April has been a busy month at Community Bank of Florida, filled with motivational speeches, tears of joy and recognition breakfasts. The top students from five local high schools in the South Dade area, as well as their parents, were honored for their academic achievements at the bank’s Annual Scholastic Breakfasts.
The series began with Coral Reef Senior High School’s 12th Annual “Barracuda Award of Distinction,” which recognized the top graduating students from each of the six specialized academies at Coral Reef. That same week, students from Southridge Senior High School were honored at the 22nd Annual “Spartan Award of Distinction.” The students graduating summa cum laude received a medal from the school while a slide show featured their achievements. Both events were held at the beautiful Hampton Inn Hotel in Homestead. The week was capped off with the 27th Annual “Buccaneer Award of Distinction” which recognized the top students from each of the six academies for South Dade Senior High School. The school also ran a slide show featuring students and gave them personalized medals. This was South Dade’s first year with a graduating class of specialized academies.
The following Friday, Homestead Senior High School celebrated their “26th Bronco Award of Distinction,” highlighting the summa cum laude and giving each student a medal. The school’s AFJROTC Color Guard added to the festivities by presenting the flags. Last but not least, Robert Morgan Education Center held their eighth Annual “Pirate Award of Distinction.” The tradition began with Robert Morgan’s first graduating class, recognizing the summa cum laude of the graduating students. All three final events enjoyed a delicious breakfast at The Capri Restaurant in Homestead.
Vice Chairman of the Miami Dade County Public School Board, Dr. Lawrence Feldman, made the breakfasts a priority and attended each of the events. He greeted the groups, encouraging the students to take risks in life in order to learn and grow. Robert L. Epling, President and CEO of Community Bank, was the guest speaker for each of the breakfasts. He spoke to the students, informing them they were the scholars of today and the leaders of tomorrow. He paraphrased former Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, stating “none of us got her by pulling up our own bootstraps; someone bent over and helped us pull up our boots.” He told the audience the story of his first year at college and how his mother helped him get through being home-sick. He said that having his mom there to pull up his bootstraps and perseverance were what made his life successful. He then asked the students to take a moment to thank their parents and continue to persevere through the challenges ahead in life. At the end of each breakfast, students were given a motivational book; The Best Way Out is Always Through- The Power of Perseverance and the announcement was made they would all be featured in full page ads in the local newspapers.