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Mastering manners: Students test new skills at etiquette luncheon

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, February 11, 2017
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LOOKING SHARP – Fourth graders from Paradise Intermediate dressed up for their etiquette luncheon Friday. Nate Miller borrowed a bow tie from his cousin for the event. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

There were three forks at every place setting at the Paradise Intermediate etiquette luncheon Friday, and the kids were a little confused about which one to use when.

But that was the goal of the luncheon, held at First Baptist Church of Cottondale – to teach the children proper manners.

Kimma Winters wore her nicest dress. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“My hope is that they can develop skills that will help them later in life,” counselor Courtney Edwards said. “Through my guidance lessons, we’ve talked about table etiquette, manners – different life skills they’ll need to go to banquets and things.”

Edwards taught the intermediate students a six-week course on manners, and the luncheon is the cumulation of what they’ve learned. Every child had an assigned place setting where they sat with classmates and a teacher to eat a three-course meal while classical music played in the background.

“We learned that we have special utensils for special dishes, and we should never put our elbows on the table,” fourth grader Kimber Ingram said. “When you use your manners, people know you’re not unfriendly.”

“I learned when you go to the restroom don’t leave everything as it is,” Ingram’s friend Edyee Franks added. “Always put your napkin on the seat so they know you’re not done.”

Many of the students dressed up for the luncheon, wearing dresses and button-up shirts. Fourth grader Nate Miller wore a vest and a bow tie.

“My mom bought me this green shirt yesterday,” he said, “and everything else belongs to my cousin.”

Although they might have felt a little intimated by the “fancy” dining experience and abundance of cutlery, the kids said they were enjoying themselves.

“If you have manners, you can be role models to other little kids,” Franks said.

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