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Opinion

The Crowd: Newport Beach presents latest debutante class

2019 Newport Debutantes
The Newport Beach Chapter of National Charity League’s 2019 Debutantes.

Row 1: Allison Cunningham, Blair Cunningham, Sara Robinson, Clarissa Sargeant, Anna Steelberg, Rebecca Welsh, Kate Wirta, Natalie Young and Annalise Zeidan.

Row 2: Ashley Lang, Gianna Lee, Mia Matsunami, Tessa Montgomery, Skylar Neubauer, Leah Padden, Paisley Pittman, Caitlin Purdy, and Caroline Horton.

Row 3: Sara Beasley, Mary Becker, Katharine Caston, Isabella Di Giorgio, Ella Donald, Sophia Fong, Elizabeth Gehl, Ivy Helman, Anne Rankin and Emily Johnson.
(Gilmore Studios)

“This evening is a celebration of commitment and achievement by inspiring young women,” Erin Barnes, president of the Newport Beach Chapter of National Charity League, said in addressing the formal gathering of NCL debutantes, their families and guests at the 2019 Debutante Presentation Ball.

“We honor these young women for their dedication and years of service to our NCL chapter and to the community. And we congratulate them and recognize their parents for their important contribution of encouragement and support.”

The 2019 presentation unfolded over the holidays at Hotel Irvine. The 59th Newport Chapter NCL event attracted more than 400 patrons in support of the 29 debutantes.

Barnes’s remarks resounded in the assemblage; “commitment” is a key word when describing the NCL program.

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Many of the participants began the journey in kindergarten, with all of the young women participating seriously from seventh-grade to high school graduation.

And yes, the parents are just as committed. In the final analysis, the program is a lifestyle path with three essential components: establishing a lifetime social bond, passing on generational values and serving the greater good.

The early origins of the debutante rite of passage were indeed limited to the wealthy and were clearly designed to introduce young women to society to prepare for “proper” marriage to the most promising young men.

While elements of tradition remain, 21st century debs are not being groomed for matrimony. They are being groomed to realize their own best and brightest potential through academics, athletics, arts and culture, and service to those less fortunate and in need.

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To that end, the 2019 class logged 11,140 hours of cumulative service to a cross section of local philanthropic endeavors. In addition, most of the debs graduated high school with 4.0 or better GPAs and are enrolled in colleges and universities nationwide.

At the event, which was produced with appropriate pomp and ceremony, 2019 ball director Jennifer Norminton shared that many of the debs are attending university as recruited athletes, furthering their high school success as team captains, class leaders and honor roll students.

The class also boasts valedictorians, advanced placement scholars and recipients of awards from the California Scholarship Federation, National Honor Society and the Associated Student Body.

Assisting Norminton was a committee of parents deserving recognition, including assistant director Cindy Valdes, Elizabeth Bennet, Jennifer Brown, Teryn Clarke, Jenny Cooper, Bita Dastghelb, Kathy Fitzpatrick, Jana Kalinowski, Sally Marquis, Donna McAllister, Marymichael Neushul, Monique Tipton and Lori Williams.

The society orchestra of Jay Sterling provided the entertainment, and the elegant white-on-white décor was provided by Karla Flores of Elegant Design.

Taking the St. James bow, escorted by proud dads and escorts, were the NCL Class of 2019, including Sara Beasley, Mary Becker, Katharine Caston, Allison Cunningham, Blair Cunningham, Isabella Di Giorgio, Ella Donald, Sophia Fong, Elizabeth Gehl, Ivy Helman, Caroline Horton, Emily Johnson, Ashley Lang, Gianna Lee, Mia Matsunami, Tessa Montgomery, Skylar Neubauer, Leah Padden, Paisley Pittman, Caitlin Purdy, Anne Rankin, Sara Robinson, Clarissa Sargeant, Anna Steelberg, Sienna Stewart, Rebecca Welsh, Kate Wirta, Natalie Young and Annaliese Zeidan.


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