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Eastlake Male Youth Initiative Students Usher in the New Year With an Etiquette Luncheon

Atlanta, GA, January 12, 2021 — Eastlake Male Youth Initiative (EMYI) students ushered in the new year with an etiquette luncheon on Saturday, January 9, 2021. The event was hosted at Maggiano’s Little Italy at Perimeter Mall. Students donned their EMYI dress shirts and ties while Ms. Carol Rey, Founder and Director of The Elite School of Etiquette, led the event.

How to properly position the knife and fork when fine dining
Ms. Carol Rey, Founder and Director of The Elite School of Etiquette, demonstrates how to position the fork and knife on the plate

While many parts of etiquette are intuitive, Ms. Rey advised students that one should always take a cue from the person who is the host of the meal. Though the event focused on American standards for courteous conduct, Ms. Rey explained that it is essential to be aware of proper manners across cultures.

“It’s really important to know how to make a positive first impression and exemplify how a leader should act in social settings,” said Dr. Kenneth G. Torrence, EMYI Program Director. “These skills are absolutely crucial for success.”

Five functions of the luncheon napkin
Ms. Rey demonstrates the five functions of the luncheon napkin

First, students received step-by-step instructions for using fine dining utensils, as well as learned about the dos and don’ts for dining in social settings. Next, students sat at formally decorated round tables and enjoyed a delicious three-course meal, while putting the skills covered during the event to the test. Students in attendance were able to ask questions while learning how to navigate the fine dining table. Some included “What do I do when someone asks me to pass the bread?” and “Where do I place my knife and fork when I have to be excused from the table?”

How to properly handle the fork and knife
EMYI student shows how to properly handle the fork and knife

“Ms. Rey taught me how to eat when you go to fancy places like this restaurant,” said Joseph Suomie, an eighth grader at Utopian Academy. “[Etiquette] shows people that you’re smart and educated.”

Ms. Rey wrapped up the session by presenting each student a certificate of completion.

Whether invited to a dinner or attending a reception, EMYI students will be prepared with excellent table manners to ensure they make a great impression.

Students receive instruction on fine dining
EMYI students receive instruction on fine dining

About Eastlake Male Youth Initiative

Eastlake Male Youth Initiative is a joint partnership between The Greater Piney Grove Community Development, Inc. ( and The Truth Teller Inc. ( The mission of EMYI is to inspire, empower and challenge African American male youth through a series of workshops, positive reinforcement and one-on-one mentoring. We seek to raise the trajectory of achievement for African American boys using the power of inspiration and imagination. To learn more or get involved with EMYI, please contact Dr. Kenneth G. Torrence at


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