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Medallion Ball celebrates 121 debutantes and their charity work

| Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Honorees at the Medallion Ball wait to be called. PHOTO: Andy Russell
PHOTO: Andy Russell
Patty Orringer, Bishop David Zubik Jan Kubiska and Beth Brunins at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Annie Cestra, Annie Engel and Helen Hanna Casey at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
121 young ladies from around the region wait for the start of the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Antoinette Ferraro helps Bishop David Zubik before the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Stephanie Lemieux at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Susan Petnuch, with her daughter, Jennifer Petnuch and Katherine Freyvogel at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Allison Walker, Lauren Slater and Mary Thomasmeyer at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Mary MacPhail at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
121 young ladies from around the region wait for the start of the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Mario and Nathalie Lemieux with their daughter Stephanie at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Joanne Fallon and Janet Donahue at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Sarah Rooney and her escort, Timothy James McKinney, at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Mary Nicholas and her escort, Oliver Joseph Oxenreiter at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Mary Nicholas and her escort, Oliver Joseph Oxenreiter at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Natalie Kindler talks with Bishop David Zubik before the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Bishop Zubik presents each of the ladies to “society” by imparting a medal which represents the girls' commitment to volunteering and helping out others in need. Kindler logged the most volunteer hours among the group of 121 girls. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Elisa Bosilovic at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Anne Lucas receives a medal from Bishop David Zubik at the Medallion Ball, the annual debutante ball hosted by the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind at the Wyndham Grand downtown, Friday, November 23, 2012. Bishop Zubik presents each of the ladies to “society” by imparting a medal which represents the girls' commitment to volunteering and helping out others in need. Kindler logged the most volunteer hours among the group of 121 girls. Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review

Beautiful young women dressed in white dresses mingled in the Swan Room. They admired each other's gowns, giggled and snapped pictures of each other. This was an experience they wanted to savor for a long, long time.

And rightly so. These leading ladies worked hard to get to this night — the annual debutante ball hosted by St. Lucy's Auxiliary to the Blind — in which they were honored for hours upon hours spent enriching the lives of others.

As the ladies took center stage Friday evening at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh, Downtown, for the 49th annual Medallion Ball, young men in black tuxedos and white gloves lined up to accompany them. The mission of St. Lucy's is to encourage a lifetime commitment of volunteer service in young women.

“It's fun,” saidJohn McConnell, who escorted his younger sister Madison McConnell from Oakland Catholic High School. “It's not every day you get to dress up in a tux and bow tie.”

Each of the 121 honorees, high school seniors who compiled an amazing 24,319 volunteer hours to charity, was rewarded with a Joan of Arc Medallion from the Most Rev. David Zubik, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. “The women in this room are heroes to us,” Zubik said. “There are so many people whose lives are richer because these women cared.”

Receiving top honors was Natalie Kindler, who volunteered 749 hours. Second was Anna Lucas from Upper St. Clair High School with 668 hours.

“Volunteering is really like my everything,” said Kindler, from Mt. Lebanon High School. “I can't imagine not volunteering. It is not just for this event. It's a lifelong journey.”

The couples performed a promenade and waltz as the 1,250 black-tie guests encircled the dance floor to catch a glimpse.

The night was exceptional thanks to the dedication of ball chairwoman Jan Kubiska with Peter and co-chairwoman Beth Brunins with Edward; as well as St. Lucy's prexy Patty Orringer withRobert; and dame of St. Gregory Katherine Freyvogel with Knight of Malta Tighe Freyvogel.

Also among the attendees was Roseanne Wholey; Elisa Bosilovic, wearing a stylish animal print gown by Rachel Zoe; Stephanie Lemieux with parents Nathalie and Mario; WPXI sports director Alby Oxenreiter with Karen and sonOliver, one of five cousins involved in the event, who was an escort to Mary Nicholas; Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Catherine with daughter Mara; Dennis andAnnie Cestra; Annie Engel and Gus; Steven andHelen Hanna Casey; twins Janet Donahue andJoanne Fallon and daughter Molly; mistress of ceremonies Sally Wiggin; Stephanie and James Rooney with Sarah; Douglas and Carol MacPhail with Mary; Antoinette Ferraro (a former medallion girl); Jennifer Petnuch, who followed in the footsteps of four sisters — Elizabeth, Laura, Maria and Kathleen — and their mother, Susan, with Ron.

Also spotted wasEd and CeCe Kapron, who has choreographed the event for 14 years.

— JoAnne Klimovich Harrop

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