Southern Leaders etiquette class holds spring formal to display the skills they’ve learned

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Friday night, Southwest Georgia Protocol School held their spring formal for the Southern Leaders, where students showed off the culmination of skills they have learned throughout the year.

The students who attend SGPS have a variety of backgrounds and may already possess some of the skills, but teacher, Allyson Whittaker, likes to focus on more than just social graces. She additionally teaches the kids about soft business skills.

They begin by learning a variety of dances. They are taught how to swing dance, dance the shag, fox trot, waltz and finally learn how to line dance.

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Whittaker said learning the dances can seem intimidating at the beginning, but becomes the students’ favorite part of class.

Another fun, but useful activity the class participated in during their lessons was an advancement in the workplace game. Whittaker had been teaching the students how to work a room at a function, so she set the classroom up like a Monopoly board. Each space would be set up like a challenge. Whenever, the student succeeded in the challenge they would have the chance to meet someone higher up in the business world. Challenges would range from handshakes to first impressions and light conversation skills. However, if a student didn’t meet the challenge on that space, they may have to go back down the line instead of advancing forward.

Students also faced the possibility of getting stuck in what Whittaker called the “quagmire,” they may just be a standstill in the game and not be able to advance forward or take a step back.

Whittaker said she likes this game because it helps the students remember that the impression they make can help them down the line of succession.

Whittaker hopes this class leaves an impression on the students for years to come. She said when she was young the things she’s teaching were never on her radar, but she needed those skills. She had to learn the skillset through various life experiences, but when she returned to Bainbridge she saw a huge need for these skills in children. This need lead her to start the Southwest Georgia Protocol School in Bainbridge.

“The kids really enjoy it and I do too,” she said.

Whittaker has loved teaching the kids in Bainbridge so much that she is now opening a school in Tallahassee and hopes to teach them some of the same things and open children’s eyes to skills they may not have otherwise possessed.