The Crowd: Debutantes, and a longtime couple, have a ball

If it's summer, it must be the season of the debutante for the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa. The 22nd Annual Medallion Recognition Debutante Ball unfolded recently in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, introducing 21 young women to Orange County society. As tradition dictates, all of the 2013 debutantes are members of the Assisteens Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa, concluding six years of community service through a program that begins in the seventh grade and culminates with high school graduation.

This year's gala was chaired by two lovely Lido ladies, Christine Overstreet and Judy Weightman. Christine's debonair husband, Dennis Overstreet, proprietor of the internationally famous Beverly Hills Wine Merchant, served as emcee for the white-tie evening on the coast. Assisting the chairs were fellow Assistance League members Joanne Johnston and Stacy Mamatas and her husband Phillip.

In classic style, the debs wore elegant white ball gowns accented by long white gloves, and each young woman carried a pomander of coral and pink blossoms. Escorted by their fathers or significant others, each girl crossed the dance floor and presented her mother with a long stem pink rose prior to ascending the stage and taking her St. James bow. A champagne and sparkling cider toast followed as families and friends joined together to celebrate the very special evening, a rite of passage for these young ladies from youth into adulthood.

Many of the debutantes represent legacies following in the footsteps of mothers and grandmothers, sisters and aunts who have served the Newport-Mesa community through Assistance League programs. The purpose of the Assisteen Auxiliary is to teach young women leadership development, community service and the importance of philanthropy in the community. For the 21 young debutantes during the year 2012-13, a cumulative total of more than 6,400 hours of service assisted people less fortunate in this affluent part of America. Congratulations to the debutantes and their families. The young ladies taking their bow include Michelle Brookes, Brianna Check, Megan Clarkson, Sara Cluck, Kaitlyn Cosenza, Chloe Dapp, Skylar Dapp, Brittany Delaney, Reegan Dennis, Katie Gaitan, Alejandra Glover, Alexandria Mamatas, Morgan Mexia, Kristina Miller, Nikki Muehlhauser, Anna Newman, Nicolette Poivre, Tiffany Silverstein, Carolyn Smith, Amelia Thomas and Alexandra Vrabeck.


A 70-year milestone

World War II raged on. The year was 1943, the date was Aug. 8, and the town was Tacoma, Washington. Corinne Picard married David Black in a family ceremony promising hope for the future in spite of the chaos in the world around them at the time. David was in uniform and Corinne in her white gown promising to love, honor and cherish. Seventy years have passed, and on July 28 at Santa Ana Country Club, Corinne and David raised their champagne glasses for a remarkable anniversary celebration that brought together family and friends, mostly from the Blacks' 54-year history in Costa Mesa.

Dave Black is a retired publishing executive formerly of Road & Track and Modern Maturity magazines and the Wright Publishing Company. Former journalists and staff members from Black's career joined Corinne's friends from the Camelot Chapter auxiliary of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa and the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood, all of which she has been active with for many years.

Family members in attendance included Betty and David Black Jr. of Aptos, California, Melissa and Steven Black of Lake Oswego, Oregon, daughter Kristin and her husband Brian Bruning, grandsons Nathan and Austin Black and cousins Diane and Jerry Rombotis. As the music of the Phil Mallory trio entertained the crowd, dinner was served and sentimental toasts began to flow. Dave Black captured the emotional moment with his words, "When all the stars at last begin to dim and fade, the universe will still be brightened by our love."

Corinne and Dave Black were among the first Newport-Mesa citizens I met when I began my job as a columnist with the Daily Pilot some 20 years ago. It was the occasion of their 50th anniversary, which I reported in the newspaper. Corinne asked me if I would cover their 70th anniversary when it came around, and it's hard to believe that all this time has passed. So here is to covering the 80th anniversary of Corinne and David Black. Congratulations, love and best wishes from your community.

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

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