Tall blonde and in charge, Judi Vankevich looks more like a circus ring leader in her long tailed red coat than the Manners Lady.
Students of Red Deer’s Koinonia Christian School responded well to having the Manners Lady take over their school for the past three days.
“Oh yeah, the kids have really taken to heart what she has been saying,” said Vern Rand, the principal of the school.
Vankevich teaches more then good manners, she teaches how to be a good citizen of the community. And she does it through fun games and presentations.
Teachers at the school said they have noticed a shift in how the students interact with each other.
Grade 4 teacher Ce-lynn Durrant has seen students talk to each other more at recess, as well as recall the lessons that Judi the Manners Lady has taught them this week.
While she was at the school, Vankevich got students in Grades 9 to 12 to volunteer at Loaves and Fishes, Red Deer Food Bank Society, Bibles for Missions and the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre.
“It was great because it was a real eye opener,” said Nathan Liebenberg, a student in Grade 11.
“Giving your time and energy is just as important as giving money,” said Vankevich.
Of all the rude manners out there, Vankevich’s pet peeve is when people do not acknowledge each other when walking by.
“It is the connection of life,” said Vankevich of what happens when people give a simple greeting while passing one another.
Vankevich teaches children all over the world about character. She believes having good manners is one form of having good character.
The students respond to Vankevich because she tries to involve all age groups in her presentations, said Colleen Glasgow, a Grade 5/6 teacher at the school.
When Vankevich is at a school, she tries to have all the grades included.
“Schools should be grade inclusive, not grade snobbish,” Vankevich.
Vankevich, who lives in Vancouver, once worked as a model in Paris. She felt it was superficial and there was something missing. She wanted to do more.
And now she does, one kind word at a time.