Firestone Country Club was a beehive of activity Saturday evening as 15 lovely young ladies prepared to make their debut at the 63rd annual Sweetheart Ball and Cotillion

Julie Seabrook, who chaired the event, said the debs are chosen for their academic achievements and school and community service.

Families and friends posed for photos with the debs and looked over the silent auction items around the room. “There are some really nice baskets here,” said Michelle Davis as she placed her bid.

Fourteen-year-old Jason Harville looked spiffy in his first tuxedo as he awaited his sister Emily’s debut along with his parents, Dr. Laura Markley and Michael Harville.

Alexis Henry joined her parents William and Samantha Lucas to admire the tree of debutante photos along with Samantha Carper.

Debutante Madison Burns was also celebrating her birthday with parents Luke and Tricia Burns and Austin Booth, Janice Broadhead, JoAnn Cunningham and Randall Cunningham. “We plan to sing 'Happy Birthday' to her later,” said deb Trinity Broadhead.

The event benefits Special Olympics of Ohio, Area 10. Glen Blakeney and Pam Davis, co-directors, said the debutantes work closely with the Special Olympics athletes, writing letters of encouragement, baking cookies for their parties, volunteering to help out at spring games, and presenting awards to the athletes

“Volunteers are the backbone of Special Olympics” Blakeney said. Since 1999, the event has raised over $82,000 for Special Olympics. Davis said this year three basketball teams from Area 10 have qualified to go to the state tournament in Columbus.

A hush fell over the crowd as master of ceremonies Timothy Stewart announced each debutante as she appeared on the stage lavishly decorated with flowers from A Blooming Hart.

Following the presentation and dinner, guests enjoyed dancing to the music of The Cutting Edge.