Patrick Henry High School's annual 100 Black Men strong event kicked off Friday at the school as students circled up at tables with more than 100 black professionals to talk about careers, academics and life.

The event theme, "How to survive as a black man in America," aimed to "empower, engage, encourage and equip students with the tools to thrive," according to a release from the school district. 

Featured speaker U.S. Department of Educarion General Counsel and Deputy Secretary James Cole, Jr., was slated to speak at the event about his time working for President Obama's administration and being his family's first member to gain a college degree. 

Patrick Henry Principal Yusuf Abdullah said the annual event has been running for a few years, and gives students a chance to see black men in a variety of professional fields.

Kids need to look at more of that, he said.

"They have to see themselves in those people," he said.