Hazelwood East business teacher Robert Payne is passionate about molding young minds and passionate about helping teenage boys become great young men.

"We want to raise up some young men who are really excited about life, excited about giving back and making the best of life as possible," Payne said.

In his classroom, he's collected several boxes of neckties to help the next generation. The new and slightly used ties are being donated by local residents and local businesses. Show-Me's Sports Bar and Grill in Florissant has collected hundreds of ties with donations still coming in.

"Someone put the call out that the school needed ties and North County answered the call," said Show-Me's manager Nick Wagner.

Next week, the ties will be part of a coming of age ceremony. Junior high boys who will attend East High in the future will be given a tie and taught how to properly wear it.

"Someone taught me how to tie a tie when I was a kid and it is something I never forgot. It's an important aspect of growing up," said Payne.

The ceremony is more than just learning how to tie a proper knot. The boys will be joined by successful men in the community who will help guide them. They'll also recite a pledge.

"It's connecting to what's already inside of you and connecting with others so it can be pulled out and you can become great," Payne said.

It's all part of a program called Tied to the Power of Greatness. Payne and Assistant Principal Mike Peoples started the event four years ago.

If you would like to donate ties to the cause, you can drop off neckties at the following locations:

Hazelwood East High School

11300 Dunn Rd.

St. Louis, MO 63138

The Learning Center

15955 New Halls Ferry Road

Florissant, MO 63031

Show-Me's Sports Bar and Grill

1792 N New Florissant Road

Florissant, MO 63031