Given the popularity among teen girls of texting and watching "Jersey Shore," an old-fashioned charm school may sound antiquated. Doretha Glenn disagrees.
Glenn, a Fort Mill resident, is CEO of Reflections Unlimited Finishing School for Girls.
"Manners have diminished and we are paying a price. We will self-destruct if we don't bring respect back," said Glenn.
Glenn, a speech pathologist, started Reflections Unlimited four years ago to help 9- to 17-year-old girls reach their potential.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
"Life is all about choices," she said, "but you can limit your options if you don't know societal rules."
The finishing school's curriculum includes etiquette classes on social graces and dining, but it also adds a modern twist by teaching public speaking skills, time management, goal setting and career planning. Character development, dressing for success and promoting a healthy self-image are also discussed. Glenn added finance and budgeting topics and conversational Spanish this year.
"For girls 13 and older, we do a college preparation profile. We look at what their goals are and identify skills they need. Interview skills are so important and so often lacking," she said.
Glenn believes the best education is travel.
"When you travel, you expose yourself to so many new situations and people," she said. "We took the girls to Atlanta, and they saw the Alvin Ailey Dancers, followed by a Japanese hibachi dinner.
"They were able to use the skills they learned." She plans to take the girls to London next.
The finishing school is open to all girls. Glenn encourages her students to be around people who are different from themselves.
"The only way to battle stereotypes and ignorance is through personal relationships," Glenn said. "This teaches everyone to be civil and get along."
She added, "Research shows that character programs and mentor programs improve school and social performance and combat depression in young girls. I know this increases their success."
The school's team of instructors includes a certified social worker, international businesswoman and public speaker.
Sessions cost $40 and meet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Saturday of each month November to Aprilat Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites, 805 W. Arrowood Road, Charlotte. Visit www.reflectcharacter.org or Reflections Unlimited Finishing School for Girls on Facebook for details.