Ukrainian American Youth Association holds 41st deb ball

by Orest Kozicky

SECAUCUS, N.J. - On February 5 the Ukrainian American Youth Association (SUM) sponsored its 41st annual Debutante Ball at the Secaucus-Meadowlands Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Jersey.

The debutante ball is a traditional affair at which each debutante is formally presented to the community as a young lady, having attained the milestone of her 16th birthday.

Genya Kuzmowycz-Blahy, who was appointed by the SUM national board to head the ball's organizing committee, formally opened the ceremonies and welcomed the debutantes, their family members and guests.

After the opening prayer, masters of ceremonies Olia and Pavlo Figol began the presentation of each of the 12 debutantes. After enjoying an affectionate exchange with her parents, each debutante was joined by her escort. After being formally introduced, each debutante was heartily welcomed by the guests as she was escorted through the center of the ballroom.

This year's debutantes included Karina Elizabeth Winiarskyj (Hartford, Conn.), escorted by Christopher Rusyniak; Natalia Vera Hlushko (New York), escorted by Taras Kulynych, Christie Michelle Deskiewicz (Syracuse, N.Y.), escorted by Roman Palylyk; Natalie Halyna Kebalo (Hartford), escorted by Peter Drobenko; Katherine Ana Kleban (Whippany, N.J.), escorted by Eric von Hofen; Ulana Maria Romaniw (Passaic, N.J.), escorted by Michael Bybel; Monica Anna Sawchuk (Yonkers, N.Y.), escorted by Michael Kapitula; Jennifer Ana Sorano (Hartford), escorted by Peter Kolinsky; Anna Natalia Stroynick (Goshen, N.Y.), escorted by Michael Pawlyk; Natalia Ustimenko (Hartford) escorted by Damian Shchur; Stephanie Christine Szafran (Hartford), escorted by Christopher Gojdycz; and Alexandra Ivanka Szkafarowsky (Yonkers), escorted by Markian Frycz.

Bohdan Harhaj, the president of the SUM national executive board, paid a special tribute to Kornel Wasylyk, a deeply revered and extremely popular SUM member and youth leader who, after being one of its original founders served for many years as the head of the SUM Debutante Ball Organizing Committee and as the cultural arts coordinator of the youth organization's national executive board. This recognition elicited a protracted and deeply respectful round of applause.

Mr. Harhaj then warmly addressed the debutantes, after which the 12 young couples delighted the audience with an exquisite minuet choreographed by balletmaster Hryhorij Momot. Each debutante then joined her father in a heartwarming waltz.

An evening of lively dancing to the music of Zolota Bulava of Montreal and Na Zdorovia of Yonkers followed, culminating in a "Kolomyika" that lasted over 30 minutes.

Special thanks for the success of this memorable event were given to the organizing committee, which consisted of Ms. Kuzmowycz-Blahy (chair), Lida Mykytyn, Petro and Julia Kosciolek, Natalka Kudryk, Adrianna Odomirok, Ircia Liber and Laryssa Blahy, and to the masters of ceremonies.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, March 13, 2005, No. 11, Vol. LXXIII

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