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Etiquette training part of getting ready for annual dinner

Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:15 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Spring Hill Elementary fourth- and fifth-grade students spent time Monday and Tuesday training for a formal dinner that will be held Dec. 6 at the Pullman Plaza Hotel.

The annual tradition has gone on for 12 years, with Huntington resident Carolyn Becker visiting the school each November to provide the students with etiquette training.

"It motivates me to be able to do this," said Becker, who is sponsored by the Women's Club of Huntington. "I feel like if one child understands good manners and etiquette, I've reached my goal."

The students are prepped for the formal meal, the type of silverware that will be on the table and how to conduct themselves before and during the meal.

Fourth-grade teacher Rhonda Dement, who has been working with Becker for the past seven years, said the students always take the classroom training and meal seriously.

"They look forward to this. They get excited about getting dressed up and going to eat," Dement said. "You see a different side to them."

In past years, Dement said she noticed students' demeanors change, from keeping their area clean to better manners inside and outside the classroom.

"I'm very grateful. It's such a great experience and makes me thankful to work here," she said.

Principal Pam Bailey added that she appreciates the continued efforts of businessman Marshall Reynolds and Becker to provide the training and meal for the children, many of whom come from a low-socioeconomic background and may not get to experience a formal dinner at a hotel.

"Our theme this year is 'World's Greatest,' and things like this help them believe it and work toward it," Bailey said.