Phelps Luck pupils give etiquette training a test run

February 08, 2005

After three weeks of etiquette training, 30 pupils from Phelps Luck Elementary School tried out their newly acquired skills last week at Kings Contrivance Restaurant.

"I was very impressed -- and these are students that I teach on a regular basis," said reading and math teacher Kim Quintyne, an organizer of the trip. "And it was very nice to see them outside of school in a formal setting."

The meal started with bread, "and they learned how to appropriately break the bread and butter the little pieces of bread," Quintyne said. Then came chicken noodle soup and salad, "but it wasn't the iceberg lettuce that they get in the cafeteria. And to see them with soup, which I never see!" she said.

Then came chicken with risotto, broccoli and carrots.

"The rule was, they had try everything, but, surprisingly enough, everybody cleaned their plates; and we did have one little boy who asked for seconds," Quintyne said. Dessert was raspberry cheesecake.

A child at each table served as host, proposing an obligatory toast and waiting for his guests to begin the meal.

"One of the little boys who was a host said, `Wow, this is a lot of work to be a host!' " Quintyne said.

The children, participants in the school's after-school program, had three etiquette classes before the meal, all taught by Cathleen Hanson, a director of the International School of Protocol in Hunt Valley.

"They learned the proper way to greet people, how to give a proper handshake, what to do when you enter a room [introductions and waiting to be seated -- not just sitting down] and when you're a host, asking your guests if they'd like anything to eat," Quintyne said.

The children had to confront questions such as, "If there are two cookies and one is bigger than the other one, who gets the big cookie?"

Also accompanying the children were second-grade teacher Wendy Bourke, fourth-grade team leader LaShonne Wright, and special education teachers Sarah Wilcox and Alexa Chestnut.

-- Fay Lande

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