“I have come to believe (that Protocol Ball) is the most distinctive thing we do. In a world where our culture is dragging us to the ugly and dark, Protocol Ball stands out as something truly beautiful and of great value. [The students] showed that they can show their individuality dressing with taste and beauty. They can dance like crazy without any hint of unseemliness…It’s the purest form of fun.” –Elizabeth Peckham, 5th Grade Teacher and mother of a WA senior.
As a parent, isn’t THIS what we want for our children? True fun, pure joy, honorable friendships?
The protocol program at Westminster Academy has deep roots and a deep purpose. To teach the students manners, etiquette, and yes, some fun dances. But even more importantly, to teach them about respecting one another, and how to treat their friends of the opposite sex with honor and reverence.
In preparation for the ball, Mr. Kinney sits down with the young men of the Upper School to discuss manners, expectations, dress, and dates. “One of the goals of the protocol program is to teach the male students to behave as gentlemen, with manners and respect,” he explains. “One of the first things I tell them is that you can tell the character of a man by the way he treats those who can do absolutely nothing for him; or how he acts when there is no one around to observe his behavior.” On the evening of the Protocol Ball, there are plenty watching, but the hope is that in training the students on proper behavior for a social evening, they will remember and carry it with them as they proceed into adulthood.
As a result, the Protocol Ball evening is enriching and uplifting, instead of the cultural norm of prom, which can be anything but that. And the students truly appreciate the experience. “As an alumnus, my protocol experience is definitely one of my most treasured memories. I never felt like I missed anything from the ‘Prom experience’, and loved the chance to be beautiful, graceful, and ladylike. I also love that I still know how to waltz!” -Ellen Ellison, Class of 2010