St. Petersburg debutantes will be presented in December
Special to the Times
Front row from left are Whitney Wilkerson, Donna Cannova, Michelle Menke, Margaret Spears, Lisa DeGroot and Corey Hall. Back row from left are Holly Janicki, Elizabeth Spitzer, Jennifer Putrino, Elizabeth Macari, Bonnie Hough, Kathleen Garnett, Johnna Webb and Taylor Chmielewski. Not pictured are Kelly Russo and Katheryn Link.
Members of the St. Petersburg Debutante Club, led by president Darby Jung, entertained the 2009 debutantes and their mothers at a coffee held in the St. Petersburg home of Mrs. Jung's grandfather, John F. Knowlton.
The night before, the debs were honored at a dinner held in the home of Blanton and Lela Garnett.
For about 30 years, John and Betty Knowlton helped to organize the debs. Betty Knowlton, who died in 1999, was the longtime secretary of the Debutante Club, serving as liaison between the secret selection committee and the debutante mothers. John Knowlton, who died on Wednesday, served as master of ceremonies for many years at the annual Presentation Ball.
The late Jim Fischer and Skip Carr were beloved community leaders, and the scholarship bash friends organized to honor their gifts to the community raised more than $35,000, drawing about 160 patrons to the St. Petersburg Country Club.
Carr, who headed St. Petersburg's Cornerstone Community Bank, died unexpectedly last year; the financial institution was the lead sponsor of the event.
Lawyer Bob Byelick, a key organizer for the fundraiser, said all the money raised goes to the Mayor's Doorways Scholarship Program, which awards free college tuition to qualifying students who avoid drugs and crime and maintain a 2.0 grade-point average.
Proceeds from this year's event, the fifth annual benefit since it was organized in memory of lawyer Jim Fischer, should bring to a total of 125 the number of beneficiaries.
Guests included family members of Fischer and Carr: Suzi Fischer, Kris Fischer, Shannon Whitney, Linda Carr and Kevin and Michael Carr. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker was there, as was Doorways Scholarship recipient Roman Mathis, a senior at Gibbs High School. The fundraiser's first scholarship recipient, Isaiah Walker-Shelby, a rising freshman at Boca Ciega High School, attended with members of his family.
© 2017 Tampa Bay Times
The 16 young women who will be presented in December
Donna Alexandra Cannova, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Frank Cannova, a business administration major at the University of Florida.
Taylor Kathleen Chmielewski, daughter of Mark Chmielewski and Linda Jantschek, international studies and economics, Boston College.
Lisa Nadine DeGroot, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Alan DeGroot, advertising and graphic design, St. Petersburg College.
Kathleen Anderson Garnett, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Blanton Garnett Jr., education, Florida State University.
Corey Anne Hall, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles William Hall, College of Charleston.
Bonnie Rose Hough, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Robb Hough Jr., psychology, University of Florida.
Holly Elizabeth Janicki, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Anthony Joseph Janicki Jr., social work, the Catholic University of America.
Katheryn Lois Link, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Ferguson and Robert Link, business management, Elon University.
Elizabeth Eileen Macari, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Joseph Macari, nursing, University of Florida.
Michelle Christine Menke, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Menke, communications, University of Florida.
Jennifer Nicole Putrino, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cary Paul Putrino, political science, University of Florida.
Kelly Marie Russo, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Karl Russo, English, Wake Forest University.
Margaret Marie Spears, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Michael Spears, mass communications and media studies, University of South Florida.
Elizabeth Grace Spitzer, daughter of Nancy Elizabeth Rutland and Robert Scott Spitzer, psychology, Vanderbilt University.
Johnna Nichole Webb, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jackson Webb, apparel design, Florida State University.
Whitney Ann Wilkerson, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. DeWitt Cornelius Wilkerson III, psychology, Valencia Community College.