Millennium becomes classroom for fine dining

Published 7:37 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
NILES - Students from all four Cass County high schools - Dowagiac, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Marcellus - broke bread together Tuesday evening at the Millennium Steak House.
Bread, we might add, that they have been taught to pass counterclockwise around the table.
They looked the part, too, trading T-shirts and flip-flops for coats, ties and dresses.
A young gentleman was seen helping a young lady into her coat after their foray into fine dining and social graces.
Their meal of chicken, wild rice, green beans and cake was the payoff for the couple of hours they spent last Thursday going through the equivalent of etiquette boot camp with Dona Billey-Weiler, director of adult education and life enrichment, at the COA in Cassopolis.
On April 20 Billey-Weiler will be presenting a symposium on "The Hoarding and Cluttering Behavior of Older Adults," including the documentary "Packrat."
Adults accompanying the students sounded like attorneys after hours as they made small talk about all the soap-opera-like court action - Robert Blake's murder acquittal, Michael Jackson's molestation trial and Terri Schiavo's right-to-die controversy over whether to remove her feeding tube or to keep a comatose woman alive.
Grown-ups' chitchat helped mask their own apprehension that while seated before Billey-Weiler they might commit a manners faux-pas of pointing their cloth napkin in the wrong direction, selecting an inappropriate fork for a hubcap-sized serving of salad or tempted to nibble prematurely before others' plates settled onto the crisp white tablecloth.
It's certain she didn't counsel them on how to compete on "Fear Factor," but one morsel of her presentation especially stuck with students.
Another aspiring actress, ninth grader Holly McCuddy, said Business Club runs concessions, organizes activities such as a dodgeball tournament, trips to Chicago and, with Humanities Club, Boston this spring.
Jordan Crandall, who is in the master's of business administration program, will show the Dowagiac visitors around Harvard.
Business Club's annual fundraiser is a candy bar sale, but it's also looking into selling orange-and-black Chieftain wristbands.
Edwardsburg's Business Club is new this year and is advised by Dowagiac's Tanya Lillie, who teaches accounting and computers in that school system.
Dodgeball, repopularized by the movie, grew out of last year's spring "fun night" with basketball and board games "to give kids something to do after school. This year we thought of something different. It went off really well. Business Club isn't a strict club where you have to show up every meeting, it's just a group of kids who are interested in different aspects of the business world," said Scott, who expects to study finance or portfolio management at the School of Commerce at DePaul University in Chicago.