Debs Seated (Left to Right): Safia Smith, Sydney Kelley, Klark White, Brooke Messaye, Sydney Bentley, Braelyn Baker, Kaelyn Bowers, Lara Brooks
Second Row: Mackenzie Wilson, Rachel Porché, Kennedy Howell, Jayda Crawford, Isabella Kimbrough, Londyn Adams, Brianna Turner, Kennedy Mclntosh, Samantha Patierno, Lauryn Chamberlain, Kayla Williams, Irie Cooper, Skyelar Banks, India Bland
Back Row: Niya Sheppard, Nia Marshall, Anaya Beckles Banks, Ariana Butler
First Row Seated (Left to Right): Jaylen Bowens, Carrington Greene, Elijah Dobson, Julian Hewlett, Ross Watkins, Jonathan Yarbrough, Jonathan Green, Courtney Lindsey
Second Row Standing (Left to Right): Nicholas Green, Aman Johnson, James Norris, Micheal Anaya, Spencer Jordan, Andre Alexander, Justin Best, Gavin Brown, Kevin Lagarde, Cameron Baker, Patrick Spann Jr, Chaz Cotton
Third Row Standing (Left to Right): Amir Andrews, Reese Jones, Mahki Backstrom, Tekeste Tekeste, Johnathan Garnett, Adrian Butler
First Row Seated (left to right): Deborah Beavers Watford, Patricia Miller, Denise Orso, Janice Jamison Murray, Kim Stewart, Carla Durham Pittman, Djuanique Slaughter, Belinda Stith, Laurel Lightner, Jacqueline Ryan
Second Row Standing (left to right):Nedra Austin, Lisa Nicholas, Gail Jackson, Katheryn Edwards, Barbara Trotter, Anitha Mitchell Logan, Melanie Adams, Melinda Murray, Shirley Flournoy, Shelia Hill, Melanie Harewood, Kimberly Beavers Noble, Denise Burnett
Third Row Standing (left to right): Suzette Banks, Renette Anderson, Denise Ciccel, Kelcy Taylor, Jasmine Bowers Brown, Melissia Buckhalter-Honoré, Phyllis Forneret, Ramona Wilder
Fourth Row Standing (left to right): Jane Howard Martin, Michele Robinson, Christy Calvin, Arnecia Williams, Daria Ibn-Tamas, Carolyn Wilder, Angela Robinson, Lynne Hobbs, Vachelle Willis, Verna Meacham, Kathleen Watford Allen, Peggy Loeb
Not Pictured: Irma Brown, Cathy Daniels, Kathryn Jeffery, Katrina Schauble, Sandra Wellington, Kim Willis.
Alumna (not pictured):Florestine Biggers, Camille Carter, Jacqueline Castillo, Eloise Crippens, Dorothy Dotson, Patricia Gibson, Helen Groves, Betty Haywood, Anne Luke, Arllene Miller, Veronica McBeth, Glynnis Morrow, Carolyn Robinson, Sandra Rousell, Helen Smith, Ruthe Spencer, Barbara Tillmon, Bobbi Tillmon, Laura Strudwick-Turner, Teresa Wallette, Faye Washington, Pamela Washington, Trudy Williams
Rise Up! For the 66thyear Los Angeles Links transformed the debutante ball,
an annual social event into another magical evening. On Friday evening, November 23, 2018 guests entered the Ball to the music of harpist, Paul Baker. Upon entering the venue, guests were immediately enraptured by the elegant setting of the event—awe struck by the beautiful table centerpieces and stage décor that glowed with golden hues of a spectacular sunrise, which reflected the evening’s theme, “Rise Up.” The ballroom was exquisitely designed and splendidly decorated by Link Phyllis Forneret and her design team to accentuate the 2018 theme.The physical setting of the event was second only to the beauty and grace of the young ladies for whom the cotillion was planned. Since 1952 Los Angeles Chapter, The Links, Incorporated has presented over 1000 young women to society. This year the Los Angeles Chapter Charitable Trust (LACCT) and the Los Angeles (CA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated held the 66th Debutante Cotillion at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The program was structured around the Leadership Institute where Debutantes, also known as Cotillionettes, were introduced to the intricacies of the Cotillion Program as they participated in a series of purposeful events aimed at social and personal enrichment. In the Leadership Institute the prospective debutantes were mentored while engaged in a series of activities, including: seminars, workshops on financial literacy, the Arts, college and career readiness, non-traditional careers, healthy lifestyles, social media, legal savvy, etiquette and social skills, cultural awareness, friendship activities, community service. The pre-cotillion activities began with the Mother/Daughter Tea and ended with the Awards Luncheon where the cotillionettes were presented with a 66th Cotillion Participation Certificate and a Links pendant.
The cotillion is the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Links fundraising efforts. Historically, the revenue from the cotillion is given back to the community in the form of donations. Nonprofit agencies and local programs that provide health, arts, education, youth and elder services are selected by the Los Angeles Chapter Charitable Trust to receive financial support awards. Each debutante was required to perform a minimum of 75 hours of community service in nonprofit and community agencies throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The officers and members of the Los Angeles Chapter along with the Leadership Institute staff and members are extremely appreciative for the continuing commitment to support the young debutantes in their activity which ultimately goes to benefit the Los Angeles community at large.
Cotillion Chairman, Link Deborah Beaver-Watford opened the ball, welcoming guests and thanking parents, families and friends as they entered the elegant affair and acknowledged with grateful appreciation, the debutantes, their escorts, choreographers and entire cast of supporters who brought the ball to fruition. Ms Beavers-Watford unveiled a new Cotillion Guild, acknowledging the organizers, former Link cotillionettes, charter members of the guild and other former Los Angeles Links debutantes who were present. She presented to the audience, Evangeline Felton and Leslie Sykes, the two co-chairmen of the newly announced Cotillion Guild. She then introduced Nedra Austin, Chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter Charitable Trust and Janice Jamison Murray, Los Angeles Links Chapter President. President Murray welcomed guests, gave remarks, commended cotillionettes for their outstanding accomplishments in the Leadership Institute and for performing more than 1700 combined hours of community service. The president commended Los Angeles Chapter of the Links, Los Angeles Chapter Charitable Trust and all the mentors for their support and dedication to the cotillion. She introduced the mistress of ceremony for the evening. Then came the musical presentation of the cotillion theme, “Rise Up”, which was performed live by soloist, Charlean Carrmon and arranged by musical director Susan Chatman.
Mrs. Diane Scott, the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, who would introduce each debutante, was presented to the event attendees. Diane Scott is the current treasurer and member of the Finance and Governance Committee and Executive Committee of the Western Area of The Links, Incorporated. She is a 30 year member of the Pasadena-Altadena Chapter as well as Pasadena Junior League and Pasadena Tournament of Roses Foundation. Most importantly, Link Diane is the wife of Connecting Link, Michael Scott, M.D. and mother of three adult children, one of whom is a former debutante, Daughter, Nyasha Scott Serrano (1993 deb). Diane is also the devoted grandmother to granddaughter, Jasmine, a future cotillionette. Mrs. Diane Scott introduced the debutantes and also introduced the escorts, parents and guest entertainers for the various activities throughout the evening. She began by introducing the debutantes individually for the traditional promenade around the dance floor. Each debutante was given her own special moment as she was accompanied around the ballroom dance floor by her father, then acknowledging her mother with a graceful curtsy while presenting her mother with a lovely bouquet of flowers. The melodic recorded rendition, “Powerful”by Jessie Smollet and Alicia Keyes provided the musical backdrop for the Father and Daughter waltz following the individual debutante’s graceful promenade around the dance floor. The entire court of debutantes then performed a beautifully executed Cotillionette Waltz to the standard, “Rise Up.” Twenty-six magnificent young ladies, each charming, poised and accomplished, made their debut. They were:
Miss Londyn Lee Anna Adams , daughter of Mr. Monty Adams and Miss Veda Adams. She was presented by her father, Mr. Monty Adams. Her escort was Mr. James Norris, a senior at Westmark High School in Encino, California. He is the son of Mr. John and Mrs. Ellen Norris. Londyn is a senior at Westmark High School in Encino, California. She is passionate about helping those in need and enjoys volunteering at hospitals. Her hobbies include volleyball, cooking, international travel, dance, fine dining and laughing with friends and family.
Miss Braelyn Meliah Baker, daughter of Mr.Undray Baker and Mrs. Lisa Baker.She was presented by her father, Mr. Undray Baker. Her escort is Mr. Cameron Baker, a junior at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. He is the son of Mr. Stephen Baker and Mrs. Sylvia Baker. Braelyn is a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt Senior High School in Eastvale, CA. She is president of the Junior/Senior Workshop Council of African American Parents. She is a member of her school’s Women’s Varsity Tennis Team and member of the Women’s Track and Field Team. She is a founding member of the school’s UNICEF Club.
Miss Skyelar Lesure Banks, daughter of Mr. Steven Wayne Williams and Mrs. Andree Yvonne Banks-Williams.She was presented by her father, Mr. Steven Wayne Williams. Her escort was Mr. Jonathan Frederick Yarbrough, a senior at Cerritos High School. He is the son of the late Mr. Fred S. Yarbrough and Mrs. Janet Turner Yarbrough. Skyelar is a senior at Valencia High School. She is a youth mentor to girls aged 9-15, relying heavily on her own experiences and sharing her relationship with God. Community service is extremely important to Skyelar and she is committed to and appreciates helping the less fortunate.
Miss Anaya Beckles-Banks, daughter of Mr. Kali Banks and Mrs. Monifa Banks. She was presented by her father, Mr. Kali Banks. Her escort was Mr. Tekeste Tekeste, a senior at Davinci Communications High School. He is the son of Mrs. MarizaTekeste Tikestay. Anayais a senior at New Roads High School where she is an active student participating in volleyball, music and community activism. She is an accomplished signer and member of the American Sign Language Association.
Miss Sydney Elizabeth Pearl Bentley, daughter of Mr. Brian Scott Bentley and Mrs. Yvette Faye Bentley. She is presented by her father, Mr. Brian Scott Bentley. Her escort is Mr. Jaylen Edward Bowens, a senior at St. Berrnard High School. He is the son of Mr. Mike Bowens and Mrs. Tiffany Bowens. Sidney is a senior at Saint Bernard’s High School. She is an accomplished scholar-athlete. She is the CIF Division IV Champion in the 400-meter dash. She is also Captain of the Girls Varsity Basketball and Track Team. Sydney has served on Student Council throughout her high school career and is currently ASB President.
Miss India Noelle Bland, daughter of Mr. Lael Bland and Ms. Cheryl BowmanBland. She is presented by her father, Mr. Lael Bland. Her escort is Mr. Julian Hewlett, a senior at Loyola High School. He is the son of Dr. Edward Hewlett and Mrs. Mona Schlatter Hewlett. India is a senior at Marymount High School and a 2ndgeneration debutante, her mother was a Cotillionette in the 32ndAnnual Cotillion Ball. India serves as an elected member of the Associate Student Body at Marymount. She is Co-President of the Black Student Alliance and has been a student ambassador since her freshman year.
Miss Kaelyn Victoria Bowers, daughter of Mr. JerylBowers, Esq. and Mrs. Stacey Bowers, Esq. She is presented by her father, Mr. JerylBowers, Esq. Her escort is Mr. Carrington Greene,a junior at Culver City High School. He is theson of Mr. and Mrs. Bailey Greene. Kaelynis a senior at Harvard-Westlake. She is a nationally recognized artist and master of costume design. Kaelyndesigns and creates couture gowns that have been modeled on the runways of award-winning fashion stylists. With a passion for science, she regularly tutors 5thgraders at Charles Drew University’s Saturday Science Academy. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated honor roll student since 9thgrade
Miss Lara Alexandra Brooks, daughter of Dr. Warren Randolph Brooks, III and Mrs. Jovana Lara Brooks. She is presented by her father, Dr. Waren Randolph Brooks, III. Her escort is Mr. Patrick Spann, Jr., is a senior at the Chadwick School. He is the son of Mr. Patrick Spann, Sr. and Mrs. Leslie Sykes-Spann. Larawho likes to be known as “Alex,” is a senior at the Marlborough School for Girls. She engages in her community through a variety of activities—communications representatives on student council, head News Editor of the school Newspaper, and Vice-President of the African-American Cultural Exchange Group.
Miss Ariana Madison Butler, daughter of Dr. Adrian Butler and Mrs. Gilonda Butler. She is presented by her father, Dr. Adrian Butler. Her escort is her brother, Mr. Adrian Butler,Jr., a senior at Bishop Alemany High School. He is the son of Dr. Adrian Butler and Mrs. Gilonda Butler. Ariana is a junior at Bishop Alemany High School. She is a member of the tennis team, volleyball team, softball team, as well as the school’s technical theater. She also has an entrepreneurial spirit and has started her own childcare service.
Miss Lauryn Olevia Chamberlain, daughter of Mr. Byron Chamberlin and Ms. Inga Dyer. She is presented by her father, Mr. Byron Chamberlin. Her escort is Mr. Amir Black, a senior at Palisades High School. He is the son of Mr. Michael Andrews and Mrs. Jeanine Black. Laurynis a senior at Immaculate Heart High School. She is a talented performance artist with interests in musical theater, visual arts, in particular, Japanese anime. She has appeared in 15 musicals and wants to reach those bright lights of Broadway. Lauryn truly enjoys spending special time with her family and friends.
Miss Irie Langston Cooper, daughter of Mr. Dwayne Cooper and Mrs Danielle Cooper. She is presented by her father, Mr. Dwayne Cooper. Her escort is Mr. Justin Ty Best, a junior at Santa Monica High School. He is the son of Mr. Rodney Best and Dr. AndreaBest. Irie is a junior at ChoateRosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT. She is a multi-faceted and tech savvy. Her passion is robotics and engineering. When she is not working with CAD software, IRIE is playing varsity golf or volleyball. She is also a member of the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. .
Miss Jayda Nicole Crawford,daughter of Mr. Jerol Crawford and Mrs. Hope Hampton Crawford. She is presented by her father, Mr. Jerol Crawford. Her escort is Mr. Gavin Von Brown, a senior at Hollywood High School. He is the son of the late Mr. Von Brown and Mrs. Rhonda Brown. Jaydais a senior at Culver City High School. She is an accomplished athlete. She is a member of the track and field team and soccer team. Jayda is also very involved in community service, in particular, outreach to her peers. She is an avid reader and writer.
Miss Kennedy Brooke Howell , daughter of Mr. Brian and Mrs. Rhonda Howell. She is presented by her father, Mr. Brian Howell. Her escort is Mr. Michael Harold Anaya, a junior at Cerritos High School. He is the son of Mr. Michael Harold Anaya and Mrs. Schyler Barnes-Anaya.Kennedy is a junior at Cerritos High School. She is a dedicated student-athlete who balances advanced placement and honors classes with membership on the Girl’s Track and Field Team. She is also a member of her school’s Varsity Cheer Squad. Kennedy was instrumental in chartering the first Black Student Union on her high school campus.
Miss Sydney Erin Kelley, daughter of Mr. Jeffrey and Mrs. Leslie Kelley. She is presented by her father, Mr. Jeffrey Kelley. Her escort is Mr. Jonathan Paul Armstrong Green, a senior at Millikan High School. He is the son of Mr. Thurman and Mrs. Marie O’Kelly Green. Sydney is a junior at Los Alamitos High School and is a true “artist” at heart who enjoys all visual arts including drawing, painting and photography. Her work has earned her recognition as “Artist of the Month” at school and has been displayed as part of the Seal Beach Art Exhibit in Orange County. Sydney has a great passion for animals and has performed community service at the Long Beach Marine Institute.
Miss Isabella Ali Kimbrough, daughter of Mr. David Keith and Mrs. Angela Lisa Kimbrough. She was presented by her father, Mr. David Keith Kimbrough. Her escort was Mr. AmanMiles Johnson, a junior at Loyola High School. He is the son of Mr. RomerleDemarco Johnson and Mrs. Dominica Ina Johnson. Isabella is a junior at Marymount High School. She is an accomplished dancer and is part of her school’s Conservatory Arts Program. Isabella is a member of Marymount’s Black Student Alliance, as well as a student ambassador on the Leadership, Diversity Board. She also participated in the campus ministry. Isabella is also civicly active outside of school.
Miss Nia Gabrielle Marshall, daughter of Dr. Ginder and Mrs. Pamela Marshall. She was presented by her father, Dr. GinderMarshall. Her escort is Mr. Jonathan David Garnett, a senior at Campbell Hall. He is the son of Mr. David Garnett and Mrs. Tracy Sylvester Garnett. Nia is a senior at Mira Costa High School. She is an accomplished and talented artist who enjoys visual art, music composition, vocal and instrumental music. Niahas not decided on a firm career path yet, but she plans to study the humanities at a university that will allow her to pursue interdisciplinary studies as well as her love of music.
Miss Kennedy Helena McIntosh ,daughter of Mr. Bobby McIntosh and Mrs. Maisha McIntosh. She is presented by her father, Mr. Bobby McIntosh. Her escort is Mr. Chaz Phillip Cotton, a senior at Campbell Hall High School. He is the son of Mr. Phillip Cotton and Dr. Joy Cotton. Kennedy is a senior at Mira Costa High School. She is a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council. She volunteers with such organizations as WriteGirl. She also enjoys photography, video editing and directing. She is fascinated by international relations, political science and aviation.
Miss Brooke Menbere Messaye ,daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wonde Messaye. She was presented by her father, Mr. Wonde Messaye. Her escort was Mr. Reese-Frederick Jones, a senior at Campbell Hall. He is the son of the late Alexander Jones and Mrs. Suzanne Patterson Jones. Brooke is a senior at Palisades High School, where she is captain of the Girls Varsity Basketball team. She is very passionate about photography, creating and editing videos, and debating current social issues. She really enjoys adding content to her YouTube channel where she has a large and varied following.
Miss Samantha Nicole Patierno, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Patierno. She was presented by her father, Mr. Paul Patierno. Her escort was Mr. Ross Andrews Watkins, a senior at Sierra Canyon School. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Royal Watkins. Samantha is a junior at Chaminade College Preparatory High School. She is on the honor roll, a Scholar Varsity athlete in soccer and track, a member of the Diversity Team, the Eagle Business Club and a Junior Olympics volunteer. Samantha is a member of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of Jack and Jill of America and the National Charity League.
Miss Rachel Nicole Porche,daughter of Mr. Kerry Porche, II and Mrs. Diedra Porche .She is presented by her father, Mr. Kerry Porche, II. Her escort is Mr. Elijah Dobson, a senior at Dorsey High School. He is the son of Mr. Peter Dobson and Ms. Zakiya. Rachel is a senior at Santa Monica High School, where she is an elected member of the Associated Student Body Board and is a Senior Class Officer. She is a member of the Southern California Regional Black Student Union and the South Los Angeles Chapter of Jack and Jill. Rachel enjoys travel, attending musical festivals and community service.
Miss Niyah Rae Sheppard,daughter of Mr. Julius and Mrs. Leslee Dean Bryant. She is presented by her father, Mr. Julius Bryant. Her escort is Mr. Mahki Backstrom, a senior at Serra High School. He is the son of Mr. Derrick and Mrs. Tina Backstrom. Niyah is a senior at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where she is a very accomplished and talented dancer with interests in ballet and runway modeling. When she is not in dance class or performing, she loves to volunteer and hang-out with friends.
Miss Safia Noelle Smith,, daughter of Mr. Byron Keith Smith and Mrs. Bridget Tucker Smith. She is presented by her father, Mr. Byron Keith Smith. Her escort is Mr. Nicholas Green, a senior at the Buckley School. He is the son of Mr. Leonard Green and Ms. Schenae Rourk. Safia is a senior at the Buckley School, where she plays soccer. She also enjoys photography, mentoring young children, cooking, and traveling. Safia plans to attend college and would like to study English or Political Science
Miss Brianna Carol Turner, daughter of Mr. George Turner and Dr. Lanita Scott. She is presented by her father, Mr. George Turner. Her escort is Mr. Spencer Ryan Jordan, a senior at Oaks Christian School. He is the son of Mr. Robert Jordan and Dr. Phyllis DeNine Jordan. Brianna is a senior at the Marlborough School, where she is an accomplished thespian and has acted in numerous plays and musicals as a member of the Marlborough Ensemble Theatre. She has spent past summers in the theatre programs on both the East and West.
Miss Klark Ashley White, daughter of Mr. Robert White and Dr. Kanika White. She is presented by her father, Mr. Robert White. Her escort is Mr. Courtney Lindsey, a senior at the Chadwick School. He is the son of Mr. Curt Lindsey and Mrs. Calisse Lindsey. Klarkis a senior at the Chadwick School, where she has attended since kindergarten. She enjoys international travel, biological sciences, contemporary and dance of the Diasporas, choreography, and studio art. Klark a talented dancer is a member of her school’s Dance Company where she performs annually in fall and spring dance concerts. She enjoys contemporary dance and dance of the Diasporas.
Miss Kayla Mikel Williams, daughter of Mr. Deron Williams and Mrs. Kimberly Williams. She is presented by her father, Mr. Deron Williams. Her escort is Mr. Andre Alexander, a senior at Davinci Communications School. He is the son of Mr. Andre Alexander, Sr. and Ms. Ashanti Lyles.is a senior at Alexander Hamilton High School in the Humanities Magnet, where she is Senior Class President. Kayla enjoys photography, Softball, shopping, reading and traveling.
Miss Mackenzie Simone Wilson,daughter of Mr. Thomas Wilson, Jr.and Mrs. Dominica Robbins-Wilson. She is presented by her father, Mr. Thomas Wilson, Jr. Her escort is Mr. Kevin Lee Lagarde, a sophomore at Davinci Design School. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Lagarde. Mackenzie is a junior at Davinci Design High School, where she is an active member of the Black Student Union. She loves dancing, reading, photography, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Mackenzie is a Senior Cadet for Girls Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.
After presentation of 26 exemplary cotillionettes would come other memorable moments embodied in the graceful execution of the waltzes which the debutantes would perform during the evening. Following the cotillion waltz was the Cotillionette and Escort Waltz performed to another popular recorded rendition of “Conqueror,” as sung by Jessie Smollet and Estelle. The final waltz of the evening was the Family waltz.The formal dance portion of the evening concluded with the family waltz to the melody and lyrics of The Night is Young, a Cotillion classic, written by Lanny Hartley and performed live by Robert Taylor. The waltzes were expertly choreographed by Ms Terrica Banks, Lead Choreographer, featuring guest choreographer, Mr. Chris Smith. The debutantes made a presentation of gifts and long stem roses to their choreographers in appreciation for choreagraphing their timeless waltzes which captured the cotillion theme and accentuated the seamless grace and precision with which the debutantes and their escorts performed. The debutantes made presentations to Link Deborah Beavers-Watford, the 66thCotillion Chairman and to Janice Jamison Murray, President of Los Angeles Chapter, The Links Incorporated. During the remainder of the evening the debutantes and guests dined to the melodious arrangements and performance by strolling violinist, Mark Cargill. The magical evening ended at midnight. Following the formal ball, the young debutantes and their escorts danced to the music of DJ Danno from Elite Entertainment as their friends and chaperones found themselves entertained by the precision dance moves of the youth tripping the lightfantasticto the popular music genre of the day.
Over the past 66 years LA Links Cotillion has evolved into a Rite of Passage opportunity to develop lifelong friendships and strategies for next steps, One Step at a Time! For additional information, contact us at: lalinksinc.org