‘The Manners Lady’ visits Christian school

Jeff and Julie Chism with Judi The Manners Lady and Nate, Kenna, Clare and  baby Jack.   - Submitted photo
Jeff and Julie Chism with Judi The Manners Lady and Nate, Kenna, Clare and baby Jack.
— image credit: Submitted photo

Families and students at Oak Harbor Christian School celebrated October’s National Manners Month by hosting “Manners Matter and Character Counts Day” Monday with award-winning singer and entertainer, “Judi The Manners Lady,” focusing on respect, character and good manners.

The day started with an exciting school-wide concert, followed by a break-out session for elementary and a Leadership Boot Camp for the middle school.

The highlight of the day was the evening family concert with Judi The Manners Lady.

For weeks leading up to the event, students learned songs from The Manners Lady’s CD, “It’s Fun to Have Good Manners!” and did activities from her curriculum, “Manners Matter and Character Counts for Kids!”

Principal Dave Zylstra said, “It was exciting to see our students’ response to Judi The Manners Lady’s music and message. They loved singing on stage with Judi as well as role playing fun ways of showing character and respect to parents and authority as well as inclusiveness with their peers. Her CD and Manners Club curriculum has given us a common language to reinforce and build upon all year long.”

Favorite Manners Lady songs from the concert included “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” “The Five Fabulous Phrases,” “The Golden Rule Rap,” “Goodness Gracious Gratitude,” “Obey Your Mom and Dad,” and “The Bad Manners Monsters are Coming to Town!”

Between each song, students role-played “The Five Steps of Awesome Introductions,” “The Secret Code to the Interrupt Rule,” how to open the door or offer a chair for elders or a pregnant woman, and they learned multicultural manners by learning to say hello in 12 languages, “Say Hello to All the World!”

Judi Vankevich, also known as Judi The Manners Lady, performs for schools across the U.S. and Canada, and is an inspirational speaker for teacher and parent groups across the country.

“It’s great to be here in Oak Harbor to inspire and equip students to live with character and manners,” Vankevich said. “After all, our manners are just an outward expression of our inward character.”

She said it was especially meaningful to have all the students whose parents serve in the military stand and be honored, to thank them for protecting freedom. “It was also an honor to meet the Chism family and to meet Jeff, who just returned from serving in Afghanistan and returned home to meet his new baby Jack!” she said.

Students also learned fun and practical ways of showing respect to elders. One happy grandmother in the audience was Joyce Beeksma, grandmother of Tom Dale, who was excited to be one of the students picked to wear the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Heart” costume to chase away “The Bad Manners Monsters.”

Beeksma said of the experience, “It was fun to see the students laughing and singing while learning ways of being respectful — like looking people in the eyes, letting others go first, and wearing ‘happy eyes.’”

The Manners Lady is planning a November tour to Oak Harbor. Schools interested in being part of the tour can call 1-866-ASK-JUDI. For more information and fun things to do, visit

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