School Ties: A New Bow-Tie Tradition

Bow-tie Winners with Mr. Shapiro
Mr. Shapiro, in his new Vineyard Vines MX tie, poses with Emily and Robert '12, two bow-tie winners!

While the thought of Chemistry or Physics labs might elicit fond memories of making ice cream using liquid nitrogen, the same could seldom be said about Chemistry or Physics tests. From manipulating Newton's laws of motion to determine the mass of a car to calculating Plank's constant from a set of data, these assessments push students to the limits of their analytical and computational skills - and they have to do all of their work with proper significant figures! Given the difficult nature of these subjects, a score of 100 on a test is an elusive and exciting prospect. For those that achieve it, there is another incentive in store:

Mr. Shapiro, an avid bow-tie wearer, started keeping his bow-tie collection on a rack in his classroom, promising students who achieved a 100% on a test a tie off the rack to celebrate their accomplishment. A few times each semester, those boys and girls who put in the extra work to fully master the material earn the honor to choose their own bow-tie-trophy. After three years of this practice, Mr. Shapiro's once bountiful tie collection has diminished to a few lonely remnants. Wonderful news for our science program, but not so for Mr. Shapiro's wardrobe!

When asked about the origin of the bow-tie tradition, Mr. Shapiro described his transition from his Virginia home to the Northeast when he began his first coaching job. In VA, bow-ties were common, so he was surprised at the fuss it caused when he wore one to a Wrestling match he was coaching, and he became known as the "bow-tie coach." He says, "Over time the tradition of wearing a bow-tie to every match became less of a novelty and more of a personal reminder of my home. Some may consider it corny, but to me, the bow-ties give me a chance to hold on to my southern culture and share a bit of where I'm from with the kids in my classrooms."

In honor of the arrival of our new Vineyard Vines custom Middlesex merchandise (Shep Shirts, neckties, bow-ties, and tote bags), we are gifting Mr. Shapiro a new Middlesex bow-tie, and starting a drive for old bow-tie donations for his classroom!

All of our Vineyard Vines merchandise will be available for sale (by cash, check, or billed to a student account) on Parents' Weekend, and after that will be available in the school store. If you would like to donate a bow-tie in any condition (used or new) to the infamous tie rack, please send it to: attn: Alex Hanken 1400 Lowell Road, Concord MA 01742.

© 2011 Middlesex School