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Dinner, Dancing & Debutantes

(Reader note: Between a fabulous new redesign of this very website and the crush of holiday hoo-has, we got a bit backed up on our party posts. So herewith, the best of the holiday hootenannies. Happy New Year ... wehopes!)


Beating every merry-maker to the holiday punch this year? The Thanksgiving Cotillion, a new holiday tradition debuted by and benefitting the programs of the Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation.

Chaired by Melanie Ryan (with able assists from honorary co-chairwomen and longtime Peninsula philanthropists Sheila O’Connor Burns and Peggy Jones), six young Peninsula women made their debut at the Olympic Club.

The founding debutantes of this new annual event are Anne Beyer, Alexandra Gabrielli, Sarah Hanson, Hayley MacMillen, Marissa McFadden and Hannah Miller. All the young ladies have some connection to this venerable health institution (some, even born there) which was founded in 1905 by banking and newspaper heiress Elisabeth Mills Reid.

“It’s so wonderful when you finally see an event come together,” said Thanksgiving Cotillion Committee member Sheila McWilliams, with a relieved laugh. “Because there are always moments when planning an event such as this when you wonder if it will actually happen.”

“Tonight benefits the hospital’s mammography center and the debutantes wanted to make sure those proceeds would specifically provide access to mammograms for uninsured women,” said Foundation President John Loder, proudly. “During our tour, the ladies asked such bright questions I’m sure we have future health professionals in this group!”

Cotillion emcee Sam Jadallah paid tribute to “the accomplishments of these young women in our community,” by citing the lovely Emily Dickinson poem, I Dwell in Possibility.

But Jadallah had words of praise for the debutante’s escorts, too, who endured two particular teenage hardships: “They had to learn to dance and were forced to give up texting for the entire evening!”

View Photos from this Party