The uncivilized beware. “Miss Manners” is alive and well and living in Concord.
Donna Foard Knorr completed certification as an etiquette consultant from the American School of Protocol in late October, and has opened a school to teach children and adults proper manners.
“I have been toying with this idea for 10 years. I have always loved working with children. I have always stressed good manner with my own children, and my grandchildren,” Knorr said. “I got to thinking we could use some classes.”
The intensive training Knorr undertook lasted a week, and covered every aspect of etiquette and protocol imaginable. The owner of American School of Protocol, Peggy Newfield, has been in the business for more than 25 years.
“The body of materials she came home with was surprising,” Knorr’s husband, Gerry, said.
Knorr, a speech pathologist and theater teacher in the Cabarrus County Schools, saw a need to bring back civility, and opened The Piedmont School of Etiquette.
Classes are taught to kids as young as 3.
“You can teach 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds how to eat continental style, as well as zigzag American style,” she said.
American style she describes as “pick up the fork and knife, we put the knife down and change the fork over.“
“That’s why it’s zigzag, because we have to do all this switching,” Knorr explained.
Continental or European style dining is used all over the world, according to Knorr.
“It’s neat to see 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds, somebody that young, be able to eat correctly,” she said.
She also teaches proper etiquette for a five-course dinner, as well as an eight-course dinner.
Even a simple napkin has specific rules.
“There are four uses for the napkin,” Knorr said.
A paper napkin is used differently than a cloth one. A paper one is opened fully and put in the lap. A cloth is kept folded in half with the the fold goes towards the table.
The etiquette courses are five days long. A formal dinner is held on the sixth day as a kind of graduation exercise.
Courses cover many areas of proper etiquette, not just dining skills. Knorr teaches the lost art of proper introductions, conversation skills, writing and the reasoning behind thank you notes.
“Do you want more gifts,” she said.
For adults, Knorr covers areas like interview skills, dating and prom etiquette, theater etiquette and poise.
“If you are confidant in any situation, it is going to show. The confidence will show through,” she said.
She plans to take her skills on the road to schools, colleges and businesses — anywhere people can benefit from proper manners and etiquette skills.
Her husband is not just her emotional support, but also her assistant in this endeavor.
“Everything she does, she does enthusiastically,” he said.
“We have a good time. We learn in a fun atmosphere. While they are learning, they develop these skills that will last them a lifetime,” Knorr said.
For more information on The Piedmont School of Etiquette, visit www.thepiedmontschoolofetiquette.com or call 704-788-4678.