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Grand style for debutantes

The 2008-09 Silver Rose debs end the social season in style

Posted: April 29, 2009 8:44 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The 2008-09 Henry Mayo Silver Rose debutantes line up for a group photo at the Grand Ball at the Sheraton Universal. Left to right, Jennifer Rios, Katie Baker, Alexandra Crowder, Kebra Sedam, Heather Duncan, Laura Wehn, Sarah Turchan, and Noelle Chadbourne.

Resplendent in white satin, the Henry Mayo Silver Rose debutantes recently ended their social season in style at the Grand Ball. Attended by 160 guests in the Starview Room at the Universal Sheraton Hotel, the eight high school seniors out-dazzled the spectacular night sky as they bowed, curtsied, and danced with their fathers and escorts.

“I feel very proud of her. I always do, but there’s something about seeing your daughter dressed like such a sweet young woman that’s very touching for a parent,” said Toni Wehn, mother of Laura Rose Wehn, who attends Academy of the Canyons.

Just before dinner, Wehn joined fellow debutantes Kebra Sedam, Alexandra Crowder, Noelle Chadbourne, and Katie Baker of Hart High School, Sarah Turchan of Flintridge High School, Jennifer Rios of Saugus High School, and Heather Duncan of Opportunities for Learning Charter School as they were escorted to the stage by their fathers.

After walking through a tunnel of sabershield by the midshipmen, United States Marine Corps Reserve, ROTC from USC, each debutante was introduced. Then it was on to the dance floor for the Grand Waltz.

Choreographed by Connie Russo, the dance paired the debutantes with their fathers for a waltz that harkened back to a more elegant era. The debutantes and their fathers had taken lessons through the Silver Rose program for eight weeks prior to the ball.

“It’s really neat to be able to do this with Alexandra. I never would have learned to waltz without this program. It’s allowed us to spend time together that we normally wouldn’t have,” said David Crowder. “This night has been one of those moments when I’ve come to realize how special she is and just how much I’ll miss her when she leaves for college next year.”

Jennifer Rios was all smiles as she mingled with fellow debutantes, family and the handsome midshipmen. She said she had anticipated the ball for months and was very excited for the opportunity to don a formal gown and spend quality time with her father, Rudy.

“I‘ve never danced with my dad before. For a moment it felt like it was just the two of us. It was exactly what I wanted before I leave for college,” said Jennifer Rios. “This night feels kind of surreal. I don’t want it to end.”

Now in its 23rd year, the Silver Rose Debutante program is open to seniors with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The season requires 50 hours of community service, including planning and attending hospital fundraisers, and ends with the Grand Ball each March. Funds raised from the debutante program benefit laboratory services at Henry Mayo.

Volunteering was one of the many benefits of joining the Silver Rose program for Laura Wehn. “Giving back to the community has become very important to me, both in and out of this program,” she said. “Combined with the many things I’ve learned and friends I’ve made, being a deb has just made me a better person.”

For more information on the Henry Mayo Silver Rose Guild Debutante Program, call (661) 253-8082 or visit


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