The local Cotillion started by MRAC was part of a youth development program under the sorority's national 5-point programmatic thrust that includes: Economic Development, Educational Development, International Awareness and Involvement, Physical and Mental Health, and Political Awareness and Involvement.
Founded in 1913 by 22 students at Howard University and with more than 950 chapters globally, the local alumnae sisterhood, whose theme is "BE the Difference for Change," uses their collective strength to improve our community.
"We are a public service organization," Patsy Pattman, president of the local alumnae chapter said.
The local sisterhood is dedicated to promoting academic excellence and providing assistance to the needy by encompassing the national 5-point programmatic thrust serves Cobb, North Fulton, and Cherokee counties.
Though most of the local chapter's are geared toward the needy, Cobb's first African-American sorority chartered at Kennesaw State University facilitates programs that benefit the community as a whole. The Cotillion, a rite of passage program, prepares girls to transition from high school into society, Pattman explained.
The 18 Debs, 16 of which are from Cobb/Marietta schools, participate in array of activities such as etiquette training, public service, image building and college tours. Accepted from a pool of metro Atlanta area girls, application requires an essay, letters of recommendation, plans for college and at least a 2.5 GPA.
"Every girl that goes through gets a scholarship (for college)," said Pattman. Scholarship checks are made payable to the Deb's college of choice.
At the traditional Debutante Ball, "Evening of Ebony Elegance," the young ladies celebrate the transition into young womanhood where they are formally presented.
"I think it's (Cotillion) important for the community because these young ladies will one day be professionals. These are young ladies we want to see excel professionally. We want to see them excel socially. We want them to be able to choose and do whatever they feel and also feel confident in these environments," Pattman said.
"We also want them to understand that it's very important that they give back. That's why we stress public service. We believe service is the rent we pay for being here," she said.
"These young ladies are our future."
For more information on the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, visit www.deltasigma theta.org or on the local alumnae chapter, visit www.dst mrac.com.