Former Saints player's foundation sponsors etiquette class at J.K. Haynes Elementary School

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Former New Orleans Saints player, Mike McKenzie, was at J.K. Haynes Charter Elementary School Friday, October 20 to congratulate 5th and 6th grade girls who finished an etiquette program sponsored by his organization. McKenzie, who was originally drafted by the Green Bay Packers, played cornerback for the Saints from 2004 to 2009. Even though he was cut before the playoffs that year, the team still gave him a Super Bowl ring after they beat the Colts on February 7, 2010.

McKenzie's 34 Ways Foundation sponsors the five-week program, called "Young, Gifted, and Classy." The program was taught by McKenzie's friend and 34 Ways Foundation member, Carolyn Shelton, a former flight attendant, who has been teaching etiquette to young people for almost 40 years. She says she was inspired to mentor when she returned to her old neighborhood after traveling the world and noticed children misbehaving.

Students at J.K. Haynes learned the fundamentals of manners, including the importance of as saying "please," "thank you," and "may I." They were also taught how to properly sit and eat at the dinner table. The students were joined by their parents on Friday for a sit-down lunch to celebrate the completion of the program.

McKenzie and his wife, Rachel, who are expecting their fourth child, told us why they enjoy putting on programs like these.

"We understand what it's like to have young kids, us having a 6-year-old, a 7-year-old, a 12-year-old and one on the way. A lot of times, some of the basic things can get caught in the shuffle, with parents working, the hustle and bustle. A lot of times, parents don't have the time to make a home-cooked meal. But spending time with your kids there's no replacement for the time (you spend with your kids)."

Diana Haynes, director of J.K. Haynes Charter Elementary, says school officials were thrilled when McKenzie proposed the program.

"This has been a fantastic program. This is our 20th anniversary of being a school, so this is a wonderful way to celebrate. When Rachel and Mike came to us with this particular program I thought it was an awesome program. Because We wanted the children to be well rounded. (School is) about academics but you also need them to have manners and know how to behave when they go out (in public)."

Another organization is currently sponsoring a similar etiquette program for 5th and 6th grade boys at the school.

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