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Debutante Ball 2005 in Sydney

There are several events which stand out in a person's life. These include the first day of school, one's graduation, one's wedding day...

The Ukrainian community in Sydney has had, for many years, the tradition of formally recognising the formation of a young girl into a young lady. The Sydney branch of the Ukrainian Youth Association (UYA) under the patronage of Lieut. Gen. Taras Chuprynka, has organised Debutante Balls in which young girls from the UYA and the Ukrainian scouting organisation "Plast" formally enter the wider Ukrainian community.

This year was no exception. On Saturday May 14, in the Ukrainian Youth Hall, 10 young girls (members of the UYA rij "Zirky", under the guidance of Natalka Trotnar), took part in their debut. They were Lidia Bodnaruk - with partner Justin Berehovyj; Teresa Huzij - with partner Adam Lasyk; Melissa Ilkiw - with partner Matthew Senkowycz; Kateryna Kobryn - with partner Simon Spyrdz; Lesya Lutak - with partner Oryst Danylak; Katrusha Macleod - with partner Matthew Shemechko; Daria Perih - with partner Andrew Duma; and Cassandra Stawyckyj - with partner Luke Prykaza.

Also, two young girls from the Plast group "Muchomory" - Roksolana Suchowerska - with partner Maksym Jacenko; and Sonia Jacenko - with partner Taras Huntley.

The hall was greatly decorated with flowers on the tables, on the stage, and candles burning everywhere, all adding to the romantic atmosphere of the evening. The whole parade was in the style of a wedding, which gave me the thoughts "Interesting if any of them will end up together, or if they will all end up marrying Ukrainians". This question, however, is still a long way into the future! On the night, though, all the young ladies and gentlemen taking part in the ceremonies looked very elegant and respectable.

The guest of honour, welcoming the debutantes, was the Australian ambassador to Ukraine - Dr. Oleksander Mischenko. In his welcome, he mentioned the great talent of our youth, which was enforced by the MC's of the night, in their biographical readings of all the debutantes and their partners - Andrew Mencinskyj and Chrystyna Parasyn.

Among the guests of the evening were the Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australasia - Bishop Peter Stasiuk; the Parish Priest of the St. Andrew's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sydney - Fr. Simon Ckuj (both of which held a mass for the debutantes, their partners, and their families the night before); President of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) - Stefan Romaniw, with his wife Anastasia; President of the National Executive of the UYA, Mr. Wasyl Senko, with his wife, President of the Sydney branch of the UYA and coordinator of the Debutante Ball, Mrs. Darka Senko; Chairman of the Ukrainian Council of NSW, Mr. Jaroslav Duma, with his wife, Mrs. Mary Duma, Sisters of St. Basil the Great, and the President of the Sydney branch of the Ukrainian Scouting Association "Plast", Mr. Greg Huzij.

Two young members of the UYA, dressed in traditional Ukrainian dress - Brianna Berehovyj and Alex Mencinskyj - also greeted the debutantes and their partners with bunches of flowers.

During the evening, the guests, and the educator of the UYA group "Zirky", were all given the opportunity to give their greetings to the debutantes and their partners. All gave their best wishes to them, and wished them all to prolong the work of the parents and grandparents in the Ukrainian community, in their churches, as well as youth and other organisations.

Upon completion of the speeches, the formal dances began with the elegant Waltz, a dance for just the young ladies, and a father-daughter dance. Following this, all the guests were able to participate in the celebrations, and joined the debutantes on the dance floor, including the traditional Ukrainian dance "Hopak".

I must say, I had a lovely evening as this was the first of this kind of Debutante Ball which I have attended...I wish all the debutantes and their partners the very best in their studies, and also their future work in the Ukrainian community.

Marichka Halaburda-Chyhryn

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