Kytherians in Australia celebrate legacy and philanthropy at annual Debutante Ball

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The Kytherian Association of Australia (KAA) hosted their Annual Debutante Ball on Saturday, May 18, at the Royal Randwick Racecourse Ballroom in Sydney.

Guests enjoyed a wonderful event as Iho Nyx band kept guests dancing most of the night with great ‘kefi.’

kytherian debutante ball
Iho Nyx at the Kytherian Ball. All photos supplied by Nick Bourdaniotis.
kytherian debutante ball

Emcee George Roins presented Matron of Honour Helen Magiros accompanied by her husband, followed by 15 debutants, their partners and flower girls and page boys.

Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis representing Archbishop Makarios of Australia, gave his blessings and outlined the long history of the Kytherians in Australia. Even longer than the 100 years of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.

kytherian debutante ball

Esteemed soprano Helen Zerefos OAM sang both Australian and Greek National Anthems.

In her address, Barbara Zantiotis, the President of the KAA, emphasised the significance of hard work and perseverance, stating “work and determination… over the past 101 years, is why we exist today and continue to flourish and prosper.”

“Today is a very special day for our 15 beautiful young ladies making their debut, their first official appearance in our community,” Ms Zantiotis added.

kytherian debutante ball

Ms Zantiotis highlighted the event also had a significant charitable focus naming the beneficiaries of the evening, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Research Centre and the St Nicholas Mission Academy in Ghana.

“CJD is an extremely rare and fatal neurological disease that has no effective treatment,” she explained, sharing a personal connection as her cousin had succumbed to the disease last year. “Research teams are working diligently to find a cure for those affected by this devastating disease.”

Acknowledgements were extended to the debutantes’ partners and the young flower girls and boys, as well as guests and sponsors.

kytherian debutante ball

A highlight of the evening was the presence of the Guest of Honour, the 2024 Greek Herald Woman of the Year, Anais Menounos.

“Anais, you are an excellent role model for our debutantes. What you have achieved at just 29 years of age is extraordinary. Your initiative in co-founding projects in Ghana, Africa, speaks volumes of your kind-hearted and altruistic nature,” the President said.

Ms Menounos, also a lawyer and co-founder of the St Nicholas Mission Academy, enlightened attendees with her moving story of giving back and helping those less fortunate.

kytherian debutante ball
(L-R) Anais Menounos, Helen Magiros and Barbara Zantiotis.

Ms Menounos began by reflecting on her extensive volunteer work, which included assisting with sexual harassment, domestic violence, and unpaid work practices on a pro bono basis. Her journey took a significant turn in 2018 when she volunteered to help refugees seeking asylum in Greece. This experience laid the groundwork for her future endeavors in West Africa.

A turning point came when a young boy in Ghana begged her for a book to read.

“This boy wasn’t hungry for food, but he was hungry for knowledge. It was his boldness that instilled in me the determination to provide education to as many children as possible,” she said. This encounter led to the founding of the St Nicholas Mission Academy, named after the patron saint of seafarers and children.

Through the generosity of family and friends, Ms Menounos and her co-founder were able to fundraise to rent an old church and buy school furniture and supplies for their first 15 students.

“Five and a half years later, we have over 250 students divided across 10 primary school classes, and we provide employment to 15 Ghanaian staff, including teachers, a cook, a groundskeeper, a cleaner, and a bus driver,” she shared. The academy also provides education, daily hot lunches, drinking water, school supplies, uniforms, extracurricular activities, excursions, and health insurance – all for free to children living below the poverty line.

In closing, Ms Menounos addressed the debutantes, emphasising the importance of resilience, determination, and community.

kytherian debutante ball
kytherian debutante ball

“Your presence tonight is a testament to the strength of your community and the promise of a vibrant future. Never underestimate yourself and your intuition. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough,” she advised.

She reminded them of their privilege and the responsibility to uplift others, highlighting that even the smallest act of kindness can make the greatest impact.

Following the official proceedings the dancing continued and some lucky guests walked away with more than $21,000 worth of prizes.

kytherian debutante ball

Participants in the 2024 KAA Debutante Ball

Matron of Honour: Helen Magiros

kytherian debutante ball

Debutantes and their partners

  • Tia Frilingos with Peter Winnel
  • Kiki Barbaris with George Frilingos
  • Felicia Economos with Curtis Constantinou
  • Mia Karedis with Peter Sklavos
  • Cara Diamond with Ryan Lynch
  • Rosana Vlandis with Paul Vlandis
  • Kate Stellios with Pete Krouskos
  • Elena Feros with Thomas Fiori
  • Sienna Francis with Harrison Francis
  • Demee Georgas with Billy Koumoukelis
  • Kristen Socrates with Harry Larcos
  • Evelina Karedis with Theo Coolentianos
  • Sophia Barry with Ryan Cordato
  • Natasha Psaltis with Andrew Magoulas
  • Nicoletta Tsakiridis with Alexander Dracakis
kytherian debutante ball

Flower girls and their page boys

  • Adelyn Diamond with Georgio Kouvaris
  • Yianna Notaras with George Samios
  • Lara Psaltis with Christian Henderson
  • Eleni Raissis with John Magoulas

*All photos supplied by Nick Bourdaniotis.

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