Published 9:39 pm Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pinkies out: Kindergartener Christa Beaman remembers to keep her pinkies out while she drinks her tea at Creekside Elementary School’s Royal High Tea party on Tuesday.

Creekside tea parties promote good etiquette

Students learned ins and outs of good manners at Creekside Elementary School’s second annual Etiquette du Jour at Royal High Tea party.

This week, all grade levels get the chance to drink tea, eat cakes and practice manners during their regular library times.

Creekside librarian Kim Richardson said she hope the tea party will be a something special for the students to remember all of their lives and instill good manners in them.

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“It is important that we expose students to and provide students with an experience they will be able to use throughout their lives,” she said.

Starting Monday, the Creekside library transformed into a party room with tables set with real china, cloth napkins and flowers.

The students learned things such as properly greeting one another, having confidence, passing items to your right while at the table and always saying “please” and “thank you.”

Richardson also incorporates other lessons into the parties. She teaches the students foreign language vocabulary, like “merci” and “bon appetit.” Even science is taught, with the students discussing why the sugar cubes dissolve when they are added to the tea.

At the parties, boys and girls are broken up into partners. The boys learn how to pull out the girls’ chairs and push them back in gently.

Students are served real tea in their own cups and get to add their own sugar cubes and creamer. Petit fours and truffles were also served.

Kindergartener Marselis Bevel said the most important thing he learned from the party was how to drink without making a lot of noise.

Several local businesses and churches including Food Lion, Sam’s Club, Outback Steakhouse, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Nansemond River High School and Nansemond River Baptist Church provided china, napkins, flatware, food and other services.

A group of volunteers helped serve the students, and they also cleaned the tables and reset them to be ready for the next class.

Volunteer Susan Bautista said she thinks her involvement at the school sets a good example for her two children, Isabella and Martin, who are participating in the tea parties. She said Isabella was excited about the party because she loves to dress up.

Christina Beaman, another volunteer, said the party was all her daughter Christa talked about for two weeks. She said Christa picked out a new dress and had her hair curled for the occasion.

“You would think they were going to prom,” she said.

The tea parties are going on until Friday, April 15. The students are asked to wear their best attire — dresses, hats and gloves for girls and shirts and ties for boys.