West St. John High School “ties” it all together: A lesson on and off the field

Published 6:30 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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In a heartwarming display of mentorship and community support, Robertson Thelemaque, Resource Officer at West St. John High School, is inspiring young men to embrace a powerful lesson both on and off the field. The tradition he’s fostering is simple but profound: dressing up on game day, trading in casual attire for a tie and a sense of dignity. 

“It was something that I grew up seeing when I was in high school,” Thelemaque said. “On game day, the guys would dress up instead of being a part of dress down day.”

Thelemaque went to the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office and asked how he could turn his idea into a reality. Ties and dress shirts were immediately donated to the effort.

“A bunch of sheriff’s deputies were bringing in ties all week, so it feels good to know we have stakeholders invested in West St. John,” said Principal Rayven Calloway.

Coaching staff at West St. John also donated ties and dress shirts.

“We’ve been getting a lot of donations from the police department. I went out and bought ten shirts myself out of my pocket just to make sure every kid had a shirt and could be a part of this,” said Head Football Coach Derron Thomas.

Principal Calloway was quick to commend Thelemaque for his role in instilling this essential life lesson, emphasizing its impact on the social and emotional growth of the students. 

“What he’s doing for our boys, showing them what it means to be a man, wear a tie, be distinguished before a game,” Calloway said. “I appreciate him bringing that social and emotional learning to our school.”

With the unwavering support of law enforcement and the dedication of coaches, this initiative is not just about sports but about molding future leaders who will carry the lessons learned far beyond the playing field.

“This is bigger than sports. We’re trying to help raise young men, fathers, husbands, successful figures of the community,” said Thomas. “Sports are only for a few years and we’re trying to raise character that will carry these guys for the rest of their lives.”

Calloway and Thomas intend to implement this new tradition at every home game.

According to Calloway, these young men’s smiles, as they proudly don their ties, reflect a newfound sense of self-esteem and maturity.

“To see my boys smiling and have coaches tying ties, it makes me proud of these boys and to be a part of their lives,” Calloway said.

For the students, the tradition signifies much more than just dressing up. As the ties are fastened and the shirts buttoned up, the young men of West St. John High School are learning invaluable lessons in responsibility, self-respect, and the power of community support. 

“You dress good, you feel good, you play good,” Thelemaque said.

The West St. John Rams secured a victory in their football matchup last Friday, tying up a resounding win with a score of 44-6.