The Crowd: Young women 'come of age' at ball

The 19th Assistance League of Newport-Mesa Medallion Debutante Ball presented 10 exceptional young women to local society July 18.

More than 200 family members and close friends joined hands applauding the accomplishments of the debutantes at an elegant Sunday evening coming-of-age ceremony held at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort in Newport Beach.

A celebration that caps four years of community service that begins in the ninth grade, the debutantes first take their path as members of the "Assisteens Auxiliary." The program was inaugurated in 1962, the first such teen volunteer program of its kind in Orange County.

During their high school years, the girls participate in Assistance League philanthropic endeavors, including working at the Cheri Harris Children's Dental Health Center, Costa Mesa, along with many community outreach programs, such as Operation School Bell, which provides school supplies and clothing for children and families in need.

Additionally, the girls volunteer in the League Thrift Shop and Consignment Store in Costa Mesa, helping to raise funds that are used to support charitable outreach.

Master of ceremonies Robert Dale Johnston introduced the mothers of the debutantes, escorted into the BBC ballroom by the escorts of the young women wearing the traditional white gowns.

As the song "Stout Hearted Men" was performed by the Barry Cole Orchestra, the fathers of the debutantes entered the ballroom and waited for their daughters to be formally presented prior to escorting them to the stage to be individually recognized for their high school accomplishments and future college plans.

The formal program then followed with the father-daughter dance to a classic waltz as the escorts waited patiently until it was their time and their turn, to cut in on the fathers in a time-honored tradition.

Congratulations to the Assistance League's 2010 debutantes: Sarah Bernatz, Samantha Carroll, Kasey DeYoung, Natalie Hupp, Victoria Leonard, Kristianna Schlesinger, Madyson Scully, Alexandra Thomas, Kaely Turney and Jacqueline Urbanus.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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