Etiquette Dinner Photo Collage

April 8, 2024

Education Forward Arizona Hosts Etiquette Dinner to Empower Scholarship Recipients for Success

Five course meal prepared and served by culinary students at the Metro Tech High School Banquet Hall 

Education Forward Arizona recently hosted an etiquette dinner at Metro Tech High School, providing more than 40 of its scholarship recipients with essential etiquette training and protocol. The event aimed to equip the scholars, many of whom are first-generation college students, with the skills needed to excel in both their academic and professional pursuits.

Education Forward Arizona not only provides financial support to its scholars but also offers wraparound services, such as professional development initiatives and mentorship throughout their postsecondary program. The organization understands the importance of fostering confidence and fortitude in students. The etiquette dinner, which was held on Thursday, April 4, played a critical role in boosting scholars’ confidence and preparing them for real-world situations.

“Through events like this one, we’re not only teaching them etiquette protocol, but also developing the confidence they need to thrive in both their academic and professional pursuits,” said Myrna Cardenas, Senior Director of Success Services Partnerships at Education Forward Arizona. “We want to empower our scholars to navigate any scenario, now and in the future, with poise and self-assurance. We want them to know they have the skills they need to reach their goals and excel in all aspects of their lives.”

The etiquette training was led by Melissa Goitia, Executive Director, Office of University Events & Protocol at Arizona State University. Werner emphasized the importance of such events in helping students feel more comfortable as they transition into their careers and interact with colleagues, supervisors, and corporate clients.

“When you go into a situation like that and you don’t have to worry about ‘am I doing the right thing,’ ‘am I dressed the right way,’ — you can just go in with confidence that lets you focus on what the job at hand is,” Goitia added. “Not everyone has the opportunity to learn how to navigate professional dinner etiquette protocol firsthand, so attending events like this is a really good start.” 

In addition to etiquette training, the students left the dinner with knowledge about event research and networking. Students were seated amongst leadership from Education Forward Arizona and members of its board of directors, providing an opportunity for firsthand experience. 

“It’s very important to have that knowledge so that you’re going in prepared,” said Gabriel Garcia, a scholar studying marketing at Arizona State University. “You have a better chance to stand out and be successful.”

The event showcased the talents of Metro Tech High School students. Culinary students prepared and catered the dinner, while students from the Business Operations & Floral Design program created stunning centerpieces for the dining tables. This collaboration aligns with Education Forward Arizona’s mission to advocate for programs that equip students with the skills they need to thrive in a competitive workforce, including technical training. And it left a special mark on the students’ experience, too. 

“I think one of my favorite parts of the event was that it’s at Metro Tech, and that all the food was prepared by students. Even the centerpiece flowers were prepared by students,” said Sophia Page, a scholar studying Environmental Studies at Arizona State University. “That was one of the more special things about the evening.” 

“The food was exquisite, and I was amazed by the fact that high school students made this,” said Velene Horseherder, a scholar studying communication at Northern Arizona University. “A five-course meal created and served by high school students!” 

The event was sponsored by Carstens Family Funds, a founding supporter of Education Forward Arizona’s scholarship fund. Through their generous contributions, Carstens Family Funds has supported 11 cohorts of students with $2.7 million in scholarships, making a significant impact on our students’ achievements. 

It’s generosity like this that allows Education Forward Arizona to continue to empower scholarship recipients through meaningful professional development initiatives, ensuring they have the confidence and skills necessary for long-term success.

“I was just so grateful to be invited,” said Horseherder. “This is truly one of the best experiences I had so far this year.”