A night to remember

TWELVE weeks of rehearsal culminated in a night to remember for 12 district teenagers on Saturday. 

More than 350 people watched on as six couples participated in the first of the Waterwonderland Debutante Balls for 2017.

Each debutante was presented to Barapa Barapa elder, Aunty Esther Kirby and local teacher, Meghan Stewart during the official part of the night, held at the Kerang Memorial Hall. 

Once presented to the audience, the couples completed five dances - Rock 'n' Roll Waltz, Danude Schottische, Square Rumba, Pride of Erin and a creation of their own - showcasing skills learnt during three months of rehearsals. 

"Taking part in a debutante ball is a big thing in the community and is something people get excited about," debutante, Kylah Gitsham said. 

"Taking part in the ball has been a good experience, which I thought it would be," participant, Alex Brown said. 

It was the first time that local debutantes were presented to an Aboriginal elder - a decision Aunty Esther described as a "rare opportunity". 

"Presentations occur in the Aboriginal side of things, but nothing like this," Aunty Esther said. 

"The girls and guys look absolutely lovely."

Gannawarra Shire Council representative, Cr Mark Arians acknowledged the meaning of debutante balls had changed in the past 100 years, with women now having the ability to attend university, complete a trade or travel.

"We acknowledge tonight that you are at an age where it is time to start making decisions to reach the goals you aspire to," he said.

"We are also saying that no matter how far away you go, you have a community of friends and family here in Kerang to support you."

Funds raised from the ball - as well as the second function, occurring this Saturday night - will go to the Kerang Scout Group and the Kerang and District Community Centre.

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