February 17, 2017
WALNUT, CA—Suzanne Middle School presented its Blue and White Tea on Friday, giving 8th graders a chance to dress up and show off their best manners.
The traditional tea has been held on the Walnut campus for over three decades.
Candles, soft lighting, decorated tables, and live music set the tone as the well-dressed couples entered the event arm in arm.
Over 450 students participated during five high tea services held in the multipurpose room.
The Challenger Orchestra under the direction of Amy Garvin provided music during each processional.
For the formal occasion, the dress code required girls to wear dresses, and boys to sport shirts and ties.
A team of parent volunteers worked seamlessly behind the scenes preparing dozens of trays of the tea fare between services.
Guests dined on traditional scones with Chantilly cream, finger sandwiches, wonton cups, fruit skewers, and three types of dessert.
Volunteers from the school’s Impact group served menu items along with tea, decaffeinated coffee, and punch.
The 8th graders were prepped for the special occasion during several days of etiquette classes held during their P.E. classes, according to teacher Marla Rickard.
Students got to practice pulling out the chair for their partner, passing food in a counterclockwise direction, stirring cream and sugar in tea using a six and twelve motion, and selecting the correct silverware.
And there weren’t any elbows on tables in sight!
‘We’re focused on teaching the kids to be completely selfless,” Rickard said.
“We’ve talked to them about acting appropriately in different cultures and settings, and what’s socially acceptable.”
One group of students admitted to being “excited and a little nervous” at the beginning of the tea.
“I’ll probably use some of these skills on special occasions,” said Ricky Trujillo.
“We don’t want to mess up!” said Eliana Lu, age 13, who explained that students would receive a pass or fail grade for their performance.
The students also quickly learned that bite-sized nibbles are featured during high teas.
“These are the size of Lunchables!” exclaimed Sam Deng, age 13, as the first course of cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches (sans the crusts) arrived at the table.
By Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
Suzanne Middle School students get an “A” in etiquette during the Blue and White Tea on Feb. 17.
The Blue and White Tea gives students an opportunity use etiquette skills and have fun too! Shown: Sharp-dressed Ricky Trujillo gets set to stir his tea.
Suzanne Middle School 8th graders take commemorative photos during the Blue and White Tea on Feb. 17.