If I can't make you ladies and gentlemen for one night, I've failed- Helen Kelly
For nearly 20 years, Helen Kelly has helped launch young ladies and their partners into society with a time-honoured tradition.
This year’s group of 22 youngsters will be the last to go under Mrs Kelly’s wing during the Coleambally Catholic Debutante Ball.
After teaching more than 300 teenagers the art of dance, including two of her own children and one grand-child, she’s calling it a day.
She thought this year would be the perfect time to give it up as she’ll get to see her granddaughter Hannah through the experience.
She’s had her ups and downs and come out with a fountain of knowledge.
“There was a year I had to have two deb balls because there were so many. It was the stupidest thing I've ever done,” she said with a smile on her face.
She’d had a bit of experience in pageantry herself before she got involved in the ball and thought she might be able to lend a hand.
“I used to do Miss Australia quests way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I think it taught me a lot about presentation,” she said.
“I just thought I would be able to relay that experience back to the girls.
“I said to the girls and the boys one year, 'if I can't make you ladies and gentlemen for one night, I've failed’.”
She’s hoping this year’s crop of debutantes come with a lot of enthusiasm and a smile of their face.
“None have gone through yet that haven't been able to dance,” she said.
“Some have been a challenge to start off with but it's so important to the young ones.”
She made special mention of a few names who have helped along the way.
“Jack and Nora Briggs, Jean Vivian, Shirely and Joe Painting, David Gallagher, John and Eileen McInnes, John Antney, Rita Portolizzi, Jeanette Burnett and Sheryl Oliver have all made this a wonderful experience,” Mrs Kelly said.