Emerald’s elegance on display

The 2024 Emerald and District Rotary Club debutantes with club president Sangeeta Bajaj and Cardinia Council mayor Jack Kowarzik. Picture: JOHN TRAVERS PHOTOGRAPHY

By Matthew Sims

Emerald and district students dressed to the nines for the 44th annual Rotary Club of Emerald and District Debutante Ball recently.

With the event open to students aged between 16 and 21, 27 couples from Emerald Secondary College, Healesville Secondary College, Monbulk Secondary Colleges, Marther Christi Belgrave, and home schooling participated, with 302 guests packing out Cathies Lane Receptions in Wantirna on Saturday 15 June.

Event co-organiser and club treasurer Shalini Penny said all of the couples looked stunning.

“Tradition dictates that a dress code of white floor length ball gowns and long white gloves are worn by the debutantes and the partners should be dressed in a white shirt and a black tailed suit,” she said.

“This is a milestone and a memorable experience for all involved and especially the teenagers who will enjoy lasting memories.

“For our Rotary Club, it is an opportunity to continue our connection with the community and raise funds in a fun and positive way.”

Following official introductions and welcome by the MC Rotarian and past president Marcus Adams, District 9815 Governor Nominee Designate Emma Clarke then presented the couples to the dignitaries, including Rotary Club president Sangeeta Bajaj, Cardinia Council mayor Jack Kowarzik and Emerald Secondary College teachers Grace Sleit and Matthew Powell.

Gayle and Andrew Elliott from Debutantes on High were the dance instructors, training the dancing novices over seven evenings and producing professional level performances from the couples.

Two of the boys launched themselves into the arms of their fellow dancers and were thrown into the air and recaught to start the evening’s dances.

Following this, the traditional ballroom dance sequences were performed to modern music.

Guests dug deep with the raffle raising $940, with prizes donated by Barry Plant Real Estate Emerald, John Travers Photography and Paternoster Winery.