Boys at East Garner Middle School got a chance to learn from local professionals the importance of tying a necktie on Wednesday.
Tetnika Williamson, the Career Development Coordinator at East Garner Middle School, said through her eight years of experience as a teacher, she learned that a lot of young men don’t know how to tie a tie until their senior year in high school or until it was time for them to go out into the workforce.
So she put on a tie drive, collecting hundreds of ties and recruiting business professionals from the community to teach the young men social skills. The goal was to target the 600 boys in the school, but there wasn’t enough space. But 25 kids per grade level got the opportunity to learn from men in the community.
Among those men were interim Town Manager Rodney Dickerson, council member Ken Marshburn, police Chief Brandon Zuidema, CEOs at banks and many others.
“They are going to have to learn how to tie a tie (regardless of) whether they are working in a non-traditional job,” Williamson said. “For our demographic of kids, I just felt like it was just a great skill for them to learn.”
Not only did the students learn how to tie a tie, but they were taught how to properly shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye.
Shake their hand with one to two pumps, Williamson told the students. Looking them in the eyes shows you’re confident, she said.
Trey Smith, 12, said he was nervous before coming to the event.
“I thought I was the only one who didn’t know how to tie a tie,” he said.
But he found out that many of his classmates and peers didn’t know either. He said he learned the importance of professionalism when interviewing for a job.
Williams Spence, a Public Works employee for the Town of Garner, took time off Wednesday to volunteer.
“My dad taught me how to do it, so I thought I’d teach these young kids,” Spence said.
Spence said he was 7 when he first learned how to tie a tie.
“It’s kind of important because when it comes to a job nowadays, you have to look professional,” he said. “So to me, when you do an interview, you need to dress up, put a tie on and make yourself look presentable and understand the situation of what’s going on as far as the interview, looking at them eye to eye, answering the questions.”
“You have to sell yourself to get a job nowadays.”
Williamson has recently accepted a position at Garner Magnet High School to support the teachers at the school. But she said she hopes the event continues at East Garner Middle.