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Debs end season in style

Society: Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Guild’s Silver Rose debutantes enjoy the Grand Ball

Posted: March 31, 2010 10:39 p.m.
Updated: April 1, 2010 4:30 a.m.

The Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Silver Rose Guild 2009-2010 debutantes pose with University of California Los Angeles midshipmen at the Grand Ball held on March 13 at the Sheraton Universal.

It was a night of formal gowns, joyful tears and heartfelt cheers as the 12 2009-2010 Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Guild Silver Rose debutantes ended their social season with the Grand Ball at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City on March 13.

The debutantes were led to the stage by their fathers through a phalanx of swords to a song of their choosing, ranging from “My Girl” to “Bittersweet Symphony.”

The presentations were followed by the most anticipated moment of the evening, an exquisitely choreographed Grand Waltz, for which the debutantes and their fathers had spent months practicing. Within a few notes, the dance floor became a sea of swirling white satin as the debutantes spun in synchronicity around their beaming partners.

“Waltzing with my dad was really special. I have to admit I had knots in my stomach, but I got used to them,” said debutante Natalie Rankin of William S. Hart High School.

The evening was profound for the fathers as well, including Danny Ng, of Valencia, who danced with his daughter Michelle, a Valencia High School senior.

“What a wonderful experience. This is something I will always remember,” Ng said. “I’ve always thought of Michelle as a little girl, but she’s all grown up now. The debutante program has made her more mature and giving to others.”

Ng and Rankin were joined at the Grand Ball by fellow debutantes Taylor Nicole Burgess and Chelsey Leanne Rader of Hart High School; Davielle Colleen Boon and Shelby Arielle Eichman of Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School; Jaqulyne Mariel Gibson, Shelby Nicole Grajeda, 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.

Created in 1985, the Silver Rose Debutante program is open each year to Santa Clarita Valley high school seniors with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Enrollment as a debutante requires a 50-hour commitment to Newhall Memorial fundraisers and community events, as well as to a six-month program from September to March of etiquette, party planning and a host of other important social skills.

“Tonight has been really, really exciting and fun. Being a debutante has just been a great experience all around, especially the community service aspect. It’ll definitely help me later on in life. It’s made me a better person all around,” said Shelby Eichman.

Funds raised from the debutante program benefit Newhall Memorial’s new intensive care unit, scheduled to open this month. Since its inception 25 years ago, the Silver Rose Debutante program has provided funds for Newhall Memorial’s ongoing expansion projects, as was illustrated by chief financial officer Bob Hudson, who toasted the debutantes as they were escorted off the stage by University of California, Los Angeles United States Marine Corps Reserve and United States Navy Reserve midshipmen.

“Without strong philanthropic support from the community, we couldn’t have done the things we’ve done and will continue to do in the future, such as the final phase of the emergency room expansion,” Hudson said. “Your support of groups such as the guild and their debutante program is greatly appreciated.”

Approximately 220 guests dined on an elaborate three-course meal that began with a heart of bibb salad, followed by a petit filet mignon and focaccia crusted Norwegian salmon with port wine sauce and pesto crème; and for the grand finale, a dessert duet of flourless chocolate cake and key lime tart.

After dinner, the debutantes and their midshipmen escorts made their way back to the center of the festive 21st floor venue with a dazzling night-time view of Los Angeles, for more dancing to the live music of All Night Express, followed by their families and remaining guests.

John Wilbert, of Valencia, looked on with pride from the sidelines as he watched his daughter Sarah enjoy the evening. He pondered what being a debutante meant for Sarah as she embarked on the next phase of her life, including college and moving away from the family home.

“This has pushed her into social and professional situations that were once out of her comfort zone. It’s expanded her growth from a young girl to a woman and allowed her to step into unfamiliar and new circumstances with confidence,” Wilbert said. “Being with her throughout this program has been a really great time and I’m proud to be her dad.”

For more information on the Silver Rose Debutante Program, visit or call (661) 253-8051.



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