For Katie Davenport, one of 11 debutantes in the Cinderella Ball, she really wanted to be presented by her father into society.
“It was an honor,” said Katie, 17, of Shadyside. She was nervous leading up to the presentation and very sore from practicing curtsies “every single minute.” But when the time came to walk out in front of 350 guests filling the Omni William Penn ballroom on Saturday, January 28, 2017, she wasn’t nervous anymore.
Sarah Scalise, 18, of Peters, was more excited than nervous about being presented. “You walk out and there are lights and everyone is watching you. It was really fun to be out there and feeling like a Cinderella.”
The Cinderella Ball, in its 91st year, first started as a benefit for St. Margaret Memorial Hospital, but now works with a different beneficiary organization each year. Sarah — who chose to participate in the Cinderella Ball because of the charity’s commitment to volunteer work matched her own dedication to volunteer — was one of two scholarship winners for the most hours spent volunteering. Elizabeth Verbica and Sarah both clocked 109 hours at the Carnegie Science Center. Working with children during the science center summer camps, Sarah realized “being a teacher is the right path for me. It reinforced what I want to do for myself.”
First time debutante Devin Gramley, 18, of Sharon, Pa., said the presentation was the end result of being selected as a debutante, completing community service work and learning to waltz. It’s about “what you learn and go through” in the process of being presented. Devin, who says she’s close to her father, would practice waltzing with him on the weekends. The ball was unlike anything she had done with her father: “It was our special night.”
Katie feels that rather than being about coming out into society, the ball was about coming-of-age.
“It was magical,” she said, realizing “I am turning 18 and about to go to college, I’m not a kid anymore.”
— Rebecca Droke
For a historical look at the Cinderella Ball visit The Digs.