My dad died when I was 3, so it really changed the whole trajectory of our family. My brother and I got sent down to Southern Maryland. I went to St. Mary’s Academy, and my brother went to Leonard Hall, which was run by the Xaverian Brothers. I can remember my mother saying, “If I do two things in my life, I will educate you, and I will make sure that you are a lady.” She got really ill when I was 15 and went into the hospital and never came out. I was pretty much raised [and] taught by the nuns, and they were sticklers on manners.
Washington Jesuit [Academy] serves low-income middle school boys from the District. They come in below grade level and leave at or above grade level. I’m all about the children, ’cause I think that’s where it starts. I’m about these boys starting to hold the doors open for women. I’m a stickler on the white handkerchief, because I just think we need to go way back and start doing things that are gentlemanly and ladylike. And it’s not the children’s fault; it’s the parents’ fault, because they’re not teaching the children. I have this sort of funny philosophy: There’s two places we need to make sure children behave: that’s dining out and in church. I just think if they don’t have a sense of having manners there, then they won’t have them anywhere else.