Historically a Debutante Ball is the time in a young woman’s life when she is formally introduced to society, and for 59 years the Epsilon Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., has taken pride in forming the hearts and minds of young women and then presenting them to the world, and this day was no different. With the main hall of the Town & Country Resort beautifully adorned in pink and green, and a live jazz band playing as guests were ushered in, the affair proved nothing less than top notch and extremely classy. Following the stylish introduction of the Sorority Members was the invocation and the serving of dinner. Soon after dinner each of the seventeen accomplished, young women, beautifully dressed in white, and on the arm of her tuxedoed escort, was presented. The new pearls and “members of the family” are: Kendall Lauren Anderson, Cherron Nicole Brooks, Khyla Nicole Freeman, Lane Alyse Griffith, Camille Alexandria Harris, Kamryn Monet Harris, Zyanya Hernandez-Grant, Lena Brenelle Hilliard, Tatiana Chante Ciara Hughes, Jada Michalle Irving, Marleigh Je’Nae Lewis, Destiny Elise McLaurin, Saaleha Halona Nettles, Alana Joy Norman, Madeline Isabel Peoples, Ebony Shonte Williams and Kya Louise Willimson.
This year’s Debutante Ball entitled “Ebony Pearls…Celebrating Our Heritage, Embracing Our Future” was held March, 22nd and was the magical culmination of 3 1/2 months of preparation in which “we focus on leadership development, college readiness, personal applications, community service, belief in self, etiquette and poise,” shared President, Darlene V. Willis, Ph.D. “Today is the culminating event where we introduce them to society.” Throughout this chapter’s 59 years of organizing this Debutante Ball, they have given over a million dollars in scholarships, and the majority of the funds raised through this ball go right back towards future scholarships, not only for the debutantes, but also for other youth in the San Diego community. As far as applying to be a debutante, the opportunity is open to anyone that believes in themselves and whose parents also believe in them, as parental or guardian support is of utmost importance during this transformation from ‘grains of sand to Ebony Pearls.’
The significance of reaching young women and uplifting them as soon as possible has not gone unnoticed as the chapter also has an Emerging Young Leaders program in which they work with middle school young ladies and it also serves as a pipeline into the debutante ball. “Our goal is to make sure that they can contribute greatly to society, and we would hope when they go off to college that we have touched their lives enough that they might want to think about that pink and green for Alpha Kappa Alpha…they’re all eager and excited and we know that they are future leaders.” Willis shares.