AROUND TOWN: 2017 Colorado Springs Debutantes part of a 51-year tradition

By Linda Navarro Updated: January 14, 2018 at 11:39 am • Published: January 10, 2018
photo - 2017 Colorado Springs Debutantes: front row, from left, Annabel Husak, Sierra Ball, Katie Torres, Morgan Meyer, Delaney Wilklow, Ava Donner; second row, from left, Casey Ahrendsen, Kylie Zamboni-Cutter, Courtney Wheeler, Carsen Fair; third row, from left: Chase Czelatdko, Casey Fetters, Olivia VanWagenen, Carmen Conrad; back row, from left: Molly Freudenberg, Danielle Ortonward, Grace Wilder, Brittany Wagner, Avery Nelson, Ellianna Gubser, Marie Negaard, Olivia DeRubis, Katherine Smith, Hannah Carpenter. Photo by Waldrons Family Studio
2017 Colorado Springs Debutantes: front row, from left, Annabel Husak, Sierra Ball, Katie Torres, Morgan Meyer, Delaney Wilklow, Ava Donner; second row, from left, Casey Ahrendsen, Kylie Zamboni-Cutter, Courtney Wheeler, Carsen Fair; third row, from left: Chase Czelatdko, Casey Fetters, Olivia VanWagenen, Carmen Conrad; back row, from left: Molly Freudenberg, Danielle Ortonward, Grace Wilder, Brittany Wagner, Avery Nelson, Ellianna Gubser, Marie Negaard, Olivia DeRubis, Katherine Smith, Hannah Carpenter. Photo by Waldrons Family Studio

A formal 51-year holiday tradition celebrated 24 local young women as the 2017 Colorado Springs Debutantes Dec. 22 at The Broadmoor International Center.

In shimmering white gowns and pearls, resting gloved hands on the arms of their fathers, they made deep curtsies to the receiving line before turning for the public-presentation curtsy to their families, guests, escorts and patrons.

The receiving line was honorary chair Ann Winslow and husband, Phil, Debutante Ball Chair Becky Bennett and husband Brian, and the patron couple honored for community contributions, Gerald and Cheryl Tolley.

The evening was dedicated to florist Mel Tolbert, who died in a 2017 accident and had been a longtime supporter of the Debutante Ball.

Following the presentation the young women shared a first dance with their fathers.

The debutantes, who had graduated from high school last spring and are now attending college or taking a gap year, were chosen for their volunteer activities, accomplishments and community contributions, as well as the community contributions and histories of their families. Several of the debutantes were legacies, following mothers and grandmothers who had also been debutantes.

They were announced down the red carpet by Dr. Daniel Thatcher, in his first year following longtime master of ceremonies Dr. Patrick Faricy, who had stepped down after the ball's 50th anniversary. Dr. Thatcher's mother was one of the founders of the debutante ball. The first ball, in 1967, was founded by the late Mrs. Hilliard Eve Miller Junior, the late Mrs. Harrie Emile Hart Senior, the late Mrs. Philip Gillette Cole, the late Mrs. Russell Thayer Tutt and Dr. Thatcher's mother, the late Mrs. George Walbrach Thatcher.

The ball's philanthropy is acquisitions and art restorations for the permanent collection of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. More than $650,000 has been raised and the young women and their families had been guests at a reception at the arts center galleries where those works of art are displayed.

The 2017 debutantes, graduates of 11 area high schools, are:

2017 Debutante Ball: Peter Husak and daughter Annabel were two of the fathers and daughters sharing the first dance. 122217 Photo by Linda Navarro
2017 Debutante Ball: Peter Husak and daughter Annabel were two of the fathers and daughters sharing the first dance. 122217 Photo by Linda Navarro 

Casey Nicole Ahrendsen, daughter of Jeffrey Scott and Sheree Ahrendsen. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends the University of San Diego.

Sierra Honami Ball, daughter of William Thomas, Jr., and Betty Ball. She graduated from Air Academy High School and attends Point Loma Nazarene University.

Hannah Rose Carpenter, daughter of Randel Dean and Gretchen Carpenter. She graduated from Pine Creek High School and attends Colorado State University.

Carmen Louise Conrad, daughter of Charles Ford and Yvonne Conrad. She graduated from Air Academy High School and attends the University of Arkansas.

Chase Audrey Czelatdko, daughter of Dr. Thomas John and Lisa Czelatdko. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School. She is taking a gap year abroad.

Olivia Jade DeRubis, daughter of Sjoerd and Audrey DeRubis. She is a graduate of Doherty High School and attends Colorado State University.

Ava Margaret Donner, daughter of David William and Meredith Donner. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends Colorado State University.

Carsen Elise Fair, daughter of Douglas Wilson and Claudine Fair. She graduated from Colorado Springs Christian School and attends the University of Mississippi.

Casey Taylor Fetters, daughter of Monte James and Laura Fetters. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends the University of Northern Colorado.

Molly Claire Freudenberg, daughter of Kent Lee and Carol Carter Freudenberg. She graduated from Air Academy High School and attends the University of Missouri.

Ellianna Jeanne Gubser, daughter of retired Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Burlyn and Andrea Gubser. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends Colorado State University.

Annabel Joy Husak, daughter of Peter Douglas and April Husak. She graduated from Palmer Ridge High School and attends the University of Denver.

Morgan Leigh Meyer, daughter of Dr. Mark Christopher Meyer and Dr. Sue Marie Mitchell. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School. She is taking a gap year.

Marie Elizabeth Negaard, daughter of Russell Hiram and Sandra Negaard. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends the University of Denver.

Avery Elena Nelson, daughter of retired Air Force Lt. Col. Scott Robert and Gianna Nelson. She graduated from Pine Creek High School and attends Laramie County Community College.

Danielle Elaine Ortonward, daughter of Dr. Daniel Lawrence and Dawn Ortonward. She graduated from Manitou Springs High School and attends Franklin Pierce University.

Katherine Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Jeffery Blair and Cynthia Smith. She graduated from Brigham Young University Independent Study High School.

Katie Rene Torres, daughter of Wendel Phillip and Marcy Torres. She graduated from Air Academy High School and attends the University of Colorado Boulder.

Olivia Kate VanWagenen, daughter of Dr. Farrel Keith and Lora VanWagenen. She graduated from Palmer High School and attends Colorado State University.

Brittany Shay-Marti Wagner, daughter of Gary Mark and Tracy Wagner. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends Grand Canyon University.

Courtney Jane Wheeler, daughter of Chester Albert and Mimi Wheeler. She graduated from Fountain Valley School and attends Miami University.

Grace Suzanne Wilder, daughter of James Richard and Kate Wilder. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends Colorado School of Mines.

Delaney Lilyann Wilklow, daughter of L. Stephen and Susan Wilklow. She graduated from Vanguard High School and attends Texas Christian University.

Kylie Paige Zamboni-Cutter, daughter of Dr. Mark Benjamin Zamboni-Cutter and Dr. Kathryn Marie Zamboni-Cutter. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School and attends William Woods University.

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