By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Town Center Mall in Boca Raton boasted its usual large crowd on Saturday, April 29. But the Nordstrom corridor was a bit more teeming than usual.
The Golden Bell Education Foundation held its first-ever teen fashion show, spotlighting clothing from Aeropostale, Billabong, Flying Lizard Boutique, Sears and Lilly Pulitzer. Hosted by Town Center, the fashion show drew more than 100 spectators who saw students from Boca Raton, West Boca Raton, Olympic Heights and Spanish River High schools displaying the latest styles on the “golden runway.”
“It was amazing to receive such a high level of support at this inaugural event,” said Christie Workman, foundation manager for Golden Bell, the segment of the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce that raises money for local schools.
“We were excited to have Frank Barbieri from the Palm Beach School Board as well as Spanish River High Principal, William Latson, and Boca High Principal, Dr. Susie King, come out and show their support.”
“This event was all about spreading the message that the Golden Bell Education Foundation exists to provide funding for local public schools, and it felt great to have our efforts recognized,” she added.
The crowd enjoyed lunch and dessert provided by California Pizza Kitchen, networked and shopped for raffle items. Winners were drawn at the end of the event.
Whitney Sharpe, former Miss Massachusetts USA and now a student at Boca’s Lynn University, and Stephanie Susskind of WPTV News took to the stage to kick off the main event, serving as the official emcees. They led the teens through each line, providing commentary and styling tips. Beginning with trendy athleisureware from Flying Lizard Boutique and ending with cocktail attire from Sears, the student-models captured the crowd’s attention and received generous applause.
Students from Lynn’s Fashion and Retail program volunteered their time throughout the model fittings and development of show details.
Boca Chamber President and CEO Troy McLellan welcomed the crowd and thanked sponsors. Golden Bell, he said, was established in 1991 with the intention of better preparing students for jobs within the business community. In the past 26 years, Golden Bell has donated $1.3 million to local educational facilities.
Sal Saldana, general manager of the mall, told the crowd his wife is a teacher at Sandpiper Shores Elementary School. This past year, using a Golden Bell grant, the school “was able to buy more books and educational materials.”