Teenagers from John Gray High School got a crash course in the do’s and don’ts of fine dining Wednesday at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman in a program aimed at giving them the social skills to take their mothers out to dinner.

Christopher Murray, a counselor at the school who runs the “Boyz 2 Men” group for youngsters who have been having behavior issues, said the aim was to show the youngsters another side of life. From knowing which fork to use first to holding the door for a lady, the boys were taught skills to help them become gentlemen.

“For one or two of them, it is the first time they have been at The Ritz-Carlton,” he said.

“It is not just about learning to behave like a man, but learning to be a gentleman. If you behave a certain way, life will repay you.”

George Duran and Ernesdo Ebanks listen as Peter Baics, food and beverage manager at Blue restaurant, talks about table etiquette.
George Duran and Ernesdo Ebanks listen as Peter Baics, food and beverage manager at Blue restaurant, talks about table etiquette.

He said the ultimate aim of the program is for each of the 17 boys to take their mothers out for a meal at a nice restaurant.

He said the boys face numerous challenges at school from peer pressure and relationships to the temptation of drugs and alcohol. The group aims to put them on the right path and give them the power to make informed decisions.

John Gray Principal Jon Clark said the visit to The Ritz-Carlton also opened up new horizons for the boys.

He added, “No matter how much trouble they get into or how rough and tough they seem sometimes, it’s easy to forget they are still just children and they all love their mums and want to make them proud.”

He said the training offered them a glimpse of the opportunities in Cayman.

Ernesdo Ebanks, 15, admires a piece of art at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. - PHOTOS: MATT LAMERS
Ernesdo Ebanks, 15, admires a piece of art at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. – PHOTOS: MATT LAMERS

“A lot of them pass this hotel on the school bus every day. It is amazing for them to see what’s behind the doors,” he added.

Barry Dre-Tibbetts, 14, said he was grateful for the opportunity and hoped to be able to take his mum and grandmother out to a nice restaurant.

Denzel Cruz, also 14, said, “I hope to learn how to be a better person in life and to learn a bit more about The Ritz-Carlton.”

Kristen Ford, the human resources manager at the Seven Mile Beach resort, gave the group a tour of the hotel before they received instruction in the hotel’s kitchen area.

She said, “I think it is fantastic. It is an opportunity for them to feel proud of something they have accomplished and for their mums to feel proud of them and see the results of the program.”

John Gray High School students receive restaurant etiquette tips from Blue restaurant's Food and Beverage Manager Peter Baics. - PHOTOS: MATT LAMERS
John Gray High School students receive restaurant etiquette tips from Blue restaurant’s Food and Beverage Manager Peter Baics. – PHOTOS: MATT LAMERS
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