Groveland Elementary second graders in Sara Lovelace’s class learned a lesson in proper etiquette and manners May 4 at the annual High Tea and Poetry Reading at St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Minnetonka.

Lovelace has taught at the school for 30 years and will retire at the end of this school year. She’s hosted the event for more than 11 years with the second graders. She previously hosted a similar tea event, when she taught William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to fourth graders.

“This event teaches the kids respect, manners and it builds up their self confidence, all while making new and exciting memories,” Lovelace said. “I think these skills are important to add into the classroom right along with reading, writing and arithmetic. I think it’s important to think outside the box and to create new experiences for children.”

During the hour-long teatime event, 22 well-dressed students recited their poetry for Lovelace, their parents and staff members.

Students read a variety of poems, original composition or from famous poets. Lovelace said that students presenting poetry in front of their families and teachers help build their self-confidence. 

“Mrs. Lovelace has taught me how important manners are and how you can go really far in life if you have them. I’m really happy that she’s made this tea party so memorable,” said Dylan Frank, who read “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.

“This is a new school for us and, for our children, being at Groveland has been an amazing experience for us,” added Jannie Frank, Dylan’s mother. “I couldn’t have asked for a better educational experience for my kids. Mrs. Lovelace is amazing ... she’s taught my son a lot and we appreciate her.”  

The school’s fifth-grade orchestra students played music for the guests and the second graders sang “We Are The World” by the United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa, and “We Are Going To Miss You” by the band James in honor of their Principal Dave Parker, who is also retiring this year. 

“This event is really a lesson in civility, manners, pose and presentation,” Parker said. “These are the kind of skills that are beyond the classroom where they learn the foundations. This is an experience that takes all those skills and the classroom to a whole new level. Mrs. Lovelace is special on how she brings those skills out in each child and she’s been a pioneer for social thinking and this event is an example of that.”

“Mrs. Lovelace taught us that manners will take you very far in life and help you get a job and she also taught us to be respectful,” said Alice Saewert, a second grader who read the poem “Friends.”

Minnetonka High School students, many of whom were taught by Lovelace, served the young students and their families. The three-course meal included chocolate-covered strawberries, scones, grapes, finger sandwiches, mini cupcakes and éclairs served on delicate china plates and tea cups.

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