39th Annual Cotillion Formal Presentation

Photos courtesy of Sam Coleman of Royal Photography, LLC.

Cotillion is a youth development and scholarship program designed to enhance the academic, cultural, social, and civic awareness of the selected high school seniors. The six-month program is a part of Delta Sigma Theta’s national Five-point Programmatic Thrust and culminates in a Formal Presentation and Scholarship program. Since its inception, this amazing program has awarded more than $2M in scholarships to high school seniors from the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The program spotlighted 20 extraordinary high school seniors, two males and eighteen females

The participants volunteered more than 600 hours during the Cotillion season with organizations including Harvesters, Bethel AME, Red Racks, and Olathe Health. The participants also volunteered as tutors, with sports organizations and a fire station.

In addition to writing a social justice awareness essay, focusing on college preparation they also participated in a Talent Showcase. During the Talent Showcase that took place on February 4, 2024, the participants showcased their many wonderful talents including several distinct types of dances, musical instruments, spoken word, paintings, song performances and even a live demonstration on how to create music beats. The selection was difficult, but the top winners were chosen. 

  • Tied for third place were Makiyah Farley with a painting showcase entitled, “The Heart of Despair” and Michelle Young with a poem called “La Libertad no es Libre.” 
  • Second-place winner was Niyah McDowell, with a video presentation and step, “The Bigger Picture.” 
  • First-place winner was Cameron Ousley with a music production entitled, “Beats by C Sharp.”

The Formal Presentation and Scholarship Program took place on Saturday, March 30, 2024, at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. The traditional and very elegant grand waltz, choreographed by Elaina Paige, owner of The Next Paige Agency, was beautifully performed by the participants and their partners. 


The newest scholarships, the Helen Ragsdale Educational Scholarship Award, and the Jessie Carpenter Historical Black College and University (HBCU) Scholarship Award, named after Mrs. Jessie Carpenter, a charter member of the KCMO Alumnae Chapter and past Regional Director of the Central Region, were awarded. 

  • Helen Ragsdale Educational Scholarship – Kiersten Hayes 
  • Jessie Carpenter HBCU Scholarship – Kendal Ford, attending North Carolina A&T State University.  

The evening culminated with the awarding of $64,500 in college scholarships. This year’s scholarship winners were:

  • Top Overall Participant – Ava Butler
  • 1st Runner Up – Michelle Young
  • 2nd Runner Up – John Wesley Wilson IV

Additional awards:

  • Social Justice Essay Competition: Ava Butler 
  • Highest GPA with an unweighted GPA of 3.981: Niyah McDowell
  • Community Service: 1st place – Kiersten Hayes, 2nd place – Niyah McDowell
  • Fundraising: 1st place – Michelle Young, 2nd place – Ava Butler
  • Ticket Sales: 1st place – Ava Butler, 2nd place – Michelle Young, 3rd place – John Wesley Wilson IV
  • Souvenir Journal Ad Sales; 1st place – Ava Butler, 2nd place – John Wesley Wilson IV, 3rd place– Kendal Ford

The Cotillion 2024 General Chairs were Alaina Brooks, Jacqueline A. Dillard and Melba Underwood. 

Congratulations to our 2024 Cotillion participants; we want to thank you for being our future. 

Follow your dreams. Embrace all the opportunities and challenges that come with college life. 

Cotillion is just one of several youth initiative programs sponsored by the DEED Foundation and the KCMO Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. with the goal of developing young men and women. 

The Cotillion application become available in August 2024 for next year’s program, please come back to the site for the application.

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