Poise, grace, and philanthropy highlight 61st annual Winter Ball

Courtesy of James Brian Studios

2018 Winter Ball Debutantes

Snowflakes lights twinkled during December 22 in the historic Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco.  The 61st annual Winter Ball produced by Hill Branch and co-chairs Laura Giles and Carol Leslie, celebrated and honored nine young women for their academic, athletic, artistic, and philanthropic achievements. 

Escort Nicholas Wiesbrock, Deb Katherine Wiesbrock, father Kelly Wiesbrock (K.Faust)

Honorees were Jane Andersen, Julia de Petra, Halle Potterton, Auden Walter and Katherine Wiesbrock from Piedmont, along with Evan Fuller (Orinda) , Grace Mani (Lafayette), Katherine Peterson (Canyon), and Hannah Shelby (Alamo). With their mature and elegant poise, they highlighted the importance of philanthropic work, specifically for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

The Dick Bright Orchestra entertained guests until the wee hours of the morning after family and friends were inspired by the words from keynote speaker Brian Warner RN. Guests and honorees learned about the importance of the $150,000 Transport Isolette, which proceeds from the Winter Ball will fund.  This highly specialized piece of equipment allows very small infants to thrive and survive as they are transported from place of birth via helicopter or ambulance to the hospital.

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After 25 years on the floor committee, Tom Smegal, with granddaughters Ellie Andersen and Anna Smegal, awaits the presentation of second generation debutante and granddaughter Jane Andersen (Casey Lane)

This magical and important night was adorned with lighted Manzanita trees, twinkling snowflake lights, and a stage decorated as a wintery wonderland. While dancing the night away, hundreds of guests enjoyed a festive evening and also contributed to a great cause — one that helps to provide the best possible health care to all children, regardless of their ability to pay.

Long-term Hill Branch member, Sue Smegal,  mother of former debutante daughter Betsy Smegal Andersen, and grandmother to current debutante Jane Andersen,   said, “What a night! It’s like no one wanted the evening to end.”

One thought on “Poise, grace, and philanthropy highlight 61st annual Winter Ball

  1. Debutantes in 2019? Seriously? Who still does this and thinks it is OK?

    Nothing objectifies young (rich) women (non-of-color) more than this old fashioned sexist ceremony.

    No amount of spin as a philanthropic event masks this atrocious event and the message of property and bondage as debutantes does.

    Perhaps a little history lesson would be in order. You know why they wear white right?

    I can’t imagine something worse I could do for my daughter.

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