Left to right: Debutante Virtue Ayana Nicholson and Debutante Nijah D’Mani Roberts-Hicks
Photo by Bryant Easter
LANSING, MI -- In preparation, debutantes have engaged in numerous training and skill building programs focused on leadership, scholarship, character, culture, and etiquette. In addition to training, the debutantes dedicated many hours to community service activities.
The two young ladies awaiting their debut into society are:
Debutante Virtue Ayana Nicholson, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Mr. Mark and Makeva Nicholson. She is the younger sister of Almmonique Strong-Nicholson and Precious Scott. She is the older sister of Mark Nicholson II and Golden Nicholson. She is the grand daughter of; Thessley and Yvonne Nicholson, and Dell Smart-Gray, Willie and Ida Gray, Jr. Serving as her mother substitutes are her aunt Ardena Nicholson and her cousin Kimberly Nicholson.
Virtue is a senior at DeWitt High School. Virtue has excelled both academically and athletically at DeWitt High School. She is a Varsity athlete since freshman year and received all conference and all academic awards. Virtue is also a member of the National Honor Society and Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. Virtue is an active member of DeWitt High School PALS; whose primary goal is to provide support and mentoring by coordinating events such as freshman orientation.
Virtue is also a student tutor. Virtue achieves academic excellence while maintaining a demanding curriculum of advanced placement and college level courses. In addition to sports and academics, Virtue trained in ballet for eleven years and was a member of a ballet company.
As a member of Les Meres et Debutantes, Virtue served on the executive board as recording secretary and treasurer, further enhancing her leadership and public speaking skills. Through Les Meres et Debutantes, Virtue has performed many hours of community service, strengthening her commitment to service. Some activities include volunteering at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Holiday Commission Luncheon, Power 96.5 Backpack Giveaway, Making Strides for Breast Cancer, Greater Lansing CROP Walk, and the Mobile Food Pantry.
Virtue attends Immanuel’s Temple under the leadership of Bishop Phillip E. and Patricia A. Owens. She has assisted in children’s church.
Upon graduation, Virtue plans to continue her academic excellence by attending either, Michigan State University, Central Michigan, or the University of Michigan majoring in pre-med.
On the night of the cotillion, Virtue will be presented in love, by her proud father, Mr. Mark Nicholson. She is being escorted by Master David Wilkerson, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Chad Wilkerson and Escort Extraordinaire, her brother, Master Mark Nicholson, II.
Debutante Nijah D’Mani Roberts-Hicks is the daughter of Mr. Eric and Evita Denise Bryant and Mr. Bruce Devon Roberts-Hicks. She is the youngest sibling of Bruce Jermaine Mask, and the eldest sibling of Jaden James Bryant. Nijah is the granddaughter of Mr. Orrick Ewing and Ms. Rosemary Embry Robinson and the late Mr. Jonas and Ms. Barbara Hicks. Serving as her father and mother substitute are her loving uncle and Aunt Mr. Kenneth and Mrs. Yalanda Frazier.
Nijah, is the seventeen-year-old senior at Success Virtual Learning Center where she is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, also a past recipient of the Presidential Award signed by Barack Obama. She is also a member of the National Junior Honor Society, the Delta Gems Society, and of the Holt Diversity Club. Nijah will attend college next fall where she plans to major in Psychology with and minor in Business Administration.
She is blessed to have many school options: Lansing Community College, the University of Michigan, Central State University and Tennessee State University.
Nijah is a faithful member of the Lansing Church of God in Christ, where the Senior Pastor is Bishop Samuel Duncan, Jr., and First Lady Dorothy Duncan. As an active member, Nijah participates in the mime ministry, Rhema Dance Ministry, L.I.T. Youth Ministry, Youth Choir, and serves as a youth volunteer in the children’s nursery as well as the Lighthouse Bookstore.
As a member of the Les Meres et Debutantes, Nijah served on the executive board as Debutante President and Chaplin, further enhancing her public speaking, leadership, conducting meetings and activities.Beginning in the seventh grade and continuing through Senior year, Nijah has been involved in a host of volunteer activities that benefited the community as well as to enhance personal development as a caring member of society. Some of the community service projects include: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon, Pastor’s Salute, Annual Crop Walk, Toys for Tots, 96.5 Backpack Giveaway, and L.C.O.G.I. C. Food Pantry.
Nijah is presented by her loving stepfather Eric Bryant, Sr., and Uncle Kenneth Frazier. She will be escorted by Master Richard “Tre '' Smith III, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard and LaTrice Smith, II, and her brother Escort Extraordinaire Master Bruce “BJ” Mask.
The Les Meres et Debutantes (French for Mothers and Daughters) Club of Greater Lansing was founded in 1962 by nine mothers. The nine founding mothers were Esther Abrams, Hortense Canady, Lela Eaton, Mattie Foxall, Robbie Harris, Catherine Harrison, Estelle Saunders, Shirley Wills, and Dorothy Wilson. The club’s purpose is to encourage the development of their daughters into good citizens, promote high ideals, character, academic excellence; while personifying poise and grace, and to sponsor a cotillion at the twelfth-grade level.
Past debutantes are represented in various occupations, including medicine, law, broadcasting, information technology, education, business, and government. Our success includes the first Black female aviation inspector and a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. Other occupations include engineering, pharmacy and computer programming.
After devoting years to the organization’s programs and service to the community, the culmination of the twelfth-grade girls’ achievements is recognized through the Annual Cotillion Ball.
The Les Meres et’ Debutantes Club of Greater Lansing will host the 56th Annual Cotillion Ball at 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at the Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol, 111 N. Grand Avenue, Lansing MI 48933. The theme is, A Reflection of Radiance. The public is invited to attend. Tickets are $65. Mail checks or money orders to 2021 Les Meres PO Box 22113 Lansing, MI 48909-2113. Paypal, please use 2021Lesmeres@gmail.com, and select “Friends and Family” for tickets.