Since manners will never go out of style, someone must teach them, according to Mary Kennerty.
That's why she is bringing the junior cotillion back to the Beaufort area so elementary and middle school children learn how to behave properly.
"Beaufort is very old fashioned, and people really want their children to have these manners and courtesies and they see a need for this," she said.
The National League of Junior Cotillions is a program of etiquette, character education and social dance training, according to its website. Kennerty has been teaching etiquette since 1994, mostly in the Charleston area.
She said more than 100 children signed up for the first course in Beaufort.
The classes, which began Sunday, were instigated by a Lady's Island mother of three who wanted her children and others to receive proper etiquette training.
LizAnn Pendarvis said although she never attended cotillion as a child growing up on Hilton Head Island, her parents were "really big on manners" and taught them at home. Friends from throughout the South told her that a cotillion was the way to go. So she contacted Kennerty and together they recruited a board of directors and first class.
"We need to teach our children etiquette, manners," Pendarvis said. "We need to build their character and we need to teach them how to behave in society in a southern, genteel way."
Her 11-year-old and 9-year-old daughters are in the inaugural class, and Pendarvis said they are excited to dress up and do something new.
Classes are an hour and a half on one Sunday a month at The Arsenal, culminating with a Winter Ball in January. Fourth- and fifth-graders have classes together and sixth- through eighth-graders meet together.
Children are required to dress neatly for classes, including white gloves for girls and ties for boys. They are given booklets on etiquette and then challenged to practice those skills outside of class. Lessons range from dancing to how to behave during a five-course dinner.
"It's an opportunity to have more of a chance to reach people with the message of courtesy for life," Kennerty said.