Fitzwilliam arrives for the inaugural Guardian in Education
Making a Difference schools tour in a specially provided
Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam signs autographs for QRC
principal Bill Carter and his students, after the first
leg of the Guardian in Education Making a Difference schools
Miss Universe 1998, Wendy Fitzwilliam, was the feature speaker
at the inaugural Guardian in Education Making a Difference
schools tour yesterday afternoon.
Fitzwilliam, now vice president/general manager, business
development, Evolving TecKnologies and Enterprise Development
Co Ltd, wowed the boys in Royalian blue as QRCs upper
classmen crammed into the schools gymnasium to hear
her and the other celebrities on the tour, including Olympic
medallist Ato Boldon and cyclist Michael Phillips.
Trinity College and the Government Sixth Form School also
sent representatives to the function.
The celebrities, who arrived at the school in sleek Jaguars,
spoke collectively for about an hour and a half.
The Guardian in Educations Make a Difference campaign
is a joint programme between Trinidad Publishing Co, the
Ministry of Education, and corporate sponsors RBTT, National
Gas Co, BG T&T, Guardian Holdings Ltd and Yara Trinidad
The programme is an expansion of the essay programme which
was launched in 2000.
This year, students have been asked to submit essays based
on the life stories of the celebrities.
certainly hope that through this re-engineered Guardian
in Education programme, students will be inspired to pursue
noble dreams and to reshape their values, and be positive
influences on their peers, Fitzwilliam said.
Wendy, as she urged the students to call her, reminisced
on her year as Miss Universe.
She credited her life experiences, especially her family
and certain key individuals, with preparing her for the
Unlike Phillips and Boldonand George Bovell III and
WI cricket captain Brian Lara, who are also scheduled to
talk in the year-long series of school visitsFitzwilliam
said she was famous not for a feat, but for being herself.
She said that despite this, her core values as a Trinidadian
helped to keep her grounded in what could have been heady
Fitzwilliam recalled going to the Oscars and chatting with
Tom Cruise, then calling home the next morning to tell her
only comment was, Its Sunday morning. You went
to church? she said.
Fitzwilliam said that in this age of bling and
apparently instant success, it is easy to lose ones
way without a solid foundation.
Being able to see through the fluff and remember what is
important is also critical, she added.
is what really enables you to adjust to changing situations,
Boldon lauded Fitzwilliam for doing something useful with
her celebrity status, namely founding the paediatric HIV/Aids
charity, Hibiscus Foundation.
have used your celebrity status to further the cause of
your people, and that to me is the most important thing
you could do in your life, he said.
Boldon won several rounds of applause from the young audience
when he spoke about his determination to succeed and go
beyond the call.
dont believe in giving people credit for what they
are supposed to do, he said.
job, up until last year, was as a sprinter for T&T.
I was supposed to win medals.
believe the people who stand out are the people who do something
extra. My job is to make sure that the generation that comes
after me has it better than me.
Phillips, an old QRC boy himself, is also a successful painter
with five exhibitions under his belt.
He said when cycling received no government support and
he was out in Germany in 1999 on his own, he had to resort
to selling his paintings to raise money for the tripeven
though he was representing T&T at the prestigious World
I got to Germany I had no accommodation, and no money,
I was waiting for those paintings to be sold I slept in
the Austrian teams bike room. It was no warmer than
went from being ranked sixth to being ranked 18th.
had a choice, become bitter or use it as an opportunity
to develop character. I decided that, by my hand, other
people would not have to sleep in a bike room to represent
After their presentations, the celebrity speakers answered
questions from a number of students.
The programme moves to Princes Town today, where St Stephens
College and Princes Town Senior Comprehensive will be the