18 debutantes carry on tradition at Pittsburgh's Cinderella Ball
Carrying on a storied tradition established in 1924, 18 debutantes made their debut to society on the evening of Jan. 24 during the 89th annual Cinderella Ball.
With the historic Omni William Penn as the perfect backdrop, guests were treated to a cocktail hour behind the velvet ropes in the opulent lobby. There, co-chairwomen Nancy Schaffer and Betsy Teti were greeted with wide-eyed adoration.
“These four little girls came up to me and said, ‘Are you the fairy godmother?' and I said, ‘Just for tonight,' ” Betsy said.
Sequestered upstairs, the debutantes were awaiting their big moment as another tradition continued without fail — curtsy anxiety. “I started practicing as a joke because I have family from Texas,” said Shea Minter, who opted for the difficult and dramatic Texas Dip.
Once in the ballroom, Master of Ceremonies Lenny Marsico and the Rick Purcell Orchestra welcomed Catherine Loevner to the stage to present the Cinderella Women's Committee scholarship to Kyra Ganzy (daughter of Dr. Alexander and Kerry Ganzy) for having completed 50 hours of volunteer service to this year's beneficiary, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
“It's a lot of hard work she put into volunteering. I'm very proud of her,” her father said.
From there, perhaps the biggest moment of the evening came when Penn State sophomore Henry James Fiedler (son of Craig and Alyce, who presented herself in 1984), performed his official duty of randomly picking the name of this year's Cinderella — Mackenzie Haney — from an illuminated pumpkin.
Presenting this year were third-generation debs Clyde Munroe and Ashley McIlroy, and second-generation debs Katharine Bohlmann, Alison Thai and Beatrice King. Also, Lucy Alexander, Katherine Berger-Acheson, Faith Cochran, Marjorie Crimmins, Kathryn Donnelly, Angela Fazio, Isabella Nairn, Margaret Slevin, Breeden Tesone and Chloe Zack. As a collective, the girls donated 600 hours of their time volunteering at Phipps.