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River Parishes Represented in 2023 Debutante Cotillion

River Parishes Represented in 2023 Debutante Cotillion
Posted By: Sofía Montiel on January 05, 2023

LAPLACE – Three young ladies from the River Parishes are among nine debutantes who will appear in the ballroom at Xavier University Center on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at the Original Illinois Club’s annual Mardi Gras Ball.

LaPlace’s Torie Joseph recently hosted a debutante party at the Royal Palms Event Hall in Harvey on Friday December 30th. A party in honor of Akasha Williams will be held at the Nola Event Hall in Marrero on Friday, January 6th at 7:00pm. On Saturday, January 7th at 7:00 p.m., A’Keya Davis will be honored with a party at the 321 Events Grand Venue in Marrero LaPlace.

Akeya Davis, the 18-year-old daughter of Kyle A. Clark and Devonia Davis Cockburn, comes from a long line of Original Illinois Club members. She is the granddaughter of Colbert “Bot” and Aline Clark, as well as Charlene Davis and Mervin Williams. Colbert “Bot” Clark, a member of the Original Illinois Club, is sponsoring A’Keya as Deb for the 2022-23 Mardi Gras season.

A’Keya is entering her final semester of high school at Lutcher while earning college credits through courses at River Parishes Community College, Louisiana State University, and Nicholls State University. Her goal is to have 48 hours of college credit by the time she graduates from high school. She is actively involved with Lutcher High School as a member of the Power Lifting Team, 4-H (school and community wide), Theater (school and community wide), Beta Club, Student Council, Art Club, and other activities. She was recently named a third-year Academic Champion in Education and invited to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum in Medicine. She has been nominated three times for Student of the Year.

While A’keya’s academic success has resulted in her being accepted into numerous colleges, she is strongly considering attending an HBCU such as Dillard University or Xavier University. She plans to study pre-med and enter medical school after her bachelor’s degree with the goal of becoming an anesthetist.

Torie Ann Joseph, the daughter of Cherie Renee’ Roussell and Todd Francis Joseph, is portrayed as Deb by Dr. Reece Newsome sponsored by Original Illinois Club member LaPlace. She is the granddaughter of Ann Roussell and the late Bruce Alan Roussell and Donald and Anne Joseph.

Torie lives in LaPlace where she attends St. Charles Catholic High School and participates in the Stagehands Drama Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, Multimedia Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Retreat Team, Swim Team, Cross Country, Track and Field . and Ministry of Music. She has held senior positions in various organizations and received high honors in her college entrance examination. At ACT, Torie was one of only a few students across the country to get a perfect 36 on the reading portion.

After high school, Torie plans to attend HBCU and major in psychology with intentions of becoming a research-focused cognitive-behavioral psychologist.

Torie’s hobbies are signing, digital art, painting, sketching, fashion, cooking and socializing. She has used her skills as a makeup artist to garner a following of clients for homecoming, prom, weddings and other special occasions.

Akasha Zaire Williams, Daughter of Darryl Williams and Lanuke Cross Williams, is sponsored by Original Illinois Club member Anthony Maheia of Lutcher as Deb for the 2022-23 Mardi Gras season. She is the granddaughter of the late Wilfred and Floria Cross, and Sherry Ragas Sylve and the late Harold Lafrance. She is sponsored as Deb by Original Illinois Club member Anthony F. Maheia.

Akasha has been involved in the community since she became a cheerleader for a recreational soccer team called The Heat when she was just 4 years old. She later joined the Excel Star/Young Stars Dance Team, which she marched through in many carnival parades.

Akasha is a senior at the St. John STEM Magnet Program on reserve, where she has been enrolled in honors classes since ninth grade. She served as Senior Ambassador and has completed college courses related to pharmacy and medical terminology through dual matriculation at Xavier University. She currently serves as a lieutenant for the East St. John varsity cheerleading team. Akasha was also a member of the National English Honors Society and has published several poems in the Young Poets Collection. She has been certified as a Geographic Information Systems Assistant, which qualifies her to manage GPS data and geographic databases within the Demographics and Health Survey program.

Outside of school, Akasha is a member of the youth and youth choir at St. Michael’s Baptist Church. She also performs as a praise dancer at local churches and is a member of Divas & Dudes in Training, a social club for young adults who enjoy giving back to the community. She recently took part in a charity project to deliver feminine hygiene products to her school. Other examples of her community service have included caring for the homeless, participating in community and back-to-school giveaways, and collecting supplies for fundraisers.

With a passion for animals, Akasha hopes to become an exotic vet. She was accepted into the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and has also expressed interests in Xavier, Tulane and Centenary College.

One of the state’s oldest carnival organizations, the Original Illinois Club was founded in 1895 by Wiley Knight. The club was organized to build friendly relationships between members and provide social entertainment. Every year, a Debutante Cotillion is traditionally held two weeks before Mardi Gras. The Cotillion has been held every year since 1895 except for national and local emergencies.

SOURCE L'Observateur
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