence in me, confidence is key." Then they walk. Their runway is in the middle of their high school gymnasium. The bleachers filled with hundreds of their peers. They are nervous, but after months of coaching, motivation from their fellow students, they are ready to strut their stuff - wearing new clothes and their new found confidence.
Female students at Rochester Early College spent five months preparing for this day. They worked with organizers Ariel Hicks and Najijah Pearson to overcome their challenges and their nervousness about performing in front of so many people.
Hicks says she has been modeling since she was six. She loves sharing her creativity with these students and helping build their confidence and self-esteem. She said they learn to never let anyone tear them down. They focus on the positive.
Nadijah Pearson said it is a sisterhood. "We love each other, we make sure if we fall, we all get up. We try to motivate each other. We make sure our girls love each other inside, because the inside counts a lot."
School Principal Sandy Jordan said this is something the students have done on their own. She said they worked together to put on the fashion show. Clothes were donated by local boutiques, including Dhork Fashions, She said so Boutique and Jane's Vintage.
Jordan said many of the students are juggling more responsibilities at home than most adults, but she said they come to school and take care of their academics, then spend hours practicing for this.
It was a beautiful show filled with positive performances and excitement as the crowd cheered on the models.
Sadly, after it was over, and the students were being dismissed, the Rochester City School District says adults assaulted students in the foyer of the school. The school is working with police to identify those adults.
Police and parents were notified. The school is working with police to identify the adults who were involved.
Principal Sandy Jordan said the student who was involved will be placed on long term suspension.
Jordan said the fight was fueled by social media, which she told us earlier is a big problem now in schools. Jordan said students worked so hard, it was sad to see the day end that way but it didn't take away from the performances of these dedicated students. Jordan told her staff in an email, "It is ridiculous that grown people take on students and fight them. Why? The information we have is that one person didn't like a student's dress she wore two weeks ago....this is preliminary information."