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North Philadelphia Church Hosts First Cotillion

By Madeia Q. Jacobs

“Simply elegant” is the term that best describes the first cotillion sponsored by the Philadelphia County Chapter of the National League of Junior Cotillions. The event, hosted by the North Philadelphia church’s Education Committee, took place on April 29 at the Talamore Country Club in Ambler, Pa.

Each part of the program, from the welcome to the Father-Daughter, Mother-Son Processional, was divine. The young ladies, dressed in beautiful white gowns, and the young men, fashioning black tuxedos, gracefully waltzed. The young people, moreover, were encouraged to continue performing to the best of their ability by Dr. George Thorton who gave the “Inspirational Charge,” that he titled “Death of Decency.” He reminded the audience that “higher than the highest human mind can reach is God’s idea for His children.”

In preparation for the cotillion, the young people participated in workshops that helped them socially, academically, financially, and spiritually. They attended plays, visited colleges, and participated in etiquette classes. “Each activity,” said Keith Goodman, senior pastor of the North Philadelphia church, “taught the young people that some things may not come naturally, but, with practice and perseverance, you can achieve [anything].”

Participant Corey Johnson said, “The cotillion taught me the discipline of how to commit to a project.” Sherell Dawkins, another participant, said, “It was a unique opportunity to learn something different, and it had a major effect on my daily life and how I present myself. I was honored to be a part of something so prestigious.”

Several of the young people were given awards of recognition. Rashidi Butcher was given the “College Scholarship of Excellence” award. “The cotillion was a wonderful occasion,” she said. “I enjoyed having so many people gather together to give encouragement to young people. I am happy that God blessed me with a scholarship for school. The cotillion program is a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to participate.”

The cotillion was coordinated by the church’s Education Committee under the direction of Bri-Anne Williams-Guischard, the founding director of the cotillion. “I am thankful for everyone’s support,” she said. “A precedence of grace and elegance was set, and I look forward to that legacy in the next cotillion season.”

Elder Keith Wilkerson of the Mizpah church commented, “The cotillion left me speechless. By definition, the event is one where young ladies are introduced to polite society as debutantes, but Bri-Anne’s changing of the event to make it a presentation of the church’s young people to the church as young men and women is admirable and noteworthy.”

William Taliaferro, North Philadelphia church assistant pastor, added, “There was a certain magic associated with watching our kids be transformed into ladies and gentlemen of distinction. Although the church family knew who the young people were, we were looking at them as they will be! The best part was watching them own their transformation. In their eyes there was a glimmer of recognition of just how marvelous they are destined to be. That was priceless. Long live the cotillion!”