On a recent spring evening, Craven Community College (Craven CC) students dined together at the New Bern Country Club. In addition to the beautiful setting and delectable 5-course dinner, this was the final learning session of a semester-long etiquette workshop. The workshop was a continuing education class for students who were nominated by staff and faculty.
Leading the students and guests through the instructional dinner was Elizabeth Throckmorton with the National League of Junior Cotillions. Throckmorton taught students to properly navigate place settings and hold engaging conversations. “My goal was to prepare them for interviews and other situations so they can make good first and lasting impressions,” said Throckmorton.
At the beginning of the course, Throckmorton asked students what their goals for the workshop were. Some students indicated they wanted to become more comfortable with social settings and interviews. International students were looking to have a better understanding of American culture’s social practices.
Over the course of the semester, students were exposed to proper etiquette in a variety of areas including making a good impression, communicating powerfully, giving and accepting compliments or criticism, dressing to impress, giving powerful interviews, and understanding table etiquette.
For the interview preparation, Throckmorton taught them how to build a résumé, what they needed to bring to the interview, how to dress and shared “do’s and don’ts.” Students then tested what they learned by participating in mock interviews with professionals.
According to Craven CC student Olivia Register, “I participated in the workshop to learn how to hold myself in a business setting, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to grow.” Register said it also allowed her to meet new people.
These were the second group of students who participated in the etiquette training. In 2016, Craven CC Foundation supporters, Dr. David and Mrs. Anna Hurst worked with then campus life coordinator Kimberley Clark to launch the comprehensive etiquette program that teaches students social graces.
The Hursts said they wanted to provide students with more tools to enhance their lives and professions. “It was nice to see students learn something new, see them now using it as their own, and see that it is working for them,” said Dr. Hurst.
Emily Stewart, Craven CC’s campus life coordinator said that she hoped the program would help the students be more confident and use the tools they learned in the workshop to successfully land a job. Stewart said there are plans to continue workshops.
The Hursts also provide financial support in the form of the student ambassador scholarship program, emergency scholarships, and special events such as student ambassador team building at a ropes course and a trip with the Lifetime Learning Center to the Durham Performing Arts Center.
“The etiquette course is a great opportunity for the participants to learn and prepare for the workplace. We are so fortunate that the Hurst’s support the students of Craven CC as generously as they do,” said Charles Wethington, Craven CC’s executive director of Institutional Advancement.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in New Bern Sun Journal.