Dr. Ellamae Johnson Dennard, patron of the Yellow Elder ITC Club #2828 Debutante Ball offered sober words of advice to the young people during the 33rd Annual ball held recently at the Grand Lucayan Hotel. A host of family, friends and well wishers from the community filled the ballroom to witness the official coming-out ceremony for nine Debutantes who appeared regal and feminine in their beautiful white ball gowns and their escorts handsomely attired in black tuxedos.
Dr. Dennard admonished the debutantes and escorts to seriously reflect on who they would wish to be, to achieve and what legacy they would like to leave. She urged them to think of the significance of the evening and how it impacts them for the way forward.
She stated, “I am extremely proud of the young men this evening who have demonstrated that they desire to be successful in life. I want to encourage you young men to continue to RISE UP, to distinguish yourself as young men with a purpose, young men with vision, young men who are willing to be the head and not the tail. I say to you, let this be the beginning and not the end of the journey.
Continue to strive after your goals and seek to become empowered, regardless of the challenging circumstances. And remember as you do so, knowledge and good grades may get you a job, but good manners will take you around the world. In other words, season you educational achievements with social graces, remembering the please and thank you, and yes ma’am, yes sir, and by all means learn how to treat a lady. Be it your mommy, your sister, your auntie, your cousin or your boo.”
In turning her remarks to the debutantes she reflected on the theme The Rose. She noted that there has always it seems been a fascination with roses. “And truly, that’s what you young women are; beautiful roses growing in our garden and every now and again you need a little sprinkling, a little watering and I hope that what I have to share with you tonight catalyzes your growth in remarkably and unimaginably positive ways.
“Debutantes, you are a treasure of value. Present yourself in such a manner that no one, male or female, can treat you as an inferior being. I say to you, as I said to the young men, strive to maximize your potential and empower yourself so that you can positively impact the lives of others and leave a legacy that is worthwhile. Please allow all that you have garnered over the past months as you participated in this program, to continue to shape and mould you as you mature from year to year. Let what comes forth from you, whether in your speech, in your deportment, or in your actions be like the fragrance that comes forth from the rose.
A young woman must believe that she is a wonderful, powerful force, beautiful in every aspect. She must be empowered to deal with the vicissitudes of life. Best of course, is when this empowerment starts with mothers, grandmothers and other women who take on the task of creating a generation of free, conscious, powerful women who love God, others and themselves. In our current society this empowerment is difficult but so very necessary. I say hats off to all, especially the mothers and grandmothers, and the members of the Yellow Elder Club for their continued efforts to develop leadership skills in young women in The Bahamas. You are doing an excellent job and I applaud you.
Young women are always looking forward – first as young girls then as teens – to womanhood and all it entails. Debutantes, becoming a woman is a process, a journey, not a single event. This evening is but one step in that journey. Step forward with confidence and pride.”
Dr. Dennard concluded by offering five rules to assist the young ladies to mould themselves into “glorious womanhood” The First rule is to love and honour God ! The Second rule is to have respect for yourself and for others. The Third rule is to discipline yourself and dare to be different. The Fourth rule is to commit yourselves to becoming lifelong learners. The Fifth rule is to leave this world a better place than you met it.
One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement of the Debutante of the Year which was awarded to Kevia Ferguson, a student of St. Georges’ High School and Escort of the Year awarded to Clarence Reckley Jr. of Jack Hayward High School, Princess Rose went to Tyler Smith and Aaron Levarity was selected Prince Charming, both students of Bishop Michael Eldon High School . Sunland Baptist Academy students Aaliyah Rigby and William Davis were awarded Lady Grace and Gallant Knight respectively. Miss Gabriella Bowe of the Grand Bahama Catholic High School received the Mavis Sheppard Award and Ashlee Hudson Bishop Michael Eldon High School received the award for Best Essay. The topic was ‘How can social graces and civility stem the tide of violence in our society today?”
The evening of pomp and pageantry was the culmination of weeks of training in the social graces, financial management, leadership, personal grooming, effective communication, dining etiquette, civic responsibility, conflict resolution in addition to completing 10 hours of community service as well as a 500 word essay.
The 2013 -2014 Debutante Committee comprised of Chairman Kaylesa Simmons, Mavis Sheppard, Elizabeth Carey, Kimberly Russell, Pauline Burrows Gardiner, Samantha Colton, Samantha Wilchcombe-Lewis expressed their gratitude to the parents and community for their support.
Published Monday, May 26, 2014