A few enjoyed the polished and graceful sliding of the waltz, some relished the opportunity to network with their peers, while others claim their confidence level has increased leaps and bounds.
The 20 participants in last Saturday’s Cotillion Ball unanimously agreed that the experience allowed them to escape their comfort zone and engage in new challenges.
The formal presentation provided the escorts and debutantes with the opportunity to gracefully display the protocol and etiquette they learned over the past few months leading up to the big night. They also discovered the elegance in themselves and showcased the best examples of Toronto’s African-Canadian community.
“I was very hesitant about doing this because I really did not know what it was all about,” admitted 16-year-old Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute student, D’Antae Hylton, who aspires to be a carpenter. “Now it’s over, I am so glad I participated and I stayed the course. Now, I am much more confident than when I started this journey and I can also boast to my friends and family that I could waltz.”
Whitney DeLyon followed her sisters Paula-Michelle and Anastasia, who took part in the Ball eight years ago.
“They didn’t push me,” said DeLyon, a 17-year-old Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School Grade 12 student. “I wanted to do it for myself and I am glad I did because I am a better dancer and my confidence level has increased. It was just a fascinating experience and one that I would recommend to young people.”
Andreu Black, who aspires to be a professional athlete or an author, said the experience was enriching and enlightening.
“It allowed me to step outside my comfort box and learn new things which I did not know I was capable of,” said the 19-year-old West Hill Collegiate Institute graduate who will pursue post-secondary studies at either Seneca College or Union College in New York. “This experience helped to break down some barriers. I know that I am now a more rounded person and I can confidently interact with people.”
Langstaff Secondary School student, Haley Prescod, was a bit shy and unsure of herself prior to her participation.
“The number one thing I came away with is confidence,” said the 17-year-old, who intends to be a business owner.
The other debutantes were West Hill Collegiate student, Marley Edwards, who aspires to be a teacher; Anisah Julien, who attends Dunbarton High School; aspiring forensic scientist/psychologist Lindsey Charles, who is enrolled in Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute; Humberside Collegiate Institute student, Kamila Manning; D’Onna Ellis, who attends Brother Andre Catholic High School and is interested in becoming a social worker; Shaleka Mullings, who is enrolled in Newtonbrook Secondary School; Father Leo J. Austin student, Kyra Tyson; and University of Toronto student, Rene Tuitt.
Also escorting the beautiful young women were Shamal Colman and Kareem Hamadeh, who aspire to be auto mechanics; Humberside Collegiate student Rafeek Manning, who wants to be a fire fighter or business owner; Jevon Davis, who attends Centennial College; George Brown College student, Zachary Slater; Armando Drummond, who is enrolled in Blessed John Paul II Catholic School; Michael Barrett, who attends Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts and Ryan Black.
A delightful group of Little-Sisters-in-Waiting accompanied the escorts and debutantes.
They were sisters Javayah and Jazariah Hope, Alexiah Johnson-Valladares, Nyasia-Noelle Macaulay, Amelia Colman, Chassady Carter, Shyann Johnson, Crystal Guy, Dayjanai Tyler-Archer and Kemora Manning.
BY RON FANFAIR