The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Delta Omega Omega Chapter hosted its 50th Debutante Cotillion on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

This year’s cotillion, called the Golden Ball, marks the 50th Cotillion and the 2018 celebration will mark the 50th year.

Debutantes, family and friends enjoyed interactive food and beverage stations as they mixed and mingled during the reception that preceded the ball.

“At the Cotillion, 45 prim and proper young ladies dressed in formal white gowns danced across the floor to the Traditional Waltz with their fathers and then with their escorts. They followed up with the Cotillionette and a contemporary dance segment called The Golden Flare,” according to a news release.

The theme for this year’s Cotillion was “Precious Pearls Radiating Golden Beauty.”

“The fabulous decorations for the cotillion were attributed to the dream and creativity of the decorations committee chaired by sorority member, Dr. Jacquelyn Pryor,” said Program and Presentations Chairman Mattie Collins.

The presenters were Dr. Roy Burrell and his wife, Attorney Keidra Burrell who are both natives of New Orleans, Louisiana, but are now residents of Pine Bluff.

“During the formal introduction to society, each young lady took the floor individually to be presented to the audience of over 600 proud parents, relatives, mentors and supporters as their personal accomplishments and aspirations were announced,” the news release said.

The Honorable Judge Alex Guynn gave the official welcome to society. Felicitations were given by sorority member Sheena Meadows.

Sheena Meadows, Interim Assistant to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, presented the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Scholarships and awards to all 45 Debutantes on behalf of Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander.

“I would like to encourage you all to become a part of the pride,” Meadows said, addressing the debutantes.

Debutante Kennedy McCoy was awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship to UAPB for having the highest ACT score of 29. Other scholarships in varied amounts were awarded for books, tuition, and room and board cost.

Hundreds of scholarships have been awarded since the first Debutante Cotillion was held in 1968 at Hestand Stadium. Debutantes completed a three-month program that exposed them to social, cultural, academic, and community service projects to support them in their success after high school.

Delta Omega Omega Chapter member Mrs. Willette Totten, confirmed that they were all certifiably equipped to be presented as they enter their new chapter in life. Golden Member of the sorority, Dr. Carolyn Blakely, followed up with the reading of expectations for Debutantes.

"When we are old and sleepy and all the stars of evening fall. We, yet, will cherish memories of "The Great Cotillion Ball."; excerpt of a poem written by Helen S. Cotton was read by Ms. Keisha Cawley. Cotillion guests were entertained with heart-warming songs from three dynamic soloists including Ms. Morgan Monk, Mr. Bobby Racy, Jr. and Mr. Duane Jackson. Reception entertainment was performed by Mr. Joshua Fletcher on piano.

Debutante Elise Darton, a senior at Pine Bluff High School, was crowned as Miss Debutante 2017 by Tri-Chairmen Ms. Commeka Goodloe, Ms. Michaela Howard and Mrs. Lavatia Wooten.

Darton is the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Arnold Robertson, Jr. and Mr. Elward Darton, II. Miss. Darton’s escort for the evening was Mr. Diaundre’ Ellison, son of Ms. Maricha Walker and Mr. Clint Ellison.

Miss Darton said, “I am excited to be completing my final year of high school and becoming a Debutante has been one of the highlights of my senior year! I’ve had the chance to meet so many young ladies from different backgrounds who share the same qualities as mine and who want to attend college, graduate, and have a successful career, while giving back to the community. I chose to become a Debutante so that I could learn how to better prepare myself for life after high school. It was my hope that I would learn what it takes to become a successful and respectable young woman in today’s society. The activities that I attended will allow me to use what I learned, not only while attending college, but for the rest of my life. My mom Damiccah Robertson was also a Debutante, so I am very excited and honored to be introduced to society, just as she was in 1994!”

First Runner-Up, Debutante Corinne Ridgell stated, “My experience as a Debutante in the 2017 Debutante Cotillion of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has been a learning experience as well as exciting and rewarding. I have met so many people from many different communities. Having participated in the various events and activities, I have gained knowledge, self- confidence, and character. It was rewarding when I was awarded an academic award and a book scholarship from the First Sisters Outreach, Inc. I hope that my learning experiences will assist me in my future endeavors and I pray that my future will include assisting young women in reaching their goals.”

Second Runner-Up, Debutante Nia Hall, is a Debutante from Little Rock Central High School and she traveled frequently to Pine Bluff to participate in activities and this grand event.

Ms. Hall followed up with “I am glad that I was awarded second runner-up in the 2017 Debutante Program. This was a great accomplishment for me! Honestly, I was not interested in participating in the process initially. Not to mention, my dance skills were not the greatest. As I attended each event, I learned that the program is more about interacting with, supporting, and empowering other young African American women from various backgrounds, communities and other schools. However, the most important memory that I will take with me from Debutante experience is the self-confidence I have gained to complete this commitment. As I asked friends and family for donations, I realized their love and commitment to my future and dream of attending the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was unquestionable. In the end, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Debutante Cotillion and to being among such beautiful young ladies.”

Dr. Jacquelyn McCray, a Golden Member of the sorority, announced Debutante Briana Johnson as the winner of the 2017 Margaret Spearman Award.

Miss Briana Johnson said, “As a 2017 Debutante, the experience has been great. This journey, has taught me leadership and social skills. I have learned to be more confident with myself and believe that I can achieve whatever goals I set for myself. This event and opportunity has opened up many doors for me. I have also developed friendships with the other girls that I hope last forever. I would like to thank the Tri-Chairmen for helping me become a better me. I will never forget this experience.”

Debutante Kaylin Dean was awarded the Miss Congeniality Award. This award was given to the friendliest and most amiable Debutante which was determined by a vote among the Debutantes.

A Golden Member of the sorority, Mrs. Dorothy McFadden, was also recognized for her years of work with the sorority choreography. The award was presented by member Chandra Griffin, who explained that the award was a surprise to Mrs. McFadden, but that she was unable to attend due to another obligation. 2016 Miss Debutante, Miss Alexi Mack, was also unable to attend the event due to illness; however, her grandmother, sorority member Mrs. Ruthie Mack, provided remarks.

Entry into the Debutante Program required a recommendation and grade point average of 2.50 and above. According to Tri-Chairmen Commeka Goodloe, “Most of the participants had very high ACT scores as well and cumulative grade point averages of 3.00-4.00.”

Not only did these young ladies learn social skills, but they were also taught skills to prepare them for their ACT. They were also taken on college tours that educated them on what college entails and what is required to excel at that level of education.

"This 50th Debutante Cotillion is a vital part of our chapter’s history; some of these young ladies’ mothers were once debutantes," said Debutante Program and Presentation Committee Chairman and chapter member, Mattie Collins.

“This group of young ladies were remarkable! Being selected to become a Debutante is a great honor and privilege that is only extended to a very limited number of young women,” said the Debutante Publicity Committee Chairman and chapter member, Deborah A. Thomas.

This year’s Debutante Ball closed with refreshments in the lobby. Aramark Catering services provided food for the reception. Mrs. Rossia Brown-Broughton, chaired the committee.

This year’s Golden and historical event required the help of numerous committee members in order for it to be successful. In addition to Tri-Chairmen Commeka Goodloe, Michaela Howard, and Lavatia Wooten, President, Willette Totten and other Delta Omega Omega Officers, Committee Chairmen, Committee Co-Chairmen and numerous Delta Omega Omega Members who worked tirelessly. Golden Members with fifty years of service within the sorority include: Carolyn Blakely, Jessie Clemmons, Gwendolyn Cooper, Barbara Gathen, Katryne Horton, Jacquelyn McCray and Dorothy McFadden. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated is an international service organization that was founded in 1908 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. It is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African-American college-educated women.

The 45 2017 Debutantes represented: Dollarway High School, Little Rock Central High School, North Little Rock High School, Pine Bluff High School, Ridgway Christian High School, Sheridan High School, Warren High School, Watson Chapel High School and White Hall High School.

For additional information concerning the Debutante Cotillion please contact Tri-Chairmen at commekagoodloe@yahoo.com, myssmyke256@yahoo.com, or lwooten70@icloud.com.

Book Sponsorship Scholarships were awarded to the following Debutantes:

LM Wind Power

Gold sponsorship

Deb Kamrin Peters

Special Contributors

Highest ACT

Deb Kennedy McCoy

Miss Congeniality

Deb Kaylin Dean

Margaret Spearman Award

Deb Briana Johnson

UAPB 2018 Fall Book Scholarship

Deb Corrinne Ridgell

UAPB 2018 Fall Book Scholarship

Deb Tykia Roberson

UAPB 2018 Fall Book Scholarship

Deb De’Shabrion Williams

Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

UAPB 2018 Fall Book Scholarship

Deb Tori Davis

Pine Bluff Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

UAPB 2018 Fall Book Scholarship

Deb Alantis Alexander

Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.

UAPB 2018 Fall Book Scholarship

Deb Farolyn Murray

The University Foundation Scholarship:($250.00 One-time Book Scholarship)

Alantis Alexander Trinity Haynes

Deaysia Bishop Tinesha Hence

Kaya Boston Madison Jackson

Keirria Brice Briana Johnson

Marrissa Davis Farolyn Murray

Kaylin Dean Corrine Ridgell

Tyesha Ferguson Tykia Roberson

Jerrica Gipson Deachane Scott

Bobbi Simone Glover Jy’cia Spencer

Nia Hall Markiya Standoak

Roshuna Harris JoAnna Swygert

The Golden Lion Book: ($500.00 Book Scholarship per year)

Britney Bobo Kayla Evans

Joy Byrd Kimerria Handley

Carrington Craig Kiyah Jasper

Elise Darton Jaidan Woods-Keith

Tori Davis Nia Smith

The UAPB Leadership Scholarship ($1,000 per year)

Jerrica Bell Lakeeya Hopkins

Iliah Easter Robbye Payne

Destini Hill Kamrin Peters

The Dean’s Academic Tuition ($5,400 per year)

CeAnna Blunt

Charla Colen

Lydya Deshazier

Or’Lexis Lane

The University Scholarship ($11,880 per year)

Ariana Lovett

De’Shabrion Williams

The Chancellor’s Scholarship ($15,980 per year)

Kennedy McCoy

The 45 2017 Debutantes represented the following schools; Dollarway High School, Little Rock Central High School, North Little Rock High School, Pine Bluff High School, Ridgway Christian High School, Sheridan High School, Warren High School, Watson Chapel High School and White Hall High School.

Miss Debutante -Debutante Elise Darton

Parents: Rev. and Mrs. Arnold Robertson, Jr. and Mr. Elward Darton, II

Presenter: Rev. Arnold Robertson, Jr., Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Diaundre’ Ellison

Parents of Escort: Ms. Maricha Walker and Mr. Clint Ellison

1st Runner Up - Debutante Corinne Ridgell

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. David Ridgell

Presenter: Mr. Thomas Gathen, Grandfather

School: Warren High School

Escort: Marcus Richardson

Parent of Escort: Ms. Maxine Fox

2nd Runner-Up -Debutante Nia Hall

Parents: Ms. LaDonna Hall

Presenter: Mr. Nicholas Hall, Brother

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Quentin Urquhart

Parent of Escort: Ms. Elaine Ridgell

Margaret Spearman Award - Debutante Briana Johnson

Parents: Mrs. Angela Johnson and Mr. Larry Johnson

Presenter: Mr. Joey Gardner, Brother

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Tarius Burnett

Parents of Escort: Ms. Torrie Mitchell and Mr. Terry Burnett

Debutante Atlantis Shavonne Alexander

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Erick Walker, Sr.and Mr. Antonio Alexander

Presenter: Mr. Antonio Alexander, Father

School: White Hall High School

Escort: Emmanuel Young, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Mrs. TaCarla Young and Mr. Emmanuel Young, Sr.

Debutante Jerica Bell

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Johnson and Mr. and Mrs. Johnathan Bell

Presenter: Mr. Johnathan Bell, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Kaleb Hill

Parents of Escort: Ms. Tara Ward

Debutante Deaysia Bishop

Parents: The late Ms. Andrika Henderson and the late Mr. Reggie Bishop

Grandparents: Mr. Leevell and Mrs. Erma Henderson

Presenter: Mr. Leevell Henderson, Grandfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Kylen Williams

Parents of Escort: Ms. Kincyl Kelly and Mr. Barry Williams

Debutante CeAnna Blunt

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Clifton & Karen Blunt

Presenter: Mr. Clifton Blunt, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Chandler Tate

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Tate

Debutante Britney Bobo

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Bobo

Presenter: Mr. Gregory Bobo, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Kevawn Goins

Parents of Escort: Ms. Theresa Scott and the late Mr. Wiley Goins

Debutante Kaya Boston

Parents: Ms. Lamontica McFarland and Mr. Terrance Boston

Presenter: Mr. Terrance Boston, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Jaylin Dean

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Jason Williams and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Dean

Debutante Keirria Brice

Parents: Mrs. Karla Brice and Mr. Kinney Brice

Presenter: Mr. Kinney Brice, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Derrick Sloan, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Derrick Sloane, Sr.

Debutante Joy Byrd

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Byrd

Presenter: Mr. Raymond Byrd, Father

School: Ridgway Christian High School

Escort: Jarvis Paylor

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Pete Paylor

Debutante Charla Colen

Parents: Dr. and Mrs. Charles Colen, Jr.

Presenter: Dr. Charles Colen, Jr., Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Drayton Noble

Parents of Escort: Mr. Loyd and Mrs. Kellie Vaugh Noble

Debutante Carrington Craig

Parents: Ms. Sonja James and Mr. Anthony Craig

Presenter: Mr. Jesse Butler, Grandfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Cameron Crane

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Leo Crane

Debutante Marissa Davis

Parents: Rev. and Mrs. Renice Davis

Presenter: Rev. Renice Davis, Father

School: Arkansas Virtual Academy

Escort: Coby Rhodes

Parents of Escort: Mr. Lumound and Mrs. Tokemma Rhodes

Debutante Tori Davis

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Davis

Presenter: Mr. Kenny Davis, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Gregory King

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Jackson

Debutante Kaylin Dean

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Jason Williams, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Dean

Presenter: Mr. Jason Williams, Stepfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Mr. Dimetrick Wallace

Parents of Escort: Mr. Deondrick Wallace and Ms. Kim Howard

Debutante Lydya DeShazier

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Travis DeShazier

Presenter: Mr. Travis DeShazier, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Johnathon Callum

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. James Bowman

Debutante ILiah Easter

Parents: Mrs. Peggy Easter and Mr. Isaiah Easter

Presenter: Mr. Aubrey Goodwin, Grandfather

School: Ridgway Christian School

Escort: Braylon Hill

Parents of Escort: Mr. Juan and Mrs. Christi Hill

Debutante Kalaya Evans

Parents: Mr. Dewaine and Dr. Vivian Evans

Presenter: Mr. Dewaine Evans, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Wesley Hunt, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Mr. Wesley Hunt, Sr. and Mrs. Vanina Hunt

Debutante Tyesha Ferguson

Parents: Ms. Tamela Ferguson and Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Toney

Presenter: Mr. Marcus Toney, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: D’Vonte Jackson

Parents of Escort: Ms. Hazel Jackson

Debutante Jerrica Gipson

Parents: Mrs. Charliemay Gipson and Mr. Jeremy Gipson

Presenter: Mr. Fernard Gardner, Cousin

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Taylor Johnson

Parents of Escort: Ms. Laura Hildreth and Mr. Bernard Johnson

Debutante Bobbi-Simone Glover

Parents: Ms. Mamie Smile and Mr. Vince Glover

Presenter: Mr. Vince Glover, Father

School: White Hall High School

Escort: Marcus Richardson

Parents of Escort: Ms. Maxine Fox

Debutante Kimerra Handley

Parents: Ms. Kimberly Williams and Mr. Thaddeus Handley

Presenter: Mr. Thaddeus Handley, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Jalyn Williams

Parents of Escort: Ms. Karla Williams and Mr. Corey Williams

Debutante Roshuna Harris

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Washington and Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Harris

Presenter: Mr. Rodney Washington, Stepfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Kevin Crumpton, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Rev. and Mrs. Kevin Crumpton,Sr.

Debutante Trinity Haynes

Parents: Ms. Nikita Brown and Mr. Jessie Haynes

Presenter: Mr. Kieran Scott, Brother

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Isiah Singleton

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Singleton

Debutante Tienesha Hence

Parents: Mr. Olenteonis Hence and the late Mrs. Tiesa Hence

Presenter: Mr. Olenteonis Hence, Father

School: White Hall High School

Escort: Kalab Glover

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Owens

Debutante Destini Hill

Parents: Mrs. Laqueta Hill and the late Mr. Robert Hill

Presenter: Mr. John Releford, Sr, Grandfather

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Demetris Johnson, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Ms. Flora Gipson and Mrs. Takellia Johnson and Mr. Demetris Johnson, Sr.

Debutante Lakeeya Hopkins

Parents: Ms. Amy Lowe and Mr. Elijah Hopkins

Presenter: Mr. Elijah Hopkins, Father

School: Dollarway High School

Escort: Kaleb Taylor

Parents of Escort: The late Ms. Latosha Hopkins and Rev. and Mrs. Christopher Mack III

Debutante Madison Jackson

Parents: Ms. Nicole Barr and Mr. James Jackson III

Presenter: Mr. James Jackson III, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Jordan Partridge

Parents of Escort: Ms. Chelley Partridge

Debutante Kiyah Jasper

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Jasper, Sr.

Presenter: Mr. Timothy Jasper, Sr., Father

School: North Little Rock High School

Escort: Rex Smith, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Mrs. Amanda Hines and Mr. Rex Smith, Sr.

Debutante Or’Lexis Lane

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Ormond Lane

Presenter: Mr. Ormond Lane, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Jaylen Williams

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Williams

Debutante Ariana Lovett

Parents: Ms. Travestine Lovett

Presenter: Mr. Alfred Flowers, Sr., Grandfather

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Justin Tillar

Parents of Escort: Ms. Dewonna Collier

Debutante Kennedy McCoy

Parents: Ms. Sherri McCoy

Presenter: Mr. J. Y. Williams, Jr., Grandfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Keith Boyd

Parents of Escort: Mr. Keith and Mrs. Jacquelyn Boyd

Debutante Farolyn Murray

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt Murray, Sr.

Presenter: Mr. Roosevelt Murray, Sr., Father

School: White Hall High School

Escort: Kendrick Williams, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick Williams, Sr.

Debutante Robbye Payne

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Kelvin Payne

Presenter: Mr. Kelvin Payne, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Markevion Harris

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barnett

Debutante Kamrin Peters

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lee and Mr. Anthony Peters, Jr.

Presenter: Mr. Michael Lee, Stepfather

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort:Cory Evans, Jr.

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Cory Evans, Sr.

Debutante Tykia Roberson

Parents: Ms. Kenyada Ireland and Mr. Gregory Murray

Presenter: Mr. Gregory Murray, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Darian Scull

Parents of Escort: Ms. Carla Johnson

Debutante Deachane Scott

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Tamika Scott

Presenter: Mr. Michael Scott, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Jyrimee Thompson

Parents of Escort: Mrs. Pamela Hawkins

Debutante Jylia Spencer

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Blood and Mr. Jason Spencer

Presenter: Mr. Kevin Blood, Stepfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Timothy Barnett

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barnett

Debutante Nia Smith

Parents: Mrs. Stacey Smith and Mr. Terrance Smith

Presenter: Mr. Terrance Smith, Father

School: Little Rock Central High School

Escort: Jared Turner

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Victor Turner

Debutante Markiya Standoak

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Standoak, Sr.

Presenter: Mr. Curtis Standoak, Sr., Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Jeremy Frazier

Parents of Escort: Ms. Marcia Ladd and Mr. Clevent Frazier

Debutante JoAnna Swygert

Parents: Mr. Barry Swygert and Mrs. Stephanie Swygert

Presenter: Mr. Barry Swygert, Father

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Jeremy Tolbert

Parents of Escort: Mr. Jerry Tolbert and Mrs. Juanita Tolbert

Debutante De’Shabrion Williams

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Larry Z. and Angelia Williams

Presenter: Mr. Larry Williams, Father

School: Watson Chapel High School

Escort: Dorian Livingston

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Keidric Livingston and Ms. Karryette Hollowell

Debutante Jaidan Woods-Keith

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Alton Young, Jr. and Mr. Davion Keith

Presenter: Mr. Alton Young, Jr., Stepfather

School: Pine Bluff High School

Escort: Jonathan Giddens

Parents of Escort: Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Giddens