DEARBORN, Mich. – This year marks the 51st anniversary of the annual Winter Ball and Presentation of Debutantes hosted by the Detroit chapter of the Ukrainian Engineers’ Society of America (UESA). The celebrated event, with nearly a year’s preparation, arrived with tremendous support from the local community and those traveling long distances for the occasion. This elegant event was held on Saturday, January 25, in the Grand Ballroom of the historic and ornate Dearborn Inn Marriott situated on the spacious grounds of the Henry Ford Greenfield Village, in Dearborn, Mich.
The memorable evening began with guests gathered in the elegant foyer of the Dearborn Inn Marriott for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, before being ushered into the Grand Ballroom for the formal presentation of the debutantes, the dinner and ball. This year’s debutantes continue a tradition and join a group of nearly 500 debutantes that have graced Detroit’s debutante stage since the inaugural ball in 1959.
The 2020 debutante ball formally introduced nine beautiful young ladies to the Ukrainian community as family and guests looked on with pride and loving emotion. The debutantes were: Katarina Christine Eby, escorted by Daniel Sawicky; Anastasiya Ilkiv, escorted by Maximilian Lawrin; Julia Matryfaylo, escorted by Yuri Tomkiw; Alina Mykhaylyak, escorted by Joseph Tegler; Emiliya Taisa Smyk, escorted by Teodore Melnyczuk-Gould; Zoriana Victoria Sobol, escorted by Jeremy Stefaniuk; Sofiya Synychych, escorted by Andriy Tryshnivskyy, Ava Kalyna Zarewych, escorted by Sawyer Szajenko; and Lesia Adriana Zaryckyj, escorted by Alexander Sydor.
Natalia Lewyckyj, president of the Detroit chapter of the UESA, had the privilege of welcoming the guests to the 51st Winter Ball and introducing the master of ceremonies for the evening, Marko Lawrin.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Lewyckyj shared the incredible historic role Detroit’s Winter Balls have had enriching the very fabric of the local Ukrainian community. These events have welcomed nearly 500 debutantes to the Ukrainian society in the Detroit area, many of whom today are among its greatest organizational, business and parish leaders. The Winter Ball and presentation of debutantes continues to be a valuable opportunity to bring the community together and to show our youth that their role within the Ukrainian community is well recognized and warmly welcomed, she noted.
All attention was focused as the master of ceremonies, Mr. Lawrin, formally introduced the debutantes to the community, sharing their highest academic achievements, remarkable artistic and athletic talents, and determined aspirations for the future.
Each debutante, in a flowing white gown and elbow-length gloves holding an orange rose bouquet adorned with a white ribbon, made a grand entrance and was welcomed by guests as she was gracefully escorted through the center of the ballroom. Their proud parents and guests looked on, as the debutantes formally curtsied before the crowd, signifying their official debut.
Following the formal introductions, the debutantes graced the dance floor for the first waltz, dancing elegantly and effortlessly with their escorts. The elegant presentation, newly and beautifully choreographed by Dr. Christina Korduba Zachar, continued as the debutantes joined their proud fathers in a special waltz. Following this touching moment, the debutantes presented their loving mothers with a long-stemmed rose, an emotional expression of their sincere love and gratitude for their lifelong unwavering support and a bittersweet farewell of sorts as the debutantes prepare for independent adulthood and their futures away from home.
The formal presentation of the evening’s events concluded with a joyous champagne toast to the debutantes, greeted with resounding applause. Mr. Lawrin addressed the debutantes with a congratulatory message that noted in particular the importance for the debutantes to realize their boundless potential, assume leadership roles in the Ukrainian community and always keep the patriotic love for Ukraine alive in their hearts. Finally, the guests sang an emotionally charged rendition of “Mnohaya Lita” and the ceremonial acceptance of the nine debutantes into the community was sealed in history.
The festivities continued after dinner as guests were entertained by the lively music of the renowned band Klopit from Chicago. The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all, the dance floor and cocktail services being crowded up to the very end. The Grand Ballroom served as the showplace for all sorts of dances, including the amazing acrobatics showcased during the rousing and much-anticipated traditional “Kolomyika” that, as in the past, was one of the highlights of the evening.
The decades of successes and the future outlook of the Winter Ball is a reflection of the continued support of the Detroit Ukrainian community and the dedication of the UESA members. The 2020 Debutante Winter Ball Committee that orchestrated this elegant event was co-chaired by Dianna Korduba Sawicky and Ms. Lewyckyj. Committee members included Mr. Lawrin, Dr. Zachar, Oksana Woloszczuk, Gregory Woloszczuk, Zenon Lewyckyj and Roxanne Smyk.