Many fashion experts on Twitter think Rita Moreno won the red carpet Oscar by wearing the same dress she wore to the 1962 Academy Awards, where she won Best Supporting Actress for her role in "West Side Story." But Monday's fashion competition at Geneva High School, home of the Vikings, ends in a tie, according to @GenevaTiekings.
"It is the first Monday of the month, so we are wearing bow ties," explains Ryan Estabrook, a math teacher and founding member of the Tiekings club. "In honor of our back-to-back state champion girls basketball team, we are wearing blue shirts."
The girls' basketball team, of course, wins the top award of the day, but the Tiekings deserve a little time in the spotlight, too.
"It started a long time ago with me wanting to wear ties on Monday to set a professional tone for the week," says Estabrook, who grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, graduated from Augustana College and was a teacher and varsity soccer coach at Antioch Community High School before he took his talents to Geneva in 2004. As a young teacher who looked really young, he wore a necktie "to distinguish me from the students," Estabrook says.
But when he started wearing ties to Geneva High School on Mondays, Estabrook took some good-natured ribbing from social studies teacher Matt Hahn.
"Nobody wears ties to school anymore," Hahn told him. The teachers both had been head coaches (Estabrook soccer and Hahn baseball), and they shared a prep class together. Hahn's heckling led to some serious discussions about setting a tone and motivating students, and Estabrook eventually won over Hahn. So every Monday, the two teachers showed up to school at 7 a.m. sporting neckties. They recruited 19th-century Irish wit Oscar Wilde to help spread the word with his quote: "A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life."
"We're not sure if it's the first serious step in life, but we make it the first step of our school week!" tweeted @GenevaTiekings. "Let's get after it this week and make it a good one!"
The ties caught attention. "Slowly we had people say, 'Hey, what the deal?'" Hahn remembers. Estabrook and Hahn did such a fine job explaining their fashion statements, they recruited more teachers to the cause and are closing in on a dozen members.
"We joke that we're an exclusive club, but it's all tongue and cheek," Estabrook says. Before the winter break, Dean of Students Susan Shrader joined the group for a Christmas tie photo.
"She easily took top tie honors, as hers plays Christmas music!" the Tiekings tweeted. They celebrated National Argyle Day by accessorizing their ties with argyle sweater vests and socks.
On National Weatherperson Day, they posed with science teacher Joe Schoen and a photograph of GHS alum John Trierweiler, who covered Hurricane Irma for an ABC station in Fort Meyers, Florida, and now works for a TV station in Phoenix.
On National Cookie Day, the Tiekings posed with the food service staff wearing ties.
"A lot of kids ask if they can stop by and join," Estabrook says, noting that students generally don't, which is OK. "We do want to dress sharp, but we don't take ourselves seriously."