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.
Recently we visited Jay and Kelly Chang at their flower shop, Spoto's Flowers. We loved hearing their story of success, even after they faced eminent domain and had to move from their well known location. When we asked Jay to tell us more, he said:
“Spoto’s Flowers has been serving the Lakeland community for the past 50 years. My family is proud to be a second generation business here. You may remember our pink building at South Florida and Edgewood, but we recently moved to Cleveland Heights Boulevard.
We serve all of Polk County, and ship anywhere else in the world you need to send floral arrangements. We offer one of a kind flower designs for all of life’s needs; whether in celebration of a wedding, to show love on Mother’s Day or to pay tribute to someone by sending a sympathy bouquet.
We offer full service and an exceptional value, which we look for in a bank. My father built a relationship with Community Bank many years ago and he still enjoys visiting their office for face to face conversations. He found the level of trust he looks for in a bank and we get the modern conveniences we are looking for- like online and mobile banking. It’s a win-win situation for us and we like banking with someone who puts service as the top priority, just like we do. ”
If you'd like to learn more, contact Jay and Kelly at www.spotosflowers.net or at 863-688-9500.
CBF is proud to celebrate Ana Castillo’s 5th Anniversary as a member of their Financial Family. Mrs. Castillo is currently an Executive Assistant, with responsibilities that include communicating information on behalf of the Executive Vice President, monitoring budget expenditures and supporting daily bank operations.
Ana was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela and immigrated to the United States with her mother when she was nine years old. Although she came here without understanding English, she became focused on her education and graduated as Valedictorian of her class from the Dorothy M. Wallace Cope Center South. She has also earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Miami-Dade College and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Barry University. She feels education is a requirement to help her fulfill her long term goal of moving up within Community Bank.
Ana has strived to pass this love of education and hard work on to her daughters, which influenced her decision to home-school them. She spends many hours of her free time at her daughters’ gymnastics studio, where they are competitive gymnasts. She also enjoys mentoring youth, and has done so with the Women of Tomorrow at Homestead Senior High, at her alma mater, as well as at Corporate Academy. She is currently the Chair of the Parent Advisory Council/Home School Program at Somerset City Arts Conservatory.
Excited about her anniversary, Ana stated, “Community Bank of Florida is a magnificent organization to work for, they keep the employees happy and therefore our customers are happy!”
Do you like Community Bank of Florida?
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