BY LOUIS C. WARD
EUSTIS – Ms. Amaria K. Brown, a Eustis High School Senior, is now Miss Debutante 2023 – Queen of the Cotillion. She was crowned by Jadyn Bowers, Miss Debutante 2022, at the Silhouettes of Criterions Civic Club’s 2023 Debutante Cotillion Saturday evening, February 11, at the Eustis Community Center in Eustis Florida.
They were beautiful, accomplished, confident, dedicated, and committed. They were the 2023 debutantes and they strutted their stuff at the formal affair, which attracted more than 250 attendees of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, loved ones and supporters.
Dubbed a night of “Eternal Elegance”, the 24th Debutante Ball was sponsored by the Silhouettes of Criterions Civic Club, “a group of Christian women with a “mission to enrich the personal, professional, and civic development of young girls in the community through workshops and events, while cultivating scholarship, achievement self- confidence, grace and good citizenship.”
“I felt overwhelmed with joy, love, and shock when I was crowned,” said Amaria, the Queen of the Cotillion, who received a loud standing ovation and applause from attendees. “The amount of support I got from my community is one I can’t put into words.”
Michelle and Donnell Brown, Amaria’s parents, were just as “overwhelmed.” “I was happy and very surprised. Most of all, I was so appreciative,” Ms. Brown remarked. She was also impressed with the sisterhood that developed among the debutantes during the program which ran from August 2022 until February 2023.
Grateful for God’s blessings on her life, Amaria plans to major in nursing when she attends Florida State University in Tallahassee in the fall. She ranks in the top 10 percent of her class with a 4.5 G.P.A. and is a National Honor Society member. She’s a very multi-talented young lady, playing varsity basketball for Eustis High School and was also crowned Eustis High School Homecoming Queen in 2022.
Debutante Syriah Latrice Williams was crowned Miss Congeniality 2023. The Gessner Harris Public Service Award for 2023 went to Debutante Zaria A. Cannon.
Jordan Bolds, a 21-year- old saxophonist set the upbeat tone of the evening, playing Christian music and rhythm and blues from contemporary artists like Beyonce. The proud fathers of the debutantes exhibited some swagger just before they performed the Father – Daughter Dance.
You could feel and see the joy and love for the debutantes and their escorts from the gestures and comments made during the Promenade. It was remarkable, watching the eight fine and courtly debutantes make their formal entrance into society, escorted by some handsome and stately young escorts.
“Look at her, she’s so beautiful in that lovely dress, walking with that good looking young fella on her arm,” stated one woman sitting at the table and watching the young couple walk down the aisle. “They exhibit so much promise and success for their futures.”
While program participants constantly acknowledged God in their lives and after the debutantes prayed, there was no doubt that the Christian spirit of the Silhouettes permeated the program and the presence of God certainly inhabited Eustis Community Center.
What a night of elegance. “It was a dynamic and elegant affair with the large court we had this year,” said Selina Bowers, President of the Silhouettes of Criterions Civic Club. “These young girls had the opportunity to experience something they wouldn’t have if they were not a debutante. It’s like a caterpillar growing up into a beautiful butterfly. And, it gets better every year.”
Every one of these debutantes is an intelligent, multi-talented, community conscientious young woman with greatness in their future, said Daena Woods. “It was an honor to formally introduce them to society.”
Ms. Linda Shepherd-Miller, a Silhouette and the Mistress of Ceremony, did an excellent job keeping the program exciting and moving. Hosts, hostesses, and junior debutantes enhanced the program.
Debutantes were Amaria K. Brown; Zaria A. Cannon; Shaniya L Davis; Jakari C. Dunston-Randolph; Shamyah J. Johnson; Mi Khia T. Massey; Tamia L. Simmons; and Syriah L. Williams.
Amarian Brown; Mekai Griffin; Jeric Hutto; Tyree Patterson; Isaiah Perry; Amare Williams; Jeiel Williams; and Malachi Wright were escorts.