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Image by Paige Johnson

Silver Rose Debutante Coterie

Image by Eugene Golovesov

2022 Gamma Rho Omega Chapter Debutantes

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Debutante Presentation of college-age young women was initiated and developed by Ms. Coatsie Jones (charter member of Gamma Rho Omega). Dr. Norma White (then President of the sorority) Mrs. Alma Daniels and Mrs. Joan Spaulding. Ms. Jones was a charter member of Les Treize Amies Bridge Club, the organization that began presenting young ladies to society as debutantes in 1952. December 24, 1953, was the first recorded Debutante Ball for African American women in the city. Norma Solomon White, a student at Florida A&M University was in the first group. The bridge club terminated the presentation of the Debutante Ball when all their daughters had been presented. For years later there were no presentations; however, members of the bridge club who were also members of the sorority did not want to see this unique venture dropped and encouraged the chapter to take over the project. Mrs. Daniels and Mrs. Spaulding were instrumental in convincing President White and the chapter to support the idea. Former debutantes felt that the event was a very fulfilling time in their lives. They believed it would be the same for young college women in the 1980’s. It was agreed that this would not be a fund-raising activity.

The purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity for college young women who have made their formal entrance into society to learn certain niceties of life. The debutantes learn to be poised and graceful through self-improvement workshops with emphasis on poise and posture, skin care, hairstyling, etiquette, good g rooming, proper attire, respect for family and parents as well as personal privacy. She develops a pleasing personality, meets new friends, learns what to wear and appropriate graces for various social functions.

On December 30, 1981, Gamma Rho Omega successfully presented forty-seven young college women to the Jacksonville community in its Silver Rose Debutante Ball at the Jacksonville Civic Auditorium. The young ladies began their activities in June of that year with the Mother-Daughter Luncheon and ended with the Silver Rose Debutante Presentation. On June 1, 2013, the name of the luncheon was officially changed to the Solomon-White Mother-Daughter Luncheon.

Mrs. Joan Spaulding was the first chairman with Mrs. Alma Daniels serving as the first vice-chairman. Mrs. Ethel Brooks oversaw the calendar and Mrs. Edna Bell coordinated the workshops and seminars. Mrs. Norma White was president of the chapter and Mrs. Coatsie Jones was named Silver Matriarch at the first presentation. The theme of the presentation was “Winter Wonderland.” Mrs. Norma White was the commentator.

A Silver Matriarch is a chapter member who has served either as president of Gamma Rho Omega or one who has chaired the Debutante Coterie. 


Over the past forty-one years Gamma Rho Omega Chapter has presented almost five hundred Debutantes to society. We have touched the lives of hundreds of young women who are successful as supervisors, administrators, teachers, secretaries, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, nurses, politicians, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, wives, mothers, and good citizens. We have contributed to building self-esteem and racial pride and have provided many hours of service to non-profit organizations in Jacksonville. We continue to refine the Debutante program so that it remains relevant to young women today. We continually strive to inspire young people to higher achievements.

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