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CSSM students learn tie can help make the man (Photo gallery)




A tie may make the man, but first the man has to know how to tie the tie.

Jowan Smith, a post-secondary education consultant and founder of the nonprofit Getting Our Babies to College 101, brought that message to 85 male students at the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine on Tuesday. The advice extended to developing eye contact, delivering a strong handshake and finding mentors.

Smith’s 1,000 Ties initiative, geared to young men ages 6 to 21, emphasizes the importance of making a good impression.

Each of the CSSM students received two ties they were allowed to pick from a collection of donated neckwear that has grown well beyond 1,000 pieces. With the help of volunteers, they also learned or improved their ability to tie a tie, a skill Smith told them, “You’ll be able to use for a lifetime.”

The first 1,000 Ties event was held in February at CMSD's East Professional Center. Schools have since invited Smith to talk to students at the buildings. Wade Park PreK-8 School will welcome her on April 23.

Many of the students said they already knew how to tie a tie, but the program helped them sharpen their technique or learn different types of knots.

Among those with experience was Javantay, a junior who aspires to become a doctor or lawyer. He said he wears ties to school about three times a week as “a point of pride.”

“I feel like I look better when I wear a tie,” he said. “It helps an outfit stand out.”

Juan, a freshman, has had an uncle tie his tie on special occasions. He was eager to try his hand at it Tuesday and succeeded in under a minute.

“It’s a vital skill in life,” he said afterward.

Robert Whitsett, who sells luxury bowties, was among Smith’s helpers. He goes by the nickname “Mr. Wayne” because as a child he reminded adults of the fictional Bruce Wayne, Batman’s dapper alter ego.

Whitsett told the students that ties show character. He had them repeat after him several times: “Look the part. Be the part. Raise the standards.”

“It sets the tone around you,” he said. “It sets a mindset.”

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