NEWS from Detroit Public Schools
Office of Public Relations
Contact: Steve Wasko
313-873-4892 or 313-212-5636
If you’ve longed for the days when truly gentle men were not embarrassed to doff their hats, open doors for ladies, walk on the curb side of the sidewalk, knew how to properly use a knife and fork at meal time, and were schooled in etiquette, courtesy, and respect, your wish has been granted.
Rough gems of ‘gentlemanly-ness’ are being polished deep inside Fleming Academy. There thrives the ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ where boys in the third, fourth and fifth grades learn the art of being a gentleman-from knotting their ties to improved academics to a firm, confident handshake. Like so many of his peers, Fleming’s Principal Ronnie Sims, a true gentleman, saw the niceties of social interaction slipping away because young children weren’t learning the lessons of proper behavior, etiquette and more that help develop self confidence, respect and good character. He was determined to in some way bring that to a halt and to instill his young male charges with a higher level of societal behavior and sense of personal self-worth than we too often see today. His goal? Teach the boys that proper behavior, respect and good manners do matter and that they don’t take anything away from a fun time in life. The current ‘Club’ is a continuation of the ‘Boys To Men’ mentoring program that Sims created in 1994 at Hamilton School.
“I saw the need to work with boys (some wayward) who were either having difficulty focusing in the classroom or just wanted to have fun and learn how to be a better person,” said Sims. At Hamilton, the focus was on tutoring, physical activities and character building. Sims expanded the program and changed the name to “The Gentlemen’s Club” when he moved to Fleming. “I felt that the new name was more in alignment with what the boys needed to strive for. We focus on violence prevention and tutoring. Physical education is used to help build character and stamina and our drum line teaches discipline and task focusing,’ said Sims. Those sessions are held twice a week. And what about the gentlemanly aspect? “Each Wednesday the boys spend an hour in etiquette classes after lunch where they learn table manners, self respect and other skills that will help them to become the perfect gentleman,” said Sims. He has completed the program with more than 150 boys and currently about 30 are enrolled.
Fleming’s young gentlemen are the official greeters of building guests and also served as greeters for a McDonald’s restaurant function. Sims acknowledges.”They are a work in progress. Some of the boys are still struggling with acceptable citizenship in the classroom but many have made great strides and I know that they will make great sons, brothers, community partners, husbands, fathers and what else?….of course Gentlemen!”
For information about enrollment, call 313-873-7098 or visit our website at www.detroitk12.org.
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