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Corbell Students Mind Their Manners (February, 2008)


Manners Monday tableDo you always put your napkin in your lap?Do you remember to say please and thank you?

Corbell Elementary School’s graduates of Manners Monday do.

Once a month, the Corbell Manners Program hosts the Manners Monday Luncheon. Holly Ulmer, a Corbell PTA board member, explained recently that the luncheon is held for children who are nominated by demonstrating a regard for others and their learning environment. The luncheon is "special" in that the nominated students sit at a designated table of honor in the cafeteria set with place cards, linens and centerpiece. The children eat with "fancy" (not plastic) flatware. They also receive instruction about proper table manners and enjoy a take-home souvenir and receive a certificate of completion. “We hope that this program will encourage other children to want to participate and therefore create a friendly environment of politeness and courteousness, “ Ulmer said.

Each child who is observed being considerate in the classroom receives a "Golden Ticket" to take to the administrative office and deposits it in the Gold Manners Box. The child then receivesan invitation to the luncheon. “The looks on their precious faces are priceless when they come in to the cafeteria and see that it's Manners Monday,” Ulmer said.

Ulmer and her family have only been in Texas for a few years. She decided to leave her career in interior design and become a stay-at-home mother. “Getting on the PTA board gave me a purpose and a will to make a difference in our children's lives. That is how I came up with the idea for this program. I wanted something better for our kids,” she said. The program does take quite a bit of time and lots of volunteers but the Corbell PTA is very enthusiastic about the program.

Ulmer has invited school administrators and other school’s PTA members to observe Manners Monday. In February, Assistant Superintendent Doug Zambiasi was a guest at the kindergarten “manners” table where he and the students learned about the importance of not putting a used napkin on the table while others are eating. Zambiasi talked to students about manners and also spent part of his visit assisting with stubborn milk cartons, spilled yogurt,  and other normal school lunch issues.

Ulmer has dreams of this PTA program spreading throughout Frisco Independent School District – perhaps having etiquette programs state-wide some day.

Photo Cutline:

PTA volunteers Shannon Babovec, foreground left, and Holly Ulmer, back right, instruct Manners Monday classes about lunchroom etiquette at Corbell's Manners Monday program.