Mother and Daughter Share Experience at 53rd Saint Sophia Philoptochos Debutante Ball
By Elizabeth Tzagournis
The 53rd Saint Sophia Philoptochos Society 2019 Debutante Presentation Ball celebrated 19 young Hellenic women and was chaired by Georgia N. Kezios, Esq. The ball took place on Sunday, January 20th, 2019 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. At the historic event, 510 guests were in attendance. The Debutante Presentation Ball’s Debutante Chair Jeanine Dalis Klima and her daughter and Debutante Co-Chair Antonia Klima shared more insight on the ball and its role within their own family.
In describing the Debutantes, Dalis Klima detailed, “The Debutantes are bright, accomplished young women in the arts, academics, athletics, and community activities. With everything they are involved in, they still make time to stay involved with their parishes. Philoptochos means ‘friends of the poor,’ and we encourage the Debutantes to stay active as ambassadors and future leaders upholding our purpose in fellowship and philanthropic service in our community. It’s been a privilege to serve on the committee and create this once in a lifetime memorable experience for the debutantes and joyous evening with family and friends.”
Dalis Klima fondly remembered her debut as a 1976 Debutante. She said it feels like only yesterday she was celebrating her Greek Orthodox Faith with family, koumbari, and friends. “My Debutante Ball experience has enriched my life in many ways,” Dalis Klima said. Dalis Klima’s late mother, Anne Dalis, served as the Reservation Chair in 1978. She said her mother always encouraged her to continue serving the St. Sophia Philoptochos, and that for several years she was her mother’s Reservations Co-Chair.
“Many of the ladies on the committee from that era are still the lifeline of our St. Sophia Philoptochos,” Dalis Klima said. It is with their guidance that the legacy of the Debutante event continues. Their love and support are what initially inspired Dalis Klima to join the Debutante Presentation Ball Committee in 2008. Since then, she said the community has become an even more important part of her life.
“Since my mother passed away in 1989, my wedding, births of my children, baptisms and life events have been filled with happiness of those that attended my debut,” she said, “…our St. Sophia Philoptochos Ball gave me the strength and courage to fight my cancer battle to be present and celebrate my daughter Antonia’s 2017 debut.”
Dalis Klima considered it an honor to serve on the committee as the 2019 Debutante Chair, alongside her daughter Antonia Klima, a former debutante. Although debuting as a Debutante in 2017 and acting as Debutante Co-Chair this year, Antonia Klima has also been a part of the committee since 2008. “I joined the committee when I was nine years old,” Klima said. “I looked up to the debutantes and admired their grace and elegance. I knew that I wanted to be a Debutante when it was my time but until then I sought to help in any way I could.” Since being introduced to the Debutante Community and Annual Event, Klima said that she has held various positions on the committee including Music Chair and Debutante Assistant, but her favorite role has been as Debutante Co-Chair with her mother this year.
Like her mother, Klima has also stayed in touch with the debutante community she created both during her time as a debutante and on the various committees. “I will always cherish all of the little moments I got to spend with friends old and new,” Klima said. “I loved all of the goofy moments we had during rehearsals when we were trying to perfect our dancing skills.”
“The beauty of our Greek Orthodox Faith and Community,” Dalis Klima described, “is that we all pull together for everyone… and gather around as the extra sons, daughters, parents and grandparents with bountiful hugs and blessings for all.” Dalis Klima has found it is the bond formed through the Greek Orthodox Faith and Debutante Ball that is so significant to her. In these times, she said they have become more than just a community, but a family.
Featured image at the top of the page, The 2019 Debutantes perform their tradition of a choreographed dance, Photo Credit: Gina Chiaramonte
Email the author: Elizabeth Tzagournis