For Valencia's Heather Lincoln, becoming a Debutante was part of a proud family tradition. Her mother was one, as was her cousin.
After Lincoln attended Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's Guild Silver Rose Debutante Grand Ball with her cousin, the deal was sealed.
"It seemed like such a cool experience, she learned so much," Lincoln said. "It's a program based on community service, which is something I love to do."
Lincoln, a long-time volunteer with her church and The Special Olympics, joined the Silver Rose Debutante program first as a Junior Debutante in 2009. The Hart High School senior is now part of the 2010-2011 Silver Rose Debutantes, along with seven other girls.
Started in 1985, the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Guild Silver Rose Debutante program is open to female high school seniors who meet the criteria of a 2.5 grade average or higher and agree to 50 hours of community service at hospital events throughout the social season, such as the annual Guild fashion show and community tree lighting. Funds raised from the program benefit laboratory services at Henry Mayo.
"I really had fun at the fashion show," Lincoln said. "We got to dress up and I walked the runway with my dad, which was cool. I like to see my mom get all excited and how proud my parents are of me. It really shows at Deb events and that makes me happy."
Since they began the program in September with a presentation tea, the Debutantes' calendars have been filled with myriad social events, volunteering and party planning.
Fun is a common theme among the Debutantes, no matter what they're doing.
"I like bonding with the other girls and having relationships with them," said Courtney Hertenstein of Canyon Country. "I didn't know that would be included as part of the program. I've been excited to spend time with the other Debs and get to know them."
Hertenstein's father encouraged her to join the Silver Rose Debutantes. She already had a full plate as Associated Student Body President at Canyon High School, as well as extensive show choir performances in such musicals as "Guys and Dolls."
However, Hertenstein is glad she made the time to become a Deb.
"It's great to be able to do community service with different people and help the hospital," she said. "For some reason, when people see Debutantes, they think it's a beauty pageant. I think they don't understand that we want to be involved to help the community and hospital."
For Kendal Glendinning, a world level co-ed cheerleader who volunteers her time with Yes I Can!, The Special Olympics, and Henry Mayo Hospital's Women's Services Unit, learning social skills, such as those provided by a recent Deb etiquette dinner, will be of particular benefit for her future.
"I have college coming up next year, so etiquette will be very valuable for job interviews, social events and sorority functions," she said.
According to Glendinning, some of her peers have the wrong idea about Debutantes.
"They think it's all about the money and the dresses, but actually, it's more about being role models in our community," she said. "Being a Debutante helps us make better choices through our actions."
For more information about the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Guild Silver Rose Debutante program, call (661) 253-8051 or visit www.henrymayogiving.com