Haley Urquhart, a sophomore at St. Catherine’s High School, celebrated her 16th birthday with family and friends . Approximately 100 people attended the glamour event held at the Miracle Center, located on 1100 Grand Ave., last Saturday.
Sweet sixteen is a landmark birthday for girls, but over the years in the African American community the birthday gala has not been given a lot of attention. In the Latino community, girls have a quinceanera to commemorate a girl’s passage into womanhood at the age of fifteen.
However there is not a formal rite of passage for African American girls to commemorate their entrance into womanhood.
Haley and her parents wanted to celebrate her 16th birthday with flair and purpose. The family researched traditions from other rite of passage of celebrations for youth, such as quineaneras, bar mitzvahs, and cotillions, and created a new tradition of their own.
The sweet sixteen birthday party was a “Pretty in Pink” ball. Guests were encouraged to dress in formal wear with anything pink! Guests young and old were creative with their dresses, suits, and accessories in pink. The party had a “Pink Court” that consisted of Haley’s family and friends. The “Pink Court” presented Haley with sixteen pink roses to celebrate each year of her life. The birthday girl received a blessing from Minister Jay Kirby, dinner was served, and the evening ended with a dance. Guests were also encouraged to provide a monetary gift to pin on her birthday tree. The gifts received from guests were designated to add to her college savings.
The goal for Haley and her parents were not only to celebrate a landmark birthday, but to prepare Haley for her future. This is a tradition the Urquhart family hopes to see continue for other young women in Racine. Parents interested in celebrating their daughter’s sweet sixteen or other landmark birthdays may contact the Miracle Center.