Children learn to mind their manners through etiquette, cotillion programs
Caroline Zachar has a long pedigree of cotillion-educated family members. Zachar, her husband, her father and siblings are all graduates of Hazel Nowakowski’s cotillion program in Coral Gables. Hazel and Rod Nowakowski started the first Cotillion Club in Coral Gables in 1948.
“It was a tradition, as well as an opportunity, to learn social dance, etiquette and socialize with your peers,” Zachar said. “She taught for decades.”
Back then, cotillion classes began in the seventh grade, graduating to grand cotillion, junior assembly, and, finally, debutante balls. Zachar met her husband, Stefan, when she was 16 at junior assembly, now a thing of the past.
“They put these parties on to have everyone socialize with children from other schools and meet them,” Zachar said. “It was a nice way to get to know children from other schools.”
Zachar started her own cotillion courses 22 years ago; her company, Polite Company, teaches students from third through eighth grade, teaching at country clubs, churches and temples around the county.