High School Students Learning Professional Etiquette

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A group of students at Lower Richland High School were treated to lunch and a fashion show as part of a program aiming to teach professional development.

Starting with a three course lunch Friday afternoon, this group of 13 students from the school were learning etiquette one plate
at a time.

"It's a really great experience," said Camille Belton, a sophomore at the school. "Not only do I get to meet a lot of amazing people, and we go on these amazing trips, they're teaching us so many important lessons."

The lunch is part of a program that teaches students curriculum crafted toward science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

As part of the curriculum, students are taught skills on interviewing and running a business.

"I thought these kids would be empowered to learn those skills that are applicable in the real world that are not really confined to a textbook," said Paul Smith, CEO of Best Carolina, LLC. Smith is a consultant for the program, and teaches lessons called "soft-skills."

"Soft-skills" are things like how to dress and, in the case of the lunch, on which side of the plate to place your knife and fork.

"It gives you more experience in things like this so you don't feel uncomfortable in situations, or in new situations," said Corey Robinson, a senior at Lower Richland. "Maybe you need to go to an interview or go to dinner with someone important."

But the lessons didn't just stop with lunch. With donations from JC Penney, the students also learned how to dress for success with a fashion show in front of the student body at Lower Richland.

Dressing in styles ranging from business to casual, the smiles on the faces of the students participating in the event showed how much fun each of them had taking part.

"I always thought that going into a business, it (didn't) matter how you dress," said Alexis Branch, a freshman, "and now I know you have to dress appropriately."

Lower Richland received a $6 million dollar federal grant from the US Department of Education to take part in STEM, the school's principal said.

It started in 2011 and covers three years.


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