Objects in Mirror

Objects in Mirror: September 23, 2009 Archive

Is there a place for finishing schools in today's world?

Posted at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2009 by Julia Schrenkler

MPR's Nikki Tundel reports on something that is not your typical summer camp:

Participants at the Ramsey House Finishing School for Young Ladies spent part of their school vacation studying the Victorian era -- a time of morals, modesty and manners. Instead of seasonal attire like swimsuits and flip flops, these girls donned corsets and petticoats. And rather than roasting marshmallows, they enjoyed formal tea parties.

See for yourself:

Considering the number of comments I read about today's bad manners, I opened an online discussion to cover a few questions. Is this a time-travel experience, or a life experience? Is there a place for finishing schools in today's world? Would you send your children to a finishing school or history camp?

"From an educational point of view, I suppose that it is valuable to show them how fortunate they are to have today's opportunities to be whatever they want to be." - Jim G.

"It is interesting, and could teach a very valuable lesson; about how far women have come. I think it could also deepen a appreciation of the freedoms women enjoy today, by walking in someone's shoes of that era. If I had a daughter, I'd let her go if she expressed an interest first" - Ellen B.

"Ramsey House Finishing School seems to take this idea to an extreme. The Jon D. Williams Cotillions (http://www.cotillion.com/) are a more real-world version of what our kids and American culture desperately need in the face of an increasingly coarse popular culture. [...] I didn't mean to sound negative against the Ramsey House camp. I applaud showing these girls that there are alternatives to gangsta culture, hypersexuality, and pop culture misogyny. Boys need to hear that message too!" - Matt Abe

Join the online discussion to share your thoughts: Is there a place for finishing schools in today's world?

Edited to remove a featured response on request.

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