Debutante Ball

Longfellows will present six young women as debutantes during the organization's 36th annual Debutante Ball on May 26. They are (from left, top row): Susannah Seary Abernathy, Erin Elizabeth Flanagan and Katherine Rayne Spurrier. Bottom row, from left: Abigail Gage Wrather, Mary Katherine Darby and Madeline Claire Duvall.

Special to the News-Journal

Longfellows will present six young women as debutantes Saturday during the organization’s 36th annual Debutante Ball.

Longfellows formed years ago to enhance Longview’s cultural environment through an annual ball in which the debutantes would be presented. Since then, more than 200 daughters and granddaughters of members have been presented as debutantes.

Debutantes have completed their freshman year of college. They have been active in school organizations and volunteered in the community.

Susannah Searcy Abernathy

Susannah is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Craig Logan Abernathy, Heritage Members of Longfellows. She is the granddaughter of Longfellows Charter Members Mrs. Ronald Don Abernathy, and the late Dr. and Mrs. William Davis Northcutt, III and Mr. Ron Abernathy. Her father is in the chemical distribution business and is a past president of Longfellows. Her mother is the director of admission at Trinity School of Texas and a former board member. Susannah was presented as a Longfellows junior attendant in 2008 along with her brother, Logan. Her sister, Amelia, was a Longfellows junior attendant in 2005 and a Longfellows debutante in 2015. Susannah is one of a growing number of daughters of former Longfellows debutantes as her mother was presented in 1984 at the second Longfellows Ball.

Having completed her freshman year at the University of Mississippi, Susannah is majoring in integrated marketing and communications and pre-dentistry and was named to the Dean’s Honor Roll for academic excellence. She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma social sorority where she is a member of the New Member Council and participated in the Panhellenic Council Care Walk.

A 2017 graduate of Trinity School of Texas, Susannah was a member of the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars, having earned Honor Roll of Distinction. She served as senior representative to Student Government and Zonta Club. Susannah was captain of the varsity Trinity Titan volleyball team where she earned TAPPS First Team All-District and the district’s Most Valuable Player award. As captain of the Trinity Titan cheerleaders for her junior and senior year, she was recognized as an All-American Cheerleader and the district’s Most Valuable Player.

Susannah is a member of First United Methodist Church. Her community activities include volunteering at Gregg County Historical Museum’s Landmarks of Longview Tour of Homes and Dalton Days, Zonta Antique Show, Newgate Mission, Habitat for Humanity, and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as well as being selected to serve on the Texas Bank and Trust and Gregg County Historical Museum Student Board of Directors. Susannah will be representing Longview this fall as a 2018 duchess in the 85th Annual Texas Rose Festival.

Susannah will be escorted at the ball by her brother, Mr. Logan Northcutt Abernathy.

Erin Elizabeth Flanagan

Erin is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Flanagan of Loveland, Ohio, and the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Michael Clowers of Longview. Her paternal grandparents are the late Mr. and Mrs. William Flanagan of Jacksonville, Florida. A native Texan, Erin has deep roots in Longview. Her great-great-grandmother, Willie Bass Bodenheim, was a member of a pioneer Longview family; and her great-great-grandfather, Colonel Gabriel Augustus Bodenheim, was a mayor for 14 years during Longview’s formative period. Erin’s great-grandmother, Mrs. Edwin Hobby Bodenheim, was the first director of the Longview Museum of Fine Arts and a charter member of the Junior League of Longview. Erin’s father is a financial advisor, and her mother is an attorney. Her grandparents own The Clowers Company and have developed Longview area real estate. Erin’s aunt, Cynthia Clowers Schell, was presented at the 1988 Longfellows Ball, and her mother was presented in 1991. Her grandfather served as the 10th president of Longfellows in 1992.

A member of the class of 2017 of Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, Erin was a Billiart Scholar and served as vice president of the student government and as a junior class officer. Erin was in the National Honor Society and was a member of Rho Kappa, a social studies honor society. In addition to serving as a Student Ambassador, Erin played field hockey for her high school for four years, including three years on varsity and as a captain her senior year. Erin also served as a student leader for her class Kairos retreat.

Erin recently completed her freshman year at University of South Carolina where she is majoring in early childhood education and hopes to earn an advanced degree in special education. Erin is the recipient of the Flinn Scholarship and is a Capstone Scholar. Erin is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and served on the chapter’s philanthropy committee for its philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental.

Erin’s community activities include volunteering at Kenzie’s Closet and serving as a mentor for Big Sis/Lil Sis in Cincinnati. Erin taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School at her family’s previous parish, St. Columban in Loveland, and is now a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Milford, Ohio.

Erin is presented by her grandfather, John Michael Clowers. She will be escorted by her brother, Liam Michael Flanagan.

Katherine Rayne Spurrier

Katherine is the daughter of Longfellows member Mr. Dave Lyndon Spurrier and Ms. Kelley Rayne Spurrier. Her parental grandparents are Drs. Patsy and Leon Hallman and Dr. and Mrs. Jack Lyndon Spurrier. She is the maternal granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. Winfred Rayne, Jr. Katherine’s father is a certified financial planner with Wells Fargo Advisors. Her mother is an educator at Spring Hill Independent School District. Katherine was presented as a Longfellows junior attendant in 2008. Her brother, Michael Lyndon Spurrier, has been a Longfellows escort and was presented as a Fellow in 2015.

Having just completed her freshman year at Texas A&M University, Katherine is majoring in psychology and is working toward her Ph.D. in psychology. At Texas A&M, she is an active member of the Freshmen Leadership Organization and Freshmen Leaders in Progress.

Katherine is a 2017 graduate of Spring Hill High School. Katherine’s military marching band competed at the state level. The band was named as the highest ranked military marching band in the state both in the 2014 and 2016 competitions. The band made school history by advancing to the finals in 2016. During Katherine’s freshman, sophomore, and senior years, the Blue Brigade received superior ratings in the NAAMB competitions. In addition, Katherine served as a leader for her percussion section her upperclassman years as well as being her director’s personal assistant during her senior year.

Katherine was a three-year varsity volleyball letterman. Her team placed first in district two of three of those seasons. She was a regional qualifier during her sophomore and junior years. During her freshman year, Katherine played on the district-winning freshman team. She earned various All-District and All-Academic sports honors during all four volleyball seasons. Katherine also played three seasons on the competitive traveling team, East Texas Juniors.

In addition to volleyball and band, Katherine was also a three-year varsity tennis letterman, earning All-Academic and All-District sports honors. Katherine also was a staff writer and editor for her high school’s newspaper. Katherine’s community activities included serving as a tutor, mentor, and teacher assistant at Spring Hill ISD.

Katherine is a member of First United Methodist Church. She loved spending ten summers as a camper at Pine Cove Christian Camp and helping at Newgate Mission Outreach.

Katherine will be escorted by her brother, Mr. Michael Lyndon Spurrier.

Abigail Gage Wrather

Abigail is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John David Wrather Jr. of Houston. She is the granddaughter of Longfellows charter members Mr. and Mrs. William Allen Gage of Houston, Mr. and Mrs. John David Wrather, and Dr. and Mrs. John Richard Lucas, all of Longview. Her father is a third generation Texas oil and gas businessman, and her mother, Janet Gage Wrather, an active volunteer, was presented as a debutante at the third Longfellows Ball in 1985. Abigail’s father was an escort at the 1985 Longfellows Ball, and her aunt, Anne Michelle Wrather, was presented at the 1987 Longfellows Ball. Abigail was presented as a Longfellows junior attendant in 2008 along with her cousin, William Allen Gage III. William’s father, Abigail’s uncle, Mr. William Allen Gage Jr. served as an escort at both the 1984 and 1985 Longfellows Balls.

Majoring in biochemistry, Abigail has completed her freshman year making the Dean’s List at Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where she is a starting member of the Sewanee Varsity Field Hockey team. Abigail is a Hippocrates Fellow and a recipient of the Wilkins Scholarship for academic excellence. She is a member of the Eta Epsilon chapter of Kappa Delta sorority, the Sewanee Health Professions Society and participates in Growing in Grace.

A 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Episcopal High School in Bellaire, Texas, Abigail excelled in all four pillars of the school’s foundation: academics, arts, athletics and faith. She was on the Academic Honor Roll with Highest Honors all four years, was a member of the Benitez Chapter of the National Honor Society, and received a National Merit Letter of Commendation. She was photojournalism editor and received the award for Outstanding Service in Photojournalism. Abigail also was a member of the Episcopal High School Championship Varsity Softball Team and captain and Most Valuable Player of the Varsity Field Hockey Team. She was named to the Southwest Preparatory Conference South All-Conference Field Hockey Team and to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association National Academic Squad -Scholar of Distinction. Abigail also served Episcopal High School as an acolyte officer, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Chief Lector, and Senior Homilist. She received the Chaplain’s Award for Leadership and the Tracy Renee Clark Community Service Award.

Abigail’s community activities include being a member of the Cotillion Club and an officer in the National Charity League–Heart of Texas Chapter. She was an active volunteer with Small Steps Nurturing Center and the Nehemiah Center.

A member of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, Houston, Abigail served as an acolyte and participated in the youth program.

Abigail will be escorted by her cousin, Mr. William Allen Gage III.

Mary Katherine Darby

Kate is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Miles Darby of Longview. She is the granddaughter of former Longfellows members Mr. and Mrs. Jon Braswell Ruff and Mr. and Mrs. John Norton Darby. Her father is an attorney and business owner. Her mother, Mary, is involved in various boards and community activities in Longview. She also was presented as a debutante in 1987 at the fifth Longfellows Ball. Kate was presented as a junior attendant in 2008 and her brother, John Miles Darby, junior, was presented as a junior attendant in 2006, and was an escort in 2016.

Kate has completed her freshman year at The University of Texas at Austin. She is studying chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences with plans for a future in medicine. Like her mother, she is a member of the Pi Beta Phi social sorority. Kate is also a member of the Honor Society at The University of Texas.

Kate was in the top 2 percent of her graduating class at Longview High School. She also received an International Baccalaureate Diploma from the most rigorous academic program at her high school. She was a member of the Zonta Club, the National Honor Society and achieved honor roll with distinction each year of high school.

Kate’s community activities included serving on the student boards of Texas Bank and Trust, Longview Museum of Fine Arts, and Longview World of Wonders hands-on children’s discovery center. She was also an active member of First Christian Church where she served as a junior elder and volunteered at Newgate Mission.

Kate is escorted by Mr. Benjamin Roth Sherman of Longview.

Madeline Claire Duvall

Madeline is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Darren Duvall. Her father is a partner in East Texas Radiology Consultants, and he has served as chief of medical staff at Longview Regional Medical Center. Her mother, Marci, is an active church and community volunteer. She is a sustainer of the Junior League of Longview and past president of the Longview High School PTO as well as the Trinity School of Texas PTC. Madeline’s paternal grandparents are Mrs. Joyce Duvall and the late Mr. Charles Duvall of Longview and Mr. and Mrs. Ross Wise of Gilmer. Madeline was a Longfellows junior attendant in 2008. Her brother Charles Ross was a junior attendant in 2007, and her sister Mary Ellen was a junior attendant in 2011. Ross was introduced as a fellow of Longfellows in 2017.

Madeline has completed her freshman year at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, where she is majoring in English and minoring in creative writing and multimedia design. She was named to the Dean’s List for academic excellence. Madeline has served this year as news anchor for Good Morning Malibu, a weekly televised campus production and has served on the staff of GNews, another campus news production. Additionally, Madeline is the staff artist for the campus newspaper, The Graphic, and also Currents Magazine. Madeline is a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and was elected PACE chairwoman.

Madeline graduated from Longview High School in 2017 in the top 2.5 percent of her class, receiving her International Baccalaureate diploma. She was named to the Honor Roll of Distinction all four years of high school and was a member of the National Honor Society. Madeline was a member of Longview High School Theatre for three years. She participated in numerous productions, her favorite role being Fantine in Les Miserables. She was honored to receive the LHS Award of Excellence for Theatre, as well as a UIL Best Supporting Actress award for One-Act Play. Madeline was a member of the LHS Varsity Swim Team for two years.

Madeline’s community activities included Texas Bank and Trust Student Board, Longview Museum of Fine Arts Student Board, and Longview Community Ministries Youth Board. She received the DAR Good Citizen Award and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award. She was most passionate, however, about the Longview World of Wonders hands-on children’s discovery center. Madeline served on the Youth Advisory Council for four years, holding the office of marketing director for two years and president for one year.

Madeline is a member of Pine Tree Church of Christ where she served in high school as a Sunday school teacher, as a member of the Youth Leadership Corps for three years, and as a ZEW Retreat counselor for two years. She also participated in a mission trip to Honduras. She currently attends the Pepperdine University Church of Christ.

Madeline is escorted by her brother, Mr. Charles Ross Duvall.