Ever since she was a little girl Sophie Jones has been waiting to step into a pristine white ball gown and be transformed into a debutante.
But sadly the All Saints College, St Mary’s High School, student may miss out.
With just three young women signed up for this year’s Cessnock Catholic Ball, organisers are faced with the decision to end the annual tradition that has been part of the Coalfields’ social fabric since 1930.
“This is supposed to be our 82nd ball and we don’t want to cancel, but we can’t go ahead with just three girls, we need at least 12 to make it happen,” ball secretary Kate Levido said.
To try to keep the ball alive, organisers have opened the event to year 10 students.
“If we don’t have enough girls by May 11 then the ball won’t go ahead. We may look at making it into a biennial event but it wouldn’t happen this time around,” Ms Levido said.
In its heyday the ball was a prominent feature of the area’s social calendar with at least 20 young women being presented to society.
But over the years numbers have dwindled.
“This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time and if it doesn’t go ahead I’ll be devastated,” Sophie, 16, of Quorrobolong, said.
“I am so excited about making my debut, but not a lot of other girls are as keen as me. Heaps of people want to go to the ball but not a lot of girls want to make their debut.
“I’ve even put a call out on Facebook for people to come forward and do this but sadly, I think the tradition itself maybe dying.”