New Windsor - There was much excitement on the Westchester District, New York Conference, as the Women’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society (W. H. & O. M. Society) prepared and presented a cotillion featuring sixteen young women, "Zion’s Cultured Pearls." Saturday, April 18, 2009 approximately 308 parents, guardians and friends of the debs assembled at the Meadowbrook in New Windsor, N.Y. – Ms. Rhandi Stith, Chairperson; Mrs. Devieta Moore, District Secretary of Youth; Ms. Marsha Henderson, District President; and Rev. Dr. Cynthia Willis Stewart, Presiding Elder.
The Cotillion offered our young women the unique opportunity to participate in a Lock-In, Mother/Daughter Tea (Mrs. Connie Sanders and Ms. Eloise Homer), Father/Daughter Cook Off (Ms. Rhandi Stith), and workshops entitled "Got It Going – Power Tools for Girls" by the Rev. Yasmin Harris McMillian, "Etiquette" by Ms. Inga Watkins, "Table Setting" by Ms. Marsha Henderson, "Public Speaking" by Dr. Brenda L. G. Smith, Bible Study by the Rev. Lucille Adams, "Appropriate Dress" by Mrs. Devieta Moore, Teen Violence, Dating, and Abuse. They were required to perform twenty hours of Community Service, participate in community and political activities, and to support the work of the W.H. & O.M. Society
Presidents Day Weekend, Saturday, February 14, 2009, the debutantes traveled to Albany, New York to attend the 37th Annual Conference sponsored by the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. This was one of the activities in which the debutantes were required to participate. The debs were treated in a grand style by Ms. Meredith L. Henderson, Deputy Secretary for the New York State Senate, sister of the District President, Ms. Marsha Henderson.
The debutantes participating in The Cultured Pearls Cotillion and associated events: Maria Clinton and Chelsea Brock of St. James A.M.E. Zion Church, Beacon, N.Y.; Di’Onna Harvey and Da’ Shea Whitaker of St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Nora Anthony of St. Charles A.M.E. Zion Church, Sparkill, N.Y.; Zahra Edwards of Institutional A.M.E. Zion Church, Yonkers, N.Y.; Erin Newland of Foster Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, Tarrytown, N.Y.; Dominique Maynor of St. Paul’s A.M.E. Zion Church, Spring Valley, N.Y.; Jazzmine Johnson of Smith Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Janay Ward and Sequoia Edwards of Mt. Hope A.M.E. Zion Church, White Plains, N.Y.; Janesha Greaves of St. Catherine A.M.E. Zion Church, New Rochelle, N.Y.; and Nadijah Bolds, Chelsea Hamlet, Phyllis Thorne and Ashley Davis of Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church, Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Escorts for the debutants: Douglas Stoneham, Darin Daffin, Jeff Asiamah, Taheem Smith, Benjamin Muhammad, Tito Vasquez, Nicholas Jackson, Michael Bolds, Julius Walls II, Christian Thomas, Fredrick Nana Ntim, Michael Hobbs, John Rankins, Dion Moore, Terrelle Eaton and Randal Riley.
Miss Janesha Greaves member of St. Catherine A.M.E. Zion Church, New Rochelle, NY was crowned queen of the event. The first runner-up was Miss Erin Taylor Newland and second runner-up Miss Zahra Edwards.
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Willis Stewart is the Presiding Elder of the Westchester District which is part of the New York Conference and the North Eastern Episcopal District over which the Rt. Rev. George E. Battle Sr. is the Presiding Bishop, and Mrs. Iris M. Battle is the Missionary Supervisor.