With all the name calling, Twitter spats and vulgar rants filling our news feeds last year, 2017 saw its fair share of bad manners.
Despite cheap shots felt around the world and across political aisles, some beacons of hope shined through. On Tuesday, the National League of Junior Cotillions — yes, that same cotillion that may have organized your middle school dances — released its list of the 10 “best-mannered” people in 2017.
“We believe this year’s student nominations (and our ultimate winners) are a reminder that, whether you are a celebrity, athlete, musician, or politician, America’s young people are watching and they do value character,” National League of Junior Cotillions President Charles Winters said in a statement to USA TODAY, calling this year’s recipients’ contributions “positive, uplifting, and honorary.”
At the top of the list was golfer Rickie Fowler who displayed “consistently well-mannered conduct both on and off the golf course,” the group said.
Notching top-five finishes at the U.S Open and PGA Championship and winning the Honda Classic and Hero World Challenge, Fowler also took time for his fans in 2017. In December, he posted a photo on Instagram after playing a round of golf with a man who died just days later after a fight with pancreatic cancer.
Fowler also earned the praise of golf peers, like Jordan Speith, who called him “one of the nicest human beings in the world,” ESPN reported.
Winning the second spot, three-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman showed “dignity and courage” in 2017 after she said that she, too, was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics’ team physician.
Raisman became the second Fierce Five member to come forward against Nassar, who was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges and awaits sentencing on sexual assault charges. Teammate McKayla Maroney also said in 2017 that Nassar sexually abused her.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson ranked third on cotillion’s list for his Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The NFL rookie not only donated his first paycheck to stadium employees affected by the storm, he also paid to furnish 176 homes being rebuilt due to the damage.
The list rounded off with HGTV’s Fixer Upper host Joanna Gaines, A&E’s Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson, soccer player David Beckham, pop singer Selena Gomez, country musician Thomas Rhett, golfer Matt Kuchar and actress/soon-to-be British royal family member Meghan Markle.
The National League of Junior Cotillions announces the honors each year after students and directors nationwide nominate people with “commitment to honor, dignity, and mannerly conduct.”
Photo: Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports)