seen: Den­ver’s Debu­tante Ball

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - Joanne David­son: 303-8091314, par­ti­writer@hot­ and @joanne­david­son on Twit­ter By Joanne David­son

Although it’s not de­signed as such, the Den­ver Debu­tante Ball pro­vides one of the most beau­ti­ful ways to ap­pre­ci­ate Colorado his­tory. Many of the young ladies who are pre­sented at this hol­i­day gala held at the Brown Palace Ho­tel are from fam­i­lies whose for­bears set­tled in Colorado at the turn of the cen­tury — or be­fore — and played key roles in de­vel­op­ing the state’s com­merce, govern­ment and industry sec­tors. Thus, it is both in­ter­est­ing and ed­u­ca­tional to see how they are fol­low­ing, for ex­am­ple, a great-grand­par­ent’s foot­steps or branch­ing out in di­rec­tions that will bring new life to un­der­served com­mu­ni­ties.

Of the 19 col­lege fresh­men who were pre­sented at the 61st Den­ver Debu­tante Ball, Mor­gan Alexander (In­di­ana Univer­sity); Maryanna De­Line (the Univer­sity of Colorado’s Leeds School of Busi­ness) and Made­line War­ren (South­ern Methodist Univer­sity) are 6th-gen­er­a­tion Coloradans. Ni­cole Hon­nen (Bay­lor Univer­sity); Elise Kornef­fel (Univer­sity of Ore­gon) and Rem­ing­ton Ruyle (CU-Boul­der) are from fam­i­lies whose roots were es­tab­lished here five gen­er­a­tions ago. De­Line’s grand­mother, Mary Kay Braun De­Line, was pre­sented at the first Den­ver Debu­tante Ball, held in 1956. Ari­ana Kemp (Clare­mont McKenna Col­lege) had great-great-grand­par­ents who ar­rived in Colorado in the early 1900s. Mar­jorie Ni­chol­son’s great-grand­fa­ther was Den­ver’s mayor from 1955 to 1959 and Abi­gail Pad­gett’s great-grand­fa­ther es­tab­lished the An­schutz Fam­ily Foun­da­tion. Her grand­mother, Sue An­schutz Rodgers, was Cit­i­zen of the West in 2006 and was the first wo­man to hold that ti­tle. Other debu­tantes were: In­grid Backes was cap­tain of East High School’s swim team be­fore go­ing on to ma­jor in nutrition at Colorado State Univer­sity; Martha Baker, a mem­ber of Colorado Acad­emy’s A-Team for Mock Trial, is mid­way through her fresh­man year at Clare­mont McKenna Col­lege. Made­line Bragg, who grad­u­ated with awards in physics and pho­tog­ra­phy from Kent Den­ver School , is ma­jor­ing in stu­dio arts and com­mu­ni­ca­tion at Santa Clara Univer­sity.

Jennifer Groene, an aca­demic let­ter­man from Ara­pa­hoe High, is study­ing to be­come a nurse at Mon­tana State Univer­sity; Alexan­dra Grow, who’d been lead singer in Kent Den­ver School’s rhythm and blues band, is a busi­ness and com­puter sci­ence ma­jor at CU’s Leeds School of Busi­ness. Alexis Hutchi­son, who as a Kent Den­ver stu­dent par­tic­i­pated in a tur­tle con­ser­va­tion and coastal restora­tion project in Costa Rica, is study­ing busi­ness at Mi­ami Mi­ami Univer­sity. Han­nah Ly­ford was sec­re­tary/trea­surer of East High’s stu­dent coun­cil and is pre­par­ing for a ca­reer in medicine by ma­jor­ing in bio­chem­istry at Loy­ola Mary­mount Univer­sity.

East High grad Mar­garet McG­lynn trav­eled to Peru to help plant trees in ru­ral vil­lages be­fore en­rolling at Fair­field Univer­sity in Con­necti­cut.

Kath­leen Wulf was on the East High School Con­sti­tu­tional Schol­ars Team and is now en­rolled in the Mar­shall School of Busi­ness at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Oak­ley Wurzweiler spent time in a ru­ral vil­lage in Fiji, where she helped ren­o­vate a school and a soc­cer field, be­fore go­ing on to ma­jor in en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies at Gon­zaga Univer­sity.

Chaired by Missy Eliot and held on Dec. 22, the 61st Den­ver Debu­tante Ball was em­ceed by Newell Grant, whose wife, Judy, had chaired the event in 2012 and 2013. Fol­low­ing the tra­di­tional Jerry Bar­nett Orches­tra trum­pet fan­fare, Grant launched the evening by in­tro­duc­ing the 27 post-debu­tantes (girls pre­sented at the 2015 ball), who stood at at­ten­tion as the 2016 debs de­scended the ho­tel’s grand stair­case on the arms of their fa­thers.

Each deb and her dad then paused at the foot of the stair­case to be joined by the deb’s two es­corts be­fore pro­ceed­ing across the ro­tunda lobby to curtsy to a re­ceiv­ing line made up of Eliot and her hus­band, John; ball cochair Julie Wham and her hus­band, Richard; hon­orary chair­woman Sharon Martin and her hus­band, Lanny; and Brian Vogt, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Den­ver Botanic Gar­dens, the ball’s ben­e­fi­ciary.

Din­ner and danc­ing fol­lowed in ball­rooms and pub­lic spa­ces that Plum Sage had dec­o­rated with hol­i­day-themed ar­range­ments.

Photos by Steve Peter­son, Ter­

Den­ver Debu­tante Ball chair Missy Eliot joins the debu­tantes in the front row for a for­mal photo with the es­corts at the 61st event, ben­e­fit­ing the Den­ver Botanic Gar­dens, at the Brown Palace Ho­tel.

Mad­die War­ren stands with her fa­ther, Trey, in the wait­ing room be­fore pre­sen­ta­tion.

Al­lie Grow is pre­sented by her fa­ther, John Ben­son Grow III.

Mar­jorie Ni­chol­son, cen­ter, poses for a for­mal photo with her par­ents, Chris­tine and Will.

Richard and Julie Wham.

Lanny and Sharon Martin.

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