Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Tie One One
May 25, 2000

Thank you for inviting me to speak today to honor 80 special young men and 80 adults who will mentor them.

I'd especially like to thank Ernie Dunston and Charles Mitchell, the two men who worked so hard to arrange this "Tie One On" luncheon -- and to help some young people change their lives.

To paraphrase astronaut Neil Armstrong, who walked on the moon, this luncheon is a small step for the successful business and government people here today, but it is a giant leap for these 80 young men we honor today. That is because these young men soon will tie the neckties they carry in a Rite of Passage ceremony.

The ceremony symbolizes a new beginning. The high school seniors will also receive a certificate that allows them to select a pair of shoes at the Bon Marche. Most of us here have a closet full of ties and dress shoes. But these young men have faced, and overcome, challenges few of us can imagine: poverty, violence and even jail.

Guided by their mentors, I know these young men will use their new shoes to take small steps at first, then large steps, to gain the skills they will need to succeed in the 21st century's information-based global society.

These small steps mean staying in school. Learning to use a computer. Exploring and celebrating their heritage and culture. Preventing pregnancy. Avoiding violence. These small steps lead to big success.

With the help of organizations like Project MISTER and The Breakfast Group, and companies such as Mallory & Church and the Bon Marche, which contributed the clothing, another group of young men are ready to step out and make a positive difference in the world.

Congratulations to all of you.

Thank you very much.
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