The Shiloh Debutante Program (hereafter known as “SDP”) is an outreach ministry of the historic Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, DC. Faith-based in its operation and administration, the SDP is an enrichment program for teen girls wishing to prepare for college and careers and enter contemporary society. At the core of our program are rites of passage workshops designed to provide opportunities for girls to discuss, learn and practice essential life skills with grace and poise. Workshop facilitators create experiences and activities that help girls develop or refine character, self-esteem and interpersonal skills.
Workshops are capped with biblical lessons and take-home messages on morality, integrity, obedience, prayer, grace, mercy and forgiveness, virtues we feel will empower our girls to cope with the challenges of today’s society. An additional program benefit is the opportunity for our participants to earn scholarships through family-directed fundraising activities. This nine-month program of antiquity culminates in a grand ball, where debutantes showcase skills learned and are celebrated for their academic accomplishments.
We have selected for our theme an adage that we feel captures the essence of our program: It’s not where you start, but where you finish. We have embraced butterfly as our mascot. Its life cycle symbolizes the steady and wonderfully transforming experience girls receive as participants in this rites of passage program.
RITES OF PASSAGE WORKSHOPS
FUNDRAISING AND SCHOLARSHIPS
The SDP committee expects its debutantes to pursue a post-secondary education. To help meet this expectation, the program includes a fundraising component that requires all debutantes to raise funds to earn a debutante scholarship. The committee expects debutantes to participate in fundraising activities according to the program’s policy.
The fundraising season convenes in August and culminates in April of the following year. Realistic and attainable fundraising targets have been set for our participants; however, the SDP committee encourages families to raise funds beyond the minimum targets so debutantes may receive a sizeable scholarship.
- Senior debs must commit to raising a minimum of $2,000;
- junior debs, a minimum of $1,500; and
- pre-debs, a minimum of $1,000.
The size of a debutante’s scholarship depends on her family’s fundraising efforts.
After nine weeks of studying God’s Word, attending rites of passage workshops, participating in community service projects and creative fundraising activities, the SDP season culminates in an elegant ball. Although the purpose of the debutante ball has changed over the years, this faith-based program upholds the traditions, grace and splendor of the debutante ball of yesterday. Elegant gowns, gloves, receiving lines, escorts and the famous curtsy remain beloved customs of the cotillion.
Debutantes are presented to society and their workshops and fundraising successes are celebrated. Clad in elegant princess gowns, the debutantes will ballroom dance with their fathers and teen escorts. The evening concludes in the crowing of the queen.
Calendar of Events
2020-2021 WORKSHOPS AND ACTIVITIES CALENDAR
|Date||Workshops and Activities Detail||Notes|
|September 12||Bible lesson / Sign “The Doxology” |
|September 26||Bible lesson / Sign Language|
“Basic Rules of Etiquette” (dining/social)
|October 3||Bible lesson / Sign Language|
“Netiquette” (Social Networking Etiquette)
“Basic Financial Literacy for Teens”
|Friday, October 16||Sign Language|
Sleepover: “Teen Yoga and Mindfulness”
|November 7||Bible lesson / Sign Language|
“Civic Engagement and Responsibility”
“Teen Environmental Stewardship”
|Sunday, November 29||Worship @ Shiloh||Livestream|
|December Winter Break Virtual community service project(s) and activities with POCs*|
|January 9, 2021||Bible lesson / Virtual tour||National Museum of African American History and Culture|
|January 30||Bible lesson / Virtual tour||African American Civil War Memorial Museum|
|February 20||Bible lesson / Virtual tour||Bethune House Nat’l Historic House
C. G. Woodson Nat’l Historic Site
|February 28||HBCU Sunday||Livestream|
|March 6||End-of-Year Review|
Souvenir journal photo sessions
Prep toiletries for community service
|DANCE REHEARSALS (in person)|
|March 20||ALL participants|
|April 3||Debs, fathers, teen escorts|
|April 17||Debs, fathers, teen escorts|
|May 1||Debs, fathers, teen escorts|
|May 2 (Deb Tea)||ALL participants||Virtual|
|May 8||Debs, fathers, teen escorts|
|May 15||ALL participants|
|May 19 (Wed)||6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.|
Debs, fathers, teen escorts
|May 22||ALL participants||DRESS REHEARSAL
|May 26 (Wed)||6:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m.|
Debs, fathers, teen escorts
|FINAL dance rehearsal|
|May 29||ALL participants: Debutante Ball||Arrival by noon|
At the beginning of fall 2020, a prospective senior debutante must be a senior in high school or a college freshman (attending a local university), no more than 18 years of age; a junior debutante must be a high school junior or a sophomore; and a pre-debutante must be a freshman in high school, and at least age 14 by October.
Applications for the 2021-2022 program-year will be available March 1, 2021.
SHILOH BAPTIST CHURCH
1500 Ninth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-3318
Rev. Wallace Charles Smith, DMin, Senior Minister