From the moment Dr. Patrick Tutwiler entered Ms. Lisa Mercadante’s ELD classroom at Lynn English, he owned it.
Just the mere fact that the superintendent of the state’s fifth-largest school district was in the building affirmed the hands-on, be-there approach he has brought to Lynn’s top administrative position in his first year.
Besides, Tutwiler had already earned honorary Bulldog status with his support of the school’s state championship boys basketball team, culminating with the former Holy Cross hoop star returning to the Worcester campus for English’s historic victory over Putnam.
Tutwiler had been invited to English for his fourth annual “how-to-tie-a-tie” demonstration. Mercadante said students will wear ties during their final class presentation which is about a career of each student’s choice.
“Does anyone know how to tie a tie already? Tutwiler asked the students.
Three raised their hands and Tutwiler, after watching one of the students, Chidubem Ejiofor, display his tie-making skills with a Double Windsor knot, graciously invited Ejiofor to be co-instructor for the day.
“Not only does he know how to do it,” he knows how to do it fast,” said Tutwiler, illiciting a huge smile from Ejiofor.
From there, Tutwiler was all in and the students were attentive to every word.
“You want to make sure that the wider side is longer than the thin side,” said Tutwiler. “We’re going to put a hand on the knot and grab the thin part underneath and we’re going to slide it up. Now that you know how to tie the knot, the key is to get the tip of your tie to be where your belt is.”
One-by-one, Tutwiler approached the students and gave his seal of approval as he had done each step of the way. “Good, you got it, good job,” he repeated enthusiastically.
While there were three students who knew the art before-hand, everyone – boys and girls – seemed to have the tie-making down pat by the time the school super completed his lecture.
Vice Principal Gary Molea and teacher Lisa Mercadante seemed notably impressed by the group of quick learners.
“I think they’re all pretty good,” said Molea, who stayed for the entire demonstration.
“We love having Dr. Tutwiler here – the students always get really enthusiastic when he’s here because of his energy and his personality,” said Mercadante.
Vice Principal Jennifer Mancaniello was also instrumental in helping to coordinate this excellent exhibition.
His tie-making exhibition a success, Tutwiler, like a conquering hero, was asked by the students to pose for a photo. He obliged graciously.
After receiving a hearty ‘thank you’ from the appreciative students, Tutwiler left the room knowing that he had taught the students something they will carry forth with them for the rest of their lives.
Some said they will remember Tutwiler’s kindness by wearing ties at their graduation ceremonies in years hence. One thing was certain: Dr. Tutwiler – tall, talented, and a tie-tying titan – won this day – with ties.