By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Each male student pulled out a chair for a female student and pushed her chair back into place at the table during a meal focused on etiquette June 9 in Enright Hall at Holy Family Parish.
The etiquette luncheon for eighth-graders is an annual tradition at All Saints Catholic School, said principal Jeanne Von Feldt. Typically, the meal takes place at a local restaurant and students dress up for the occasion. This year, due to COVID-19, The Phoenix restaurant catered the meal and the students, wearing their class T-shirt and school uniform pants or skirt, dined in the decorated Enright Hall in the church’s lower level.
Teacher Cheryl Jones, who teaches an enrichment class on life skills, figures the etiquette luncheon has taken place for at least 10 years — maybe longer. Proper dining skills included males seating females, use of utensils when multiple choices are available and limiting use of eating with your hands to finger food.
Students sat at tables covered with white tablecloths and flowers and a plant as centerpieces. Von Feldt led the students in grace. They left their tables as called, to get a bowl of Caesar salad. Some students chose not to eat salad because it’s something “green.” They dined on the main course of chicken parmesan, pasta with red sauce and a breadstick. Drinks were either water or apple juice. One student asked if the breadstick was a finger food or should be cut with knife and fork. Students were told they could use their fingers.
During the luncheon, students watched a slide show of pictures taken from preschool through eighth grade. The images came from pictures provided by parents and from the yearbook. Von Feldt said typically the slide show takes place during other end-of-year events, but pandemic-related changes affected many eighth-grade activities. “We had to modify graduation too.”
Despite the changes, Von Feldt was excited that the etiquette meal tradition continued.