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Debs find good manners in style

Debutantes: Louise Elerding offers manners training to Silver Rose class

Posted: January 19, 2011 8:24 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2011 4:55 a.m.

Jessica Crowder, right, of Valencia, passes the salt and pepper to fellow debutante Kendal Glendinning, left, of Newhall, during an etiquette class.

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The 26th annual Silver Rose Debutante Ball is less than two months away, capping a busy social year for the 2010-11 class of eight debutantes.

The 2010-11 Silver Rose Debutantes include Leah Michelle Blumenthal, Kendal Muir Glendinning and Heather Aileen Lincoln of William S. Hart High School; Jordyn Rae Byers, Jessica Lauren Crowder and Jennifer Marie Fugger of Valencia High School; Vanessa Jaclyn Ferral of Bishop Alemany High School; and Courtney Elaine Hertenstein of Canyon High School.

The Silver Rose Debutante program benefits laboratory services at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

In addition to waltz classes, a mother-daughter tea and appearances in the hospital’s annual fashion show and other events the debutantes recently participated in an etiquette class at Salt Creek Grille in Valencia held by manners expert Louise Elerding.

“At the ball, I want to show people that I’ve learned something, that I actually participated in this debutante program,” said Fugger, of Valencia.

Fugger and the other high school seniors from the debutante program learned etiquette skills at Elerding’s class on table manners. As part of the class, the debutantes enjoyed a four-course dinner in Salt Creek’s private dining room.

The two-hour class reviewed fundamentals, such as where to place a purse, table settings, how to butter bread properly and guidelines on cell phone usage during meals, modern-day’s No. 1 etiquette problem, said Elerding.

“Ideally, turn off your phone before sitting at the table, unless you’re expecting an emergency call. If you must have a cell phone conversation, excuse yourself from the table. That’s the best, most courteous thing you can do,” she said.

Glendinning asked if she could request cell phones be put away entirely while dining out.

“You can, yes, but that’s hard to do. Tone and timing are everything,” Elerding said.

Other topics included the wearing of hats at the dinner table (permissible for women, not for men), what to do with gloves while eating (place in a purse or over the back of a chair) and the importance of hostess gifts, something Byers was already well-versed in.

“My mom told me a long time ago, ‘You can never go to a party without a gift,’” she said.

“It’s harder at our age, though,” Crowder said. “You can‘t just pick up a bottle of wine to take with you. So I  would bring cookies instead.”

Elerding also suggested gourmet hostess gifts, such as jams, chocolates or even a basket of fresh, recently-picked lemons.

“Be creative. Think of what someone may like to use in the future. The gift doesn’t have to be used at that event,” she said.

Stacey Mayfield, chairwoman of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation Hospital Guild said in today’s society etiquette is a lost art.

“I don’t think kids today are taught proper etiquette at the dinner table anymore,” she said. “I think this will help them not only at the Grand Ball, but for the rest of their lives.”

That sentiment was echoed by Fugger.

“I want to be a lawyer, so I’ll be attending a lot of dinner meetings,” she said. “This will help me feel confident and be professional.”

The Henry Mayo Guild Silver Rose Debutante program is opened to female high school seniors with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher.

Debutantes commit to 50 hours of community service at hospital events during the program, which lasts from September to March.

For more information, call (661) 253-8051 or visit www.henrymayo.com.

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