PALESTINE — Forty of Palestine's most mannerly little men and women took part in a rather formal tea Monday morning at the Red Fire Grille in Palestine.
The group of first graders, students of Northside Primary School in Palestine, were there for a special honorary tea time — a trip earned only by displaying “honorable character traits” throughout the school year.
“These are kids who have exhibited exemplary honorable character all year long,” Principal Barbara Dutton said. “We have a program called 'honorable character,' and there are 14 honorable character traits.”
Opening a door for someone, for instance — “that shows respect for a friend,” Dutton added, “and when they are noted exhibiting one of these (traits), then the teacher will have them go put the number of that character trait on the chart.”
Students could make a mark on the chart each time they displayed one of the following traits: respect, obedience, diligence, wisdom, kindness, self-control, orderliness, service, attentiveness, cooperation, courage, forgiveness, honesty and responsibility.
At the end of the school year, marks were tallied, and the 40 highest-achieving first graders of 16 classrooms earned their ticket to attend the formal midmorning tea.
An hour before lunch time on Monday, the students stepped off a school bus and marched along North Queen Street to enter a world of classical music, white table cloths and glasses that clinked when you hit them with a spoon — though that would be a no-no.
“When you're stirring in your cup, don't make a lot of noise,” Dawn Mailloux, co-owner of Red Fire Grille, told the first graders. “And when sipping, don't sip from your spoon, sip from your cup.”
Mailloux exhibited a graceful posture, and the students observed in perfect silence.
“You want to sit up nice and straight at your table,” Mailloux continued. “You want to look at your guests. You want to greet your neighbors — say, 'hello, how are you today?'”