After years of planning, a new debutante scholarship program will launch in Hot Springs in January, following an information session on Dec. 5.
The Princess Debutante Scholarship Program, which is being presented by Unlimited Resources, will allow 25 young women to participate in a debutante ball in June. The ladies will also participate in workshops from January through May.
Three of the debutantes will earn scholarships, in the amounts of $500, $700 and $1,000.
Adrienne Conley, founder of Unlimited Resources, said the scholarships can be used at a community college, university or for vocation training.
The scholarships may be "not much, but it's a start," Conley said.
Conley said they have enough space for 25 girls who are seniors in high school. It is open to girls in Hot Springs, and to surrounding areas such as Malvern.
On Saturday, Dec. 5, an information session will be held at The Legendary Vapors from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. "Parents and girls can come here next Saturday," she said, "for the debutantes to sign up." The women will also be able to ask questions about the program.
From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., the Unlimited Resources advisory board will meet, and Conley said those interested in being on a committee can attend this meeting.
The idea for the program started in 2015 when Conley and three others began discussing holding a debutante ball, she said, noting the idea stems from her interactions with students she works with at college. She said she has "worked with over 2,000 students with admissions and counseling."
While working with these young college students, Conley said she noticed a lot of the young women didn't know things debutantes would learn. Conley said the things she learned as a debutante have helped her throughout her life.
Workshops will include topics such as financial literacy and self-care. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, Conley said she has planned both for the workshops to be in person and via Zoom, depending on what the situation is like at that moment.
The deadline to sign up is Dec. 20. There is a $40 registration fee, and participants are required to raise a minimum of $250 for souvenir book ads from family, church, businesses, or sponsors.