By Federico Martinez
Tribune Staff Writer
Grand Rapids – Students at Muskegon Maritime Academy won’t just be learning about good posture and how to hold a fork properly during etiquette classes this fall. They’ll be learning lifetime lessons like what’s considered appropriate behavior and how one communicates can show respect for others, said school founder Franklin A. Fudail
That’s the goal of a new partnership between Muskegon Maritime Academy and My Dress Rehearsal, a Grand Rapids-based etiquette company that will work with K-5 Academy students.
“Our kids will benefit from this education and training for a lifetime,” Mr. Fudail said. “We have a partnership with the best etiquette program in West Michigan.
“Programs like our mandatory etiquette and manners training are what makes our school unique and stand out from other schools. When you walk into the doors of MMA you will instantly see and feel a difference.”
Patricia Hunnewell, founder and CEO of My Dress Rehearshal, said developing good etiquette skills is really about how people present themselves to others and how we treat others. Learning and practicing these habits from a young age creates a strong base for a lifetime of success.
“What is good etiquette and why are they important to learn and practice? Ms. Hunnewell said. “This sounds like such a simple question with a simple answer, but it isn’t easy.”
By definition, the word etiquette, means sign or label, Ms. Hunnewell explains. Proper etiquette happens when we follow the guidelines set down for us by our ancestors, you could call them rules, instructions, or directions. We need to practice our skills because we are creatures of habit. “You could say we are constantly in a dress rehearsal for life.”
MMA students will learn about table manners, and how they communicate with others verbally and with their body language, Ms. Hunnewell said. Using proper grammar and dressing appropriately are also ways people communicate, she adds. Students will learn through discussion, role-playing and simulation exercises.
“People with proper manners create an atmosphere where everyone feels safe and comfortable, by utilizing healthy habits,” Ms. Hunnewell said. “We are only part of a society, and we must think about other individuals. We all have different experiences and feelings about things. So, during our animated sessions we have a safe place to learn from each other, become aware of new skills and enjoy practicing together.”
Ms. Hunnewell has more than 20 years of experience in the corporate real estate industry and early childhood education. In addition to working with adults, she enjoys enlightening elementary school children with table manners, tips and tricks.
To learn more about her company visit the business website at www.mydressrehearsal.com.
MMA K-5 naval academy is scheduled to open in September and will offer a non-traditional approach to education that includes an emphasis on helping students develop discipline, self-esteem and respect, along with excelling in core curriculum subjects, like reading, math and science. To learn more about the new charter school or to enroll your children visit www.MuskegonMaritimeAcademy.org.