Krewe of Ceres: A modern royalty affair

Guests and members of the Krewe of Ceres 48th Annual Charity Ball were treated to “A Modern Royalty Affair” Saturday evening. Reigning over the event were King William Dennis Valentine and Queen Laura Lee Lewis.

As guests pulled into the Lincoln Civic Center they were welcomed by a neon projection on the outer wall of the Civic center that read, “Krewe of Ceres, Charity Ball, 2015”. Majestic Palms aglow with bright pink neon lights and resting atop glowing cubes adorned the outer entrance. Upon entering the foyer, guests were greeted by members of the Krewe standing in front of a backdrop consisting of a modern crown image. The table was lined with glowing orbs casting a soft bright light. Majestic palms were repeated on either side of the entryway to the ballroom as guests made their way through the draped doorway into the grand ballroom. They were greeted by the simple elegance of candle light and white decor throughout. The ceiling was draped with white fabric and a large, custom made drum light hung from the center of the room, creating an artistic focal point. From the center of the drum, five glistening balls hung to

enhance the glamorous effect.

The backdrop for the presentation stage repeated the glowing message from the outer wall stating, “Krewe of Ceres, Charity Ball, 2015” in neon light against white fabric. The king and queen rested in white and metallic printed, upholstered wingback chairs. On either side of the king and queen, there were white and magenta floral arrangements with orchids, horsetail grasses and hanging anthurium completing the stage area.

The tables were arranged banquet style and set with white table cloths. Lining the center of each table were votives in glass holders of varying heights creating a simple elegant effect. Guests enjoyed a sumptuous feast served on two L-shaped tables covered in white cloths. The savory dishes were accented by groupings of white flower arrangements in glass vases and washed with candlelight. Each grouping of flower arrangements were well lit with an additional custom made hanging drum shade, repeating the lighting effect from the center of the ballroom. For one night the attendees of the 2015 Charity Ball enjoyed a glamorously elegant evening known as, “A Modern Royalty Affair”.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the royal court, which culminated in the announcing of the 2015 King and Queen. Reigning as King of the 2015 Krewe of Ceres Charity Ball was William Dennis Valentine. Valentine was born in Meridian in 1951 and is the son of Myrtle Covington Valentine and Dudley Valentine. He attended St. Patrick parochial school and graduated from Meridian High School in 1969. He began college at Meridian Junior College in 1969 where he earned a varsity letter playing baseball for the Eagles. After one year he entered the University of Mississippi where he became a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He graduated in 1973 with a business degree in production and control management. In 1983 he earned an MBA from Millsaps College.

The king began his career with AMBAC Industries in Columbus as a Production Planner and transitioned to a position as a Production Scheduler at Beneke Corporation. He married Amy Wilson Apperson, also of Meridian, in 1975, and they continued to live in Columbus for three years. In 1978 they moved to Brookhaven, where he became a Production Planner for Jacobsen Manufacturing which later became Homelite-Textron Manufacturing. He worked at Homelite for fifteen years, eventually becoming materials manager, and was part of the final group of employees working at Homelite when it closed and ceased operations in Brookhaven in 1992. From 1993 until 1995 he was employed as general manager of Stinson Manufacturing in San Antonio, Texas. In 1996 he began his present career in Insurance Sales with Insurance and Risk Managers. He is currently a producer for the largest independent agency in Southwest Mississippi, where he specializes in life, health and employee benefits. He holds an Affordable Care Act Certification granted by the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Since coming to the Homeseeker’s Paradise in 1978 Valentine has been actively involved in serving his community. He has served as president of the Krewe of Ceres, Southwest Mississippi Chapter of NAIFA (National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors), Brookhaven Kiwanis Club, now the Brookhaven Servitium Club, Brookhaven Country Club and the Lincoln County Ole Miss Alumni Association. In addition, the King has served as president and chairman of the Lincoln County United Way and has been on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Parents for Public Schools.

His love for the game of baseball led him to spend 12 years as a volunteer coach for Little League or Select Teams; even coaching before his children were born or involved. In four of those years he won a Championship, including one undefeated year of 21-0. He was the President of the Brookhaven Panther Diamond Club and was the radio voice of the Diamond Panthers for 5 years.

King Valentine is a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church where he has served as president of the Parish Council and led the committee for restoration of the church in 2003. He has taught Catholic Christian Doctrine, served as a Eucharistic Minister, and is currently a lay reader. He was also a member of the Board of Directors for St. Francis Parochial School.

Valentine has also been the Chairman of the Lincoln County Republican Municipal Committee for over twenty years and is currently serving in that capacity. He can be found once a month at the Mississippi Blood Services offices as a regular blood donor, and he is lovingly referred to as the tent meister for the local Ole Miss Grove Group. He presently holds professional memberships in NIAFA, Mississippi Association of Health Underwriters and the Jackson Association of Health Underwriters as well as the Brookhaven Servitium Club.

The king has been married to the former Amy Apperson, librarian at Brookhaven Elementary School, for 39 years. They are the parents of four children: Kathleen Valentine Calcote and husband Colby of Brookhaven, William Wilson Valentine (deceased-1988), Eleanor Valentine Hartzog and husband Trent of Ocean Springs and Patrick Covington Valentine of New Orleans, Louisiana. Kathleen was Queen of the Charity Ball in 2001, as well as serving as an Aide in 1990 and a Maid in 1999. Eleanor served as an Aide in 2001 and a Maid in 2010. Patrick served as an Escort in 2012 and was the recipient of the Krewe of Ceres Scholarship in 2010. The Valentines are affectionately referred to as Denden and Reine, by their two precious and dear grandchildren: Wilson Kent Calcote (7) and Camille Katherine Calcote (5) as well as a 17-year-old cat, Fuzzball.

Reigning as Queen for the 2015 Charity Ball was Laura Lee Lewis. She attended Brookhaven High School, where she was an Honor Roll Student and was a member of The First Edition Forensics Team, BHS Choir, Junior and Varsity Cheer Squad, Cross Country Team, Soccer Team, FCA, Panther Prints Newspaper Staff and Yearbook Staff. She was a member of Showstoppers Competitive Dance team. She also performed in various theatrical productions, gaining the titles of “BHS Forensics Award” and “Best Actress.” She was a Senate Page for the Mississippi Legislature for three terms. Other high school honors include: Lifetime TV and Comcast Spotlight Strong Women Award, Top 20 Metro Christian Living Future Christian Leaders, Jackson State University’s Youth Empowerment Award, Mississippi House of Representatives Youth Leadership Resolution and Mississippi Senate Resolution passed for Community Service. She was presented with youth leadership awards from Baptist Health Systems, the Boys and Girls Club, Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner and Governor Haley Barbour. During the Queen’s high school years, she developed, founded and presented a youth mentoring program – “HERO” – to various groups and programs and presented to 15 Mississippi schools. From ninth to 12th grade, she was awarded over 100 vocal competition trophies, ribbons or awards and enjoyed being an emcee or performer for Beauty Reviews, Homecoming Productions, Lincoln County Junior Miss Programs and was a featured performer for the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada. An avid community service advocate, she volunteered for the Animal Rescue League, Relay for Life, Brookhaven Little Theater, Freedom Reins, Wesson Founder’s Day, Boys and Girls Club, Brookhaven Outreach Ministries, Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, Vacation Bible School, Junior Auxiliary’s Crown Club, Ole Brook Festival and Toys for Tots. As an active member of First Baptist Church, she has served as a youth group worship leader, lead team member and youth choir singer. She spent a year serving as Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen 2009, where she toured Mississippi speaking and performing. Her senior year she received numerous awards, including George Eastman Young Leaders Award, BHS Forensics Award, Best Actress, and Special Honors Graduate.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / JOHNNY SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY / Queen Laura Lee Lewis and King William Dennis Valentine

PHOTO SUBMITTED / JOHNNY SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY / Queen Laura Lee Lewis and King William Dennis Valentine

The Queen began her college education at Mississippi State University majoring in Elementary Education. At MSU she has been recognized as a Pre

sident’s Scholar, Dean’s List and Golden Key Top 15 percent of her class. Honorary memberships include National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta Honorary Fraternity, Montgomery Leadership Nominee, Future Educators of America and Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society. She is a member of Chi Omega Fraternity and has served on the Make-a-Wish Committee and Rush Skits. She continued her love for community service by becoming the founder of Mississippi’s TeenTrendsetters – a reading literacy mentoring program, and the founder of Mentoring Matters! – a personal platform promoting volunteerism

through mentoring. She has volunteered with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and Children’s Miracle Network. At MSU she is a member of the Student Government Association’s Athletic Affairs and also the Community and Governmental Relations Committee, MSU Fashion Board and The Big Event. She volunteers with Four Corners Worship Team, Starkville Boys and Girls Club and Aiken Village Preschool. She also leads worship at Crosspoint Church in Starkville. In 2014 she was selected as a Holmes Cultural Diversity Center Ambassador. Other college awards include Governor Haley Barbour’s Le

adership Award, and Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate Leadership and Community Service Awards. She is a Miss Mississippi swimsuit and talent winner and is currently reigning as first alternate to Miss Mississippi. Other awards inc

lude Quality of Life Finalist, Duke of Edinborough Bronze and Silver medalist, and the Farm Bureau Ambassador Award. She has been a featured model for designer Tony Bowls and “Savvy” magazine. She has also been the featured performer for the Miss Missouri pageant for the past six years. She was chosen as Miss Mississippi State University, 2014 and is currently Miss Riverland 2015. She will be competing for the title of Miss Mississippi 2015 this June.

After graduating this year, with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Mississippi State, Queen Lewis plans to immediately pursue a Master of Education degree in secondary education with concentrations in the critical areas of math and science. Her formal education process will be completed with a doctoral degree in Educational Administration, which will prepare her to meet her goal as an advocate for children and education.

Queen Laura Lee Lewis is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Mark Lewis. Her sister is Lindy Lewis West married to Griffin H. West, and she is the proud aunt of 4-month-old Vivian Elizabeth West. She is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. William O. Lewis, Earl Walker Jr. and the late Ms. Sandra Walker. The Queen h

olds close family ties to the annual Charity Ball, having served as an aide to the King and Queen in 2003 and as a maid in 2013. Her father, Mark is a past president of the Krewe of Ceres. Laura Lee’s mother, Lorin, has served as past ball chairman, decorations chairman, and chaired the presentation committee for several years. Her sister, Lindy Lewis West served as an aide in 1999 and a maid in 2008.