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Freshman brings unique family tradition to campus

Black over gold, gold in between black, tighten, twist and burn; these are the steps to make a Griffon unity bracelet. This bracelet, which is an upcoming new fad here at Western, all started with a freshman, a family tradition and a fun class activity.

Freshman Corvette Way decided one day to share with his English class his homemade bracelet during a presentation about family. The class and Professor Bill Church were so impressed that Church decided to make creating the bracelets a class assignment.

“My family and I started making them about a year ago,” Way said. “It just became the thing to do at my high school. My brother’s neighbor used to own a hunting shop, and they used to make lanyards out of them. We turned them into bracelets.”

When Church was first introduced to Way’s bracelets, he immediately thought it would be a bonding experience for the students,since all of the students in his English class are first semester freshman. Church decided to go online and buy the bracelet material out of his own pocket for his class.

“Everybody just kind of needed a stress relief day,” Church said. “We took one day and Corvette showed the whole class how to braid them.  People walked out of there and were laughing, and there was a camaraderie about how to braid and the unity that it did create.”

Way not only made black and gold bracelets but other colors as well, simply whatever the classmates asked for. Some of the bracelets are closed with knots and others are made with adjustable straps.  No matter how different the bracelet can be, the meaning is still the same.

“The bracelets represent strength,” Way said. “You can’t break them. They are weighted at over 3000 pounds. They represent you. You can put all different colors in them and make them colorful.”

Since making the bracelets in class that day, athletes, professors and many other students have jumped on board, asking for bracelets to be made for them.

“People were wearing them all over campus, and Corvette started getting calls. People were like ‘Can I have some?’ so Corvette started making some for other people,” Church said.

The next step that Way expressed is turning the bracelets into a small business so that more students will wear them. Way hopes to start selling bracelets at campus events and games, and perhaps receive SGA funding to further spreading them on campus.

“I thought it would be a good deal for everybody to see them and pass down the tradition,” Way said. “I’m excited to get out there and show people what we can make.”

Way also feels that selling bracelets will be an addition to the campus’ unity.

“Wearing school colors is very important. I came from a high school that is very in to school spirit. Coming here and being able to wear the school colors and coming to the games I just feel is a big deal.

Way takes pride in every bracelet made due to the fact that he was able to add something to Western’s campus.

“I just think it’s a cool, unique idea, and I would just like to see people wearing them,” Way said. “I’d like to walk around campus and be like ‘Oh I made that one’ and ‘Oh I showed him how to do it.’ I just think it would be cool to pass it on to everyone.”

Way also has added a business partner to his new production named Kyle Hallowell.  Hallowell hopes to assist Way in furthering the bracelets to really be a stand-out element of the campus.

“People wearing them show that they are all a part of the same school and all have a part in the school, Hallowell said.

Students can contact Way at cway1@missouriwestern.edu in they are interested in the bracelets. The bracelets currently cost $8.

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