Lakeland slays the hallways

Published 8:19 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Students at Lakeland High School have been “slaying the hallways” this year with spiffy neckties and bowties, elegant dresses, stylish shoes, snazzy slacks and sharp shirts.

The Cavalier Male Mentoring Program is having “Well Dressed Wednesdays” on the second Wednesday of every month this school year. The goal is to have every man in the building wearing a tie and a belt to encourage their own self-esteem and promote a positive school culture.

“I think the participation so far has been good,” Assistant Principal Tina Paul said as she walked around the halls on Wednesday this week. “It makes a difference. They’re conducting themselves professionally.”


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It’s not just the men at Lakeland participating. Ladies have been dressing up, too.

“We didn’t just want it to be the guys,” Paul said. “We wanted it to be the entire building, including faculty and staff. I love to see the faculty excited about it, because the kids will be excited, too.”

Student Garrett Whitley participated this week, sporting a striped shirt and orange tie.

“It’s for unity,” he said, adding he wants to set an example for other students. “You want to show how you’re really supposed to dress up.”

The program has received support from the community. The Alpha Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity donated more than 350 ties as well as some belts and other items for students who would not be able to participate otherwise.

The Epsilon Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, as well as the Suffolk Police Department, have also made donations, Paul said.

She said First Baptist Church Mahan Street currently is holding a bowtie drive to make a donation to the project. Many of the students favor bowties because Assistant Principal Dr. Earling Hunter wears one every day, Paul said.

The school’s hospitality, tourism and recreation students pressed shirts, and student volunteers separated the donated ties by color so students hoping to participate with a donated tie can find one that matches.

“We’re just encouraging the faculty to encourage the kids to participate and not be embarrassed to come get a tie or a shirt,” said Paul, who has the donated items available in her office.

Paul said she is pleased with the participation and excitement the project has inspired in the school community.

“Usually, when we look good, we feel good,” she said.

Paul said the male mentoring program is in need for participants from the community, especially those willing to give time to mentor on an individual basis. Call Paul for more information at 925-5790.