Q&A with the Sampaguita Debutantes' Ball Co-Chairs by Hans Vergara August 2009
Q. Adela, how is this year's September Affair formal different than other years?
A. We designated this year as the Debutantes' Ball, a community service to our young Filipina as we present them to society. The Sampaguita Debutantes' Ball was originally designed to be held once every 10 years; however, due to this length in time, many of the Filipinas were not able to participate in this rich tradition. Upon this realization, the event has been held every five years since 1998. Named after the Philippine national flower, the Sampaguita Ball signifies the young ladies' blossoming as they assume new roles in their paths to adulthood. Importance is also given to their escorts as most of these young men are of Filipino descent.
Q. Amy, briefly explain the history of the Association's September Affair?
A. The September Affair was started during the presidency of Dr. Arnulfo (Noy) Sulit in 1971. September Affair was "coined" by Mrs. Shirley Sulit as a traditional annual formal gathering, and just happened to be celebrated in the month of September. In 1978, this formal event was designated as an annual fundraising to benefit the Filipino Cultural Center Building Fund Campaign. Today, the goal is still the same: To support the maintenance and expansion of the Filipino Cultural Center.
Q. Sonia, what is the most challenging part in planning this event?
A. Not only is this the September Affair, the major event of the Filipino Association; but, it is also the Debutantes' Ball which adds a whole other layer of difficulty in the planning, logistics, and coordination of so many people. I have chaired Nurses' Galas on local and national levels; but, never an Association event of this magnitude. So this is a big undertaking!
Q. What is your wish for the Debutantes as they are honored the evening of September 5, 2009?
A. As valued members of the Filipino community, may they in turn value their ethnicity and be proud to preserve their Filipino heritage. Using their talents, education, and moral values as instruments, may they build their communities and nation -Adela.
May they continue their interest to participate in the Association's numerous activities and projects; thus, upholding their rich and unique Filipino cultural heritage and traditions, and ensuring future leadership for the Filipino Association of Greater Kansas City -Amy.
My hope is that the Debutantes will savor that humble, glorious moment and feel the warmth and pride of their parents, family, and friends. May they understand the significance of this cultural tradition and pass it on to the next generation -Sonia.
Q. What one word best sums up this year's Sampaguita Ball?
A. "Extraordinarily-inclusive," "Beautiful," "Best Ever!"