A Night to Remember

By Gretchen Eichenberg

Four debutantes and five junior debs to be presented at 83rd annual Hedonia Club Ball

Pictured: Photographs by Doug Fitzjarrell

Hedonia Club of Waco will host a traditional gala for its 83rd annual presentation ball at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 30, at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium.

“I’m excited to see the largest group of debs we’ve had in years at a brand-new venue in the Baylor Club,” said club president Dan Ingham. “What will make it so special is all the great food and fellowship, the outstanding band, The Spazmatics, and, of course, the wonderful group of debutantes and junior debs.”

Hedonia Club hosts a black-tie ball every November in which college-age debutantes are presented to their families, friends and club members — a time-honored tradition. This year the spotlight will be on four debutantes — Caroline Grace Howell, Morgan Paige Howell, Rachel Anne Howell and Carlyn Michelle Mattson — whom will be presented to family and friends in their white gowns and kid gloves in the stadium ballroom.

Miss Caroline Grace Howell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Emory Howell of Waco. She attends Baylor University and is majoring in pre-nursing. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, is on the 2019 dean’s list, a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Caroline is a 2018 graduate of Midway High School and served as a Waco Cotton Palace princess. She will be presented by her father, Mr. Brian Howell, to the song “Fly Me to the Moon,” and she will be escorted by Braxton Blake Ashcraft.

“I was a junior debutante back in the fourth grade and ever since, I have dreamed of the day that I could wear the white gloves and big white dress,” Caroline said. “Now I can’t believe it’s here. I also look forward to being able to spend this fun and special weekend with my closest friends and family.”

Miss Morgan Paige Howell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Emory Howell of Waco. She attends Baylor University, majoring in sports strategy and sales/management. Morgan is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, is on the 2019 dean’s list and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She was selected as a 2019 Baylor Beauty. Morgan is a 2018 graduate of Midway High School, and she was a Waco Cotton Palace princess. She will be presented by her father, Mr. Brian Howell, to the song “L-O-V-E,” and she will be escorted by John Tanner Gary.

“One of the most special parts of this experience is that I get to make my debut with my sisters and be presented by my dad,” Morgan said. “Growing up in Waco, I have watched my friends and family participate in the debutante experience. My mom was a debutante in her hometown when she was my age. These traditions are important to me, and I look forward to sharing the evening with family and friends.”

Miss Rachel Anne Howell is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Emory Howell of Waco. She attends Baylor University, majoring in apparel merchandising. She hopes to own her own boutique after graduation. Rachel is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, is on the 2019 dean’s list, a member of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Rachel is a 2018 graduate of Midway High School, and she was a Waco Cotton Palace princess. She will be presented by her father, Mr. Brian Howell, to the song “The Way You Look Tonight,” and she will be escorted by Benjamin Cates Walker.

“Our family has been a part of Hedonia for many years,” Rachel said. “The men in my dad’s family have been involved for several generations. My cousins were also presented as debutantes, so continuing this tradition in our family will be very special. I remember going to Hedonia when my dad was president in 2006 and also being a junior debutante when I was little. Having my dad present me will definitely be something I’ll cherish forever.”

Miss Carlyn Michelle Mattson is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Blake Christian Mattson of Waco. She attends Southern Methodist University, majoring in finance and marketing and minoring in art history. Carlyn is a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. She serves on Mustang Heroes, plays SMU club volleyball and is a Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children volunteer. Carlyn is a 2018 graduate of Vanguard College Preparatory School, and she was the Waco Cotton Palace maid of honor that year. She will be presented by her father, Mr. Blake Mattson, to the song “I See the Light,” and she will be escorted by George Alexander Eichenberg.

“The most special part of this experience will be having the moment with my dad and being surrounded by my hometown friends,” Carlyn said. “Being part of this tradition means a lot to me because I will be creating a lifelong memory.”

Bottom Row, Left to Right: Miss Emma Koehler Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Martin; Miss Hattie Jane Pegram, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Cory Pegram; Miss Arabella Grace Indergard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Theodore Indergard. Top Row, Left to Right: Miss Hayden Frances Luce, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Derrel Luce; Miss Jane Evelyn Ellis, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Lance Austin Ellis.

Junior debutantes include the following young ladies: Miss Jane Evelyn Ellis, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Lance Austin Ellis; Miss Arabella Grace Indergard, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Theodore Indergard; Miss Hayden Frances Luce, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Derrel Luce; Miss Emma Koehler Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tyler Martin; and Miss Hattie Jane Pegram, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Cory Pegram.

The 9- and 10-year old girls will wear floor-length white dresses with short gloves and carry a small nosegay of roses as they curtsy to an adoring crowd. Escorting the five girls will be: William Andrew Keepers III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Andrew Keepers; Blake Robert DeCluitt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Douglas DeCluitt; and Colton Dwight Omo, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Scott Omo.

Dave Wild will perform music during the formal presentation. Later in the evening after the little girls have gone home, club members and their guests will dance to the music of The Spazmatics. Before the presentation, Ingham will host a president’s reception, honoring the debutantes and their families. And on Friday evening before the presentation ball, November 29, a special patron dinner with wine pairings will be held at Ridgewood Country Club.

“I want to thank my amazing wife, Julie,” Ingham said. “She is my partner in more ways than one this year. The successful planning of this year’s ball is due in large part to her hard work, dedication, and impeccable style. And Jennifer Heinz has been an outstanding resource for the Hedonia Club of Waco for many years now. I don’t know what we’d do without Jennifer.”

Ingham said it’s been an all-around good year for Hedonia Club.

“We held a poker tournament in the spring and a dove hunt this fall,” he said. “Both were well attended and great opportunities for fellowship.”

Hedonia Club is comprised of a group of civic-minded men who annually present their college-age daughters as debutantes. The club was founded in 1937 with a charter membership of 200 and a mission “to enrich our community and bring families together through the preservation, tradition and elegance of presenting member daughters to society.”

The first officers were Charles Eubank, president; Walter G. Lacy Jr., vice president; and Frank L. Wilcox, secretary-treasurer. Dr. Carl Lovelace is credited with naming the club “Hedonia” after the Greek word meaning “pleasure — to live a happy, joyous life.”

This year’s club officers are Daniel Bosworth Ingham, president; Edward George Mazanec IV, vice president; Rusty Haferkamp, secretary-treasurer; and Judson Palmer Griffis, past president.

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