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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Alumni Honors Philanthropic Pair
BASIL & MARLENE BERNARD – 2019 COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDEES
Alumni and community benefactors, Basil and Marlene Bernard, were feted at the annual Xmas Bash fundraiser of the Excelsior Alumni Association of Florida, Saturday, December 14, 2019 in Lauderhill, Florida
Basil and Marlene Bernard, influential fixtures in the Excelsior and South Florida community were conferred with the Community Service Award for their yeoman service and unparalleled record of community engagement. They are considered a preeminent charitable couple, the seeds of whose relationship were planted at Excelsior.
The successful business couple left the security of their corporate jobs to launch out on their own by starting an office supply business more than three decades ago. Despite their success in business, and amid some challenges, they have never hesitated in sharing their largess with their Excelsior and South Florida families. They have always opened their hearts and purses to those in need.
Marlene is a founding member of the Excelsior Alumni Association of Florida which helped to cement her almost 50-year relationship with the alma mater –first as a student and later as a benefactor. She entered Excelsior High School in 1973 in the third from Vauxhall Junior Secondary School having passed the Grade 9 Examination. She entered Excelsior with the reputation of being a beauty queen having won Miss Vauxhall Beauty Competition. She played netball for Excelsior.
Basil came to Excelsior Community College in 1976 from Jamaica College. He did his A-Levels at the Community College. Having come from a Boys’ School, Basil had a spot on a chair outside the auditorium where he played eye candy with the XLCR girls, and he says on one occasion when he saw Marlene, he decided that she would be his wife. That wish ultimately came to fruition and they have been married for close to four decades.
After leaving Excelsior, they both secured employment in 1977 at the Bank of Jamaica and eventually migrated to New York after marrying. They have one son Andre Sean Bernard. Marlene hated the cold and so they relocated to Miami Florida not long after coming to the United States.
Together they established an Office Supplies Business which won an award for Best Minority Company and Marlene and Basil attended the White House to collect the award. They continue to run their business despite the ups and downs of the recession, and they have kept dancing.
Basil and Marlene are stalwarts in the Jamaica -South Florida community, giving back and serving. They both support Excelsior in talent, tithe and time and have hosted many charitable functions in their home. They always help anyone whenever they are able to, their generosity knows no bound. They are great role models for kindness, relationship and just being authentic and wonderful people.
Basil Bernard is CEO of Apricot Office Interiors. He holds an MBA from Florida International University while Marlene, who earned a BSc in accounting from Nova Southern University, is Operations Manager of the company.
XLCR- Ex-President, Husband To be Honored at Xmas Bash 2019
Earl & Althea Robinson – 2019 COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDEES
Former Alumni president, Althea Robinson, and her husband, Earl, will be the recipients of one of the alumni association’s most coveted awards at Xmas Bash 2019, Saturday, December 14, 2019, at the Caribbean Cultural Center, Lauderhill, Florida.
The Excelsior Alumni Association of Florida will be bestowing the Community Service Award on Earl ‘Wire” Robinson and Althea Brown Robinson for their long and distinguished service to the organization, their alma mater, and to the wider South Florida community.
Earl Anthony Robinson, aka Wire, is a 1975 graduate of Excelsior. He represented Excelsior in Colts Cricket and Soccer as well as Track and Field. Wire was noted as one of the revolutionaries at Excelsior who invited openness to the Rastafarian religion. Earl has been a quiet and consistent supporter of all fundraising efforts of the Association since 1999.
He has freely opened his home in Miramar to host a multitude of Excelsior board meetings and socials. For the past 16 years, he has volunteered his excellent culinary skills at every XMAS BASH to prepare the fish dish that is always a crowd favorite. As the co-owner of CBAH, Inc., a company that serves the developmentally delayed citizens of Broward and West Palm Beach for almost 20 years, Earl has made the company a committed and consistent sponsor for every XMAS BASH as well as other fundraising events in the South Florida community.
Earl is an ardent businessman, avid horse owner, and spends his free time betting on horses at the race track using his knowledge and a little bit of luck.
Althea Robinson, nee Brown is being recognized for her seminal role in helping to enrich the fabric and ethos of our alma mater, Excelsior High School; and for her tireless effort to unite the school’s myriad alumni scattered across the globe, which helped to create the beautiful mosaic that makes up the Excelsior family. Althea played a central role in helping to resuscitate and revitalize the once dormant Excelsior Alumni Association of Florida. In the almost two decades in which she has been active in the organization, she has served it in various capacities – the most recent as president. As president, Althea served with grace and humility and a single-minded focus on getting things done. Throughout her decade-long tenure, Althea was a formidable presence, for the force of her commitment, her visionary leadership, and impeccable integrity.
By the time she demitted office earlier this year, she had helped to transform the once moribund group into one of the most vibrant and best organized service organizations. An ardent supporter of education and creating opportunities for youth, Althea’s life has been defined by her volunteerism and philanthropy. Without fanfare, she has often dipped into her own personal resources to support initiatives at her alma mater and in South Florida.
She also inspired her son to underwrite a business scholarship…