Donald Owen at Tiger Pride 2014

Skip the Clip 2.0: A Bow Tie Fundraiser Reimagined

Donald D. Owen is Superintendent of Urbana School District #116 in Urbana, IL. You can follow him on Twitter at @dowendo.

August 30, 2015 Update:Skip the Clip 2015 Results

Donald Owen at Tiger Pride 2014

Donald Owen at Tiger Pride 2014

Last year, at the urging of a few benefactors, I celebrated National Bow Tie Day by creating the Skip the Clip Fundraiser for the Greg Chew Theatre Scholarship. Mr. Chew was an English teacher and Drama Director at Urbana High School for 35 years. After his retirement he continued to support UHS, its theatre students, and the arts in education. Greg passed away in May of 2014, but his spirit lives on in several ways. The Greg Chew Theatre Scholarship supports one UHS graduate every year to pursue drama or theatre studies after high school. My personal goal is to help the Chew Scholarship Fund reach a point where it will continue in perpetuity.

Over the past year, the number of people wearing bow ties seems to have grown exponentially – as has my collection of free-style bow ties. Bow ties are a conversation starter. They are stylish. And, most importantly, they are cool. I never thought that bow ties would play such a major role my personal style, but the bow ties have taken over my closet and on days when I don’t wear one, people notice. I have worn a bow tie to the White House (with two other very stylish and #FutureReady superintendents at the November 19, 2014 White House ConnectED to the Future Convening), and the numbers of bow ties that show up at school events is awesome.

Future Ready Superintendents at White House 2014

Future Ready Superintendents at White House 2014 (Donald Owen on left)

As I contemplated how to tie National Bow Tie Day to another Chew Scholarship fundraiser, I decided that instead of teaching people how to tie bow ties (see Skip the Clip 2014), I would reward people for wearing them. This year, the Skip the Clip Fundraiser will raise funds for the Chew Scholarship Fund both via Twitter and in person. For every person who tweets a picture to me (@dowendo or #ChewScholarship or #SkiptheClip) of her/himself wearing a bow tie on August 28, 2015, I will make a donation in his/her name to the Chew Scholarship Fund. For every person wearing a bow tie who I see in person (and who agrees to let me tweet a picture of us together) wearing a bow tie I will donate $5. If the bow tie is self-tied, I will throw in an extra $5. I am looking for a benefactor to provide matching donations, and as always, anyone who wants to donate the Greg Chew Scholarship can visit the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation donation page.