Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The new school year is well underway and for more than 500 young men from across Miami-Dade, they started it by making a promise that will set the course for their futures.

The students are part of the 5000 Role Models for Excellence project. Last week they took part in a tie-tying ceremoney, some were inducted into the mentorship program while others re-affirmed their committment to it.

Nicholas Macia, a senior at Miami Palmetto Senior High, said the program was special.

“I feel that this club has put me in a position of leadership and this great responsibility of looking after my fellow role models, making sure that they are aware of activities, field trips. I feel that responsibility, that I’ve accepted to put myself in, has helped me grow because I work better under pressure,” he said. “I also feel that this program has enabled me to form a very deep connection my fellow role models in the club.”

Macia’s mentor, Michael Reynolds, said it’s been a rewarding experience for both of them.

I’ve actually been mentoring Nicholas for the last three years and he has shown tremendous growth. He’s involved in everything at Palmetto Senior High School pretty much, he’s the president of our club, he speaks three different languages, he’s very inquisitive, he’s very enthusiastic, just a joy to be around.

Macia said his mentor may be soft spoken most of the time, but that’s all he needs to get the message across.

“He puts a lot of emphasis on making sure we ackowledge eachother, that everybody acknowledges eachother, because at the end of the day it’s a family and he makes sure that we treat eachother like family. ,” said Macia.

“I think this is my calling to be quite honest with you,” said Reynolds. “I kind of got into it by accident. Being around these young men and helping them navigate through life, it has taught me, through the young men, different cultures, different activities that they are in, they have taught me lessons as well along with me trying to help them make it through high school.”

In the 5000 Models Of Excellence program there’s a large emphasis on community and brotherhood, added Reynolds.

Macia will continue to lead the program at his school as chapter president while he applies to several universities and the U.S. Naval Academy.

If you are a mentor and would like to share your story with us, please email us at

Click here for more Mentoring Matters.