Antioch students participate in Delta Sigma Theta’s Inaugural Debutante Cotillion

Debutantes ballBy John Crowder

On January 10, 2015, the Contra Costa Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., held its Inaugural Debutante Cotillion at the San Ramon Marriott.

A dozen young ladies from throughout the East Bay participated in the event, which marked the culmination of an almost year-long program that each of them were involved with, entitled Pearls of Perfection. The twelve debutantes celebrated the evening with their escorts, ladies-in-waiting, family, and friends.

The evening began with a greeting extended to all the guests by Crystal McClendon-Gourdine, Ph.D., Chairperson of the 2014-2015 Pearls of Perfection Debutante Program. Following a full-course dinner and entertainment, the young ladies were presented to society by Monica Cherie Scott, Co-Chairperson, and LaConnie Taylor-Jones, Program Workshop Manager. The debutantes participated in a confirmation waltz with their escorts, and were then welcomed to society. The evening ended with a salute to the debutantes, acknowledgments, and a sweetheart song.

The journey to the cotillion began for the young ladies a year earlier, when each had made application to the program. Then, in February, a welcome reception was held, first in a series of fifteen events that would culminate in the cotillion.

Over the course of the next eleven months, the girls attended workshops teaching etiquette, manners and dressing for success, a discussion on self-esteem, and learned to waltz. Other events included a talent showcase and fashion exhibit, a community service project, a cultural event, and both father-daughter and mother-daughter outings.

One unique aspect of the debutante program is the focus on academic excellence and preparation for college. According to Taylor-Jones, “We put a great emphasis on, and have a high standard for academic excellence.” Two of the events the young ladies participate in are a six-hour symposium on education and a college tour.

The parents of the three Antioch students involved in the program all spoke positively about the experience for their children.

Felicia Branch noted that, “The program has given my son, Jarrett (JT), an Antioch High School senior who participated as an escort this year, the opportunity to learn etiquette and how to waltz.” She was also happy to see that her son had the opportunity to make friends with young men and women who shared the same goals of attending college and pursuing professional careers. Taylor-Jones said, “The experience was very exciting for my daughter, Caryn,” who is a junior in the law academy at Deer Valley High School. She went on to say that her daughter was looking forward to participating next year as a debutante. Deborah Hicks, referencing the cotillion said, “The excellent work done by Delta Sigma Theta Inc. made this an outstanding evening for all. I am thrilled at the possibility of my son, Devon, (currently a junior at Cornerstone Christian School) being involved with the program as an escort again next year.”

The sorority is currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 debutante program. Those interested in learning about the program, or in participating, can find more information at

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  1. […] Originally published in the Antioch Herald – Antioch students participate in Delta Sigma Theta’s Inaugural Debutante Cotillion […]

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