Netball

Marva Bernard gives back to Excelsior High School

Saturday, June 24, 2017

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Former Netball Jamaica p resident Marva Bernard continues to give back to her alma mater — Excelsior High School.

The school has already started to reap the benefits. Excelsior won their first corporate area Under-19 netball championship earlier this year and were runners-up in the national U19 championship.

Bernard traced her journey from the initial contact with principal Dean Bromfield to Tuesday's luncheon to recognise the team for their historic performance earlier this year under the guidance of coach Christopher Smart, who was hand-picked for the job.

“After retiring from the post of president of Netball Jamaica in November 2015, I came to Excelsior to seek a job for coach Smart. I had no idea that this simple act of driving into my alma mater, parking my car beside an auditorium where I worshipped every morning as a student, would have been the genesis of another life-changing experience. The principal gave coach Smart the job and threw his full weight of support behind us. As time went by netball became his favourite sport.”

Bernard continued: “The journey began with having a non-residential camp with the young ladies during the summer [with] me being the team manager. Discipline was high and the environment was ripe for learning to take place. As a result of all of this, in our first year we won corporate area championship and was a close runner-up in the all- island finals.

“This feeling of giving back energised me. Thanks to my schoolmate Desmond Shakespeare, I was motivated by the work he and other past students were doing with track and field. I was encouraged by past student Novar McDonald. He promised his support and kept his word. I fed off the energy of the rebranded netball team — now called the Excelsior Netball Eagles — who were instilled with the idea that they could soar as eagles.

“They felt and played with new-found pride representing their school with their new coach who treated them all with respect. I even sat on the bench along with our primary care Linford Edwards — Doc — just as I did for the Sunshine Girls.

“I was happy to be their go-for. I felt a huge sense of belonging and loved every moment of being with these ladies.”

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