One of Sumner Academy’s favorite traditions involves instruction on a subject explored by almost no other public or independent school students: etiquette and good manners.
For over 25 years, Sumner Academy third and fourth graders have been turning their attention to the study of etiquette during the second nine-weeks. Students study a wide variety of etiquette-related practices such as how to make introductions, set a table, use silverware, engage in polite conversation and demonstrate basic table manners. The course ends with a class luncheon at Merchants, a fine dining establishment in downtown Nashville. Students get the chance to field-test their new skills under the watchful eyes of their parents, peers and a few Sumner Academy faculty members.
Students emerge from the class equipped with skills that put them miles ahead of their peers. Nowhere is that more evident than the class luncheon. “The servers at Merchants who’ve been around for a while say that their favorite event of the year is when the Sumner Academy etiquette class comes in,” says one of the faculty members involved with the class. “Most people who see the students in action can’t believe they’re watching 8 and 9 year-olds.”
The etiquette class makes a lasting impression on students and their parents. Students who come back to visit Sumner Academy still talk about the etiquette class and how those skills have helped them in many events in their life.