- Sponsorship -

Lookin’ Good: Middle School Students Learn How to Tie a Tie from Local Professionals

Local hip-hop artist George Moss demonstrated how to tie a tie to Crestwood Middle School students.

“Shwoo,” he said, flipping the long end of the tie up through the loop started around his neck. “You’ve got to make the sound too.”

“Shwoo,” the 15 boys answered, following instruction with their own ties.

An hour later, students were securing their new ties all by themselves, helping each other with the looping and knotting, and flashing bright, grown-up smiles.Crestwood Middle School student James Ngabo sports his new tie

The non-native English students received the lesson in dressing up from Jermale Eddie, employment and education specialist for Grand Rapids Urban League, and Eddie’s friends Moss and Wesley Morgan, a local business owner and crisis counselor.

Grand Rapids Urban League is a non-profit organization which assists people in achieving self-sufficiency and equality through education, housing and health care programs. The organization donated about 30 colorful ties to the school. All of the boys participating in the event got to keep one, and the rest were given to the school’s clothes pantry. For many of them, it was their first tie.

Something to Wear

Sarah Russell, community school coordinator for Kent School Services Network, said one reason the event was planned was to prepare the boys for the upcoming eighth-grade awards banquet.

“A lot of students choose not to go because they don’t have adequate clothing,” she said. “The resources aren’tavailable to get them.”

Crestwood Middle School students check themselves out in a mirrorPerfecting their tying skills took some practice, and Eddie walked them through the process, step by step.

“Everybody have a knot?” he asked, looking around at half-tied ties early in the session. “Alright let’s do it again.”

The men taught the boys three different ways to tie the ties securely.

“There are so many ways to do it,” Eddie said. “If you look at the Internet you’ll find 10-15 ways to tie a tie.”

Moss got fancy with his group of boys.

“That’s called a Windsor knot. I’ll show you how to do a double Windsor,” he said.

Eighth grader Dung Huyn said he plans to wear his tie to the eighth-grade awards ceremony.Jermale Eddie, employment and education specialist for Grand Rapids Urban League. helps Crestwood Middle School student Nur Nur tie a tie

“First I thought it was hard, but it’s kind of easy,” he said of tying the tie. “They are nice.”

Paying Forward a Life Skill

Eddie said teaching the boys to tie their ties was important to him.

“A lot of boys don’t have fathers to teach them to do this,” Eddie said. “My grandfather taught me when I was 16 or 17. I thought it would be good to give them that father-son lesson.”

It’s a skill that helps young men develop self-confidence, he said.

“If you look good, you feel good. You can buy one tie and wear it with a bunch of different things.”

Morgan said he participated to invest time into youth who will use the skill throughout their lives for job interviews and other professional events.

“It’s a life skill that can take them further than just sports. It’s that self-esteem booster. Just like someone gave time to them, they are going to go out and take time for someone else.”

MThe students continued to wear their ties after the lessonoss said tying a tie is a skill that goes a long way.

“A good tie and a good handshake make a great impression,” he said.


Grand Rapids Urban League

Kent School Services Network

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Superintendent announces retirement after 33 years serving Kentwood community

Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff this week announced he will retire at the end of the school year, June 30...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU