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.