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Students put etiquette skills to use during ball

Mar. 03, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Fourteen-year-old Lilly Kincaid plans on traveling around the world one day, and she said the lessons she learned during this year's ARTS Cotillion course were an important step in preparing her for that goal.

"We talked a lot about how to treat people, like how to look someone in the eye and listen to what they have to say," said Kincaid, a student of Ohio Virtual Academy. "I think when I do go to other countries, what I learned in this class will help me with people from other cultures because I know how important it is to be considerate of them."

Kincaid was one of 40 local middle school students who participated in the ARTS Cotillion Formal Dinner and Ball on Saturday night at the Renaissance Ballroom at the Renaissance ARTS Center along 8th Street in Huntington.

The eight-week course is taught annually by Elizabeth Withers, who has taught the class for seven years.

Withers said she strives to make sure the etiquette lessons go beyond the dinner table.

"It's not just about food etiquette," said Withers. "We do stress everyday kindness. We talk about everything from cellphone etiquette to office etiquette. We talk about being nice, basically. We really spend a lot of time talking about the golden rule."

The students who participate in the course are from middle schools throughout the Tri-State, and she said the fact that the students are taking the class should not indicate that they have any etiquette problems at home.

"A lot of the parents who bring their kids to this class say they try to teach etiquette in their own homes, but they feel like when kids are in groups with their peers in a setting like this, they tend to do better," said Withers. "Putting them in a class-like setting does raise the bar on the expectations of how they are expected to behave and what they are expected to learn. This night is simply a reward for all of the work they put into reaching those expectations."

For more information about classes at the Renaissance Art Center, visit www.733arts.com.

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