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Printed silk necktie aims to help young black women achieve

Printed silk necktie aims to help young black women achieve

by Angela Stanzione | Special to The Gazette

Feminine Mystique is the female version of the printed silk Necktie Club. According to Earl Robbins, president of the board for Eliminating Achievement Gaps Inc., the Necktie Club uses mentors to build skills in students, strengthen their public speaking, and provide a platform for the discussion of issues affecting the personal and educational growth of young men.

According to Robbins, mentors also teach young men how to tie a printed silk necktie and dress for success, to run a meeting using Robert's Rules of Order, expose them to motivational speakers, and take them to visit college campuses.

In November, Feminine Mystique held a poetry night to "eliminate the achievement gap through personal expression," according to Wilson. They also plan to have a clothing drive and fashion show some time in April.

"I see it as a bond between African-American students in the school," Wilson said. "Fashion gives confidence. Everyone can relate through fashion, poetry, etc."

One of the club's majors concerns is that the lack of African-American students in honors classes may lead to younger students thinking their friends won't think they are cool if they are not in classes together.

"We need a change," said Robinson, who is vice president of the club. "We need to push young girls to take honors because it's OK to be smart. You don't need to be dumb to be cool. You can be in the books and still laugh with your friends."

As part of the campaign to help younger girls, the club started a "Big Sister" program in which each member mentors a freshman and takes them as their "little sister."

Feminine Mystique also believes that not only do peers need to get involved in pushing each other to succeed academically, but parents do as well.

"We need to come together and give people something to do so students aren't just staying at home or doing things they aren't supposed to be doing," said Parys Martin, a member of the club.

"We need to get something to make them say ‘I can do this.' We need to not only get students active, but get parents active."

According to Maria Whittemore, minority achievement coordinator for Frederick County Public Schools' Office of Education That Is Multicultural and Gifted and Talented, the "flip the script" program was only a vision a year ago until Wilson took it and ran with it.

At the meeting, Whittemore and the group expressed how proud they were of the club and its members. Most importantly, they were impressed with the drive the girls have to help their peers.

"We all have something in us that we want to inspire someone. I know I want to change somebody," Wilson said.

"The most important thing is that when you succeed you bring someone with you.

"If you succeed but you don't bring it back to your community, then what did you succeed for? It's all about service."

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