The Canton chapter of the Daughters of Penelope presented 15 young women at its 51st annual Debutantes Ball on Saturday evening.

“The ball started as a way to help fund and distribute scholarships to girls of Green descent attending Stark County high schools,” said chairwoman Linda Natale. The formal presentation ceremony culminated with a traditional Greek dance, the Kalamatiano.

“My Greek heritage is so very important to me,” said debutante mother Roseann Athans, “and seeing my daughter embrace it as well is very special.”

Family and friends attending with the Athanses included Nikki Athans, Kalliope Kelesidis, Ruthie Pergins, Elena and Thena Pergins, Laura and Mark Kibler, Harry and Vicki Jordanides, Hannah Unkefer, Emma Saunders, Jace Floyd, Peter Breckenridge and Lauren Turner.

“Although it may seem like an old or outdated concept, it is actually a fabulously empowering event for these young ladies and a special opportunity for them to feel special while highlighting their Greek heritage,” said Chryssa Hartnett. Harnett added, “I get the bonus of making my Irish husband Greek dance again for the first time since our wedding!”

Diana Kiriakou has three daughters participating this year. “Being a Debutante will be yet another shared significant milestone for them,” she said.

Debutante Kylie Tsenekos said, “To participate in this ball means a lot to me. I have been looking forward to it ever since I was a little girl. It shows that I’m entering the next chapter of my life."

In addition to her parents, her Yiayia and Papou (grandmother and grandfather) Irene and George Tsenekos came to support her as well as numerous friends and family.

“This ball is very special for my family,” Kylie said. “They look at it as the next step in my Greek life and how I’m going to grow more along my heritage.”