Rippon Middle School teacher collects nearly 900 ties to prepare for professional day
Posted on 03/20/2018
RPMS Students trying on ties collected in tie drive

Rippon Middle School physical education and health teacher, Ryan Pelkey, has gathered nearly 900 ties, which will easily provide every boy with a tie in time for the school’s first professional day on April 12.

“I wanted to create a program that would celebrate students at our school,” he said. “Our girls seem to find days that they dress up and they look great. The boys have struggled at various times. In year’s past, I have brought in my own ties, or just let it go. That must change, and we have to expect more to get more from our students.”

Pelkey said that he hopes the neckties will help the boys feel confident in themselves, especially while taking the Standards of Learning tests. He would also like the boys to take the ties home and wear them for other special occasions.

Pelkey added that he is plotting the origins of ties on a US map.

“I want students to see that people from all over the United States care,” he said. “Most of the ties are from former teachers, guidance counselors, friends and neighbors I have met along the way.”

Pelkey has used social media to advance his efforts, and Woodbridge High School and Mt. Zion Church in Woodbridge have joined him in spreading the word and gathering the donated ties. He is also teaching the boys how to tie the neck wear.

Pelkey said he hopes the tie drive will lead to something bigger in the future.

“I would like to initiate a leadership conference for young men and invite community members to teach students about professionalism, civic duty, job interview skills and how to act, dress and be a better member of their school and community,” he said.

The tie drive also attracted the attention of NBC 4. View the NBC 4 story here.

Pelkey said he continues to collect tie donations, and hopes to gather 1,000 by the beginning of April. Donors can drop ties off at Rippon Middle School at 15101 Blackburn Road in Woodbridge.

RPMS boys holding up ties