Latimore: Cotillions more than just pretty dresses

April 4, 2014 

Being named as a debutante to society is a big thrill for the average young lady. Many of these types of programs help guide young ladies into productive women who will serve society.

As young teens, many of my friends and I were selected to be a part of the local Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter’s annual Cotillion Ball. At first, I thought it was all about wearing a pretty white dress and walking across the stage at the City Auditorium.

After I signed up, I learned that there was more to it than prancing around in a pretty dress. First of all, we spent at least six weeks with other girls from all over Middle Georgia. Our time spent together consisted of lectures and seminars. They used this opportunity to connect some of us with local leaders from all types of professional backgrounds.

During the seminars, we would learn things that dealt with etiquette, which included how to apply make up and to dress appropriately for certain occasions. We also were reminded how to properly conduct ourselves during job interviews.

Another part of the experience involved enhancing our knowledge of culture and lifestyles. Our particular group traveled to Atlanta to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Afterward, we got to be tourists, eating and shopping in Underground Atlanta.

For teenagers, this was a time we would never forget. It helped us get better acquainted with our friends and make new friends. We were also able to display our talents with each other. Many of us put our brains together to throw events to raise money for the overall cause. The end result was empowering.

This year marks the 51st year of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Epsilon Beta Lambda Chapter hosting such an event. It was the brainchild of the late Paul Duval to create such a production after returning to his hometown of Macon. Although there’s plenty of mentoring and fun -- which includes waltzing with your father, brother or beau -- one of the main objectives is to raise scholarship funds for those in need to attend college.

This is just one organization that holds a debutante ball on a consistent basis. There are a plethora of other organizations that host them, as well.

You can support the effort by attending the grand finale that formally presents some of Middle Georgia’s most intelligent and talented young ladies to society. It takes place at 4 p.m. Saturday at the City Auditorium.

Yolanda “Y-O” Latimore is founder of Poetic Peace Arts, Macon’s representative on the Knight National Arts Advisory Board and director of Like Water Publicity, a media and booking agency. Contact her at

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