Five Lake Highlands High School seniors recently had a night of elegance and sophistication as they were introduced as Richardson Symphony League Debutantes at a formal ball, complete with dinner and dancing.

Megan Gover, Meredith Kent, Emily Elmore, Megan Murray and Julia Trecartin were accompanied by their fathers that night, along with an additional escort. The escorts also were LHHS seniors: Garrett Heckman, Wesley Mullins, Paul Newby, Taylor Smith and Michael Waldo.

Naturally, the girls were dressed to the nines at the ball, complete with white dress, full-length gloves and a tiara. But most of the time leading up to the ball wasn’t nearly as glamorous.

In fact, many of their activities involved rolling up their sleeves rather than putting up their hair, because one primary requirement for girls in the debutante program is a desire to serve the community.

“The ball is really a way to say thank you to the girls for all the hard work they’ve done through the years,” says Ruth Ann Elmore, a Lake Highlands mom and mother to Emily Elmore, one of the debutantes. “They’re not there just because their parents wrote a big check.”

Most of this year’s 39 seniors have been in the debutante program at least three years. During that time, they had to complete a minimum number of service hours each year, but many went well beyond the required amount. In addition to volunteering at symphony events, the girls collected items for food banks and pet shelters, worked at the Wildflower festival and Santa’s Village, and sold items for fundraisers.

Of course, the road to the ball hasn’t been all work. One fun part was the dancing lessons they took to learn the waltz. Their fathers and escorts also took the lessons, because each would dance the waltz at least once that night.

The debutantes also took lessons to learn the Texas bow, a deep bow that each takes as introduced.

And getting all dressed up for the ball wasn’t so bad, either.

“I love my dress,” Elmore says. “It had to be completely white, with short sleeves so you can wear the long gloves. And it’s fun seeing everyone else…people you normally see in t-shirts and jeans, all dressed up.”