Pearls of Perfection celebrates accomplishments of girls in Antioch and the Bay Area

Pearls of Perfection Cotillion dance was held on January 9, 2016 at the San Ramon Marriott. photo courtesy of Jovanka Beckles

Pearls of Perfection Cotillion dance was held on January 9, 2016 at the San Ramon Marriott. photo courtesy of Jovanka Beckles from her Facebook page.

By Nick Goodrich

The Contra Costa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta started 2016 off right. On January 9th, their Pearls of Perfection program held its annual Cotillion Ball, in recognition and celebration of the eleven young ladies that successfully completed the 9-month process.

These young women began their journey in early 2015, when they were officially inducted into the program as Debutantes. Nearly a year of hard work and dedication culminated in the black-tie Cotillion Ball, held at the San Ramon Marriott Hotel in San Ramon.

Pearls of Perfection is a comprehensive program that has produced well-rounded graduates since it’s inception. Girls become eligible for Pearls of Perfection after 11th grade, but may participate as a Lady-in-Waiting for a year before beginning the main program. Once they are accepted as Debutantes, the young ladies attend a series of events and workshops over the next year, focusing on personal growth and education as they prepare for the next step after high school.

Pearls of Perfection’s goal is to provide young women with the resources and ability to succeed in the future, and become active contributors in their community. That means that academic excellence is emphasized, along with etiquette programs, promotion of self-awareness and self-esteem, and other skills that participants can rely on for the rest of their lives. Community service is just one other aspect of the Pearls program, allowing the women the chance to participate in service projects to instill the importance of giving back to the community. The participants even plan out and execute a project to gain leadership and real-world experience, reminiscent of the Boy Scouts of America’s Eagle Scout projects. The current graduates of the program held a fashion show for their project, which sported a dual-theme of “college” and “TV shows”. The ladies began by presenting the colleges they planned to attend, and transitioned to the lighter theme of popular TV shows later in the evening.

But the program’s main focus, and one of the reasons it is valued so highly, is its emphasis on college preparedness. Delta Sigma Theta places a high value on education before, during, and beyond high school, and that is reflected in how Pearls of Perfection is constructed. Ladies undergoing the program participate in a series of college preparedness workshops, including resume-building, scholarship and financial aid seminars, and segments that emphasize awareness of and readiness for the college application process. By the time the annual Cotillion Ball rolls around, these women are focused and prepared for the excitement and challenges that college will bring.

Brenda Captain-Edwards heard about the program in 2015, and it was not long before her daughter Brandi had expressed interest and was enrolled as a Lady-in-Waiting. That part of the program lasts a year, and is available to girls who have not reached the age requirement to become a Debutante, but are eager to get involved. It allows them to experience a healthy dose of Pearls of Perfection before starting as a Debutante, and to get a grasp of what the program is like and what they will be learning.

“Most of the participants started when they were seniors, and went right into the Debutante program,” said Captain-Edwards. “But there were a few others like Brandi that were 11th graders, and were preparing to go into the Debutantes. They’re similar but they do some things differently, like the Mock Trial, which was wonderful. Parents were able to come in and be the jury, so it was really fun.”

Parental involvement is a big part of the Pearls program, and they are able to participate in many of the program’s workshops and events. Mrs. Captain-Edwards found the financial aid and scholarship segment to be particularly helpful, as the college financial aid process can be confusing. But she and her daughter Brandi feel well-versed in the system. Confidence going into the college application process affords families the freedom to thoroughly explore every option and find the best fit for each participant.

As for Brandi, she has gotten a taste for the program after participating as a Lady-in-Waiting, and she is looking forward to the next step.

“Before I got into the program, I kind of thought I would be around snotty people, because you hear the word Debutante,” she laughed. “But once you get to know the girls, they’re the same as yourself. You start hanging out with them more, and it’s just a really good program.”

Brandi, a student at Deer Valley High School, completed the Ladies-in-Waiting program earlier this year, and is set to begin as a Debutante in March. As a junior in high school, she is already a great deal ahead of many of her classmates, who have not had the benefit of preparing for college as thoroughly or early on as Pearls of Perfection participants are able to.

Overall, Pearls of Perfection continues to produce graduates that are prepared to succeed at every stage of their lives. The program recognizes that college is an important part of the foundation that these women will build to rely on in the future, and Brenda and Brandi feel prepared to meet the challenge that it presents. “Since she’s been in the program, what I’ve seen is growth in leadership, etiquette skills, and an overall career awareness, which includes her academics now, and how she’s planning on mapping out her college experience,” said Brenda of her daughter.

“Polished, poised, and prepared” is the mantra of Pearls of Perfection, and they continue to guide young women in meeting these standards to the highest degree. More information on the Pearls of Perfection Program can be found at

the attachments to this post:

Pearls of Perfection Cotillion dance

2 Comments to “Pearls of Perfection celebrates accomplishments of girls in Antioch and the Bay Area”

  1. Reginald Jamal Brown says:

    Why are there only black people in this picture? Is this program only to help black women succeed?

    • Publisher says:

      This is an effort by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, whose Mission Statement, according to the organization’s website is as follows:
      “Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is an organization of college educated women committed to constructive development of its members and to public service with a primary focus on the Black community.”
      Allen Payton, Publisher

Leave a Reply