The room fell silent as Commissioner Terri Lodge Kelly recited a powerful phrase from biblical text: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Gatherers who were familiar with the text began shouting sounds of praises as the Burke County Debutante and Debonair Society held its 20th annual Cotillion Beautillion at Burke County High School.
Since its founding in 1989, the Debutante and Debonair Society has devoted its time in promoting social skills, personal appearance, self-esteem and intellectual achievement among men and women ages 17-18.
With generations of inductees presented to society, many of them have gone on to graduate from college while pursuing various career fields.
2014 inductee, Monica Boyd said it was the remarkable men and women before her that prompted a desire in wanting to be invited into the society.
“I wanted to go forward and do great things,” Boyd said. “During my senior year of high school, the society was something that every young girl looked forward to, and, only hoped that they could be extended an invitation. One of the best parts was dancing with my Dad and wearing the huge white dress. It’s almost like a wedding before the wedding.”
During the months leading up to the cotillion, the young women and men involved participate in a number of activities that consist of a series of social classes.
Members are also afforded the ability to attend various functions while raising money for scholarships.
“In all, the girls this year have raised a total of six-thousand dollars for their scholarships,” President Cynthia Griffin Hill said.
Newest inductee, Brikyia Benjamin stated that her experience was very beneficial and wanted to leave a small piece of advice for future inductees.
“During the whole cotillion, it was joyous and full of love, life and laughter,” she said. “To future debutants, if you get a letter to be a part of the society, do take it.”
In a message addressed to all the newest debutants, Griffin said she hopes they will continue to strive for the best in their future endeavors.
This article originally appeared in The True Citizen.