|It wasn't exactly a final exam, but students
in Verona Beguin's professional development class at
Black Hills State finished the semester by testing their
etiquette skills when they dined at Jake's in Deadwood.
senior business students spent the spring semester
studying topics such as interviewing skills, dressing for
the interview, office politics and attitudes, and meal
manners and etiquette.
The chance for a formal dining experience was a
capstone experience. Students, faculty and friends
arrived at Jake's a half an hour before the regular
opening to get some special attention, including an
explanation of the meal, seating protocol and proper
dining procedures. Students were paired with faculty
members to keep the small talk going and to share
personal experiences, said Beguin. The
students loved it; many haven't been to Jake's.
Beguin says students from a rural state such as South
Dakota don't often have the opportunity to dine at a
formal eating establishment. We wanted to give our
seniors a chance to experience formal dining because many
times during job interviews clients (or recent graduates)
are expected to attend a lunch or dinner as part of the
We've read about it (dining etiquette), we've
had handouts, and now we practice, said Beguin.
They're dressing up and going out.
Many of the students, particularly the younger
students don't know food, or what to do with the
silverware; they don't know whether they should or should
not cut up all the meat at one time. College students are
used to eating standing up or grabbing a T.V. dinner.
We're good at meat, potatoes, and gravy, but you
get outside of that and you're lost, said the
business professor. We decided the menu items to
introduce them to new things.
Back to Campus
|For senior accounting major
Ryan Maher the dining experience was very worthwhile.
up in western South Dakota, I didn't have opportunities
like that (formal dining), said Maher. I now
have a better understanding of silverware layout and
place settings. `Sorbet,' I'd never heard of that. I was
fascinated by the fact that it's supposed to cleanse the
palate in preparation for the main course.
The Isabel native said even wearing a suit and tie
while dining out takes practice.
Now that he has completed the course, the experience
will be put to good use as he has accepted a job in
Omaha, Neb., as an auditor with the U. S. Department of
Health and Human Services and will ultimately be
traveling about the country.
For Kit Fanning, a nontraditional student from
Spearfish who is majoring in accounting, the dining
experience was something with which she was familiar.
I had an advantage because my father exposed me to
this type of dining, she said. It was
beneficial for the younger students, many of whom will go
out across the U. S. searching for jobs. It's good
Fanning said the class was valuable from a practical
aspect. How to field questions and how to dress were
equally as important as etiquette.
Both students said they will take the Certified Public
Accountant (CPA) examination this fall to further their
careers. Interviewing, dining etiquette, fielding
questions and proper dress will more than likely become a
part of their every-day experience. How to seat guests
and what to do with that extra spoon and fork will become
Now that they're polished, the students might heed
British novelist Somerset Maugham's advice, At a
dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and
talk well but not too wisely.