Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 2, 2013

Where are your manners?

Students learn proper dinner etiquette at school

— Fifth- and sixth-graders donning dresses and ties sipped lemonade and chocolate milk from goblets this week as they made dinner conversation with dignitaries.

School counselor Kelsey Daluga clapped and smiled as she watched the Manners Meal at Howard Elementary School wind down.

“They’re so good,” she said. “They’re waiting for the rest of their table to eat their ice cream.”

Howard and Northwestern elementary schools have been holding the meal for years. Parents and teachers say kids today need to know how to behave during a business dinner and make conversation with important people, said Daluga, who organized this year’s meal.

“It’s an art that’s not taught anymore,” Daluga said. “They don’t learn it anywhere else.”

Kids this week sat napkins carefully in their laps. Boys pulled out chairs for the girls who sat next to them. Children talked quietly to the person next to them while making sure their elbows never touched the tables.

That’s a far cry from what a typical school lunch looks like. Students are normally eating with their hands or yelling across the table to their friends, Daluga said.

“Kids could use a reminder about manners every once in a while,” she said.

Learning the art of etiquette is no easy task, though.

Students were quizzed on their knowledge of eating utensils. Which fork do you use for a salad? Which spoon do you use to eat soup?

That may have been the hardest lesson for students to learn, the counselor said. But making conversation with local businessmen and dignitaries came in at a close second.

Students bugged Daluga for days about which community members would serve as the heads of their tables.

They didn’t find out until the day of their meal. But Daluga armed them with a paper full of potential conversation starters they could use if they didn’t know what to say.

The students sat down for a meal with teachers, school board members, city employees, a financial advisor, a business woman and even the mayor.

Some of them were nervous.

Eric Grzegorski, a financial advisor and deputy prosecutor, said his group seemed nervous at first.

“It was probably a little intimidating to be all dressed up like that,” he said.

Eventually the students warmed up — even the ones sitting with the mayor.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight chatted with the children about their school’s student council and about spring break plans.

Daluga said it was a valuable exercise for the future. They need to know how to talk to adults and make good impressions.

“They could be working for one of these people some day,” she said.

Family and Consumer Science teacher Renee Hullinger quizzed her table of students on etiquette practices.

She asked them how they would pass the salt and pepper to her and how they would eat a roll.

“You don’t put the whole roll in your mouth,” she said. “You tear off a little piece.”

Students said this was the biggest and fanciest meal they’ve ever had at school. They were served salads, rolls, sweet and sour chicken, green beans, rice and rainbow sherbet ice cream.

Fifth-grader Alexander Leicht said the meal was fun, but he probably wouldn’t use what he learned — at least for five years.

Grzegorski laughed about that.

“It’s never too early to talk with kids about how to behave and have a discussion at dinner,” he said.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Dual Credit classes KACC 02 Dual credits give high school students head start on college More area students are enrolling in dual credit classes as a way to get an early start on their college degrees and prepare for the rigor of higher education while still in high school. In the past five years, the number of college credits earned by

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Email, Internet knocked out at Miami Co. Courthouse PERU -- Basic government services were put on hold for the second time in nearly two months in Miami County after a massive server failure once again knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices. The crash hit early last week

    April 18, 2014

  • Early voting underway in Miami Co. PERU -- Miami County officials are reminding residents that early voting is now open for the primary election. Early voting started April 8 and will end May 5, one day before Election Day. Early voting is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday at t

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson Street Commons veterans home grand opening set for May 22 Jackson Street Commons, a home for veterans near downtown Kokomo, will host a grand opening May 22. The new $3.6 million facility, located at 322 E. Jackson St., provides permanent housing to 27 previously homeless veterans, said Judy Dennis, executi

    April 18, 2014

  • YMCA nearing design phase completion Development and design of the new 73,000 square foot YMCA should be completed in the next 30 days, YMCA of Kokomo Executive Director David Dubois told the Kokomo Common Council Monday. Dubois said he hopes to begin construction on the new facility by

    April 18, 2014

  • NHS, PJHS named four-star schools Northwestern High School and Peru Jr. High School have found their place among the top schools in the state, with the Indiana Department of Education recognizing them as four-star schools Tuesday. A total of 311 elementary, middle and high schools we

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041614 Flora Doc1.jpg [Duplicate] The doctor is still in after health group's departure FLORA -- The safe at a downtown bank building, once used for protecting cash and valuables, is now stocked with medical supplies. The former bank office on East Main Street became Flora Family Medicine last month after it was made possible for one lo

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Students visit courthouse Elementary students gained insight on the inner workings of county government through field trips to the Howard County Courthouse this week. Northwestern School Corp. students visited the courthouse Wednesday, and Western Intermediate School third gr

    April 18, 2014

  • Mac talent show 01 lf Maconaquah students, alumni take the stage for 50th annual variety show

    BUNKER HILL - When students from Bunker Hill and Clay Township schools suddenly found themselves walking the same halls in the new Maconaquah High School, they needed something to rally around as they formed their new school identity. That's when Pow

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWS - KT041714 - Bunker Hill child neglect arrests - CLG - pic1 Miami Co. couple face charges of neglect after children found malnourished BUNKER HILL - Two Bunker Hill children have been placed in foster care after officials discovered they were living in a dilapidated house with no heat or running water and were exposed to dangerous amounts of lead. In relation to the case, police Mon

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.