Manners matter at the Protocol and Etiquette School
After Marcy Breault dreamt about teaching students how to properly use utensils at a dining room table, she decided to make her dream into a reality.
“After that I just decided, ‘I’m going to teach how to use etiquette,’” Breault said.
Thus the Protocol and Etiquette School in Maggie Valley was born.
Brault has been trained and certified by the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia and now she and her husband Steve are seeking their first group of students in grades 6-12 to teach at their home in Maggie Valley.
Once a class of 12 is formed, students will meet at the Breault home once a week for an hour-long lesson, starting out on Saturdays.
“This is for any student or young adult who wants to be one-up in their next interview,” Breault said. “It will also build confidence that every child needs to go forward, and we’ll work on public speaking.”
Each lesson will include a meal, such as soup or cheese and crackers. Students will be instructed how to properly sit, speak and eat at a table that has been lined with fine dining utensils. In addition, Breault will also work with students on communication skills and social etiquette.
“We’ve gotten so lax about so many things,” Breault said, adding that many children today barely look up from their cell phone at the dinner table. “They have a lack of social skills because of computers and games and they don’t know how to just sit and chat. It’s just rude.”
Breault said the 10 sessions she offered would help many teenagers be more comfortable during a vulnerable time in their lives.
“This will help them be more secure with themselves,” she said. “Being a teenager in this day and age is the worst place to be. Anyone who does this will improve their social skills tremendously.”
In addition to perfecting table manners, the Protocol and Etiquette School curriculum will focus on welcoming behaviors, improving communication skills, refining dining skills, enhancing college and business interviewing skills, proper telephone etiquette, appreciation and thank you notes, turn-taking and including others, showing proper respect, public speaking, first impressions, eye contact and hand shaking, conversation, listening and feedback.
Breault’s husband Steve also will be offering corporate protocol training at their home starting in the spring of 2014.
At the end of all the classes, students will test out their skills during an elegant five-course fine dining experience at the Waynesville Country Club.
Students will also learn how to dress for success with help from the staff at Belk, who have volunteered their time to help each group of students prepare and dress for professional interviews.
Brault said she hoped parents would be open to signing their children up for the course.
“This is not a reflection of their parents,” Breault said about her potential students. “Parents have too much to do. And they’re not able to sit at home and have dinner on the table every night."
At the end of the course, parents will be invited to the graduation class to view their child’s progress and meet the other students and parents.
Pisgah High School student Cassie Walker will also be assisting the Breaults during their courses.
The Protocol and Etiquette School is open and accepting students, and Breault hopes to begin her first lesson on Nov. 2. The cost for the 10 sessions and a three-hour dinner at the end of the course is $400.
Classes being offered include a beginning girls class for sixth through ninth-graders, and advanced girls class for sixth through ninth-graders, an informational class from girls ages 9 to 14, a beginning boys class for sixth through ninth-graders, and a beginning boys and girls class for 10th through 12th graders.