ABOVE PHOTO: Lankenau Environmental Science High School mothers and daughters at their Mother and Daughter Tea. (Photo by Leona Dixon)
By Leah Fletcher
Lankenau Environmental Science High School hosted its annual Mother and Daughter Tea last week. The event was a modern twist on an old tradition—an old-fashioned garden tea party.
The school’s auditorium was transformed into an outdoor garden and the tables were set with beautiful vintage linens, assorted china cups and teapots and spays of fresh flowers. The party theme was “Hats and Pearls.” Guests donned large-brimmed hats, adorned with flowers, bows and ribbons. And there was a varied selection of hats available for those without them. As nearly 150 mothers and daughters chatted, they perused the program that provided proper formal tea etiquette and the do’s and don’ts of how to properly drink tea.
The tea was the star of the party. Tea choices included floral and fruit flavors such as orange and chamomile, and classic teas like Earl Grey and green tea blends. There was a traditional touch with finger sandwiches, tea cakes and scones. The food was complemented with chocolate-dipped strawberries, fruit salad and an array of cakes and desserts.
Tea party guests were warmly welcomed and escorted into the dining room, set with brightly colored linens. Three types of open sandwiches, cookies, and herbal tea was served. The club members were exemplary in putting their newly acquired manners and conversational skills into practice. Take some inspiration from the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland” and encourage your guests to wear their wildest, most extravagant chapeaux.
“We love putting on the tea,” said Marva Price, program coordinator and a Lankenau support staff member. “It is a wonderful opportunity for us to reach out to our community and celebrate a special time of life. For more than five years, we’ve enjoyed providing mothers and daughters time to spend together, surrounded by friends, during the approaching graduation season,” explained Price, who said it also has been a joy to host returning graduates who attend the event with their own daughters.
The tea was a team effort, with many Lankenau students and friends pitching in to provide food, floral arrangements, and china serving platters and their time in the kitchen. While mostly a female affair, some of Lankenau’s male students volunteered as parking lot guides, guest escorts, and music DJs. The tea’s servers and wait staff also were a group of volunteers.
Student attendees, who participated in the program were Cheyne Dunn, who offered an official welcome and introduced the Mistress of Ceremonies E. Marie Lambert, Emani Bell, Shynera Dorin and Aisha Nelson offered a captivating musical selection. Appropriate for the day, Imani Anderson performed a song she wrote for her mother, who was in attendance. The touching poem prompted many hugs and searches for tissues.
Guest speaker Thera Martin, local radio host on WURD-FM and newspaper columnist, spoke at Wednesday’s tea. Her message addressed the season of change that would occur in the lives of the attending daughters as they embarked on new life journeys. Martin, who was accompanied by her daughter, encouraged the young women to focus on building their self-esteem and bridges of understanding with their mothers. “Don’t let anyone drive a wedge between the relationship you share with your mother,” exclaimed Martin. “Your mothers will sustain you this new life’s journey and it’s most difficult challenges.
Lankenau Principal Karan Dean shared some words of appreciation for the daughters and their moms. “In our fast-paced world, it is easy to be disconnected. The tea gives the girls a venue to say thank you to their moms and that they appreciate them,” explained Dean, who attended the tea with her own mother. “Everything I am is because of my mother. I love sharing this day with her.”
Dean’s sentiment expressed the thoughts of many of the school attendees, who were excited about the opportunity “to get dressed up” and “just be girls” bonding with their moms.
It was evident that the time spent between mother and daughter was key to the tea party’s success. As they left the event engulfed in light laughter, plans already were underway for next year’s tea.