Sydney Crawford

Marburn Academy senior, Sydney Crawford is a member of National Honor Society, plays volleyball for her home school, Briggs High School, and volunteers for local food pantries and soup kitchens. On December 16th, Sydney also became a Debutante of the Victory Matron’s Club.

For 73 years, the Victory Matrons Club has been supporting young African-American men and women in the central Ohio area. Each year, the organization chooses a select group of young women who go through a rigorous application and interview process to become Debutantes. It’s a prestigious recognition where young women are ceremoniously “presented” into society during the organization’s Star Lite Cotillion, an event organized by the Victory Matrons since 1957.

In Sydney’s family, becoming a Debutante is a legacy that has been passed down for generations as her mother and grandmother were both recognized in their youth. Times have changed since her grandmother was recognized, but the reputation of the program remains, in part because of the demanding application and interview process. Sydney was required to fill out an entry application that included an essay about why she wanted to be selected as a Debutante, and she completed an additional essay for a scholarship application that would help pay some of the cost associated with the program. She was also required to provide her school transcripts and letters of recommendation from her teachers.

Once her application was accepted, Sydney began the interview process, which included conversations with current Victory Matron’s members and former Debutantes. Sydney felt more than ready when it was her time to interview. “Some of the tools and strategies I’ve learned at Marburn helped with the social aspect of going through the interview process because we worked on that in school,” she said. “My teachers also taught me how to present myself, and I think that definitely helped.”

Within about a week, Sydney received a letter in the mail notifying her that she was selected along with 17 other girls as a 2019 Victory Matron’s Debutante. Next up were meetings about etiquette, followed by rehearsals with Escorts, young men who perform a waltz with the Debutantes and act as their support as they are presented into society during the Cotillion.

When dance practice started for the waltz, Sydney’s confidence began to waver a little. She said, “I’m not very good at dancing, and I caught on to the steps a little bit slower than other people did. I’d sometimes get mixed up between using my left and right foot. That was kind of a setback for me, and even though it took me a little longer than everybody else, I ended up getting it in the end.”

Sydney was diagnosed with dyslexia and enrolled at Marburn Academy in fourth grade. Some of the challenges she’s faced with dyslexia helped her manage the difficulty she was having while learning the Cotillion waltz. Her ability to handle adversity gave her an opportunity to look at the situation and have the patience to work through it at her own pace—until she mastered it. Being at Marburn has helped her advocate for her needs as she’s accepted new challenges.

On the day of the Cotillion, Sydney completed the dance beautifully. Along with her family and friends, six of Marburn’s students, faculty, and staff were there to support her, including Interim Head of School Scott Burton. “I’ve had the joy of watching Sydney grow into an independent young woman in her time at Marburn, and this recognition is a testament to her commitment in achieving new milestones,” Scott said. “I’m so proud of Sydney for her accomplishments both at Marburn and outside of the School.”

Sydney is incredibly honored to have been recognized as a Debutante of the Victory Matron’s Club. “To me, it’s really important that I feel like I’m a part of the community and that I feel welcomed as an individual – especially to be an African-American individual in young society,” she said. “It was empowering to be around a strong community of African-American women to help and lead me along the way.”

Now Sydney is preparing for what’s next as she wraps up her final few months at Marburn. She has currently been accepted into three universities in Ohio and plans to study interior design.

We’re proud of Sydney for taking on new challenges and we look forward to seeing where the next chapter of life takes her!