More than 800 supporters of the Essence of Ebony Pearls attended the debutante scholarship cotillion presented by members of the Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. The event takes place every other year in partnership with the Youth Development Foundation of Pinellas County. The sorority featured 29 young women and their escorts. The debutantes, their parents and their schools are:
Courtney Furse, daughter of Corey and Mishella Furse, Boca Ciega High School.
Jasmyne Green, daughter of Dontell and Nakia Green, Boca Ciega High School.
Monique Griffin, daughter of Aldric Griffin Sr. and Monica Davis-Griffin, Boca Ciega High School.
Porcelain Griffin, daughter of Tommie and Cynthia Godwin, Pinellas Park High School.
Monique Harris, daughter of Bernard and Morresia Johnson Harris, Northeast High School.
Sydney-Taylor Heyward, daughter of Marlin and Tamaira Heyward, Lakewood High School.
Kelsey Hill, daughter of David and Rosalyn Hill, Canterbury School of Florida.
Brea Hollingsworth, daughter of Dennis and Sandra Hollingsworth, Osceola Fundamental High School.
Jada Jackson, daughter of James and Phyllis Jackson, Lakewood High School.
Kamara Jackson, daughter of Willie and Kangelia Baxter, Boca Ciega School.
Khristian Jackson, daughter of Willie and Kangelia Baxter, Boca Ciega School.
Taylor Johnson, daughter of Tim and Nicole Johnson, Gibbs High School.
D'Ananetia Jones, daughter of Tameka Jones, Pinellas Park Criminal Justice Academy.
Angelina Kincy, daughter of Alex and Alfredia Kincy; Osceola Fundamental High School.
Jade Lang, daughter of Pete and Jackie Lang, Boca Ciega High School
Parris Lockley, daughter of Ryan and Ottesha Williams, Gibbs High School.
Lauren Lord, daughter of George Lord and Loretha Dortch-Lord; Gibbs High School.
Desha Lovett, daughter of Carlos and Tameko Lovett, Shorecrest Preparatory School.
Barbara Neal, daughter of Marilyn Bell, Lakewood High School.
Marilyn Parker, daughter of Wayne and Carolyn Parker, Lakewood High School.
Chyanna Passley, daughter of Leo and Joan Passley, Lakewood High School.
Amber Perry-Rentz, daughter of Andre and Yolanda Rentz, Palmetto High School.
Sydnee Peterman, daughter of the Rev. Frank and June Peterman; Osceola Fundamental High School.
McKenzie Rock, daughter of David and Candace Rock, Osceola Fundamental High School.
Caprece Thomas, daughter of Lannis and Doretha Thomas, Gibbs High School.
Hydeia Thomas, daughter of Leon and Yushondia Thomas, Canterbury School of Florida.
Destiny Waiters, daughter of Hendri and Cheryl Robinson, Boca Ciega High School.
Lauren Williams, daughter of Luke and Paula Williams, Gibbs High School.
Kayla Wyatt, daughter of Klevin and Yvette Wyatt, Tarpon Springs High School.
Deborah Figgs-Sanders was chairwoman for the event, and Sakira Hadley, Lena Wilfalk and Lisa Brody were co-chairwomen.
The formal evening included waltzing, a father-daughter dance and the presentation of more than $12,000 in scholarship awards to four participants. Special recognition went to Hydeia Thomas, Miss Debutante 2013; Caprece Thomas, Miss First Attendant; Sydnee Peterman, Miss Second Attendant and Miss Congeniality; Monique Griffin, Miss Third Attendant; Courtney Furse, Miss Community Service; and Monique Harris, Miss Supreme Spirit.
The presentation is the culmination of a six-month training program in which junior and senior high school girls engage in leadership development workshops, etiquette sessions, community service and social activities. Program highlights included their escorts' receiving mentorship from the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, a debutante tea party, and a hair and skin care workshop.