NFA eighth graders enjoy tea and socializing at their annual Christmas Tea. Pictured are (from left) Matthew Mitchell, of Lafayette Hill; Chloe Ferraro, of Chestnut Hill; Conner Stephenson, of Mt. Airy; Mary Skobieranda, of Flourtown, Christopher Oldt, of Flourtown, and Mary Pappert, of Plymouth Meeting. (Photo by Terri Hutsell)

NFA eighth graders enjoy tea and socializing at their annual Christmas Tea. Pictured are (from left) Matthew Mitchell, of Lafayette Hill; Chloe Ferraro, of Chestnut Hill; Conner Stephenson, of Mt. Airy; Mary Skobieranda, of Flourtown, Christopher Oldt, of Flourtown, and Mary Pappert, of Plymouth Meeting. (Photo by Terri Hutsell)

During the flurry of Christmas parties and celebrations, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy’s seventh and eighth graders enjoyed a more formal celebration at their annual “Christmas Tea.”

This long-held tradition, celebrated at NFA for more than 40 years, is rooted in the academy’s history as a way to promote the development of social grace and etiquette among its young men and women. A rite of passage for NFA’s older students, this special occasion continues today with the expansion of a teen-friendly dance party to follow the formal luncheon.

Students learned about the importance of posture, poise, and proper table manners in preparation for the event. Gentlemen sported jackets and ties and the ladies donned their fancy party dresses.

Following hors d’oeuvres and lunch, tea and hot chocolate were served with finger desserts, reminiscent of traditional tea fare. The formal party continued with ballroom dance instruction where students learned the steps to the “Cha Cha.”

“From making eye contact to sitting up straight in one’s chair, practicing good manners, shows a lot about a child’s confidence,” according to Lisa Richey, director of the American Academy of Etiquette Inc. The Annual Christmas Tea is one of the many ways NFA demonstrates its commitment to forming confident young men and women of strong character.