ESSEX COUNTY, NJ -- Over 650 distinguished guests filled the Marriott Whippany's grand ballroom for the 14th Biennial Emerald & Ivory Cotillion — the Essex County Chapter of The Links, Incorporated's eagerly awaited event of the year. Each year surpasses the last and this year's event did not disappoint, with tickets selling out well before the deadline date.
The notable event is the culmination of the chapter’s Debutante Leadership Program which is designed to provide experiences that will prepare the debutantes for leadership with a focus on the African America community. The program has been offered every other year, for the past 29 years, by invitation only, to outstanding high school junior and senior girls in northern and southern New Jersey, who have demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to community service. Twenty girls from several New Jersey counties were selected to participate in this year’s program. Cotillion Co-chairs Joyce Harley, Esq. and Diane Barreiro-Bundy along with their committee produced a stellar program and event. “During the past year, the debutantes participated in educational, cultural, social and community service activities, including a Mother-Daughter Tea, community service and a Father-Daughter barbeque. And, there were also weeks of dance rehearsals for the debutantes, escorts and fathers.” expressed Barreiro-Bundy.
The illustrious event opened with Mistress of Ceremony, Cheryl Washington, renown television veteran with over 20 years of hosting, anchoring, reporting, producing and writing experience at broadcasting outlets including: FOX, CNN, WABC-TV, WCBS-TV and WNBC-TV. Ms. Washington welcomed guests and provided them with an enriching history of cotillions. Then the presentation of the 2019 Debutantes began with individual video and narrative. "One by one, dressed in a formal white princess gown, gloves and adorned in pearls, each beautiful and elegant debutante entered the room stepped onto the stage with style and grace, was introduced alongside her parents, took her bow and stepped into society." Harley stated. "Their handsome and charming escort, dressed in black tails and white gloves, led them down the steps while the MC read the Debutantes list of accomplishments." While guests enjoyed dinner, they were captivated by the Cotillion to follow. The debutante’s enchanting dances had the audience mesmerized. The debutantes danced solo, followed by the poignant debutantes and fathers dance and then the amazingly flawless debutantes and escorts dance. All choreographed by Professor Clarissa Newby Phillips and Reverend Crystal M. Newby-Reynolds.
Then came the Princess crowning. Chloe Mason of South Orange, NJ was crowned Emerald & Ivory Princess, by New Jersey's Lieutenant Governor, The Honorable Sheila Y. Oliver. Jade Heninburg of West Orange, NJ was crowned Emerald Princess and Anisa Williams was crowned Ivory Princess. Anisa Williams was also crowned Spirit of the Links Princess (chosen by her sister Debutantes as the Debutante who best exemplified friendship).
The amazing Debutante Leadership Program and Cotillion committee gave their passion and hard work in coordinating the year-long program Chaired by Joyce Harley, Esq and Diane Barreiro-Bundy who expressed “We could not have done this without our amazing Cotillion committee who contributed to the incredibly successful production. This was a truly magical, spectacular evening, as we congratulated and acknowledged the extraordinary achievements of this year’s Emerald and Ivory debutantes and their debonair Escorts.
Proceeds from the Emerald and Ivory Cotillion provide college scholarships and support Essex County (NJ) Chapter’s award-winning community service programs.
*Debutantes ~ 14th Biennial Emerald & Ivory Debutante Cotillion:
Tamia Juane Blackwell of West Orange, NJ — West Orange High School
Somalia Kai Bryant of West Orange, NJ — West Orange High School
Krista Ann Kathleen Clapp of Summit, NJ — Summit High School
Dylan Blaine France of West Orange, NJ — Union Catholic High School
Jade Irma Heningburg of West Orange, NJ — Kent Place School
Catherine Elizabeth Martin of Stockton, NJ — Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart
Amanda Clarise Mack of Roseland — Montclair Kimberly Academy
Chloe Rose Mason of South Orange, NJ — The Pingry School
Janeyce Soncerea McCray of Union, NJ — Kent Place School
Noelle Melissa Mullins of South Orange, NJ — The Pingry School
Madison Michelle Oliver of West Orange, NJ — West Orange High School
Jordan Alexia Parchman of Piscataway, NJ — Piscataway High School
Davionna Regine Phillips of West Orange, NJ — West Orange High School
Madison Taylor Pigott of West Orange, NJ — West Orange High School
Jasmin Sinclair Prophete of Holmdel, NJ — Academy of the Holy Angels
Mecca Erica Pryor of West Orange, NJ — West Orange High School
Jenna Alexis Smith of Scotch Plains, NJ — Kent Place School
Raigan Briana Stokes-Carter of Parlin, NJ — Sayreville War Memorial High School
Brianne Mariah Waithe of Mt. Laurel, NJ — Lenape High School
Anisa Soleil Williams of Branchburg, NJ — Somerville High School
Julian Lee, West Orange High School
Jayson Williams Johnson, Fanwood High School
Eric Jay Straker, St. Benedicts High School
Denver Anglin, Gill St Bernard High School
Grant Davis, Montclair Kimberly Academy
Jordan Miller, George School
Nasiah Bruce, Don Bosco Prep
Kyle Dorcely, West Orange High School
Noah Martin, West Orange High School
Jonathon Ridley, West Orange High School
Jason Anthony, St Elizabeth High School
Jonathon Matthew Houston, St. Elizabeth High School
Brandon Williams, Payne School of Technology
Agnew Nuri Robinson, Saint Joseph Regional
Darrius Julian Kirton, West Orange High School
Treau Hunter, Arts High
Justin M. Green, Union Catholic High School
Aidian Abrams, Union Catholic High School
Yasin Gary, METS Charter School
Marques Bragg, Newark Tech HS
Mason Woodard, St. Peter’s Prep
Nasir Willey, Payne School of Technology
Mason Morial, Seton Hall Prep
Dalton Favors, Columbia High School
About The Links, Incorporated
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. The membership consists of nearly 14,000 professional women of color in 284 chapters located in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the United Kingdom. It is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Essex County (NJ) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated was established in 1986. Bobbie Polk, President, Essex County (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.