(Top row, from left) Taylor Gage, Jasmine-Kay Jaquela Louise Johnson, Tatiana Nicole Britt; (middle row, from left) Jada Reve’ Cooley, Rianna Marie Love, O’livia Rachel Bowles; (bottom row, from left) Alexis N. Cobb, Zaria Barnes, Jostin Demera Burton.
The Alton Section of National Council of Negro Women will host its 12th biennial Miss Essence of Youth Debutante Cotillion at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 21, at the Atrium Hotel and Conference Center. Nine area young ladies will make their debut after having participated in months of workshop activities to enhance their personal growth to meet life’s challenges.
Commentators include Channel 2 News personality Anthony Kiekow and his wife, April. Music will be provided by Bob Ellison of Belleville.
Tickets for the event are $40 per adult and $20 for youth 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased from local NCNW members or by calling Eva Perkins at (618) 462-6512.
Minister Joyce Elliott is general chairperson and Anne Johnson is co-chairman. Joyce Lakes is president of the nonprofit organization which was chartered in 1981 in the city of Alton. The National Council of Negro Women was founded in 1935 by the late Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune who stressed her “legacy:” love for mankind and a responsibility to youth.
2015 debutantes are:
Taylor Gage is the 17-year-old daughter of Brian Gage and granddaughter of Ernestine Gage. Taylor will be a senior this fall at Alton High School. Her junior year consisted of activities as a member of the AHS Junior Varsity track team. Taylor has a special interest in history; she loves sports and reading. As a prospective 2015 December grad, Taylor desires to join the Air Force to serve four years. Future goals are to complete her college education and join law enforcement after majoring in the field of nursing so she can have a combination of great careers with great pay. Taylor is an active member of the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and the NCNW Alton Youth Section.
Jasmine-Kay Jaquela Louise Johnson, daughter of Shawtaya Wagner and Johnviron Johnson. A senior this fall at Alton High School, during her junior year, she was active with Upward Bound, Minority Excellence and the Alton Redbird softball team. She served on the Principal’s Advisory Committee, the Redbird Nest, FCCLA and for the past two years has served a manager for girls’ basketball. Jasmine’s special interests include writing and cooking. In her spare time, she volunteers at the Eunice Smith Nursing Home and the Riverbender.com Community Center. She’s been a volunteer bell ringer for Salvation Army. She has been recognized as Optimist Student of the Month. On May 4, she was inducted into the National Honor Society. Her prospective college choices are University of Missouri in Columbia, the University of Kentucky and Columbia University of New York. Her career choices are forensic psychiatrist, advertising manager or magazine editor.
Tatiana Nicole Britt is the daughter of Gerad and Denise Bruce; granddaughter of the Rev. Stanley and Joan Henderson, Jeri and Johnny Nicholson and Donald Bruce. An Alton High School 2015 graduate, her extracurricular activities consisted of participation in Choose Respect, serving as a color guard for the Marching 100, and a member of Educational Talent Search and Power of Peers, where she held the office of treasurer. Through high school, she has been a member of girls’ varsity track and field team, which recently came in sixth place out of 17 teams. Tatiana loves to sing, dance, read books and write poetry. Tatiana is employed by Blu Fountain Nursing Home as a certified nursing assistant. As a 2015 graduate, her immediate goal is to receive her CNA license, attend Kentucky State University Nursing program and pursue her career as a traveling nurse.
Jada Reve’ Cooley is the 17-year-old daughter of LaTrisha Cooley and the late Terrence Cooley Sr. She will be a senior at Alton High School this fall. As a junior, she was an honor student, active in the Upward Bound program and served on the AHS dance team. Her special interests and talents include acting. Jada has performed at Alton Little Theater in the production of “Bye Bye Birdie” and had leading roles in “A Woman called Truth” and “Harlem Shadows,” both productions of area playwright Jacob Henderson. She regularly attends church and is involved in praise dancing. Jada is a charter member of the NCNW Alton Youth Section. Upon her 2016 graduation, Jada plans to attend college to pursue a degree in pharmacy.
Rianna Marie Love is the 18-year-old daughter of Charles Love and Rita Love. She is a 2015 honors graduate of Alton High School, where she was active in Upward Bound and Minority Excellence programs. A cheerleader since her freshman year, Rianna has cheered on Junior Varsity and Varsity cheerleading squads. For the past two years, she’s been an active member of the Bread of Life Fellowship Church; prior to that she was a member of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, where she taught praise dancing to younger children. Rianna will attend southeast Missouri State University this fall, where she will pursue a double major in athletic training and sports management. A scholarship recipient, she also received the Residence Life Leadership Award. She was recently employed as a hostess at Elijah P’s in downtown Alton.
O’livia Rachel Bowles is the 17-year-old daughter of Dr. Leslie Scott. She will be a senior this fall at Alton High School. Her school-related activities consist of her involvement in 618 Girls, Interact, Redbirds on a Mission, Power of Peers, Manager of Girls Basketball, FCCLA and Peer Jury. O’livia has been honored to receive the Honor Academic Achievement Award and the IMEA All District Young Achievers’ Gateway East Award, and she was a semi-finalist in the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition. Olivia has a passion for singing, praise dancing, working with youth and loves to travel with her pastor. O’livia is a member of the NCNW Youth Section and participates in Feeding the Hungry/Homeless, bell ringing for Salvation Army and volunteers at the Riverbender.com Community Center. Through middle school, O’livia received recognition from House of Representatives for Quarterly Honor. A Girl Scout Leader of Troop 1208, O’livia oversees Brownie and younger Girl Scout troops during service activities in which she models friendship, courage, resourcefulness and service. O’livia is a member of Bethesda Temple Church where she leads praise and worship, helps in video advertisement, teaches vacation Bible school and children’s church. She is employed with the Alton Park and Recreation Department.
Alexis N. Cobb is the 17-year-old daughter of Mr. Ronald L. Cobb and Sophia Cobb. A senior this fall at Alton High School, she maintains a GPA of 3.0. A former member of Student Council, Alexis was active in Biology Club, Redbird Nest, Power of Peers and FCCLA. She enjoys helping out in concession stands at morning football games. Alexis is also a member of Upward Bound and is most recently involved in ENPOWER ME, which helps to motivate her and others as they develop leadership skills through conferences and workshop attendance. A proud, active member of Bethesda Temple, she assists her pastor as an armorbearer in ministry assignments. Alexis has contributed more than 160 hours of community service to the Alton Boys and Girls Club, which help her to earn school credit. Alexis says she plans to graduate in December 2015, attend Lewis and Clark Community College for one semester, then enlist in the Navy. She will serve four years and return to school to obtain a degree in human resource management.
Zaria Barnes is the 17-year-old daughter of Rayson and LaKeisha Barnes. Zaria was an early 2015 class graduate of Alton High School and enrolled in classes at Lewis and Clark Community College. While attending Alton High, she was active as a cheerleader and served on the student council. Zaria was proud to take the official steps across the stage with her graduating class on May 22. She is employed by Fazoli’s, where she is an associate trainer. Zaria states, “I have experienced much around my community as a member of the NCNW Alton Youth Section, such as bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, fed the homeless at the Presbyterian Church and with a love for children I have volunteered my services at Alton Daycare.” Zaria is also a member of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, where she serves on the Junior Usher’s Ministry. This fall she will be attending Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to study nursing. Her ultimate career goal is to become a nurse anesthesiologist.
Jostin Demera Burton is the 17-year-old daughter of Justin Burton Sr. and LaQuona Green. She is the granddaughter of Cecil and Rosa Burton. Jostin will be a senior this fall at Alton High School. She was active in the Spanish Club, AHS Power of Peers, the Sign Language Club, A-Town Steppers, AHS Choose Respect and AHS Drug Free Alton Youth Speak Out. For the past four years she has attended the Empower Me Conference LCCC and for three years has attended the CEBIN/Goodman Teen Leadership Conference at Eastern Illinois University. Jostin is a member of Shalom Church (City of Peace) in St. Louis, where she volunteers her services with Children’s Church. As a community service volunteer, she has participated in Alton Clean Up, Here We Grow Daycare, NCNW Youth Section Feed the Hungry, Salvation Army bell ringing, Alton YWCA Girls group, Demetrius Johnson Foundation and the Godfrey Walmart grand opening. Her future plans include attending a four-year university to major in the medical field or computer science. This summer, Jostin will be attending the SIUE summer engineering program.
Escorts for the debutantes are:
- Jalen Womack, son of Lisa Taylor
- Christian Porter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Porter
- Andre C. Wright, son of Andrea Wallace
- Demetris Williams, son of Mr. and Mrs. Demetris and Rochelle Williams
- Jordan Golley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin and Amy Golley
- Todd McLemore, son of Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Yvette McLemore
- Ian Jones, son of Mr. and Mrs. Damian and Dr. Adrienne Jones
- Monty Sharpe of Edwardsville, son of Mrs. Rosa Sharpe
- Patrick Morehouse II of St. Louis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick and Tamara Morehouse