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    By Samantha Solliday

    Sitting in a poised position, students at Haynes Elementary School have been learning the fine points of etiquette and good manners.

    Members of the school’s Young Ladies Club eagerly waited for members of the Boys to Men Academy to arrive, so they could begin their etiquette dinner Tuesday in the school library.

    “This is a little graduation party for them,” said Nicole Frabel, Communities in Schools site manager at Haynes. “I get a new group of girls each semester, so this is a celebration for them being part of the Young Ladies Club.”

    The club began when the current Haynes Elementary opened in south Killeen in 2011. It has grown into a popular club that has a waiting list.

    “They really take to learning about manners,” Frabel said. “They love it.”

    In addition to learning manners, students find out about personal hygiene, nutrition, making polite conversation, community service and being a good friend.

    “I really stress that you should be a good friend, to not bully and to stand up for someone when you feel they are being mistreated,” the group sponsor said.

    After welcoming the Boys to Men Academy to the library, the group members listened to a short presentation on etiquette.

    Once completed, students filled their plates and sat down together to share a meal and have polite conversation with the help of conversation cards.

    First-year fourth-grade teacher and founder of the Boys to Men Academy, Arnold Murphy, started the group this year as a way to guide male students.

    “I grew up in Philadelphia and we didn’t always have the best male role models around us,” said Murphy. “The first day I was hired on I went to the principal and asked if I could start this academy.”

    In only its first year, the academy has 38 third- through fifth-grade members and Murphy has noticed changes in behavior.

    “I will see them out in the community and they come up to me and shake my hand, make good eye contact, say sir and ma’am. I see them doing it to other people, not just me,” said Murphy.

    Finishing up their dinner the two groups gathered together to create a thank you poster to the Haynes PTA for supplying their meal.

    “The goal is to have students take on leadership roles with the younger members,” said Murphy.

    “I really just want to help the students feel empowered so they can feel comfortable in new situations,” stated Frabel. “Some of the students are shy, but they have really started to come out of their shells.”

    January 11, 2017