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Debutantes make debut

Local high school seniors enter the social season as Henry Mayo Silver Rose Guild Debutantes

Posted: October 7, 2009 10:30 p.m.
Updated: October 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia High School senior Sarah Anne Wilbert, center, receives her Silver Rose pendant from her mother Mary Wilbert, right, as 2007-2008 Silver Rose Debutante and "big sister" Shawnie Weiss Hawkins, left, looks on.

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A very special season of beautiful dresses, social events, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities began recently for ten Santa Clarita Valley high school seniors.

The young women were presented as Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Guild Silver Rose Debutantes at the Westridge home of Guild president Shelley Hann.

As their names were announced, the debutantes were escorted to the stage by "big sisters," either Guild members or former Silver Rose Debutantes, and presented with a silver rose medallion and flowers by their parents.

"We have athletes, surfers, cheerleaders, even fashions designers, yet they're all average California girls," said Jane Gibson, mother of debutante Jaqulyn Mariel Gibson, who attends Valencia High School. "I think it's great they want to be debutantes. With the experiences they'll have and the confidence and poise they'll gain, they'll be ready to go out and take on the world."

Gibson is joined by fellow debutantes Taylor Nicole Burgess and Chelsey Leanne Rader of Hart High School; Shelby Arielle Eichman of Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School; Shelby Nicole Grajeda, Michelle Ng, Madeline Rae Rosenberger, and Sarah Anne Wilbert of Valencia High School; Ashley Shanelle Hann of West Ranch High School; and Megan Dee Waller of Saugus High School.

Formed in 1986, 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 such as the "Sunday at Moulin Rouge" fashion show on November 15, 2009, and ends with the Grand Ball in March 2010. Funds raised by the debutante program benefit the new Intensive Care Unit at Henry Mayo.

"I'm looking forward to the activities, and especially the ball. It's exciting to get all dressed up and introduced to society," said Waller, whose mother, Dee Rickett, works at Henry Mayo. "Debs represent the community and are good role models."

Rickett encouraged her daughter to become a debutante primarily because of the community involvement; Waller has been volunteering at their family church since the age of 5. "We have a strong belief in giving back," Rickett said. "It's also about teaching her etiquette, which in today's society, kids are often missing."

Shawnie Weiss Hawkins, a 2007-2008 Silver Rose Deb and current big sister to Wilbert, now attends Glendale Community College and plans to transfer to University of Southern California as a political science major.

She watched the proceedings with a big smile. "This event brings back so many fun memories. I loved being a deb and getting involved with my community. It gave me confidence and experiences I'll never forget," Weiss Hawkins said. "I highly recommend it."

For more information on the Henry Mayo Guild Silver Rose Debutante program, call (661) 253-8051 or visit www.henrymayo.com.

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