James Ramage, left, and Principal Allison Hernandez greet another student this week who is also wearing a suit and hat on Dapper Wednesday at Chelsea Elementary School. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

CHELSEA — When James Ramage and Lincoln Bolitho began wearing suits to Chelsea Elementary School, which would lead to Dapper Wednesday at the school, they had no idea the fame and fortune it would bring.

To date, the boys have been interviewed by members of the local and national media, and the attention has brought donations of money and clothing to their school’s Dapper Closet.

Along with their classmates, James and Lincoln have also met two stars of the sitcom “Fuller House,” including their inspiration, actor Alex Hargar, through a Zoom call. 

“Nanny and Papa now call me ‘Mr. Famous’ when they see me,'” James Ramage said, smiling.

The third graders, both 8, began wearing suits to school every so often when they were in second grade, and they liked the compliments they received. Now, each week includes Dapper Wednesday at their school, part of Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit 12

Allison Hernandez, the principal of Chelsea Elementary School at 566 Togus Road, said no one thought the story would grow so large.


Following a story in the Kennebec Journal, the boys were interviewed by Maine television stations, which shared their stories with other network affiliates; Maine Public; The Washington Post; USA Today; and the “CBS Evening News.”

“We had no idea,” Hernandez said. “We are doing our own thing and enjoying making school positive, and it’s amazing to show the boys what they can accomplish and how far something can go from putting something good in the world.”

Principal Allison Hernandez, left, shows James Ramage and Lincoln Bolitho a jacket made of neckties that has been donated to Chelsea Elementary School. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Since November, James Ramage has added three suits to his wardrobe, while Lincoln Bolitho has added more than 40 ties to his collection.

But it has not ended there. People across the country have donated money to the school, and others have sent dress shirts, dresses, shoes and other dressy clothing to create the Dapper Closet. The school has also received a jacket made of neckties from high school students in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who made the jacket for a school play, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Hernandez said donations are still arriving.

“Anyone that needs a suit, or a tie, Mr. P will put them on the list and they can get it,” James said, referring to Dean Paquette, the ed tech who helped James and Lincoln begin Dapper Wednesday.


More than a third of the 281 students at Chelsea Elementary School come from low-income households, and Hernandez said she hopes the Dapper Closet can be a place where students can sign out a dress or a necktie if needed or if they want to participate in Dapper Wednesday.

The school has also bought neckties and headbands for students that they can grab Wednesdays when they arrive at school, if they have forgotten or do not have the means to dress up and participate. Hernandez said Chelsea Elementary School has received so many donated ties that every boy at the school could bring one home.

She also said teachers at Chelsea Elementary School have noticed the students behave better on Dapper Wednesday.

Perhaps the highlight for James and Lincoln and their classmates has been the chance to meet “Fuller House” star Jodie Sweetin, after she saw a video of the boys.

James decided to wear a suit to school after seeing Max Fuller, one of the show’s characters, wear a suit to school. Sweetin and Elias Hargar, who plays Fuller, Zoomed with James and Lincoln’s class, appropriately dressed in suits.

James Ramage, 8, and Lincoln Bothelo, 8, talk via Zoom recently with “Fuller House” stars Jodie Sweetin and Elias Hargar. Hargar’s character in the show is the inspiration for James’ decision to wear suits to school. Courtesy of Allison Hernandez

“It was awesome,” Lincoln said. “Me and James both watch ‘Fuller House.’ It’s a really good show.”


Hernandez told the boys last week that several other schools have decided to begin a Dapper Day, including Ella P. Burr Elementary in Lincoln and a third grade class at Greenville Consolidated School. James and Lincoln were excited to hear the news, especially because Lincoln shares a name with one of the school districts.

“I think they like it because it’s positive,” James said, “and they think it’s really cool how young we are and we wear suits.”

Lincoln might have said it best when explaining the attention that Dapper Wednesday has received.

Dapper Wednesday, he said, shows that two 8-year-old boys in central Maine can do whatever they put their minds to, especially when they receive support from their school, community and, now, nation.

“I think they like that it’s team building for the school and makes people feel good about themselves,” Lincoln said. “And I don’t think anyone would expect two kids to start a movement so big.”

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