Miss Debutante 2017 Miss Alexis Peterson with escort Rylan C. Freeman
BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBERG – A hush came over the room as 25 beautiful young ladies dressed in all white entered into the historic Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg last Saturday, March 18.
Why, the Essence of Ebony Pearls Debutante Cotillion presented by the ladies of Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., of course.
In partnership with the Youth Development Foundation of Pinellas County, the sorority featured 25 lovely and multi-talented ladies including their escorts.
This social affair of the season is the culmination of a six-month development program where junior and senior girls engage in leadership development, etiquette, health and wellness, poise workshops, community service projects and social activities. Some of the program highlights included the fashionable Debutante Tea where the young ladies received words of wisdom from several distinguished women in the community.
The program was also honored to have the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Theta Eta Chapter assist with the escorts and ushers.
Originally, debutantes were young women of marrying age being put on display for eligible bachelors and their families to view with marriage in mind. Today’s debutantes aren’t looking for a husband to secure their futures; no, these gorgeous pearls will make names for themselves in fields such as medicine, engineering and journalism.
The purpose of Saturday night’s affair was to highlight achievements, social grace and provide scholarship opportunities to Pinellas County junior and senior high school girls. These young ladies were recognized for their academic achievement, church, community and civic involvements.
The evening’s Master of Ceremony duties were handled by the husband and wife duo of County Commissioner Ken Welch and his stunning wife Donna. The night saw waltzing, a father-daughter dance and the presentation of scholarships. Four of the 25 participants received over $14, 000 in scholarship awards.
Jenella Arscott is a senior at The Boca Ciega High School, and is a member of the National Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Girlfriends Program and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Exquisite Gems Program.
In addition, she is a member of the Health Occupation Students of American, and in her spare time, she plays soccer, volleyball and participates in the Student Athletic Trainers’ Club.
After graduation from high school, Jenella plans to attend Florida State University and major in pre-health and pre-med. Her career goal is to become a neonatal pediatrician.
Her hobbies include playing soccer, playing volleyball, shopping and spending time with family and friends.
Jenella was introduced into society by her parents Garth and Leonora Arscott, and her handsome escort for the evening was Timothy A. Johnson, a senior at The Boca Ciega High School.
Alec’a LaKae Ash
Alec’a LaKae Ash is a junior at The Boca Ciega High School where she is a member of the National Honor Society, Thespian Society, Tri-Music Society, Drama Club, The Rolling Tones, CROP and serves as vice-president of the Choral Ensemble.
She is in the Medical Magnet Program, a Junior Medical Ambassador and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Students Program.
After graduation from high school, she plans to attend the University of Florida and major in biology. Her career goal is to become a pediatrician.
Her hobbies and activities include participating in her church and singing solos and participating in the singing group Konnected 2 Christ.
Alec’a LaKae was introduced into society by her parents Keith and April Ash, and her handsome escort for the evening was Jordan Tyler Bolds, a sophomore at Northside Christian High School.
Romari Anna Golden Black
Romari Anna Golden Black is a senior at Admiral Farragut Academy, where she is a member of the Prom Committee and a member of the National Junior ROTC.
She is the captain of the Cheerleading Club, a member of track and field team, a member of the Multiculture Club and in her spare time she volunteers at Starling Day Care.
After graduation from high school, Romari plans to attend a HBCU to major in business administration. Her career goal is to become a manager and CEO of a top company and to start her own business.
Her hobbies and activities include shopping, going to the beach and hanging out with friends and family.
Romari was introduced into society by parents, Robert Anthony and Jennifer Howard-Black, and her handsome escort for the evening was Oshon D. Allen, a senior at Admiral Farragut Academy.
Alexis Kiara Bridges