By Zina Kozak-Zachary
On Saturday, January 29, 2005, UESA Detroit Branch hosted the 42nd Winter Ball and Presentation of the Debutantes, a tradition which was first initiated by the Society in 1960.
This year the event took place at the newly renovated Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, Michigan where nearly 250 guests gathered to welcome two additional young ladies to the Ukrainian-American community in South Eastern Michigan. To date, the UESA has presented 406 young ladies through this socially rich ceremony including its latest debutantes: Miss Natalie Christina Lawrin (daughter of Dr. Oleh and Barbara Lawrin, and grand-daughter of fellow UESA member Mykola Lawrin) escorted by Jordan Fylonenko, and Elizabeth Marie Pateryn (daughter of George and Jenny Pateryn) escorted by Patrick Nordstrom.
The presiding president of the USEA Detroit Branch, Natalie Lewyckyj, opened the evening's festivities by welcoming the debutantes, their families, members of the UESA and guests. After a few short words, she introduced the Mistress of Ceremonies and fellow colleague, Zina Kozak-Zachary, who began her address by calling attention to the evening's orange theme. The significance of this color, to Ukrainian-Americans as a whole, was two-fold: it was deeply symbolic of the evening's ceremony as well as of the recent events in Ukraine.
Firstly, orange is the nationally recognized color of the school of engineering and as such it has a meaning to the Detroit Chapter members of the Ukrainian Engineers' Society.
Secondly, orange has become representative of the determination of Ukrainians to see their country a free democracy. Inspired by this monumental historic event, the Detroit Branch of the UESA chose to adopt this symbolic color in the sprit of the peaceful revolution which took place in Ukraine.
In response, we decorated ourselves and our community with orange scarves, orange ribbons, and that evening the display of orange was extended to the debutantes' bouquets, the escorts' boutonnières and even a few bow ties and pocket squares!
After completing her opening remarks, Mrs. Kozak-Zachary proceeded to the main attraction of the evening's program. As their names were announced, the debutantes entered the ballroom wearing white formal gowns and long white gloves, and carrying nosegays of brilliant orange roses.
They were escorted to the center of the dance floor where they greeted family and guests with a curtsy as they were introduced. The young ladies were then invited to the first dance of the evening with their escorts, followed by the traditional second dance with their fathers.
Finally, the escorts led the debutantes' mothers to the dance floor where they each received a long-stemmed rose from their daughters. The debutantes, their escorts and the debutantes' parents enjoyed the last ceremonial waltz before taking a final bow. Winding up the presentation ceremony the MC and guests toasted the debutantes and sang the traditional "Mnohaja Lita."
Following the dinner, dancing and socializing lasted well past midnight to contemporary music provided by Toronto's "Kari Ochi."
Special credits are due the Ball Committee for their efforts in organizing yet another successful Winter Ball: Dianna Korduba Sawicky (committee chair), Natalie Lawyckyj (UESA Detroit Branch President), Laryssa Kozak and Zina Kozak-Zachary (debutante presentation and advertisement), Greg and Oksana Woloszczuk (reservations), and Kornel and Irene Senyk (photographs and flowers).
To see a photo gallery of the event, click here.