High Country Cotillion open for registration

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Sep. 26, 2013 | Modified: Sep. 26, 2013
High Country Cotillion open for registration

Ashe County’s Kristen Testerman dances with Ryan Peterson from Watauga County at a High Country Cotillion event.

Photo submitted



Knowing how to present oneself in a formal situation has become a lost art among today’s generation, where casual behavior and circumstances are more commonplace.

To help area students nail that crucial moment in a high-pressure job or scholarship interview, High Country Cotillion is helping to shape and mold today’s rising adults.

Classes are currently offered for student in grades five through 12.

Students are taught introduction skills to confidently present themselves, the art of conversation, social media and cell phone etiquette, appropriate dress for success, dining etiquette and more, according to a HCC news release.

“We have wonderful, outstanding role models in college and high school students who lead them,” organizer Sharon Carlton said. “Girls will be treated like young ladies, and boys will experience how easy it is to be gentlemen.”

Lessons learned today can have repercussions down the road.

“We prepare students to walk into any social situation and represent themselves, families and future businesses really well and to be confident in how they handle themselves,” she said. “We also prepare them to be comfortable in making the transition to high school, college and going to interviews for scholarships.”

Practicing etiquette today can prevent future awkward situations in more formal environments.
“We are setting aside our casual everyday manners and kicking it up a notch,” she said. “The students are practicing these skills now, so when they need formal skills, it won’t be a stretch.”

While cotillion requires patience and practice, it can also be a lot of fun.

“One of my favorite events is the Mountain Masquerade we do in October,” Carlton said. “We ask students to dress the way they think will look in 15 years.”

What the instructors see walking through the door can be surprising for both sides.

“Some students show up dressed as soccer players, veterinarians and rock stars,” she said. “We ask them, ‘Well, how many years of school will it take to make your dream come true?’ ‘How are you going to get that scholarship or the job to save enough money for that dream?’”

No matter which path they choose, cotillion plays an intricate part.

“We ask them how are they going to walk into a classroom to find a study partner?” Carlton said. “How are you going to persuade people that you are the right person for that scholarship?’”

The classes also help students to become more like their role models.

“Our students can’t wait to be college kids, and the lessons they can learn from them are really invaluable,” Carlton said. “Our college students (the instructors) get up and say, ‘Guess what happened to us this week? You need to prepare so you know to do this.’”

Cotillion is about having the poise to achieve your goals, Carlton said, adding, “This is practice for real life, so they can succeed and make their dreams come true.”

Sessions start in October. For more information, including a schedule of events, visit http://www.highcountrycotillion.com or call Sharon Carlton at (828) 773-1981.

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