Four of Justin Slaven’s cousins took part in Cotillion Balls and thoroughly relished the experience.
The 21-year-old Timothy Easton Business Technical Institute graduate also enjoyed being part of this year’s event that allows young people to showcase their unique talents. He even went a step further by winning the Escort of the Year award.
“It was something new and I decided to give it a try,” said Slaven, an aspiring independent music producer, who intends to enter Humber College next year to pursue Business and Music studies. “I did not know what to expect going in.
“Now I can safely say it was quite an enriching experience in which I met many positive people who I was able to network with during the career sessions. I also made new friends in my age range who shared similar interests as I do. It was fun, but I am still shocked that I won the Escort of the Year prize.”
One of the people that Slaven easily bonded with was the artistically inclined Debutante of the Year, Tereka Tyler-Davis.
“We both love the arts and share some of the same passions, so it was easy to get along with him,” said Tyler-Davis who began acting at age six and has been a member of the Children’s Dance Theatre for the past five years.
The Grade 12 York Memorial Collegiate student, who also sings and is a member of her school’s jazz choir, was delighted that she finally found the time to enter the Cotillion Ball.
“It was something I wanted to do for quite a while, but I just did not have the time,” she said. “I was determined to do it this year. It was a wonderful experience meeting role models who imparted invaluable life lessons. I also made some lifelong friends.”
Tyler-Davis was a member of the Children’s Dance Theatre group that participated in the 11th Dance and Child international conference in Jamaica last August.
Participants in this year’s Ball took part in workshops that polished their social and life skills through financial planning, career development, entrepreneurship, dining etiquette, public speaking and the significance of making a first impression.
The other Debutantes were aspiring social worker Janelle Heslop; Aleah Goring-Francis who attends Mayfield Secondary School; St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Catholic School student Jameela Baird who intends to become a nurse; 17-year-old Sinclair High School student Natasha Ellis; aspiring professional make-up artist Bianca Morgan; Greenwood College student Vincentia Amoako-Opokua; Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic School Grade 12 student Bianca Henry; Rashida James who loves modeling, reading and animals; Northern Secondary School student Travisha Andrews and former Little Sisters-in-Waiting Ariel Hylton and Christina Smith-Foster.
In addition to Slaven, the other nattily attired Escorts were Newtonbrook Secondary School student Shaquille Mullings who intends to become an entrepreneur; Joshua Gilbert who enjoys sports and reading; Seneca College second-year Business student Jeroen Thomas; Sean-Michael Lawrence whose role models are the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Hall of Fame basketball player Michael Jordan; Cedarbrae Collegiate student Jerome Simmons; Owen Pollonais who attends George Brown College; York University student Husain Campbell; 19-year-old Arden Alexander who is enrolled in Durham College; Kaheel White who counts York Regional Police Inspector Chris Bullen as one of his role models; aspiring Criminal Lawyer Jevon Marshall and D’Angelo Small who attends Thistletown Collegiate.
A group of petite Little Sisters-in-Waiting accompanied the Escorts and Debutantes.
They were Kayanna Aldred, Shawdonnay Belgrove, Trinity Jackson, Jade Jones-Rose, Kianna Langley, Kemora Manning, Shalyah Mullings, Kabryna Robb, Jamilah Staple-Riley, Kaliah Tyson, Teana Walker and Taylor Watson.
Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best delivered the feature address.