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The 2017-18 Cotillion for Achievement finalists were introduced Sunday afternoon at Remington Nature Center. Not all finalists were able to attend the luncheon due to a school trip.

The 2017-18 Cotillion finalists met each other for the first time Sunday afternoon at Remington Nature Center.

This is the 32nd annual Cotillion for Achievement, a program that highlights local youths from Andrew and Buchanan counties for their leadership. According to the selection board, there were 72 applicants this year from 10 different schools. The program announced the 16 finalists from five schools at a luncheon.

Each year there are eight female and eight male finalists who participate in the Cotillion. During a two-month period, finalists complete a number of “adventures.” The adventures teach etiquette, social graces, interview skills and even the waltz.

This year’s female finalists are April Adams, Lafayette High School; Nicole Adams, Lafayette High School; Sarah Bolander, St. Joseph Christian School; Kelsey Dunlap, St. Joseph Christian School; Briley Jeter, Savannah High School; Esther Par, Central High School; Alondra Stevens, Savannah High School; and Delanie Shores, Central High School.

The male finalists are Matthew Bobela, Bishop LeBlond School; Shawn Boss, Central High School; Ronald Burr, Central High School, William Gentry, Central High School; Darby Hay, Lafayette High School; Devon Shewell, Central High School; Nicholas Ryan, Lafayette High School; and Boston Small, Central High School.

Cotillion Board President Mary Beth Revels has severed on the board for six years. She said that each year the finalists inspire her.

“It’s amazing how wonderful and hopeful these students are,” she said. “... it gives you hope for our country to see these students from across our communities, from Andrew and Buchanan counties, who have so much heart and are so smart, and it just gives me hope for the future.”

After completing the adventures, the finalists and their families attend the Cotillion for Achievement Ball. This year’s ball will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10. At the ball, one female and one male finalist will be awarded a $1,800 scholarship. Each participant will receive a $900 scholarship.

Katelyn Canon can be reached at katelyn.canon@newspressnow.com.