(Top Row, L-R): Aria Charles, Ariana Donaville, McKenzie Oldham, Keisha May, Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Loren Lassiter, Amoni Brown, Ariell Bostick, Daija Stafford, Simone Goldman, Lauren Bellow; (2nd Row L-R) Loren Lassiter, Waverlee Craig, Aria Charles, Diane Harris-Wilson, Tamara Jefferson, Loren Lassiter, Tatiana Hobson, Ivoryana Brown, Ariana Donaville, Justice Moore, Maya Williams; (3rd Row L-R): Tamara Jefferson, Maia Tillman, (group photo -Front Row L-R Ariana Donaville, Tamara Jefferson, Ariell Bostick, Jacquelynn May, Lauren Bellow, Maya Williams, Maia Tillman, Aria Charles; (Middle Row L-R): Joseph Jackson, Michael Sneed, Jr., Winston Hill, DeShawn Brown, Justice Dorsey-Moore, Tatiana Hobson, Amoni Brown, Waverlee Craig, Ivory White, Mckenzie Oldham, Jelani Smith, Andrew Abrams; (Third Row L-R): Andrew Daniels, Alex Guillory, Alexander Estes, Sasha Wallace, Rachel Buckner, Loren Lassiter, Daija Stafford, Ivoryanna Brown, Simone Goldman, Ernest McMurry, Colin Leach, Joseph Villa, Kyle Hogg, Kyle Mouton ; (Top Row L-R): Joshua Norman, Harold Terrell, Shaka Gant-Kendricks, Spencer Hollie, Keiland Callum, Joseph Jackson, Tre Clayton) Rachel Buckner, Simone Goldman, Justice Moore ; (Bottom Row L-R): Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Keisha May, Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Maia Tillman, Diane Harris-Wilson, Sasha Wallace, Ivoryana Brown, Ivory White Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Ivory White, Tatiana Hobson, Sasha Wallace, Simone Goldman, Waverlee Craig, Tamara Jefferson, Daija Stafford, Aria Charles, Rachel Buckner, Ivoryana Brown. (Photos and collage by Adam L. Turner.)
The Oakland Bay Area Chapter of Links, Inc. sponsored this year’s 56th Cotillion, Dec. 22 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, featuring 20 debutantes and their escorts who made their debuts to nearly 800 family members and guests at this gala holiday ball, which is now a Bay Area tradition.
The ceremony was an elegant and festive rite of passage for these selected, highly accomplished, young high school seniors and several juniors marking a transition from adolescence to young adulthood.
The event recognizes these high school students for their outstanding academic achievements, community service and leadership skills.
The theme of this year’s Cotillion was An Affair to Remember. Each debutante was presented separately first by her father or guardian and then by her escort. This was followed by a series of intricate and classic ballroom dances performed by debutantes and escorts.
Throughout a three-month period beginning in September, the debutantes and escorts participated in workshops on college planning, career options, self-esteem, etiquette, financial literacy and effective communication skills. They also participated in a community service project, preparing and providing Thanksgiving bags of groceries for 50 families at Lafayette Elementary School in Oakland.
The Oakland Chapter of Links adopted Lafayette Elementary several years ago, and each year the chapter provides extracurricular programs for students and a program for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The funds raised from the Cotillion will support programming at Lafayette Elementary, the OBAL Celebration of Excellence Book and Scholarship Program, which will be held in April, as well as grants to community service organizations.
This year’s co-chairpersons for the Cotillion were Michelle Davenport and Valarie Kelly. The president of the Oakland Bay Area Chapter of Links, Inc. is Felicia Stuckey-Smith.
For more information visit www.oaklandbayarealinks.org.