For over 40 years, grade six students at Isabella Dicken Elementary School (IDES) have been serving tea to their parents and grandparents.
Thursday, May 4, brought with it a sunny spring day, and students matched this with the way they dressed. Bright, colourful suits and dresses, accompanied by polite manners and proper dining etiquette transformed a room of school kids into an assembly of young adults.
After being greeted, parents were escorted to reserved tables where tea cups and silverware were already set in place. Promptly after, a student scuttled over, offering coffee, water or juice to the guests. Refills were often, and gratefully accepted. Following this was a delicious serving of strawberry shortcake and a tour of the extensive spring-themed student-made artwork covering the gym walls.
“It’s about building community,” “said IDES School Principal, Dawn Voysey. “Building those relationships with your families, inviting them in.”
This IDES Spring Tea is put on by the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC). They organize it, decide on the menu and teach the kids about etiquette prior to the event.
Some of these PAC members started planning this event months ago.
PAC is involved in raising funds for many special events. This past year, they were able to help the school bring in The Vancouver Aquarium’s AquaVan.
“For kids that live in the mountains, something like that is massive,” said Voysey.
PAC also helped the school purchase a large set of Ipad’s to aid education in the school.
However it’s not just PAC that was involved in the tea; many groups throughout the school made this event possible.
The ladies in the front managed tickets, the classes all contributed decorations for the wall, the Grade 5 students help put up and take down decorations and the Grade 6 students served everyone attending. After each individual completed his duties, they were able to join their parents for tea and cake.
“It’s like so many things, there’s a sense of accomplishment when a large group of people create something together,” said Voysey.
As well as tea and cake, a large bake sale was underway with goods donated by parents. All proceeds went toward PAC.
By the end of the day, the school saw over 700 guests, some of which came from The Tom Uphill Manor and Rocky Mountain Village.
Erin Jones believes tea is a great way to connect the generations. She was at the tea with her son, daughter and mother.
“Grandma’s bring their grandkids, the whole family comes,” she said with a smile. “It really gives the Grade 6 students a moment to shine, and really rise to the occasion.” she added.
Voysey believes that each student walked away having learned some valuable life lessons.
“They’re so proud to be the leaders in our school,” she said, speaking about the Grade 6 students who served the tea.