Teens learn etiquette at annual event

The older generation will be happy to hear that yes, the younger generation is still being taught manners.

The National League of Young Men (NLYM) hosted its Social Etiquette Dinner on March 18, drawing 50 area teens.

Every year, about 25 junior boys from NLYM and about 25 junior girls from the National Charity League (NCL) attend the dinner.

The students represented Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, JSerra Catholic, Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran high schools, and St. Margaret's Episcopal School. This year, the event was hosted at the home of NLYM Junior Member Jeffrey Harrison in Newport Beach.

Janet Terrell, who was crowned Miss California in 1975 and was second runner-up to Miss America, instructed the young men in how to set a table, when to use the spoon that rests at the top of the plate, the proper use of a napkin, the proper protocol for excusing themselves from the table and other dining do's and don'ts before the dinner.

After the young women arrived and everyone was paired up, all the teens were asked to deposit their car keys and cell phones in a basket at the kitchen table. Without electronic distractions, the teens had a great time. They chatted about school, sports, hobbies and friends, and no one appeared to be at a loss for words.

After a bit of time interacting with the young men, the young women were asked to join Terrell and her sister Robin Sanders, the 1975 Tournament of Roses queen, separately in the front room for their own personal social etiquette crash course. Together the two women ran a charm school through Nordstrom for six years.

Several of the NLYM mothers served and cleared the various courses of dinner and dessert. One mentioned that she believes a teen who is comfortable in social situations does indeed have an advantage, one of inner-confidence — an invaluable trait to have at what can be an awkward stage in life.

NLYM and NCL are philanthropic organizations for high school boys and girls and their mothers to spend time together to better the community. For more information on NLYM, visit http://www.nationalleagueofyoungmen.org.

For more information on NCL, visit http://www.nclnewport.org.

Editor's note: The writer is on the volunteer public relations committee for the National League of Young Men. Her son, a sophomore at Corona del Mar High School, is a member.

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