Wearing a tie does more than upgrade appearance

Kate Wehlann, Staff Writer

The group was recognized during the Salem School Board meeting in December.

It was ZZ Top who sang about the appeal of a sharp-dressed man. The Salem Middle School Tie Guys hope their dressing up results in more than just girls “going crazy.”
The group started earlier in the school year with teacher and coach Derik Early. He wanted to give the young men in his classes and sports teams a good role model and help prepare them for the future. He approached fellow teacher Dan Mullins and the pair took off with their plan.
“Middle school is a weird age,” said Early. “It’s incredibly easy to follow whatever everyone else is doing. It’s harder to be a leader, especially for a boy. The day doesn’t stop anymore when they leave school because of social media. We wanted to get something rolling with these guys to get that ownership of themselves started — ownership in something they could take home and be proud of. … They need good role models. … we want to show them how to conduct themselves and set them on the right path and influence them positively.”
It was fitting that Early would start the drive to begin the program.
“Derik was a student of mine in school and he developed into a fine young man,” said Mullins. “I’m glad kids’ parents want their kids around him. I hope parents are pleased to have them around both of us.”
The first three students chosen were Danny Bowling, Carson Koch and Porter Howey, all eighth graders. 
“These three are good athletes and they understand what we’re talking about,” said Mullins. “They’re the first three players to start shaking hands with the other team after a ballgame and our guys are the ones who are carrying the water buckets back out afterwards. Normally, it wouldn’t be the better athletes who would do that. We’re very proud of their efforts.”
See the full story in Thursday's issue of The Salem Democrat.


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