The Gauntlet: Pattie Elementary Holds Etiquette Competition

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Provided by PWCS

Before Pattie Elementary School swung open its doors for summer vacation, 20 brave fourth graders participated in The Gauntlet, an oral language and etiquette competition.

Accentuated in their best attire and beaming with smiles, several future leaders competed in various challenges, including “working the room,” debate, impromptu reporting, a lucrative job interview, and engaging during a luncheon. Several local professionals from the community judged the aspiring students by scoring their oral language skills, etiquette, and presentation.

“I’m very nervous, but it’s so much fun! I actually know some of the parents, so it’s actually awesome to see them here,” said fourth-grader Maren. “It’s helped me get a confidence boost because I’m usually kind of scared talking to grown-ups, so this has really helped me a lot with that.”

Reflecting on her experience as a judge, parent volunteer Inita Nesmith said, “I love it. I really do love it.” After taking a pause to look around thoughtfully, she continued, “[Soft skills are] missing, because they’re so connected to technology. So, I really think they should continue to do this every single year. I think it is great for a larger sense of community.”

To participate, interested fourth grade students had to submit an “elevator pitch” over Flipgrid stating why they should be chosen. Of more than 50 students who applied, a committee of staff members selected the top 20 students to participate.

A school-wide focus for Pattie Elementary has been on developing communication skills and etiquette among all students. “Oral language standards are often overlooked and not taught in school, even though they are a part of our curriculum,” said Pattie Elementary Principal RJ Lucciotti.

The Gauntlet is the culmination of oral language skills by testing students in real-world, high-pressure scenarios, which provide a memorable and valuable experience for Pattie students.

Lucciotti said, “[The Gauntlet] and the preparation that went into it, will develop life-long skills and habits of mind that will put each child who participates at a distinct advantage over their peers as they move throughout school and into the workforce.”

While every deserving participant earned a medal of recognition, Aaliyah Wilberforce stood tall as the 2023 Gauntlet Champion, receiving a personalized trophy, her name forever etched on the plaque proudly displayed in the Pattie foyer, and a commemorative jacket honoring her accomplishment.

Before the competition began, Aaliyah reflected on her journey. “The reason I joined The Gauntlet is because I want to communicate with people I have never met before.” Aaliyah confessed she struggled to make friends with new classmates. A desire to break out of her shell led her to improve her soft skills. “I’m even getting better in a skill set I used to not be good at,” she said.

Pattie staff wants to develop The Gauntlet into a school-wide initiative where students of all grade levels participate in similar challenges to improve their soft skills and develop their leadership capacities.


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