The Piarist Alumni Association recently established a Piarist Ball Committee to continue and restart Hungarian noble tradition, the Debutante Ball.
Above: from Left Alexandra Hilbert Howington / Patron
Debutants: Miss Andrea Berman, Miss Dorottya Preczo,
Miss Sylvia E. Foldes-Berman, Miss Katherine Mary Koch, Miss Elisa Beth Miano Lannon, Miss Eliza E. Stanley, Miss Nicole Faige Vereczkey
Far Left: Erika Szabo Kiss / Patron and Creator of all fabulous flower arrangements and bouquets for debutants /
The Piarist Ball took place November 11 2016 at the University Club. The dual purpose of the Ball is to preserve the beautiful tradition of presenting a young lady in such a formal way, as she enters socially into society and, of course, to help Piarist Schools.
Being introduced to society as a debutante at the Piarist Ball is an experience that no one forgets.
Below: The Debutants - Presenting to the Society
Master of Ceremonies: Steven Stam
Lester Lanin Society Orchestra Under the Direction of Spencer Bruno
Below: Magnificent dance performance by Karina Tógyer, former prima ballerina of the Vienna Opera House / Ball Patron
Above: Karina and her mom / also Piarist Ball Patron before Karina's performance
Below: Erika Szabo Kiss / Patron and CEO & Founder of Sandra's & Donath's Florist
Below: Erika Szabo Kiss and Erika Erdosi / Patrons
Below: Other Guests and Patrons
Above: Aurel Berman / Patron
Above: Erika Erdosi / Patron
Above: Prizes for Drawing / Silent Auction
"Hungarians and our esteemed guests have had this event for more than 56 years, here in New York City.
After some unfortunate few years without having this magnificent social occasion, we – former ball attendees, patrons and organizing committee members – decided to celebrate our debutante candidates reviving one of our noblest traditions fulfilling our other aim of the Piarist Ball: to give financial support to the piarist schools in Hungary, that is. Thus we invite our Hungarian co-patriots, the new debutantes and all of our former and new guests to celebrate!
We feel that those who attended the previous balls have wonderful memories of these memorable events. Fulfilling our goals, here we are to re-organize our Debuntante Ball.
This year, in 2016 we will celebrate our debutantes together, offer our patrons’ generous donations to support our piarist schools and – not the least – have a wonderful time together!"
~The members of the Piarist Ball Organizing Committee
St. Joseph of Calasantz (1557-1648) was a Spanish priest, founder of the Order of the Pious Schools (in short, the Piarists). He created his first school in Rome in 1597 to give an education to poor children, providing them with knowledge and skills which enable them to get on in life.
The Order of the Piarits was founded in 1622. Besides the 3 vows of consacrated life, its members also profess a fourth vow to dedicate their lives to the education of the young. The schools of this new order in a short time became well-known and respected, not only in Italy, but in Spain, Austria, Poland, Bohemia and Moravia as well. Finally in 1642 their first school in Hungary was opened. According to the wishes of the founder, Piarist schools are free and they welcome first of all poor children, although they are open for everybody, without any social discrimination. In our days we have schools in every continent.
The city council of the Hungarian capital requested the Order to open a school which was established in Pest in 1717. Compared to the quite old-fashioned education of those times, quite soon the school had its own specific curriculum conceived in the Piarist spirit: special emphasis was given to sciences and to Hungarian language. Drama and theatre (the so-called “school plays”) added to the popularity of the school. Instead of following the cultural mainstream which favoured German cultural influences and the use of German language, the Piarist fathers used Hungarian in their teaching. At the same time the school operated on a wider level: the very first secondary school leaving exam in the city of Pest was held in this school in 1851.
During its history the school has been housed in numerous buildings. In the early 20th century the Order had a building erected on the Danube, which guaranteed up-to-date structure and facilities. After the Second World War, Communist regime claimed the building. During the summer of 1953 the Piarist fathers and their students were only given a few weeks to move the school to its designated new location. Its size one-third of the original one, the structure in question had never intended to be a school. It is where we are now.
During the Communist dictatorship reigning until 1989, against all obstacles and pressures from the State, The Secondary School of the Piarist Fathers of Budapest maintained its fame: it was among the best schools on nationwide level, it played an outstanding role in educating generations of Hungary’s Christian intellectuals. Everybody knew about the high academic level of the school, the teacher-student relationship and the care the school followed and assisted the students’ lives with even outside the school building.
Above Photography by Zsolt Rozsavolgyi
Above: behind the scenes / rehearsal: video taken by Aurel Berman during the ball rehearsal, this video features the introduction of the debutantes.
Above: Olga Papkovitch / CEO & Founder of
PopImpressKA Journal and Art Couture