Dayton students learn etiquette and manners for annual banquet

Dayton ISD’s Executive Director of Technology Mrs. Suzanne Chachere enjoys her meal with the ERR students.

For the fourth year in a row, Dayton ISD has held a very special event for all fifth graders in the district. Dr. E.R. Richter’s 5th graders just recently held a Manners Banquet at the Overlook Country Club.

The elementary counselors are in charge of this particular event for each campus. The students all go through various lessons that cover social skills, table etiquette, learning to set a proper table, table conversations and banquet manners.

The first lesson consisted of telling students about the event and what to expect. The campus administrators cover what appropriate attire would be at a formal banquet. They also discuss the three course meal that they will be served by the Country Club wait staff. Manners in general along with table manners are taught.

“The ‘Golden Rule’ and how we should use manners both at home and at school are all part of the lessons. We believe that teaching the students to be kind, thoughtful, and to treat others the way they would like to be treated is such a valuable part of the Manners Banquet. Teaching each student how to act appropriately is a great way towards changing our world,” said Mrs. Kristie Kelley, principal of Richter Elementary.

Mrs. Barbara Hutchinson, Richter’s counselor added,We watched a video called Table Manners 101: Basic Dining Etiquette. After the video, we talked in depth about the common rules of table etiquette.”

These common rules included:

  • Waiting for everyone to arrive before sitting
  • Sitting down from left side
  • Placing napkin on lap before eating
  • Waiting till everyone is served before beginning to eat
  • Sitting with your feet on the floor
  • No elbows on the table
  • Avoid talking with mouth full
  • Cutting food into bite-size

Another lesson that all fifth graders went through was learning to set a table using cloth napkins, dinnerware, flatware, and glasses. They take turns setting a table focusing on the placement of utensils, glassware, etc.  This particular lesson finishes with when and what flatware (or utensils) to use with each course.

“One of my favorite lessons that we cover is the practicing and applying of what the students have learned up to this point. I set up an example of the table setting in the Library for the classes to practice what we had learned. The students have so much fun. There is a lot of laughter and smiles as we all go through the ‘practice,’” Hutchison continued. “To review before the real banquet, we play an interactive Kahoot game using technology. The students love the game and really start understanding the ‘rules of the etiquette game.”

The final lesson is the actual banquet. With growing excitement, the students showed up for school wearing their ‘Sunday best’.  The fifth graders were bused to the country club and seated in small round tables with seven students and one adult at each table. Small talk, appropriate conversation, and polite questions are all heard during the three-course meal. The students were served salad with ranch dressing for the first course. The second course was chicken fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, green beans and garlic bread. The final course was carrot cake and death by chocolate dessert.

Principal Kelley summed it up by saying, “This program is something that was started by elementary principals several years ago, and every year it just keeps getting better. The fifth graders love their special day at the Manners Banquet. Our students could not make us any more proud than the way they carry themselves at the banquet. It is an amazing and exceptional event for our students.”

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