The Debutante Program supports the Sarasota Orchestra, Inc., a multi-faceted organization that embraces a dual commitment to both performance and education. To date the Debutante Program has donated more than $775,000 to the Youth Orchestra.
This year, the program is celebrating its 30th anniversary of honoring outstanding young women in our community. The Pprogram began with the first Debutante Ball in 1981, and since that time, 394 young women have successfully participated in the program. The purpose of the program is to foster social and cultural awareness in a select group of young women to benefit this or any future community in which she will reside. This year’s ball will be held Dec. 17 at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium.
Carolina Hepburn Elizalde is the daughter of Raul and AlisonElizalde of Sarasota. She attends Pine View High School where she is an officer of The National Honor Society, a member of The Spanish Honor Society, co-president of the Students Working Against Tobacco/Students Against Destructive Decisions Club and a National Merit Commended Scholar. Carolina is a varsity rower and co-captain at Sarasota Crew and a member of The Church of the Redeemer where she has participated in numerous service projects. Carolina has also enjoyed volunteering at Make a Wish Foundation’s “Christmas in Candyland” fundraiser since 2009.
Amber Falkner is the daughter of Thomas and Tamara Falkner of Bradenton. She attends Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School where she is co-Editor-in-Chief of The Gauntlet, Club Castellano president, Math Club vice president, Student Council representative and a member of Student Ambassadors, and Harvard Model Congress. Amber has been inducted into Cum Laude Society, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll Society and Mu Alpha Theta. She is the recipient of The University of Pennsylvania Book Award, five Excellence Academic Awards and six Florida Scholastic Press Association Awards. In the community, she volunteers at TOPSoccer and recently interned at SRQ Magazine.
Madisson Renee Hausburg is the fourth daughter of Jonathan and Cindy Hausburg to participate in the Sarasota Debutante program, tying the previous record holder of 30 years. She attends Pine View School, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society. She is also a member of Sarasota Cotillion. Hobbies include playing the saxophone, drums, dirt-biking, modeling and travel with recent visits to China and Alaska. She has volunteered as a camp counselor for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation and the Save Darfur campaign. Her goal is to pursue a career in engineering and business.
Alison Marie Kanter is the daughter of Steven Kanter and Danielle Gladding, and the stepdaughter of Nicholas Gladding. She attends Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School where she is the president of the Senior Class, a member of the National Honor Society, currently participating in a teaching internship with a Saint Stephen’s kindergarten class and the co-chair of decorating of the Big Bang Society. She is on the school’s softball team and takes photography classes at school. In the community, Alison is an active member of Saint Martha’s Catholic Church and volunteers at Sarasota Manatee Association of Riding Therapy.
Anna Maxime McCarthy is the daughter of Chip and Brigitte McCarthy of Bradenton. She attends Manatee High School where she is a member of the National Honor Society, AP+ program, captain of the cheerleading team, member of Senior Class Board and Key Club. Anna is active within the Young Life Christian organization of Manatee County, also serving as a Wyldlife youth leader. In the community, Anna is a board member for the Reinaunce Service Club and founder of the nonprofit organization Bones for Homes, which raises money and awareness for animal shelter pet adoption services.
Ellie Kathryn Mobley is the daughter of Dr. David and Margaret Mobley of Sarasota. She attends Riverview High School and is in the IB program. She is an active member of National English Honor Society and National Honor Society. She is the secretary of two clubs at Riverview: Papillon Club, a mentoring program for freshman girls and Interact club, which promotes international service. She has been involved with the Community Youth Development program for more than a year as a student trainer. Ellie is also on the League of Women Voters board and participates in Relay for Life.
Kayla Elizabeth Nelson is the daughter of Robert and Mollie Nelson of Sarasota. She was born in Naples, as a third-generation Collier County birth and fourth-generation Floridian. She formally attended Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, and is enrolled in Sarasota High School where she is an active participant in the drama department and is a second lieutenant in R.O.T.C. She has attended First Baptist Church since the age of 5, has attended Camp Greystone, in North Carolina for five years, was a participant in the YMCA leadership program in 2007, and was also hired by Publix for her first job.
Katelyn Elizabeth O’Neill is the daughter of Joseph and Kathleen O’Neill of Sarasota. She attends Pine View School where she participates in the Scholars for Scholars tutoring program and is a member of National Honor Society and Spanish, Math and History Honor Societies. She recently earned the designation of AP Scholar. She has received superiors in the FFMC Festival piano competition for 11 consecutive years and has a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo. In the community, Katelyn mentors younger girls through the Girl Scouts program, is secretary of the Gulf Gate Teen Council, and plays the piano at various nursing homes during the holidays.
Katherine Anne Schroeter is the daughter of Marilyn Jennifer Schroeter and Dr. Thomas Anthony Schroeter. She attends Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School where she is on the executive board of Student Council, Mock Trial team captain, vice president of Interact Club and a member of Harvard Model Congress. She has received the Trinity College Book Award, the Advanced Placement Scholar with Honor Award, and the Harvard Model Congress National Excellence Award for the past two years. Over the past summer, Katherine participated as a delegate at Girls State and interned in Washington, D.C., for Congressman Vern Buchanan. In the community, Katherine participates in local beach clean-ups and feeding the hungry at the Salvation Army.
Mckayla West Taaffe is the daughter of Michael and Tammy West Taaffe of Sarasota. She attends Pine View School where she is an AP Scholar, Scholar Athelete and president of Students Against Tobacco. Mckayla was selected to row for the U.S. Junior National Team, has won two national championships and, in her first international race, won a gold medal at the CanAm games. She is two-time Captain at Sarasota Crew and has rowed competitively for six years. She volunteers her time at Historic Spanish Point, Bay Preserve and UCP. She is an intern for The Osprey Observer, is a photographer and loves to bake cupcakes. She is a member of First Presbyterian Church.